Democracy for America’s Jim Dean steps down, appoints Yvette Simpson new Chief Executive
Today, Democracy for America's (DFA) Jim Dean announced his decision to step down from his role as Chair of the national grassroots progressive group, and make former Cincinnati City Council member and history-making 2017 mayoral candidate Yvette Simpson its next Chief Executive, effective January 1, 2019.
As a part of the transition, Dean will move into the special advisor role his brother, Gov. Howard Dean, held prior to November 2016. DFA's current Executive Director, Charles Chamberlain, will move in to the role of Chair.
DFA Chair Jim Dean on his decision to step down and appoint Yvette Simpson DFA's new Chief Executive:
"After an election year defined by historic firsts and the profound impact women of color played in delivering them, I couldn't be more excited about Democracy for America's future with Yvette Simpson as its new Chief Executive.
"Having the opportunity to work closely with the grassroots to help push our country in a more progressive direction has truly been an honor and one of the greatest thrills of my life, but I also know that we won't be able to achieve the kind of change our country needs if we don't let a new generation of bold, visionary progressive leaders, like Yvette, lead the way.
"With Yvette as its Chief Executive and Charles as Chair, I am certain that DFA will not only continue fighting to deliver inclusive, populist political change up and down the ballot, but also that the folks DFA will be working with to lead those battles will be the progressive people of color, women, and young Americans who make up the New American Majority." -- Jim Dean, Chair, Democracy for America.
Over Dean's 14 years as its Chair, Democracy for America has helped elect over 1,000 progressives into office up and down the ticket, from President of the United States to Cook County Water Reclamation Commissioner.
Simpson will take over leadership of DFA in 2019 as its Chief Executive after serving as the organization's Federal Electoral Manager during the second half of 2018. In her work as DFA's Federal Electoral Manager, Simpson worked with DFA to recruit and support a strong, diverse slate of federal candidates in this year's midterm election -- including many of whom will be sworn in as newly elected members of Congress in January.
Yvette Simpson on joining DFA as it's new Chief Executive:
"I am incredibly excited to take the helm of an organization that has been supporting candidates at every level for nearly 15 years, and that is poised to do even more in the future to advance progressive, diverse leaders and issues across the country.
"We know that the future is female and that our country is becoming more diverse. The leadership of our country, from City Hall to the White House, needs to reflect the life experience and strategic vision of these changing demographics. Representation matters, particularly within political and movement organizations.
"Through Jim Dean's leadership, Democracy for America has built a powerful track-record of identifying and training strong grassroots leaders early and using people-power and partnerships to get those candidates over the finish line. I've seen the impact of that support, both as a candidate and while recently working directly with federal candidates on DFA's behalf, and it's a reputation we will be building on in 2019, 2020, and beyond." -- Yvette Simpson, incoming Chief Executive, Democracy for America.
Simpson, who makes history as the first woman of color to play an executive leadership role at DFA, has joined the organization as it celebrates a history-making 2018 election, looks forward to supporting a strong slate of inclusive populist candidates in local and state elections in 2019, and can't wait to defeat Donald Trump and elect a progressive President in 2020.
Democracy for America is a member-driven, people-powered progressive PAC with more than one million members nationwide committed to taking on income inequality, money in politics, and structural racism. Since its 2004 founding, DFA members have raised and contributed more than $62 million and made more than 25 million volunteer calls to help successfully elect 1,006 progressive candidates nationwide.
Additional Biographical Information about incoming DFA Chief Executive Yvette Simpson:
Yvette Simpson is a lawyer, MBA, and former Cincinnati City Council President Pro Tempore. She is the Founder & CEO of Yvette Simpson, LLC. In that capacity, Yvette served as the Federal Electoral Manager for Democracy for America (DFA) during the second half of 2018 and, in January 2019, will become the grassroots progressive organization's Chief Executive. She will be the first woman to serve as a Chief Executive at DFA and the first woman of color to play an executive leadership role at the organization.
Yvette grew up in public housing in Cincinnati, and was raised by her grandmother. She was the first in her family to graduate college, earning her BA in Political Science and her BS in Communications from Miami University (OH) in 2000. She earned her JD from the University of Cincinnati in 2004, and her MBA from Xavier University.
Yvette's passion for service started in 2008 when she served as a member of the Ohio Voter Protection Team as a Legal Observer. She later served on the Steering Committee for the Women's Fund, which researched barriers to women in public service. Since that time, she has volunteered and supported local and state campaigns, serving as the Vice Chair of the State Central Committee for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Yvette ran for Cincinnati City Council in 2011 and was elected and re-elected in 2013 for a four-year term. She served as President Pro Tem from 2013-2017. In 2017 she ran for Cincinnati Mayor, winning her primary by 11 points. She made history, as the first Black woman in Cincinnati's 200-year history to win a Mayoral primary. While she ultimately didn't win the general election, she won in 15 of 26 wards. During her years of service, Yvette worked on many economic and social issues, and was a strong advocate for people of color, the poor, women, and children.
Yvette is very active in her community, having served on several boards and committees, including the YWCA, Urban League, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, and the UC Law Legal Access Program, among others. She was named a Forty under 40 by The Cincinnati Business Courier, was named YWCA Career Woman of Achievement in 2014, and currently serves on the She the People Summit Steering Committee.
Yvette brings her experience, passion, advocacy, and commitment to changing the world to her role at DFA, whose mission is to advance the voices and power of progressives and the New American Majority in our democracy.