Americans United for Change Announces New Board of Directors, A Who’s Who of Progressive Warriors
Lee Saunders, Mary Kay Henry, Susan McCue, Randi Weingarten, David Obey, Jim Messina, Chuck Loveless, Mike Lux, Khalid Pitts, Brad Woodhouse to Write Next Chapter in AUFC’s History of Advocating All Americans Have a Fair Shot at Reaching and Staying in the Middle Class
Washington DC (July 23, 2014) – Progressive-issue advocacy group Americans United for Change announced its new Board of Directors following a vote by existing members to expand the board to ten members, as well as to elect AFSCME President Lee Saunders as Chair of the Board; Brad Woodhouse as President; Khalid Pitts as Treasurer; and Mike Lux as Secretary.
Known formerly as Americans United to Protect Social Security, AUFC was formed in 2005 to lead the national campaign against President Bush’s effort to privatize Social Security and has since worked to advance a progressive agenda in Congress, including raising the minimum wage, outlawing the worst health insurance industry practices and covering 30 million Americans, combatting carbon pollution, taking big steps toward equal pay for equal work, making college more affordable, passing comprehensive immigration reform, and fighting to ensure millionaires and corporations that outsource U.S. jobs pay their fair share in taxes.
“This leadership is committed to protecting workers and the middle class, and doing everything within our power to bring more Americans into it,” Board Chairman Lee Saunders said. “The collective experience of this expanded group will elevate Americans United’s core mission: shaping the debate over national priorities on progressive terms and discrediting the Tea Party’s misguided and unjust vision of a government that benefits outsourcers, polluters and Wall Street at the expense of America’s working families.”
The ten members now serving on the AUFC Board of Directors are as follows:
Lee Saunders, Chairman of the Board: Saunders is the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 1.6 million members. He was elected at the union’s 40th International Convention in June 2012. Saunders began his career with AFSCME in 1978 as a labor economist. He has served in the capacities of assistant director of Research and Collective Bargaining Services, director of Community Action and deputy director of Organizing and Field Services. Saunders also serves as a Vice president of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, which guides the daily work of the labor federation; he also serves as chair of its Political Committee.
Mary Kay Henry: Henry is President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), CLC. She was named one of the nation’s “Top 25 Women in Healthcare” for 2009 by Modern Healthcare. For nearly 30 years, Henry has represented healthcare workers at the Service Employees International Union, where she helped lead the fight to expand healthcare for millions of children and strengthen the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Henry has devoted her life to helping America’s healthcare workers form unions, improve their jobs and the quality of care, and advocate for a more rational and humane health care system. Her faith and values as a practicing Roman Catholic led her to pursue union organizing as a vocation.
Randi Weingarten: Weingarten is president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law and education. In 2013, the New York Observer named Weingarten one of the most influential New Yorkers of the past 25 years. Washington Life magazine included Weingarten on its 2013 Power 100 list of influential leaders.
David Obey: Former U.S. Representative Obey was elected to serve in Congress on behalf of Wisconsin’s 7th District from 1969 to 2011. At the time of his retirement from Congress, he was the third most senior Member of the House. Of the over 10,000 people who have served in the House of Representatives during the country’s history, only 21 have served longer than Mr. Obey. Obey served as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and for 15 years he served as Chairman or the ranking Democrat on the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee, where he presided over funding issues in support of strengthening our nation’s education and health care systems, two causes he considered the most important of his career. From 1985 to 1995, Mr. Obey also served as Chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
Susan McCue: McCue is one of the nation’s top political strategists and President of Message Global, LLC, a firm she founded to advance social action campaigns, political advocacy and corporate social responsibility in the U.S. and globally. McCue served as the Chief of Staff for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for eight years, where she built and managed his leadership, policy and political operations. She was a key strategist in the 2006 federal elections when Democrats regained majorities in the House and Senate, and Reid became the Majority Leader.
Jim Messina: CEO, The Messina Group; National Chair, Organizing for Action; Campaign Manager, 2012 Obama Re-Election Campaign; Deputy Chief of Staff to President Obama (2009-2011). Messina joined the Obama campaign from the office of U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), where he was chief of staff. He previously held the same position for U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).
Chuck Loveless: Loveless has served as the Director of Federal Government Affairs for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Washington, D.C. since 1993. In this position, he represents AFSCME in the nation’s capital on a wide variety of issues affecting state and local government and health care employees. Loveless received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and an M.A. degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. He is a past chairman of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ Public Employees Committee and of its Government Liaison Committee. He currently is a member of the International Foundation’s Government Liaison Committee and Health Care Expert Panel.
Mike Lux: Lux is co-founder Democracy Partners, a political consulting firm whose mission is building the progressive movement. Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW), and the PFAW Foundation, and served in the Clinton White House from January 1993 to mid-1995 as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. Lux founded and currently chairs American Family Voices.
Khalid Pitts, Treasurer. Pitts is currently a Partner at Democracy Partners and President of USAction. He is formerly the Director of Strategic Campaigns at Service Employees International Union, where he organized and campaigned for better conditions for workers, immigration reform and organizing janitors, child, home and healthcare workers. Pitts helped lead the union’s efforts to elect and re-elect President Obama, pass and defend his signature healthcare law and reauthorize the 1964 Voting Rights Act. As the current President of USAction, Pitts co-chaired the Executive Board of Healthcare for America Now (HCAN), worked to raise the minimum wage, extend the rights of marriage for all and build national coalitions to move progressive issues on the federal, state and municipal levels. Pitts was also the State Director for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, where he worked to pass legislation to ban assault weapons, prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands and give a voice to victims of gun violence.
Brad Woodhouse. Woodhouse, a longtime national Democratic strategist, is President of Americans United for Change, one of the nation’s leading progressive issue advocacy organizations as well as President of American Bridge 21st Century. Woodhouse returns to this position after a successful run as a senior strategist for the Obama campaign and Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).