SENIORS COUNCIL

Steve Regenstreif, Chair

In 2013, Steve Regenstreif retired as director of the Retiree Department of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFSCME, the nation’s largest public employee union began organizing public sector retirees in 1980 and has had the distinction of being the fastest growing retiree organization in the labor movement. It is also the largest organization of public sector retirees in America. Since 1983, while Steve was director, the membership grew from 18,000 dues paying members to some 250,000 retirees in 250 state and local groups. During the last 15 years, the AFSCME Retirees added more than 10,000 new members each year.

Mr. Regenstreif began his career with AFSCME in 1973 and has held various positions including Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy, Assistant Director of the AFSCME Organizing Department and an assistant to the late national President, Jerry Wurf. From 1978 to 1981, he worked in New York and played a leading role in the permanent affiliation of the 220,000 member Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) which brought the AFSCME membership to the one million mark. He was Director of the national Retiree Program from 1983 until his retirement. During his tenure as director, he served on the boards of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) and the Alliance For Retired Americans. He was also a delegate to the 1995, 2005, and 2015 White House Conferences on Aging, the 1998 White House Conference on Social Security and the 2006 National Summit on Retirement Savings. In October 2017, he was re-elected to a third term as Chair of the National Democratic Seniors Coordinating Council. As a result of holding this position, he is a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Maria Cordone, Executive Vice-Chair

Maria Cordone is a 41-year member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW), an organization with over 300,000 retired members. Director of the Community Services/EAP/Retirees Department since 1997, she provided training and growth opportunities for active and retired members by recruiting, organizing and coordinating senior members in retiree chapters, and working with active members to initiate and implement programs for Employee Assistance and Community Services Representatives. She developed literature and materials for these departmental programs.

Ms. Cordone is currently the Executive Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee Senior Coordinating Council and is Co-Chair of the Democratic Seniors Network. She also serves on the boards of the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation and the Fields of First Foundation, College Park Aviation. Ms. Cordone is active in the community, serving on the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department Citizen Advisory Panel and serving on the Board of the Towers in Westchester Park. She is the President and CEO of Mustard Seed, Inc., a non-profit organization involved in community-based outreach programs.

Richard Fiesta, Vice-Chair

Richard Fiesta is the Executive Director at the Alliance for Retired Americans, a national grassroots advocacy organization with 4.4 million members nationwide that works to protect the health and economic security of retirees and older Americans. An expert in retirement security issues, including Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and health care, Mr. Fiesta is often called upon for views and analysis by national and regional media outlets including in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Mr. Fiesta has been the Executive Director of the Alliance since 2013, and first joined the Alliance as its Director of Government and Political Affairs in 2001. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and serves on the national Board of Directors of the National Consumers League.

Earlier in his career, he worked in both the executive and legislative branches of government, serving at the Departments of Labor and Interior as well as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. He was counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor Standards, legislative counsel to Senator Harris Wofford (D-PA), and communications director to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). He also practiced law, specializing in labor and retirement issues. He received his bachelors, masters and law degrees from Georgetown University and pursued advanced study in American legal history at the University of Virginia.

Max Richtman, JD, Vice-Chair

A former staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and 16-year veteran of Capitol Hill, Max Richtman is President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), one of the nation’s most influential senior advocacy and education membership organizations. Mr. Richtman, who joined the organization in 1989, also serves as Chair of the National Committee’s Political Action Committee (PAC) board, a nonpartisan committee that endorses candidates for federal office who take uncompromising stands on social policy legislation which impacts the aging population.

Mr. Richtman has testified before House and Senate committees, provided expert political and policy commentary during appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, MSNBC, CBS, and Pacifica radio networks, participated in hundreds of congressional town hall meetings across the country and has been a featured speaker during numerous national and state conferences on aging.

During his congressional career, Max Richtman directed a lengthy investigation of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s enforcement of agediscrimination statutes which included a series of oversight hearings and preparing the committee testimony by then-EEOC Chairman Clarence Thomas. As staff director for the Senate Committee on Aging, Mr. Richtman developed legislation to establish a Consumer Price Index [for the] Elderly (CPIE), in order to create a more accurate cost of living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries.

Max Richtman was born in Munich, Germany and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law School. He is Vice Chair of the Seniors Coordinating Council of the Democratic National Committee, a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, Bloomberg BNA Medicare Report Advisory Board, the District of Columbia Bar and a recipient of the 2013 Gray Panthers Social Justice Award and 2014 Winn Newman Equality Award from Americans for Democratic Action. Richtman resides in Washington, DC. 

