Portraits by Amanda Berg

We’re witnessing a changing of the guard in the commonwealth. Whether you’re looking at the upcoming gubernatorial race, contested congressional seats, or even local mayoral and county elections, Pennsylvania politics is being introduced to some fresh faces. In this issue of City & State magazine, we’re recognizing some of the most influential Pennsylvanians under the age of 40. These newcomers include advocates, attorneys, nonprofit and business leaders and some of the highest-ranking lawmakers from across the state. 

We’re pleased to introduce City & State Pennsylvania’s 2021 40 Under 40.

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Shauna Boscaccy

Lobbyist & General Counsel, Maverick Strategies

Shauna Boscaccy
Shauna Boscaccy
Lisa Schlager Photography

Shauna Boscaccy joined Maverick Strategies as a lobbyist in 2018 after serving as the policy director for former state Sen. Scott Wagner’s gubernatorial campaign. Boscaccy has extensive experience in state government, working in a variety of roles for the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus before joining the Wagner campaign. She spent time as legal counsel to both the House Insurance and House Judiciary committees, and also served as the executive director for the House Liquor Control Committee. During her time in the House Republican Caucus, Boscaccy advised House members on legislative proposals and goals and helped advance legislative changes. 

Prior to her time working in state government, Boscaccy spent close to a decade working for Haines & Associates, a boutique litigation firm based in Center City Philadelphia that specializes in injury claims, medical malpractice, legal malpractice and commercial disputes. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Widener University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in political science and her law degree, respectively. She also obtained a grant writing certification from Temple University. Boscaccy is a member of the Burgess McCormac Foundation and a board member of the Camp Hill Borough Human Relations Commission. She lives in Camp Hill with her family.

John Brady 

Philadelphia Director, Pennsylvania Democratic Party

John Brady
John Brady
Gianni Hill

A born and raised Manayunker, John Brady has been involved in Philadelphia-region politics ever since he began as a Democratic committeeperson at age 19. Today, he is the youngest senior staff member in the history of the Philadelphia Democratic Party and one of the youngest members of the state Democratic committee. He notes Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing,” as guiding inspiration.

During his time working in Philadelphia politics, he has gone from a consultant and event planner to a strategist and organizer. Now, as the Philadelphia director of the Democratic Party, he is putting in said hard work and utilizing his knowledge to modernize the party. Brady said his mentors include Micah Mahjoubian, policy director for state Sen. Sharif Street and Democratic Party committeeperson; James Harrity, executive director of the 3rd Senatorial District and political director for Laborers Local 57; and congressman and chair of the Philadelphia Democratic Party Bob Brady, who is of no relation. In addition to his work with the state Democratic Party, Brady is a board member of Liberty City LGBTQ Democrats, an executive board member of Philadelphia Young Democrats and Pennsylvania Young Democrats, and a trustee of his alma mater Roman Catholic High School. 

Micah Bucy 

Associate, Hawke, McKeon & Sniscak, LLP & Cannabis Law PA

Micah Bucy
Micah Bucy
Steve Miller Photography

Micah R. Bucy is an attorney at Hawke McKeon & Sniscak LLP, where he represents commercial clients in highly-regulated industries – including the energy sector – before administrative courts, civil courts and local hearing boards. His clients include those in the petroleum, natural gas and electricity industries, and Bucy often works closely with other attorneys at the firm on energy litigation issues. He also is active with Cannabis Law PA, a practice area of Hawke McKeon & Sniscak. In the cannabis space, Bucy’s work focuses on business formation, licensing, administrative appeals and regulatory and compliance issues, among others. 

Bucy was a member of the litigation team that helped align the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act’s Clinical Registrant Program with the intent of the legislature to prioritize cannabis research. He also helped litigate a case that resulted in a 2021 Commonwealth Court decision that determined the Pennsylvania Housing Authority could not deny Section 8 housing for medical marijuana patients. Bucy also has helped clients apply for grants and licensing applications in Pennsylvania and across the country. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina and is a graduate of Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon County, Coastal Carolina University and the University of Maryland School of Law.

Samuel Chen

Founder and Principal Director, The Liddell Group

Samuel Chen
Samuel Chen
Ryan Dunlevy

Samuel Chen knows a thing or two about Pennsylvania politics. As the founder and principal director of The Liddell Group, Chen helps craft strategies and develop messaging for elected leaders, political candidates and organizations, and has represented some major figures in state and national politics, including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Gordon Denlinger. Before launching The Liddell Group in 2015, Chen spent time working in both houses of Congress and has worked for several politicians, including Sen. Pat Toomey, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent and former Gov. Tom Corbett. 

Chen hosts “Face The Issues,” a news journal television show produced by Lighthouse TV that airs in the Philadelphia media market. Not only does he have an extensive background in politics at the state and federal levels, but the political strategist and television host is also dedicated to passing his knowledge on to the next generation of politicos. Chen is currently a program director and assistant professor of political science at Northampton Community College, where he directs the George S. McElwee Forum for Excellence in Public Service. He is a graduate of Baylor University, where he studied philosophy, political science and church-state studies.

Benjamin Connors 

President & CEO, General Building Contractors Association

Ben Connors
Ben Connors
Building Contractors Association

Benjamin Connors is a Philadelphia native who joined the General Building Contractors Association in 2015. That year, he was named president and CEO of the GBCA, and in that role, he oversees the GBCA’s staff and helps breathe life into the vision outlined by the association’s board of directors. Since taking over in 2015, Connors has spearheaded an expansion of the association’s membership, and also serves as a trustee for more than $6 billion in union benefits and training funds. 

