Fair Shot Summit Speakers, Moderators and Panelists Bio’s

Engaging the Broader Movement Panel

Councilman Greg Casar

Austin City Councilman
Twitter: @GregCasar

Gregorio "Greg" Casar is a native Texan, the son of Mexican immigrants, and an Austin City Council Member representing District 4 for his second term. Greg’s priorities include social equity, shared prosperity, affordability, environmental stewardship, and public safety for all.

Since taking office, Council Member Casar has worked to ensure North Austin families have a seat at the table when it comes to decision-making at City Hall. In his first term Casar helped organize the first two tenants associations at mobile home parks in Austin—both located in District 4—which unified against unlawful and unfair actions in their community including evictions.

Council Member Casar has championed civil rights and economic opportunity. He authored the initiative making Austin the first Fair Chance Hiring city in the South. These new rules provide an opportunity for Austinites to be judged based on their potential rather than solely on their conviction history. Casar sponsored and passed over a dozen major housing initiatives aimed at keeping working-class and middle-class people in Austin. These initiatives dedicated unprecedented amounts of city budget dollars to affordable housing construction and rehabilitation programs, and made changes in Austin’s urban planning to combat economic segregation in housing.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Greg previously served as the Policy Director for Workers Defense Project, where he spearheaded campaigns that won major policy reforms to improve wages, education, and workplace safety across Austin, garnering national attention. First elected in 2014, Greg is the youngest City Council Member in Austin’s history and serves as District 4’s first-ever direct representative. Greg’s efforts were recognized by Austin Chronicle readers, who voted him as the 2015 “Best Elected City Official.”

Ben Krompak
Senior Analyst, Tulchin Research
Bernie Sanders for President Polling Team
Twitter: @progressinsight

Ben Krompak is a strategist and pollster with over a decade of experience in public affairs and public policy. As senior analyst at Tulchin Research, Krompak provides public opinion research and strategic counsel to candidates, ballot measures, advocacy organizations, labor unions, and Fortune 500 companies.In the 2012 cycle, Krompak played an important role in helping California Democrats win the first state legislative supermajority in over eighty years, polling on behalf of the California Assembly Democratic Caucus as well as for independent efforts supporting Democratic candidates in key State Senate races. Krompak has polled extensively on behalf of progressive candidates and causes in the state of Texas. In 2012, he polled and helped shape the strategy for San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s Build S.A. program, a nearly $600 million public works and infrastructure rebuilding program, and polled for an independent effort on behalf of Castro’s successful measure to establish universal Pre-Kindergarten for San Antonio children. He helped to re-elect Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in 2010, to re-elect State Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) in both 2010 and 2012, and polled for and advised independent supporters of State Senator Wendy Davis in her successful 2012 re-election campaign.

Mindy Gulati
President, LT Democrats
Twitter: @MindyGulati

After an inquiry from a member of the LT community for a democratic group in our area, Mindy answered the call and started the LT Progressives. She wanted to create a community of Progressives in her area that would affect real change, give people a place to feel included and safe and run, real progressive candidates in our area. Some other highlights of her activism include: worked at Planned Parenthood advising on fundraising and allocation of funds for action, trained in the prestigious Progressive fellowship program, the New Leaders Council, and now serves as an advisory board member on the Austin Mayor’s Task Force to combat Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequalities. She has lived in the Lake Travis Area for nearly 5 years. Mindy Gulati is also the Founder and President of Fundamental Advisory, a consulting firm focused on advising businesses, organizations and educational institutions on issues related to Diversity, Inclusion, and Implicit Bias. As a mother of two amazing multi-ethnic children, she has experienced how bias affects everyone, including our youngest and most impressionable members of society.

Chas Moore
Co-Founder and President, Austin Justice Coalition
Twitter: @iGiveYouMoore

Chas Moore is the co-founder of the Austin, Texas based - Austin Justice Coalition a grassroots activist-led organization aimed at demanding criminal justice reform and building community at both the local and national level. 

