Meet Our Campaign Team

JEREMY BIRD, General Consultant: Jeremy Bird served most recently as the National Field Director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, where he had primary responsibility for building a nationwide army of staff and volunteer organizers. Dubbed the campaign’s “Field General” by Rolling Stone magazine, Jeremy was listed among “The Obama Campaign’s Real Heroes” and has been cited as “a former Harvard divinity student who took to political organizing as though it were his higher calling.” He is credited with helping establish a ground game and turnout machine that in 2012 “reproduced – through brute force, dedication and will – a turnout in the swing states that in some cases bested the campaign's remarkable performance of four years ago.” He was previously Deputy National Director of Organizing for America and served in 2008 first as South Carolina Primary Field Director – leading a 29-point victory – and later as Ohio General Election Director – leading a 5-point victory. Across these roles, Jeremy helped create and implement the Obama campaign’s neighborhood team organizing model – an approach which transformed organizing in presidential politics by merging people-focused, community organizing with empowering and inclusive digital technology and cutting-edge data analytics.

 

STEVE SPINNER, Campaign Chair: Steve Spinner is a Silicon Valley business executive and advisor to nearly 50 technology startups. He is a top volunteer fundraiser for various presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial, and congressional candidates and other political organizations in the US. Most recently, Spinner served as a California Finance Chair for the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, having previously been a leading member of the President's 2008 National Finance Committee. Known for his innovative and collaborative fundraising initiatives, Steve Spinner additionally founded "Technology for Obama" (T4O) and the "Obama Victory Trustees" (OVT) organizations and helped lead the campaign's "AAPI for Obama" fundraising efforts. He is a former senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, stimulus advisor in the Obama Administration, senior vice president at NBC, marketing executive for the Atlanta Olympics and McKinsey & Company consultant in Asia.

 

LEAH COWAN, Campaign Manager: Leah Cowan is a proud Pacific-Islander American and native of Silicon Valley who joins Ro for Congress after serving most recently as Regional Field Director for the 2012 Obama campaign in North Carolina. In this role, she led organizing for the Capital Region, a highly-contested area that led the state in winning more votes for President Obama in 2012 than in 2008.

 

ANTHONY NAGATANI, Organizing Director: Tony Nagatani joins the Ro Khanna team after working alongside Leah Cowan on the 2012 Obama campaign as Regional Field Director for Charlotte, North Carolina. He also served as North Carolina Digital Director in 2011. Prior to getting involved in electoral politics, Tony worked in reality television, with roles in the editorial departments of television shows including “Storage Wars” on A&E and “The Hills” on MTV. Tony is a native of Honolulu, HI.

 

TYLER LAW, Press Secretary: Tyler is a native of Oakland and returns to the Bay Area after serving most recently as an organizer on the successful Senate campaign of Tim Kaine in Virginia.

 

LARRY GRISOLANO, Consultant: In 30 years as a political professional, Larry Grisolano has been at the center of some of the most important battles for the Democratic Party and for progressive ideas. He has worked as a field organizer and leader, a direct mail specialist, a media and research advisor and leading strategist. From January of 2007 to November of 2008, Larry served as Director of Paid Media and Opinion Research for Obama for America and Obama-Biden 2008. In this role, he created, supervised and directed a sophisticated opinion research program that provided the strategic roadmap for the campaign. He also managed the paid advertising campaign that delivered the campaign message through television, radio, Internet, direct mail and other print advertising. Ad Age magazine recognized the Obama campaign as “Marketer of the Year,” and the New York Times reported that the television advertising campaign by Obama for America, on an annualized basis, was more extensive than all but two commercial advertisers in the country. In 2011, Larry again served as Director of Paid Media for the Obama-Biden re-election campaign. As a message development strategist, he helped shape the campaign narrative emphasizing the President’s leadership in building a stronger Middle Class economy. Grisolano managed message delivery, creative development and strategic placement of the campaign’s $400 million paid media campaign. He helped innovate a highly effective system for mass media targeting and media integration, maximizing delivery of television, Internet and direct mail messages to target voters.