Jon Bauman, Vice-Chair

Jon “Bowzer” Bauman is President of Social Security Works PAC. You know him best as “Bowzer,” formerly of the hit TV series and rock group “Sha Na Na” and the movie “Grease.” He’s also hosted a multitude of TV shows over the decades, including the last three “My Music” Doo-Wop specials on PBS. But since 2004, Jon has participated in hundreds of political campaigns, crisscrossing the country to endorse candidates who will fight for a better quality of life for older Americans. An expert on senior issues, Jon did endorsement events in 57 campaigns in 2018, traveling from Alaska to South Florida toNorthern Maine to Southern California. In 2020, he lent his voice to the Biden-Harris presidential campaign, participating in over 70 virtual events and joining an additional 40 events to boost Senate and House races, culminating in the Georgia runoffs. He serves as Vice Chair of the DNC Seniors Council, and has participated in the creation of Seniors Councils in the battleground States. Jon lives in California’s beautiful Santa Ynez Valley with May, his wife of 50 years and a recently retired Clinical Director at the HELP Group, one of America’s biggest agencies for educating young people on the autism spectrum. They have two children, Nora, 40, and Eli, 38, and four wonderful grandchildren.

Judy Beard, Secretary

Judy Beard serves as the elected Director of the American Postal Workers Union Retirees Department, a position she has held since 2007. The department has over 40,000 members. Ms. Beard takes pride in providing her members with educational information regarding senior issues and keeping them informed on bills introduced into Congress that could impact their retirement. She also interacts with members of her union that are still working to ensure the transition from employment to retirement is smooth, stays abreast on the problems that workers face, and informs her retiree members of those problems that the APWU president has identified can be resolved by legislative action.

Prior to serving as National Retirees Director, she held a staff position as Executive Assistant to the National Secretary Treasurer of APWU for over twenty-five years and both her current and former position are based in Washington D.C. Prior to coming to Washington D.C., she held the position of Union Minorities & Women Leadership Program Specialist at the University of Michigan in the School of Industrial Relations. She is a retired postal employee and has been a member of the APWU for over 45 years. Ms. Beard is committed to helping the working class fight for the benefits they are entitled to.

Cathy Hurwit, Treasurer

Cathy Hurwit recently retired after 20 years as chief of staff to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), where she was responsible for issues related to seniors, health and long-term care, retirement security and labor — including specific concerns regarding older workers. In that position, she helped create and served as primary staffer for the House Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force, designed to ensure that the views of older Americans and their families are heard and responded to in congressional policy debates. Prior to joining Rep. Schakowsky in January 1999, Ms. Hurwit was a legislative affairs specialist at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

James Centner, Executive Board Member

Jim was a 36 year member of the United Steelworkers, an organization with over 400,000 retirees. He currently serves as Director of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR); a position he has held since 2001. Prior to this, Jim served as a Health and Safety Specialist and as the Assistant Director of the union’s Membership Development Department.

SOAR was established in 1985 to allow the union’s retired members to continue to be actively involved in their union. Centner handles the day-to-day administration of the Steelworkers retiree organization. He assists its leadership in recruiting, organizing, and coordinating senior members in retiree SOAR chapters.

Jim is a member of the United Steelworkers Leadership Team. He also serves as a board member of the Alliance for Retired Americans and chair of the Emerging Retirees and Benefits Committee. In addition, he serves on the board of the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation, Pennsylvania properties.

Todd Crenshaw, Executive Board Member

Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, Todd Crenshaw received his B.A. in Peace Studies and Spanish from Manchester College in 1979. Before completing his undergraduate studies, Crenshaw spent a year abroad at the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain studying Spanish and International Relations. He began his work with older adults in 1979 when he served as chief senior advocate for older American concerns in San Diego’s Senior Adult Protective Services office, an experience that gave him a solid background in government programs for seniors. After earning his master’s degree in International Relations from the University of San Diego, Crenshaw moved to Washington, DC and joined the Close Up Foundation in 1985. There he worked as a program instructor, an outreach coordinator, and later as a manager for older American initiatives throughout the United States and Canada. While at Close Up, Crenshaw worked on the White House Conference on Aging under President Bill Clinton.