An advocate for the underserved, Chas champions efforts that deliberately meet community needs like back-to-school drives, fundraisers for those who have been brutalized by police, feeding the hungry and pioneering programs for black youth, men and women.Chas Moore believes that hope for equality and generational change must begin with the reshaping and reclaiming of a black community.

Cristina Tzintzun
Board Member of Our Revolution and Executive Director, Jolt
Twitter: @TzintzunCris

 Cristina Tzintzun is a nationally recognized advocate and leader in the Latino community. She is a proud board member of Our Revolution Texas. She was named “Hero of the New South” by Southern Living Magazine and hailed by the New York Times for her success organizing Latino workers. Cristina was also named a “changemaker” by the Texas Observer, and her work has been featured on NPR, USA Today, Univision and MSNBC’s Up Late with Alec Baldwin. Cristina is the author of the book “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice” and other works on race, class and gender. Today, she runs a new organization- Jolt that seeks to build power for Latino voters in Texas.


Latino Engagement Panel

Representative César J. Blanco
Member of the Texas House of Representatives, District 76- El Paso
Vice President, Latio Center for Leadership Development
Twitter: @CesarJBlanco

Representative César J. Blanco represents District 76 in El Paso. This is his second term as Chairman of the Texas House Border Caucus and his first term as Whip for the Texas House Democratic Caucus. He was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Defense & Veterans' Affairs Committee and also serves on the Land & Resource Management Committee.

Rep. Blanco followed a long family tradition of serving his country in the U.S. Navy, monitoring and analyzing maritime activities that posed a threat to national security. After serving in the Navy, Rep. Blanco earned his degree at UTEP with the help of the G.I. Bill.

Rep. Blanco is currently the Vice President of the Latino Development Program and is the former Political Director for Latino Victory Project. Rep. Blanco was also the Arizona State Director for President Obama's 2012 Reelection Campaign. Rep. Blanco also served as the Chief of Staff for several U.S. Congressman in Washington D.C.

Rep. Blanco advocates for our communities economic security through increased opportunities in workforce development and education. He believes in increasing access to health care and fighting for Veterans rights and benefits.

Jose Garza
Executive Director, Worker’s Defense Project
Twitter: @workersdefense

Jose Garza is the Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project. Jose, who started at WDP in January 2016, is a native Texan who has devoted his career to the fight for working families and immigrant families. His homecoming to WDP is inspired by a "deep belief that this state can be a place where working families can get ahead.” (Barragan, AAS)

Jose started his career in Washington, D.C., where he worked for Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, attended law school at Catholic University, and worked for a federal district judge. He returned to Texas for the first time in 2006 to work on the border as an assistant public defender at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and then as an assistant federal public defender in the Western District of Texas.

In 2010, Jose returned to Washington, D.C. to serve as the Deputy General Counsel for the House Com­mit­tee on Education and Labor. He went on to work as Special Counsel to the National Labor Rela­tions Board, and most recently he served Secretary Tom Perez as a senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Labor. Garza brings extensive experience working with local, state and national labor organizations to build opportunity for working families and immigrant families.

Jose Cardenas
Chair, Tejano Democrats

An educator by profession, Jose Cárdenas III has been a high school teacher for 20 years, most of which has been at Louise High School in his hometown of Louise, Texas. Cárdenas has been an active member of Texas LULAC for 24 years during which time he has been elected to serve the organization in many leadership positions. Cárdenas was the chairman of Texas HOPE (Hispanics Organized for Political Education), a position he held 2008 to 2015.  Texas HOPE is the only Hispanic legislative strike-force organization in the state who are acutely aware of the Texas political landscape to which they can react to quickly as well as mobilize to effect change. Currently, Mr. Cardenas was elected in August 2015 to the chairmanship of the Tejano Democrats which is a state-wide affiliate of the Texas Democratic Party and whose mission is to focus on those issues most important to the Tejano/a community.

