Larry

Larry Stafford, Jr. (he/him)
Executive Director

Larry Stafford found his lifetime passion for organizing at the age of 17 as a student volunteer and eventually as a staff member for ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). There he fought against the closure of low-income apartment complexes in some of the most marginalized communities within Prince George’s County and registered hundreds of voters. He has since worked on numerous electoral and issue-based campaigns around the country including leading field efforts for races up and down the ballot from Gubernatorial contests to City Council races. He became Executive Director of Progressive Maryland in 2015 where he has helped grow the organizations budget by 700%, led the organizations electoral efforts which have reached over 500,000 Maryland voters, and elected scores of progressive candidates including 8 who defeated established incumbents. Larry also leads the organizations 501c3 arm the Progressive Maryland Education Fund which has shifted the policy landscape during his tenure resulting in victories for working people such as a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, police accountability, and publicly financed elections. Larry is committed to investing in the power and potential of Progressive Maryland's working class membership base and continuing to win progressive changes at the local, state, and national level. 

Email: [email protected]

Jennifer

Jennifer Mendes Dwyer (she/her)
Deputy Executive Director

A Rhode Island native, Jennifer moved to Prince George’s County in 2004 to pursue a degree in Latin and Ancient Greek at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2013, while working on her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr College, Jennifer discovered Walmart had plans to build a 24-Hour Supercenter 150 feet behind her home in a quiet neighborhood in Bowie, Maryland. She organized her neighbors to stop the project–and they won!

She has worn a few different hats since joining the Progressive Maryland team in spring of 2016-- Lead Organizer mobilizing residents in Prince George's County, Policy and Legislative Director working to change state and county laws to benefit everyday Marylanders, and now, as Deputy Executive Director, she partners PMD with foundations and allied organizations to build power for our movement.

Email: [email protected]

Bee Van Hall (they/them)
Social Media Coordinator

Bee began their advocacy journey in 2014 assisting transitioning foster youth in Atlanta, Georgia. They are an undergraduate student working towards dual B.S. degrees in Clinical Psychology and Criminal Justice. They are passionate about a variety of topics, including Indigenous sovereignty, criminal justice reform, mental health support, and healthcare justice.

Bee has an extensive background managing social media platforms and utilizes that background to assist Progressive Maryland as a Social Media Coordinator. They live in Annapolis, Maryland with their girlfriend and their cat, Jinx. When they are not working, they enjoy cooking, playing video games, and going to the gym.

Email: [email protected]

Christianne Marguerite (she/her)
Director of Communications

Christianne is an experienced project manager with a proven track record in successfully engaging stakeholders, developing communication strategies, providing detailed policy analysis, delivering extensive research reports, and organizing large-scale events for multilateral governments and organizations. She is passionate about environmental justice, equitable and affordable access to natural resources, and building resilient communities. She is skilled in project planning, systems thinking, public speaking, government relations, behavior change communications, and social media management. She holds a B.A. in Global Environmental Change & Sustainability and Africana Studies; and an M.S. in Environmental Science & Policy, both from The Johns Hopkins University. In her free time, she enjoys working out, playing tennis, running, hiking, kayaking, and traveling the world. She lives in Baltimore City with her partner and their pets.

Email: [email protected]

Clay Battin (he/him)
Development Director

Clay joins Progressive Maryland after having been a Fund-Raising and Management Consultant since 2015 and brings with him over 20 years of business management experience with the last 15 years focused on non-profit fundraising. Originally from North Carolina, with bachelors and masters degrees from East Carolina University, Clay moved to Austin, TX 9 years ago after spending a decade in the non-profit sector in Washington DC. He has led fundraising efforts in Cancer Care, STEM Education and Environmental Awareness on national scales as well as a stint as the Director of Corporate and Foundations Relations for the Moody College of Communications at The University of Texas at Austin. He and his fiancé look forward to returning to the East Coast shortly.

Email: [email protected]

Screenshot_2022-09-19_101922.pngJanay Fenner (she/her)
Communications Coordinator

Janay Fenner is from Baltimore Maryland and went to Baltimore City College High School. In her time there, she helped organize two walk-outs and protests. The last protest she organized was for students to join in on a Freddy Gray protest, where they walked from their school to downtown Baltimore to protest against police brutality. She graduated from Mount St. Mary's University in 2021 with a BA in Communications, and again in August 2022 with a MA in Communications. She was on the track and field team, hosted her own radio show, and was a member of the Black Student Union. She has always known she wanted to do communications work. In her free time, she likes to watch sports, work out, and try new restaurants with her boyfriend.

Email: [email protected]

Screenshot_2022-09-19_101922.pngJess Erichsen (they/them/sir)
Director of Operations

Jess is an experienced nonprofit leader with a passion for connecting people to their power, their communities, and to their political resources. An activist at their core with a natural mind for project management and relationship building, Jess is honored to bring their skills and presence to Progressive MD as the Director of Operations.

Jess’s professional experience includes significant work bringing improvements to our healthcare system, especially around reproductive care. From 2015 – 2020 they served as Executive Director for a nonprofit serving and advocating for pregnant & postpartum families in Maryland, with a heavy focus on reducing racial disparities in birth outcomes. Jess has long worked for justice around issues of gender-based violence in Maryland. These experiences include serving as the Chair for the 2019 Frederick Women’s March, serving as a Commissioner and Treasurer for the Frederick Co. Commission for Women, leading LGBTQ community groups and serving on the Board of Directors for Rainbow Families, providing direct services to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, and much more.

