2020 Clean Water Action Board Election

Biographies of Clean Water Action Board Candidates -- May 2020

Please vote using the ballot below

Brent Baeslack (Bradford, Massachusetts) - Brent is a community leader and activist involved with solid waste and recycling issues at the state and local level, and the grassroots environmental justice movement. A founding member of the Haverhill Environmental League (HEL) opposed to mass-burn incineration and leader of a successful campaign to stop the burning of sewage sludge mixed with trash (1995-2008). He currently works professionally in drinking water and wetlands protection and the management of conservation lands.  Brent recently completed the Keystone Cooperator training to provide community leadership in forest stewardship while promoting land protection and wildlife management.

Andy Bauer (Portland, Connecticut) - Andy Bauer became a citizen activist in 2000 with the statewide Campaign to Clean up the “Sooty Six” power plants in CT.  In 2005 he founded and continues to Chair the Portland Clean Energy Task Force. He believes that aggressively deploying clean energy and energy efficiency technologies can blunt the threat that climate change presents to future generations.  Andy has spent thousands of hours helping people realize that clean & efficient energy options deliver multiple benefits.  In 2014 he was honored by his hometown with a Ralph Paley ‘Spirit of Portland’ award for volunteerism.  When not saving the planet, he relaxes by taking long walks with his wife Joanna, kayaking, producing public service videos, glissading, farming, and teaching Middle School.

Mary Ann Fake (Denver, Colorado) - Mary Ann is currently the US Finance Director for Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer small business lender.  In the past, she has held senior finance, accounting, and audit positions in a variety of organizations from asset management and investment firms to nonprofits, including Barclays Global Investors, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of the West, Bank of America and the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. Mary Ann is committed to integrity in financial reporting, and has a particular interest in creating incentives to encourage sustainable business behavior through transparency and disclosure.  She is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for Community Initiatives, a non-profit fiscal sponsor based in Oakland, CA.

Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds (Newark, New Jersey) - Wynnie-Fred was appointed by the Mayor of Newark, NJ and the Municipal City Council to the Board of the Newark Environmental Commission on October 2015 and currently serves as Co-Chair.  She is the Environmental Commission’s liaison for Coalition for Healthy Ports (CHPs). She’s a former Board Trustee with the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. In addition to National Clean Water Action and New Jersey Clean Water Action boards, she is also a member of the Newark Water Group, a grass-roots think tank and advocacy organization that advocates for better oversight of Newark’s Watershed, located in the NJ Highlands, and its Water and Sewer System.  She is currently one of three candidates nominated by Governor Murphy for appointment to the New Jersey Highlands Council.

Ife Kilimanjaro (Capitol Heights, MD) -  Dr. Ife is currently the Senior Director of Network Engagement at the US Climate Action Network.  Prior to this, she managed community partnerships in the Movement Support Hub for Greenpeace, worked as Co-Director for the East Michigan Environmental Action Council and consulted with various local and national organizations as researcher, facilitator and more.  In recent years, she facilitated gatherings and alignment processes held by the Extreme Energy Extraction Collaborative, NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program's Black Labor Convening, Beckner Fund grantee meeting and Michigan Water Unity Table.  In 2015 Dr. Ife co-founded The Wind & The Warrior, a collective of spiritualists and activists dedicated to integrating social activism with spiritual practice.  She, along with her co-founders facilitate healing processes for individuals and groups in the bi-annual gatherings they coordinate (Wind & Warrior Gathering) and those organized by others (e.g., Southern Movement Assembly, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Feminist Organizing School meeting and the US Human Rights Network bi-annual conference).

Kate Koeze (Grand Rapids, Michigan) - Kate first got involved with Clean Water in 1983, working as a canvasser in the Washington D.C. office.  She held several different jobs at Clean Water Action, including Field Manager, Assistant to the Director David Zwick, and Canvass Administrator.  Moving to Grand Rapids in 1996, she works for a small software company and is active with Clean Water Action’s Michigan office.  Kate has served as chair of the Clean Water Action Board since 2018.

Billy Linstead Goldsmith (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) - Billy spent over seven years at Clean Water Action, becoming Lead Network Canvass Director for Citizens' Campaigns and Clean Water Action and led Clean Water’s Philadelphia field canvass to three consecutive years of record breaking revenue. He trained multiple Canvass Directors and supervised the Allentown field canvass. He is currently the Director of Fair Trade Campaigns, a national network of Fair Trade advocates in communities and on campuses across the country.

