DNC Adds to Political Outreach Team Ahead of 2020

Today the Democratic National Committee announces key hires to engage critical communities ahead of the 2020 election: Women’s Political Director Taylor Barnes, Asian American and Pacific Islander Political Director John Santos, African American Political Director Cyrus Garrett, and Native American Political Director Theresa Sheldon. These hires build on previous hires, including Rural Political Director Libby Schneider, Labor Political Director Tucker McDonald, and Interfaith Outreach Director Dr. Derrick Harkins.

“Diversity and inclusion have always been the strength of our Democratic coalition,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “Now more than ever we will need a strong team that can harness the energy and excitement in our base communities to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. I am confident that the team we are building at the DNC is ready to build the coalitions we need heading into one of the most important elections of our lifetimes.”

“Building a team that reflects the diverse coalition that we need to win back the White House and the Senate is one of our priorities,” said DNC Political Director Muthoni Wambu Kraal. “I am proud of the diversity of our staff, and we are lucky to have Taylor, John, Cyrus, Theresa, Libby, Tucker, and Derrick leading our efforts in laying the groundwork to victory in 2020.”

Taylor has been named the Women’s Political Director, previously serving as the Chief of Staff to the Political & Organizing Team. She was on the founding team of the United State of Women, a womxn’s rights non-profit that worked in partnership with the Obama Administration’s White House Council on Women and Girls. Taylor served as Director during the first White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC and Director and Chief of Staff during the second United State of Women Summit in Los Angeles in 2018.

John has been promoted to AAPI Political Director to develop and promote the DNC’s outreach efforts to AAPI communities. He will also serve as the liaison to the Veterans and Military Families Council. Most recently, he served as the DNC’s Western Regional Press Secretary and AAPI Media Director. Previously, he served in the U.S. Army as the Deputy Press Secretary for the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve during a year-long deployment in Kuwait and Iraq. Additionally, he previously served as the Health Policy Assistant Director for the American Legion and Chair for Communications at KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress.

Cyrus has been named the African American Political Director, collaborating with a wide range of partners to expand and promote our overall African American community engagement, with an emphasis on building out programming to reach Black men. Cyrus previously served as the Deputy Director of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance where he led the grant implementation and monitoring for 19 organizations across 10 states. Cyrus has also worked as the Executive Director for New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative where he worked on tackling disparities for young men of color.

Theresa has been named the Native American Political Director, tasked with implementing a comprehensive outreach and engagement strategy for Indian Country.  Theresa is an enrolled citizen of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington state and has spent the last decade working to protect and enhance Tribes’ inherent rights, sovereignty and treaty rights in policy and law. Most recently, Theresa consulted for EMILY’s List, building its first Native American training and outreach program. Previously she served two terms on the Tulalip Tribal Council and served for seven years in Tulalip’s Governmental Affairs Department as a Policy Analyst.

Libby has been serving as the Rural Political Director, spearheading the DNC’s outreach and mobilization efforts in rural communities. Previously, Libby served as the campaign manager for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s 2018 reelection campaign in North Dakota. She also served as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. Heitkamp’s Senate office and Special Adviser to former North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad. Libby’s other campaign experience include serving as campaign manager for Ryan Taylor’s 2012 North Dakota gubernatorial campaign.

Tucker has been serving as the Labor Political Director, tasked with expanding our partnerships with labor groups and mobilizing labor voters across the country. Prior to joining the DNC, Tucker served as the Political Director of the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Association of Letter Carriers. Prior to working in the labor movement, Tucker worked for Bob Graham and Wesley Clark’s 2004 presidential campaigns and Tony Sanchez’s 2002 Texas gubernatorial campaign.

Dr. Harkins has been serving as the Interfaith Outreach Director, a role he also held in 2012. In this position, Dr. Harkins leads the DNC’s outreach to communities of faith and expand our partnerships on faith-related issues. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President for Innovations in Public Programming for Union Theological Seminary in New York City and the Senior Pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington D.C., where he led the congregation in initiatives ranging from providing health education and access, to international relief and development. He was also an adviser to the Obama Administration and the National Director of Faith Engagement for Enroll America.