 

JOHN KUPPER, Consultant: John Kupper has spent nearly 30 years developing winning messages and press strategies for Democratic candidates and officeholders across the nation. Kupper was on the ground floor of President Barack Obama’s political rise, serving as a message and advertising consultant in both his 2004 U.S. Senate and 2008 Presidential campaigns. Kupper helped edit Obama’s 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speech that rocketed Obama to political stardom, and is acknowledged for his assistance in Obama’s 2007 bestseller, “The Audacity of Hope.” During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Kupper advised Michelle Obama, two of Barack Obama’s half-sisters and his mother-in-law on message and press strategy for their public appearances. He also worked in the speechwriting office at the Democratic Convention in Denver, reviewing and revising many of the hundreds of speeches given over the course of four days. Kupper was the lead message strategist behind Rahm Emanuel’s 2011 campaign for Mayor of Chicago, in which he attracted 55 percent of the vote in a large field of candidates — avoiding the necessity of a runoff election. Kupper subsequently drafted Emanuel’s Inaugural Address and first Budget Message, and continues to advise the Mayor on a daily basis. Prior to the mayor’s race, Kupper served as message consultant and strategist for Emanuel’s 2002 campaign for Congress, and later assisted Emanuel’s successful effort as DCCC Chairman to return the Congress to Democratic control in 2006.

 

DAVID BINDER, Consultant: David Binder is a professionally trained statistical and qualitative analyst and twenty-three year research veteran. David oversees all projects for David Binder Research. He believes a proper analysis of public opinion cannot be accomplished by looking only at poll numbers or focus group transcripts. “We do a multi-source examination of what’s really going on,” he says. “We include every aspect of life. That includes understanding of news and other real world events. Sometimes overhearing a conversation at a baseball game reveals a new direction to investigate. Because we go beyond traditional research, we better understand trends, links, shifting public opinion, and how a client’s project fits in with the larger perspective of things,” he adds. One of David’s career passions is helping keep good people in government. David is widely respected for his social and political insights. Local and national media seek his observations and opinions on a regular basis. Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and dozens of other publications frequently seek David’s input and quote his findings. David is also a favorite guest of electronic media including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS stations. In the Bay Area, David is well-known for his live, in-studio election eve analysis on KCBS Radio. He has also appeared on the “CBS Evening News” and “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.”

 

LYNDA TRAN, Consultant: Lynda Tran served most recently as Director of Communications for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she oversaw the agency's nationwide earned and paid media efforts – including messaging on federal regulations, new automotive safety technologies, and vehicle fuel economy, as well as nearly $30 million each year dedicated to NHTSA's "Click It or Ticket" and "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaigns. Lynda has shaped national media coverage and served as the primary spokeswoman on hot button issues throughout her career. As National Press Secretary for Organizing for America, she helped build grassroots support for President Obama's top policy initiatives – most notably the Administration's successful drive to pass historic health care reform. During her tenure as Communications Director to then-Governor Tim Kaine, Lynda developed a comprehensive public messaging strategy to cement the Administration's legacy and managed breaking news on some of the most prominent events in the history of the Commonwealth. Over eight years in the labor movement, Lynda served as spokeswoman on issues including banking reform and health care, and she helped lead organizing efforts such as the Houston Justice for Janitors Campaign. Over four presidential cycles, she has worked on political campaigns in the key battleground states of Virginia and Ohio, and in the red clay turf of East Texas.

 

MARK BEATTY, Consultant: Mark Beatty served most recently as Deputy Battleground States Director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama. In this role, he had primary responsibility for the election plans for each of the 10 battleground states and managed the campaign’s $150 million state program budget – the largest on record for any presidential campaign. He also directed the 2012 Obama Campaign Legacy Project – a cross-departmental effort to capture and pass along lessons from the 2012 campaign – and he was previously National Director of Special Projects for Organizing for America. After working as an organizer in Nevada, Kansas, Texas, and Indiana during the 2007-2008 primary election, Mark was recognized for his unique ability to use data to solve problems and found himself among the ten staffers assigned to the campaign’s first “targeting team” during the general election season. As Deputy General Election Director in Ohio, he helped lead the team that delivered one of the most critical victories of Election Day 2008. He is an alumnus of the Boston Consulting Group.

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