Staff

Local Progress is a project of the Center for Popular Democracy, a high-impact national organization that builds organizing power to transform the local and state policy landscape through deep, long-term partnerships with leading community-based organizing groups, innovative and insightful research, and strategic partnerships. In addition to the staff listed below, an array of staff at the Center for Popular Democracy provide policy, communications, research, recruitment, campaign, and other operational support. The Center for Popular Democracy is responsible for day-to-day operations, policy coordination, and membership engagement. For more information about our 501 c(4) partner, Local Progress Action please visit www.localprogressaction.org.

Tarsi Dunlop

Policy and Program Manager

Tarsi joined the Local Progress team in early 2015 and currently serves as the Policy and Program Manager for the network. In this role, she oversees the growth and expansion of the organization’s policy work and resource development across a range of areas in partnership with CPD and external partners. As a member of LP’s program team, Tarsi serves as the strategy lead for housing, immigrant rights, and the school board cohort.

Prior to joining Local Progress, she served as Program and Operations Manager at the Learning First Alliance, a coalition of national education associations committed to strengthening public education for all students. Tarsi also worked at the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network. Tarsi received a BA in Political Science from Middlebury College. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown University, where she also earned a Certificate in Executive Nonprofit Management in 2014. She grew up in Western Massachusetts and currently resides in Arlington, VA.

Silvia Fabela

Program Director

Silvia is the Program Director for Local Progress. She oversees the organization’s overall program agenda and is primarily responsible for conceiving of and designing member engagement strategy and plan that includes member education, federal advocacy, and identifying new opportunities for member engagement/collective action in collaboration with LP members/team, cross-CPD campaigns teams, and policy partners. Silvia joined the Local Progress team after leading the AFL-CIO’s young worker program, NextUp. Prior to that, Silvia was senior staff on the OUR Walmart campaign at the United Food & Commercial Workers Union for eight years where she led an alliance of Walmart associates, union members, and community partners in changing Walmart around solidarity actions. In addition to her community and labor organizing background, she has also done electoral work on multiple presidential and congressional races.
Silvia graduated from Monmouth College in Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in Spanish. She lives in Washington, DC where she takes advantage of the free museums and tries diligently to keep her fish and plants alive with mixed success.

Sarah Johnson

Executive Director

Sarah is the Executive Director of Local Progress. Prior to joining Local Progress, Sarah served as the Managing Director at the Working Families Organization where she helped develop a senior management team to guide organizational strategy and as the Elections Director for the New York Working Families Party where she helped recruit, train and elect progressive elected officials at all levels of government and contributed to doubling the size of the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council. Sarah got her start as a political organizer for SEIU 32BJ where she managed member-to-member political programs and supported the union’s equitable development advocacy work including the passage of the a prevailing wage bill for New York City building service workers.

Sarah is a graduate of Williams College and Pratt Institute, where she received a Masters in Urban Planning.

Ivan Luevanos-Elms

Organizing Director

As Organizing Director, Ivan works closely with our state and regional coordinators to help build our organizing, membership, and chapter models. Ivan also works with Center for Popular Democracy partners and allies to advance new organizing projects and partnerships. In addition, Ivan is part of the Executive Committee of the Progressive Governance Academy, a joint project of Local Progress, State Innovation Exchange and re:power to build and develop the leadership and governance skills of progressive state and local elected officials across the country.

Prior to joining CPD, Ivan served as Director of the Community Engagement Division of the New York City Council. In his 4 years at the Council, Ivan directly worked on numerous initiatives including the creation of IDNYC, NYC’s municipal ID card, as well as expanding the Participatory Budgeting Process. He previously worked at Make the Road NY as their LGBTQ Justice Organizer, working at the intersections of immigrant and LGBTQ rights. In between, he’s run and worked on electoral campaigns at the Working Families Party.

Ivan graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish and from New York University with a M.A. in Politics.

Francesca Menes

Florida State Coordinator

Francesca Menes is the Deputy Organizing Director for Local Progress. She supports building and organizing a membership and collaborative space in Florida alongside Local Progress members and allied organizations towards policy solutions. Francesca is also working to advance the development of our network caucuses, supporting the expansion of the Progressive Governance Academy and organizing with network members, national partners and allied organizations to protect local democracy from ever-growing threat of state interference and preemption.