Laquita Garcia
Organizer, Texas Organizing Project

Laquita Garcia was born and raised in Dallas, TX, as the oldest child in a family of four. She is the lead community and electoral organizer for TOP in San Antonio. Laquita has worked three election cycles in Texas running member, volunteer driven and paid canvass operations including independent expenditure campaigns to get out the Latino vote and elect champions at the state and local level. She also leads issue-based organizing and leadership development programs for TOP in San Antonio. Before starting her career as an organizer, there was a chapter in her life where she had plenty to say about how the city, state and nation should be run right from her own living room sofa, but never once thought about being a part of the solution. She now lives in San Antonio and continues to fight for change in neighborhoods across the city and the state. Laquita strives to provide every Texan with the opportunity to make real change in their life and the lives of their neighbors.


LGBTQ Engagement Presentation 

Chuck Smith
Chief Executive Officer, Equality Texas

As part of Equality Texas' management team, Chuck supports the agency's mission to end public policy discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in the areas of strategic message implementation, public education, media relations, web-based legislative advocacy, and website content management and development. Chuck also manages agency financial reporting and HR administration.

Chuck first volunteered for Lobby Day at the Capitol in March, 2003, where he had the opportunity to lobby his eighth-grade social studies teacher, former State Representative Carter Casteel. An immediate lobby junkie, Chuck got involved with Central Texas foster care agencies to organize lobby groups against anti-gay foster care legislation. Chuck joined the staff on a full-time basis in December, 2003, and was named Deputy Director in 2005 and now serves as CEO.

An Austin native, Chuck earned a BBA degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. From 1978 to 1994, Chuck lived in Dallas where he served as Vice President of Acquisitions and Portfolio Manager for an investment advisory firm. Chuck is a member of the Board of Directors of Community Shares of Texas and currently serves as Treasurer.


African American Engagement Panel

Scott Simpson
Managing Partner, Resonance Campaigns
Twitter: @Scotttac76

Scott Simpson launched Resonance Campaigns after nearly six years with the direct mail firm of Gumbinner & Davies. Previously, Scott worked as a pollster, conducting polling and focus group research across the country. His extensive and diverse experience makes him unique among direct mail consultants, and helps guide his analytical approach to communications.

Jamarr Brown
Organizing & Training Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Vote
Twitter: @JamarrBrown

Jamarr Brown is an accomplished political strategist, healthcare advocate, organizer, and trainer with over 10 years of political experience. He serves as Organizing & Training Director for Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV), Planned Parenthood's statewide advocacy arm that engages grassroots supporters to fight to protect and expand access to reproductive health care at the local and state levels.  Prior to joining PPTV, Jamarr worked as Field Director on a State Delegate campaign in Maryland, where he developed and directed the voter contact efforts that led to a first place finish in a 5-way Democratic primary. Before working on local campaigns in Maryland, he managed the Farm Team program, a local and state candidate recruitment program, at Progressive Majority. Jamarr has worked on political and advocacy campaigns across the country, ranging from Barack Obama’s 2008 historic presidential campaign to working with ColorOfChange to take the Confederate Flag off the South Carolina State House grounds in 2015.  Additionally, Jamarr conducts leadership trainings across the country, training leaders on campaign management, candidacy, strategic planning, fundraising, and field engagement. Jamarr serves as Co-Chair of New Leaders Council - Austin and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Clemson University.

Chairman Vincent Harding
County Chair, Travis County Democratic Party
Twitter: @vincentharding

Vincent Harding is a community servant who is passionate about improving the lives of others. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and is an attorney and real estate agent in Texas. 

At 28, Vincent Harding became the youngest Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party (TCDP) and only the second African-American and currently holds this position. At 27, Vincent became one of the youngest Chair’s of the City of Austin’s Board of Adjustment.