Vernice Miller Travis (Bowie, Maryland) - In 1988, Vernice co-founded West Harlem Environmental Action, a leading community-based environmental justice and advocacy organization. In 1986-87, she was a research assistant at the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice where she helped to write the landmark report Toxic Waste and Race in the United States. She served for 7 years on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to U.S. EPA, and for 11 years as Vice-chair and one and a half years as Acting Chair of the Maryland Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities. Vernice was a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation and Executive Director of the Environmental Support Center and Groundwork USA.  Currently Vernice is the Executive Vice President for Environment and Sustainability at Metropolitan Group. Vernice has served as Vice Chair of the Clean Water Action Board since 2018.

Marisa Perales (Austin, Texas) – Marisa Perales is a partner in a small environmental law firm that advocates against polluters and in favor of the public's interest throughout Texas. The firm addresses all sorts of environmental issues that arise in Texas, including municipal, hazardous, and radioactive waste storage and disposal; water quality and air pollution; endangered species protection; and incompatible land uses. Ms. Perales also serves as board president of Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund. Believing that environmental advocacy must lead with equity and justice, Ms. Perales was a founding member of the Undoing Racism Austin coalition and is currently a member of Communities of Color United for Racial Justice (CCU), a grassroots coalition of people of color organizations and individuals working for racial equity and social justice.

Lawson Shadburn (Brooklyn, New York) – Lawson has served on the Clean Water Action board since 2016.  Over the past two decades, Lawson has provided financial and administrative leadership for nonprofits with budgets of $3 to $50 million, working for LGBTQ rights; improved employment and services for people with disabilities; increased access to community healthcare; and better schools for high poverty communities.  His prior experience includes affordable housing and community economic development.  He currently consults to nonprofits on financial management.  Lawson holds an MBA in Accounting from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Brigid Shea (Austin, Texas) - Brigid was one of the founders of Clean Water Action's Austin Texas office and helped direct our work in Texas for three years. She served as a member of the Austin City Council for three years, championing environmental initiatives and helping pass the city’s first campaign finance law.  Brigid cofounded and directed the Save Our Springs coalition that passed by ballot initiative one of the toughest water quality laws in the nation to protect Barton Springs in Austin. She also advised a number of private and municipal clients on carbon reduction strategies.  Brigid was elected as a Travis County Commissioner in 2014 in Austin, and was re-elected unopposed for her second term in 2018.

Rebecca Sluss (Bloomington, Minnesota) - Rebecca is an in-house counsel specializing in commercial banking.  She got involved with Clean Water Action in our phone bank efforts, making calls during Minnesota’s elections.  In 2013 she joined the advisory board of Minnesota Clean Water Action, and has been involved in the Political Committee interviewing candidates and making recommendations on candidate endorsements.  Rebecca also volunteers as a tax preparer for low-income taxpayers, and recently joined the community board for a local YMCA.

Gerald Torres (New Haven, Connecticut) – Gerald is Professor of Environmental Justice at Yale School of the Environment and Yale Law School.  He was previously on the faculty of the Cornell and the University of Texas Schools of Law, and has been a Visiting Professor at a number of law schools include Harvard Law School and Stanford University.  He served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in 1993 and 1994, and was principal advisor to the US Attorney General on issues of environmental law and policy and Indian affairs. He has been chair of the Board of the Earth Day Network, and a board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity.

Marguerite Young (Oakland, California) - Marguerite Young is a lifelong activist who has worked for nearly four decades as an organizer, policy advocate and coalition builder on behalf of environmental issues, especially water quality and public health. She worked for Clean Water Action for seventeen and a half years as a Regional Canvass Director, Canvass Supervisor and CA State Director.  For the past 15 years, Marguerite has worked for the Service Employees International Union in a variety of roles and currently helps coordinate the Union’s program for Climate and Environmental Justice. She also serves as President of the Board of Directors of the East Bay Municipal Utility District which provides water and wastewater services to residents of the Oakland area. She is a member of a number of environmental groups and serves on the Board of Carpe Diem West.

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