Crenshaw has over thirty years of professional experience in media relations, networking, coalition building, volunteer management, intergenerational program development, and leadership training. He has extensive experience in organizing, managing, and training for national and community-based educational and outreach activities.

He currently serves as the Retiree Director for the NEA and directs, develops, implements, and evaluates NEA-Retired organizing activities and Association projects including: The Retiree Rapid Response Team, Arizona’s Mobilize, Organize, Recruit & Engage (M.O.R.E.) project, Florida’s Retiree Membership Recruitment and Engagement Efforts, State Staff development trainings, NEA-Retired’s Intergenerational New Teacher Mentoring Program, Retiree Organizing Grant Program, & Political Advocacy. He also serves as the liaison to The Alliance for Retired Americans, Generations United and is an Executive Board Member of the DNC Senior Coordinating Council.

Crenshaw is also bilingual in English and Spanish.

Tom Murphy, Executive Board Member

Tom Murphy has shaped the 66,000 member strong Retired Teachers Chapter into what UFT President Michael Mulgrew calls “the daytime union.” While in-service union members are in daily workplace settings, retirees are a vibrant force for organizational and political action.

He served as the UFT’s Political/Legislative Director for UFT Presidents Sandra Feldman and Randi Weingarten from 1990-2006. Then becoming active with retirees, he was first-elected chapter leader in 2009. As Chapter Leader for the past 10 years, Tom has worked to promote the progressive agenda of organized labor. He is committed to member engagement as the best way to withstand anti-labor forces and maximize the strength of union members.

Julie Tippens, Executive Board Member

Julie Tippens has devoted her career to public policy, and community and political engagement. She joined AFGE as Retiree Program Director after serving as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Grassroots at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, where she extended the reach of its grassroots network. After graduating from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, Julie worked at the state legislature for two House Majority Leaders and for the Senate Human Resources/Aging Committee. Congressman Ron Wyden (OR) offered her a chance to move to Washington, becoming the first of four U.S. House members for whom Julie worked over a period of 18 years. She was also Political Director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, Financial Services Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Executive Director of the House Democratic Caucus under the chairmanship of then-Representative Vic Fazio (CA). She is a Senior Fellow of the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership, and has been a member of two labor unions.

Ann Widger, Executive Board Member

Ann Widger has served as Director of the AFSCME Retirees since 2013 where she leads organizing and mobilization with AFSCME’s nearly quarter million retired members. Ann originally started with AFSCME in 2003, as a retiree coordinator, where she organized new retiree groups across the country, and worked with retirees on political and legislative campaigns. Ann left AFSCME in 2008 to serve as the National Senior Vote Director for the 2008 Obama campaign and then went on the serve as an Associate Director for Public Engagement at the White House, working with the aging and health care communities. She also served as the Director of External Affairs at Department of Health and Human Services, under Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Ann lives in Washington, DC with her husband and 2-year-old twins.

Carlottia Scott, Executive Board Member

Carlottia A. W. Scott, an organizer, advocate, and strategist, served for almost thirty-five years on Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former Congressman Ronald V. Dellums of California. She also served as the former Political Director for the Democratic National Committee.

She is a former advisor to the Smithsonian Institution, the Global Fund for Women, the Mandela Freedom Fund, the Women’s Information Network (WIN), the Women’s Campaign Research Fund, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the International Foundation on Election Systems (IFES).  

She devotes much of her time to public education, awareness and outreach and speaks regularly on issues regarding civil rights, social and economic justice, and the influence of race and gender on policy and politics in the United States and globally.

She currently serves as the State Field Coordinator of ‘Seniors for Biden-Harris 2020’.  

The mother of three adults, five grandchildren and one great grandson, she is an avid reader and enjoys quiet time in retirement in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Gail Dratch, Executive Board Member

Gail Dratch has focused her 40-year career on legislative advocacy on behalf of senior citizens and mobilizing labor retirees in electoral campaigns. Most recently, she worked for 14 years in the AFL-CIO Department of Government Affairs where she was responsible for directing labor’s legislative strategy on retirement income security. In addition to Social Security and private pensions, her work addressed retirement investment advice, Disability Insurance and legislation impacting older workers, older women, and low-income seniors.  

Prior to the AFL-CIO, Gail served as National Political Director of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU); directed the Campaign for Health Security, a labor-consumer coalition supporting national health care reform; and served as the National Council of Senior Citizens’ Political Director, managing the organization’s electoral activities and directing the NCSC Political Action Committee (PAC).