Vincent has organized and moderated community conversations on race, immigration, economic empowerment, civil rights, and policing. Vincent also helped rally the fair chance ordinance in Austin which was led by CM Greg Casar and helped rally opposition to the Uber/Lyft ride sharing proposition in Austin.

Vincent is a first generation graduate and was the 2008 University of Houston Homecoming King and interned at the City of Houston City Hall. Vincent was a 2016 National Black Lawyers Top 40 under 40, a 2016 and 2017 finalist for Austin's 40 under 40, and has volunteered for many organizations throughout Central Texas ranging from homelessness to mentoring.

Yannis Banks
Legislative Liaison, Texas NAACP
Twitter: @abstraktmind

Yannis Banks has worked for the Texas NAACP as their Legislative Liaison since 2007. As the Legislative Liaison, Mr. Banks attends meetings & hearings during the Legislative session advocating for the views of in the African American community on issues like public education, higher education, payday lending, criminal justice, juvenile justice and many more. He is also responsible for the day to day operations of the Texas NAACP which includes managing the website, attending meetings and occasionally speaking for President Bledsoe.

Mr. Banks is the co-host of 2 popular radio talk shows, The Forum and The Wakeup Call that airs on KAZI 88.7. He also is a co-host of 2 popular music shows, Thank Goodness It’s Funky (TGIF) and The Untapped Show on KAZI 88.7 in Austin, TX.

In 2010 he was selected to be the chair of the African-American Subcommittee for the Travis County Complete Count Committee. It was his job to help ensure that as many African-Americans participated in the Census as possible.


Muslim Engagement Presentation

AJ Durrani
Chairman, Emerge-TX

AJ Durrani is a Houston-area political grassroots community organizer who has been elected to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as a Super Delegate for the 2016-2020 term. He is also the elected statutory Committeeman of the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) representing Texas’ 17th Senate District. He spearheaded efforts to have Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) recognized as a representative community thereby granting Asians perpetual seats on the SDEC. In 2012, he was elected to represent Texas as a National Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Durrani is Co-Chair of EmergeUSA Foundation Inc., a 501 c 3 national organization established in 2009 that empowers and trains its constituents in underrepresented communities in TX, FL, MI, PA, NY, VA to be engaged and active citizens via direct grassroots involvement in the American political spectrum.

He is Chairman of the Islamic Education Institute of Texas, a non-profit education entity that runs six full time private schools in the Houston area. He recently retired from the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) Board of Directors after holding various Board positions for 11 years.


Asian American Engagement Panel

Mustafa Tamez
Public Relations, Media Strategy, Campaign Management, Outreach Strategies LLC 

We all see Mustafa Tameez on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. What we might not know, he started out as a Precinct Chair in Senate District 17 and was Mayor White’s campaign manager and Political Director while he was Mayor. Mustafa is the Founder and Managing Director of a leading Public Affairs firm in Houston, Outreach Strategists. He represents national brands like Uber and AARP as well as Houston Police Department and many others and is an important voice in the Democratic community and for public policy in our city and state.

Alice Yi
Regional Chair, Southeast Region, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association

Alice Yi was immigrated to the United States for college. She has degrees in mathematics and chemistry from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Belton, Texas), and proudly calls the Lone Star State home. She has over 25 years of experience in political and civic forums, and is one of the founding members of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) Austin TX chapter. She is Chapter President, and later became regional chair of their Southeast Region.

She is a Program Manager for Vision New America, Alice coordinates VNA supported internship programs nationwide, reviews grants and program proposals, and assists with development of new associated organizations. Alice is working with APIAVote since 2014 for GOTV as a program coordinator in Austin area. She is also one of the Travis County VDR trainer.