Prior to joining Local Progress, for over a decade, Francesca led the development and implementation of strategic legislative, policy, and voter engagement campaigns locally and statewide. Her work led to the passage of resolutions and ordinances in several counties throughout Florida as well as passage of laws in Tallahassee to benefit immigrants, New Americans, youth, and communities of color. Francesca is also the former Treasurer for the Florida Democratic Party, former State Committeewoman for the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. She currently serves on board of the Miami-Dade County N.W. 79th Street Corridor Community Redevelopment Agency and The Black Collective.

Francesca graduated from Florida International University, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women’s Studies with a minor in Philosophy, a certificate in National Security Studies, and her Master’s in Public Administration with a certificate in Community Development. Francesca is a first generation Haitian-Dominican-American and was raised in Miami’s Little Haiti community.

Deandrea Newsome

North Carolina State Coordinator

Deandrea Newsome is the North Carolina State Coordinator. Deandrea is responsible for driving all of Local Progress’s work in NC including: growing and strengthening our membership and leadership, creating and implementing an organizing strategy, identifying and implementing NC specific campaigns and supporting the work of NC members to participate in LP’s broader work. She works closely with partner organizations throughout the Tarheel State to support and collaborate with our local elected officials.

Prior to joining CPD, she served as the Organizing Director of Advance Carolina, where she managed political and community campaigns in majority black counties across the state. She has worked in the North Carolina General Assembly and organized for the North Carolina Democratic Party and Common Cause. In the Durham community she spearheaded an initiative she co-founded called 2020 StartsNow and registered students on the campus of North Carolina Central University in 2018. 

Deandrea graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a B.A. in Political Science and minor in Philosophy and will be receiving her Master’s of Public Policy from Duke University in May 2020.

Chad Radock

Local Progress NY Chapter Manager

Chad is the NY Chapter Manager, the first state chapter in the Local Progress network. He works closely with partner organizations throughout New York State to bring progressive policy solutions to our local elected officials. For the past two years, Chad has worked closely with members and partners to take collective action.

Throughout his time with Local Progress, Chad has helped to lead Local Progress NY’s participation in coalitions that have protected renters, modernized election laws, and secured driver’s licenses for all New York residents. Chad also coordinates the sharing of best practices and legislation among chapter members, builds network programming, and organizes our annual New York state convening.

A former elected official himself, Chad worked as a high school teacher, as a member of numerous local, state, and federal electoral campaigns, and he has worked as an organizer within the progressive movement in New York State for over a decade.

Ari Schwartz

Campaigns and Program Manager

As the Campaigns and Program Manager for Local Progress, Ari develops campaigns and strategies in which Local Progress members take collective action together across localities on a wide range of issues including economic justice, immigrant rights, police reform, and affordable housing. He also leads the organization’s work on economic justice, equitable development, and corporate accountability.

Before joining Local Progress, Ari was lead organizer at DC Jobs With Justice, where he steered a community-labor coalition and led strategic campaigns. In that role, Ari developed and coordinated campaigns to win fair workweek protections for service workers, to strengthen D.C.’s minimum wage and paid sick leave laws, to pass wage theft and student loan fraud oversight laws, and to help workers recover tens of thousands of dollars in stolen wages. Ari grew up in Maryland, graduated from Vanderbilt University, and lives in Washington, D.C.

Kara Sheehan

Texas State Coordinator

Kara serves as the Texas State Coordinator with responsibilities including growing and strengthening our members and leaders, cultivating relationships with organizational and labor partners, creating and implementing strategy across the state, and implementing Texas-specific campaigns. Kara supports Local Progress’ overall work in Texas, helping to move our members and community partners to build out and implement our longterm vision.

Prior to joining the Local Progress team, Kara worked for the North Texas Jobs With Justice chapter, focusing on building community and labor coalitions and implementing campaigns that made broader demands in the workplace and in other areas, such as housing. Kara has years of experience in the Texas labor movement working for the Texas AFL-CIO and Workers Defense Project. She continues to help in building a cadre of young workers and union members across the state.

Kara grew up in Missouri and received her undergraduate degree from Saint Louis University. She has lived in Texas since 2013.

Trisa Taro

Communications Director

As the Communications Director for Local Progress, Trisa leads our network’s media relations and digital strategy. She works closely with members and movement allies to elevate legislative wins and models of co-governance, helping to build public will needed to advance our work. 

Prior to joining Local Progress, she was part of the Center for Popular Democracy’s Public Affairs and Strategic Communications team, helping to build CPD’s thought leadership and amplify the voices of CPD affiliates across the country. She came to CPD from the global health sector, where she supported advocacy for universal HIV treatment access.

Trisa graduated from the University of California, San Diego, and received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Southern California. A proud second-generation immigrant, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently resides in New York City.