Staff Directory & Contacts


Larry Stafford, Jr.
Executive Director

Larry began his career in public service at the age of 17 with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). There he fought against the closure of low-income apartment complexes in some of the most marginalized communities within Prince George’s County. He has since worked on numerous electoral and issue-based campaigns around the country. He became Executive Director of Progressive Maryland in 2015 where he continues to grow the organization as the premier progressive force in the state working to build power for working families.  




Nikki MG Cole
Organizing Director

Nikki, a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park (Go Terps!), was born and raised throughout the state of Maryland - including Prince George’s, Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, and Allegany counties. She brings over 17 years of professional organizing experience in the hospitality industry including with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington, DC working on institutional and structural inequities primarily affecting women, people of color, and immigrants. She was next Executive Director of DC Jobs with Justice, focused on raising DC’s city-wide minimum wage, on wage theft protections and on job access for returning citizens -- and later working on national food and farm justice issues with the HEAL Food Alliance, training grassroots leaders on how to develop issue-based coalition-led campaigns, and run for political office.



Jennifer Dwyer
Director of Development and Policy

A Rhode Island native, Jennifer Dwyer 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 Director of Development and Policy, she partners PMD with foundations and allied organizations to build power for our movement.



Alexiss Kurtz
Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Alexiss Kurtz grew up in N.E. Washington, DC and is a proud product of DC. Public Schools. Growing up in Washington, DC, she saw too many young, gifted, and black children who did not make it out of poverty.  She advocates for equal access for low-income children, fair pay for women, and Black Mental Health. She is a highly accomplished and successful leader with 7+ years of experience developing political strategy, overseeing personnel, logistics, operations, and while ensuring political success through personal development. Her vision is to integrate training and personal development in every level of the organization. As Chief Operating Officer, she works to successfully manage strategic operational processes, human resources responsibilities, and leveraging organizational self-interest to drive improved efficiency and elevated political performance. 



Elizabeth Mackenzie
Director of Legislative Organizing

Elizabeth has legislative experience at the federal, state and local levels. She earned a MSW in community organizing and public policy from the University of Michigan and spent several years working on the Hill on immigration and health care issues.  After leaving the Hill, she lobbied on behalf of the state Medicaid Directors and eventually accepted a position at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, where she coordinated with the state legislature on a number of Medicaid-related issues. In 2012 she returned to Maryland and founded Fluffed Up Desserts, a gourmet marshmallow company whose products were featured in several local grocery stores, which she sold in 2016 to spend more time with her twins and run for local office. After serving on her town council she is excited to work with Progressive Maryland to organize State and Local electeds in Maryland.  



Angum Check
Prince George's Lead Organizer

Angum Check was born in Bali, Cameroonian and immigrated to Prince Georges County, Maryland at the age of 7 where she grew up. She is a proud product of Prince Geoge’s County Public Schools and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied Philosophy and African Studies with a PPE minor (Political Science, Philosophy and Economics). Check’s extensive background in organizing spans youth and college organizing, electoral organizing and grassroots coalition-building through multiple fellowships and contracted positions. Check is passionate about the liberation of marginalized peoples and is excited to join the Progressive Maryland team.


Ken Maxfield
Baltimore Lead Organizer

Growing up in West Baltimore, Kenyarn Maxfield learned very early on that change doesn’t just happen. In order to make change, he realized that he had to get involved and “be the change I wanted to see.” As founder and president of the Young Democrats at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, he and the YD-UMES members worked on voter registration and helping students to go vote, while also educating themselves on the issues. Post-university Ken worked nearly six years in U.S Senate, House and gubernatorial races across the country, and worked with and supported unions to help solve issues middle class and working families face. Ken’s biggest passions being criminal justice reform, public safety, closing the wealth gap and Medicare for All, he’s an active supporter of organizations such as Black Lives Matter, Jews United for Justice, Moms Demand Action and The Marshall Project. 

Jacquelyn Smith
Montgomery Lead Organizer

Jacquelyn Smith was born and raised just south of Boston, Massachusetts. She credits watching her single-mother work too hard to make ends meet for much of her push to progressive politics. In 2017, she received her BS in Environmental Science from American University. Her organizing background is primarily in elections and grassroots organization building. In addition to building working class power, she enjoys crafting and being outdoors. 






Woody Woodruff
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.  





For all finance and administrative matters please contact our Chief Financial Officer Jan Miller

Phone: 301-642-2824



Progressive Maryland regularly hosts interns throughout the year. To learn more, click here