Gene Wu
State Representative District 137
Twitter: @GeneforTexas

State Representative Gene Wu proudly serves the people of District 137 in the Texas House. Prior to being elected in 2012, he served as a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney's Office, where he sought justice for thousands of crime victims. Gene is currently an attorney in private practice. He was re-elected and is serving his third term in office in the 85th Legislative Session where he was appointed to the House Committees on Appropriations and Human Services. Outside his legislative work, Gene remains active and involved in the Houston community. For the past nine years, he has worked with Neighborhood Centers Inc. in conducting monthly workshops that have helped several thousand Harris County residents become United States citizens.

Gene grew up in the Southwest Houston neighborhood of Sharpstown. He earned his Bachelors of Science Degree from Texas A&M University, a Master's Degree from the LBJ School for Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, and a Law Degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston. Gene and his wife, Miya, reside in Southwest Houston. They are the proud parents of their sons, Winston and Lyndon.


Youth Engagement Panel

Kathy Miller
President, Texas Freedom Network and Texas Freedom Network Education Fund

After first serving as the Texas Freedom Network’s deputy director from 1996 to 2000, Kathy Miller returned to the organization as president in January 2005. Kathy has also served as communications director for the Texas Council on Family Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline and as public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Federation of Austin.

Kathy has helped build the Texas Freedom Network into a respected and influential champion of religious freedom and civil liberties in the organization’s first half-decade. Kathy believes in the tremendous strength of the grassroots and has spent her career focused on mobilizing support for important issues such as women’s reproductive freedom, children’s health care, public education and ending partner violence.

John Sydler
Political Affairs Director, Texas College Democrats

John Seydler, 23, is a native Houstonian studying political science and public relations at the University of Houston. After getting his start in community organizing with Battleground Texas and the Wendy Davis campaign, John has since gone on to work in numerous municipal, state, and issue-based campaigns. John is currently serving as President of the University of Houston College Democrats and as Political Affairs Director for Texas College Democrats where he coordinated local and statewide GOTV efforts on Texas campuses during the 2016 Presidential cycle. When not in class or pullin’ up the grassroots, he can be found cheering on his beloved New York Yankees – likely with Cuban tacos in hand!

H. Drew Galloway
Executive Director, MOVE San Antonio
Twitter: @hdrewgalloway

H. Drew Galloway is the Executive Director of MOVE San Antonio, a grassroots, nonpartisan nonprofit organization building political power in underrepresented youth communities through civic education, leadership development, and progressive issue advocacy. An acronym for Mobilize-Organize-Vote-Empower, MOVE San Antonio registers young people on university campuses across Bexar County, teaches them the importance of voting in elections, helps them get to the ballot box, and advocates for issues important to millennials. In 2016, they registered 8,568 new voters in the Alamo City, distributed 50,000 voter guides for young people, and increased voter turnout in the precincts they targeted by 7%.

With over a decade of private sector project management experience, Drew has worked at The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, San Antonio City Council, and Bexar County Commissioners Court. In 2014, he earned a degree in Public Administration, Legal Studies, and Leadership Honors summa cum laude from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Celia Morgan
President, Texas Young Democrats
Twitter: @celiadmorgan


Celia Morgan is President of the Texas Young Democrats, the largest organization in Texas committed to moving young people to participate in the political process. At the age of 18, she discovered that many of her friends and fellow classmates felt that they did not have a place in government, this motivated her to encourage others to register and vote, get educated, and be involved.  As mother, Celia is invested in creating positive change for the future of the next generation, so that her daughter and all children may achieve anything they dream possible. She has served in many roles varying from local chapter to national chapter involvement with Young Democrats. Today she is dedicated to providing opportunities for young progressives to learn and lead across Texas and across the country.


Red Counties Engagement Panel

Bill Brannon
Senior Advisor, Texas Democratic Party

Bill has been professionally and actively involved in politics for over 35 years.  As a consultant he has participated in over 150 campaigns ranging literally from the courthouse to the Whitehouse in scope. And is one of the few Democratic consultants to have been on the winning side against both Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.