Jess also serves Marylanders as a birth doula and a gender transition doula, which is a great source of joy and meaning for them. Jess lives in Columbia and in their free time you can find them supporting local drag performances, snuggling a newborn, or spending time with loved ones.

Email: [email protected]

Josie

Josie Pines (they/them/theirs)
Development Specialist

Having grown up in North Carolina and spent the majority of their life participating in Boy Scouts of America programs, Josie was exposed at a very young age to leadership development and civic engagement. They received the rank of Eagle Scout in 2012. In 2016, they graduated from NC State University with a BA in Religious Studies & Philosophy, with the intention of going into nonprofit work. In the last few years, Josie has held a number of development positions with nonprofits and has learned a great deal about annual giving and grant-writing. Josie is an aspiring fiction and poetry writer, but they are incredibly proud to be able to write grants professionally for important progressive campaigns that make a real difference in peoples' lives.

Email: [email protected]

Kurt Stand (he/him)
Returning Citizens Task Force Organizer

Kurt Stand has worked numerous jobs, from bookseller to longshoreman, messenger to documentary film researcher, dishwasher to canvasser. Taking part in peace and social justice movements since his teenage years opposing the Vietnam War, Kurt's deepest commitment has been to organized labor where he has been active as a member, steward, staffer and elected officer. A returning citizen, he spent 15 years in federal prison, and is passionately opposed to the policies of mass incarceration which devastate individuals, families, and communities. After working with Progressive Maryland as a volunteer promoting dignity and opportunity for people after release from prison, he is grateful for the opportunity to work fulltime on these issues as Progressive Maryland's Reentry Campaign Lead.

Kurt lives in Cheverly in Prince George's County with his wife, Lisa and with Mussette, their cat with attitude. He has two grown children and two grandchildren with energy he wishes he had.

Email: [email protected]

Lev Hirschhorn (he/him/his)
Director of Organizing

Lev comes to Progressive Maryland with fifteen years of experience as a community, labor and electoral organizer. From churches on the South Side of Chicago to chain restaurants in suburban South Jersey, Lev has dedicated his professional life to bringing people together to win on shared values. After working on the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign in 2016, Lev founded Reclaim Philadelphia and played a key role in many of the electoral successes of the progressive movement in Pennsylvania. He now brings that energy and experience to the organizing department at Progressive Maryland. Originally from Oakland, CA, Lev currently lives in Philadelphia.

Email: [email protected]

Max

Max Socol (he/him)
Director of Campaigns

Max Socol has been campaigning for social justice since he first began organizing against the Iraq War as a high school student. Raised in politically active Jewish and Quaker communities in the civil rights landmark of Greensboro, North Carolina, Max found his way to Maryland when he enrolled at St. John's College in Annapolis. He worked as a Jewish educator for several years after graduation, while organizing in the movements for debt forgiveness, an end to home evictions, and Palestinian human rights. He became a state leader in Rev. William Barber's Moral Monday's movement and the struggle for voting rights and economic justice in North Carolina, before returning to the DC area as a National Organizer and Campaigns Manager for Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. Max lives in Silver Spring with his wife Dr. Allison Rose Socol and their two children.

Email: [email protected]

Patty Snee (she/her)
Healthcare Organizer

Patty began doing grassroots organizing as a canvasser in Philadelphia in the 1980s. She got hooked on one on one political engagement and went on to help manage door-to-door and phone canvass operations around the country as a Director with the Progressive Action Network (PAN) for 20 years. PAN trained, educated and developed canvass staff who did fundraising, base building, and data managing for PAN’s member groups like Working America, DSA, Clean Water Action, and Citizen Action. After her years at PAN, Patty went on to become the national Field Director at USAction and then at AAUW where for each organization she developed capacity-building efforts and led field and digital campaigns centered on things like economic and gender justice, immigrant rights, and healthcare for all. For the past five years she has focused on local organizing with pro-democracy groups like DCVote, the Working Families Party, and Progressive Maryland. She’s proud of her role advising and working on numerous voter engagement and turnout operations for a range of ballot measures and progressive candidates. She lives in Takoma Park, MD with her wife, Ellen, and their dog Chipper.

Email: [email protected]

SirJames Weaver (he/him)
Environmental Justice Organizer

SirJames is a honor graduate of a historical black college, Virginia Union University(VUU), where he also earned a B.A degree in political science. While a student at VUU, he walked on to the football team and was a part of the Springball football season season; during the fall semester of 2015, he was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, which is the National Political Science Honor Society, and during his graduating semester, in spring of 2016, he was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, an International English Honor Society.

After graduating from VUU, he first became ingratiated in the movement space after being hired by Virginia leading civic engagement group. In his first 3 months, he helped increase civic participation in the state of Virginia by registering 3,000 voters. The environment has always been in the locus of his heart, and as Progressive Maryland’s new Environmental Justice Organizer it is his avidity to help end environmental racism the world over.

Email:
 [email protected]

Woody

Woody Woodruff (he/him)
Blog Manager (Volunteer)

A former opinion editor of the now-defunct daily Prince George's Journal and instructor in composition, media writing, and journalism at Prince George's Community College, he has a Ph.D in Mass Communication from the Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. He lives in Lanham, MD.  

Email: [email protected] 

For all finance and administrative matters please contact Angela Lau.

Email: [email protected]