On a federal level Bill was District Director for Congressman Max Sandlin and Congressman Jim Chapman.  He has also been on the staffs of Texas State Senators and Texas State Representatives.  Bill is a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee through the Non-urban Caucus, and has served the Texas Democratic Party in numerous capacities ranging from Redistricting Director to Rural Coordinator to Executive Director.  He is currently serving as Senior Advisor to the TDP.

Mark Homer
Small business owner, Former State Representative, Partner in Cross Oaks

Mark Homer was raised in Paris Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University. A successful small business owner Mark ran as a pro-business socially progressive Democrat.

First elected to the State House in 1998 Mark represented the 3 rd District which at different times contained Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Rains, Red River and Titus counties.During his time in the Legislature he served on various committees and is a former Chair on the Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism. He also was an active member of 20/20 PAC, an association of moderate Democrats primarily rural but also having members from Dallas, San Antonio and the Valley. A tireless campaigner and outstanding legislator Mark ran a number of successful hard fought campaigns in a district that consistently voted Republican at the top of the ticket.

Cathy Collier
County Chair, Gillespie County Democratic Party

Cathy Collier has been Gillespie County Democratic Chair since 2013. She and her husband are the retired owners of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post where Mrs. Collier served as editor. During her tenure there from 1985-2013, she served on the Texas Press Association Board of Directors and held several offices including President of the West Texas Press Association. Prior to that, she taught high school journalism and history for 15 years, coaching students in University Interscholastic League journalism events.

Mrs. Collier earned a bachelor’s degree from what is now Texas State University and a master’s in history from Southern Illinois University. A lifelong Democrat, she was active in county politics during the 1970s but was able to become active again only after retirement.

Ravelle Kundinger
State Democratic Executive Committeewoman, SD24
Twitter: @reggierumble

Ravelle is a 6th generation Yellow Dog Democrat. She is a wife, a mother and a grandmother. She is a teacher at the Richardson Independent School District and a Staff Attorney on Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. She was the President of the Highland Lakes Democratic women from 2013 - 2016 and now serves as the State Democratic Executive Committee Woman for SD24.

John Richie
County Chair, Wichita County Democratic Party

John is has been in his role as County Chair of Wichita County since December of 2011, has been Senate District 30 Committeeman since June of 2012, been President of the West Texas Coalition of Democrats since 2014 and President of the Texas Democratic County Chairs since 2014.  

He has served as the Rural Development Committee of the SDEC since 2015 along with various other committee assignments on the SDEC and was on the last 2 temporary Platform Committees. He has been a member of Communication Workers of America Local 6200 in Wichita Falls for 16 Years and Local Vice-President about 15 years served on 3 regional bargaining committees in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and served on a national bargaining committee in 2016.

John Bucy
Chair, Legislative Committee for Texas Democratic County Chairs Association
Twitter: @BucyForTexas

John H Bucy III is a graduate of Austin College and a native Texan. After college, John was a door to door canvasser for the Howard Dean 50 state plan. John is a small business owner serving public school students through youth sports.

John has served as a Precinct Chair in Travis County, and in 2014 he was the Democratic nominee for Texas House 136 in Williamson County. Although John lost the race he ran an aggressive grassroots campaign focused on old fashioned person to person communication, while incorporating technology to maximize effectiveness.

In March of 2016, John was elected Williamson County Democratic Party Chairman. In the November 2016 elections, Williamson County elected its first democrat to the Commissioners Court in 24 years. Williamson County also elected a democratic council member in a coordinated campaign with Travis County.  John was a national delegate to the 2016 convention and he currently is the chair of the Legislative Committee for the Texas Democratic County Chairs Association.

Currently, Williamson County is engaged in the May 2017 elections with 9 endorsed Democratic Candidates running across the county. John is a proud husband to Molly Bucy, a Texas public school teacher, a small business owner, and a Precinct Chair.


Email Updates


  1. $