He is an active member of various boards and committees in the construction and business sectors, including the Center for Architecture and Design, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the March of Dimes Annual Transportation, Building & Construction Awards, and Associated General Contractors of America’s Executive Leadership Committee. He’s also a board member of the Penn Treaty Museum and an affiliate member of the Carpenters Company of the City and County of Philadelphia. In 2019, Connors was honored by Association Trends with the organization’s “Young & Aspiring Professional Award.” He is a graduate of Rutgers University, where he studied political science and labor studies. He also received his law degree from Rutgers Camden School of Law, where he served as Student Bar Association President.

Brittany Crampsie

Press Secretary, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats

Brittany Crampsie
Brittany Crampsie
James Robinson

During her short time in Pennsylvania politics, Brittany Crampsie went from reporting to consulting before being named the press secretary to the Senate Democratic Leader and caucus in 2017. After receiving a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in political science from Lehigh University, she eventually made her way to central Pennsylvania. She began her career in Harrisburg as an editor at PoliticsPA, an insider blog on electoral and legislative news around the commonwealth. From there, she went into public affairs, spending years consulting for progressive clients while at Triad Strategies and Shelly Lyons. In addition to consulting, Crampsie has also been a regular contributor for abc27 and PCNTV. 

Now in her fourth year as the press secretary for state Sen. Jay Costa and Senate Democrats, Crampsie serves as a spokesperson and develops messaging for the Senate minority leader and caucus. On top of her work in politics, she spent time on the board of directors at the United Way of Pennsylvania and currently serves as an alumni ambassador for Lehigh. Prior to her nomination to City & State Pennsylvania’s Forty under 40 list, she was recognized in PoliticsPA’s “30 Under 30” list and Central Penn Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list. She credits her mentors Pete Shelly at Shelly Lyons and Tony Lepore, chief of staff for Costa, for helping her along the way.

Darrell Davis

Public Engagement Manager, DoorDash

Darrell Davis
Darrell Davis
Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

A New York transplant living in Philadelphia, Darrell Davis has quickly made a name for himself in the commonwealth. Davis currently serves as the public engagement manager at DoorDash for the mid-Atlantic region and leverages his political experience to engage with lawmakers and stakeholders. He’s also part of the organization’s public policy team, where he contributes to community engagement and advocacy efforts. Davis received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in political science at SUNY Plattsburgh. 

Prior to joining the growing technology company, he served on various political campaigns. He moved to Philadelphia to work on President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, followed by Jim Kenney’s mayoral run in 2015. He later worked in the Kenney administration before serving as the state African-American outreach director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. He then spent more than four years as manager of local government and civic affairs at The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. In addition to his government affairs work, Davis is a member of the board of trustees for both YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School and Friends of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, which look to utilize local partnerships to empower young adults to develop skills and find job opportunities. 

Chris Deluzio

Policy Director, University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security

Chris Deluzio
Chris Deluzio
Cole Handerhan

Chris Deluzio has many titles to his name, and with any luck in the 2022 elections, he may add congressman to that list. Deluzio is the policy director of Pitt Cyber, where he focuses on the intersection of technology and voting rights, elections and government algorithms. The Pittsburgh native is also an Iraq War veteran, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, a voting rights attorney and a Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District. Following his service, Deluzio earned his law degree from Georgetown University and clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

As a lawyer, Deluzio has worked to protect elections at the Brennan Center for Justice and has provided pro bono legal representation with The Veterans Consortium and for indigent tenants in Allegheny County. He’s also part of the Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee with the United Steelworkers fighting for unionization. In his latest efforts, Deluzio hopes to succeed U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in Washington D.C. While on the campaign trail, he’s talked about defending voting rights and democracy, protecting Social Security, veterans benefits and the power of unions. The state’s new congressional maps have yet to be determined based on the recent U.S. Census data, but that hasn’t stopped Deluzio from affirming his candidacy, regardless of how competitive the seat turns out to be. 

Andre Del Valle

Director of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Apartment Association

Andre Del Valle
Andre Del Valle
Jose Rodriquez/ JPROD Event Resources LLC

During the height of the pandemic, Andre Del Valle understood the housing instability crisis and the occasional struggles between landlords and tenants. Before joining the PAA in February, Del Valle previously worked as a Voting Access Campaign Manager for Pennsylvania Voice, where his work focused on voter protection efforts for communities of color. He also ran for state representative in 2020, seeking the Democratic nomination for the 175th House District seat. Before that, he spent time as a legislative aide for Philadelphia City Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez, where he helped rally support for legislation, drafted citations and resolutions, and tracked the advancement of various bills through Council. He also spent time as a coalitions coordinator for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Del Valle’s political activity helped him get elected as the first Latino president of the Philadelphia Young Democrats, as well as the first Latino president of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats. Under his leadership, Philadelphia Young Democrats were named the “Large Chapter of the Year” in 2019 by the Young Democrats of America. Del Valle is a graduate of both La Salle and Temple universities, where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science, government and Spanish, and his master’s degree in public policy, respectively. 

Bethany Hallam

Councilmember At-Large, Allegheny County Council

Bethany Hallam
Bethany Hallam
Caiolinn Ertel

In 2019, Bethany Hallam was elected as a member of Allegheny County Council after mounting a historic bid for the county-level seat. Not only did Hallam defeat the incumbent council president in the Democratic primary, she also became the youngest person ever elected to a county-level position in Allegheny County. Hallam broke other barriers too, as she was one of the first people in the nation to run for office as a formerly incarcerated person in long-term recovery from an opioid use disorder. Hallam’s personal experiences, coupled with her primary challenge to a powerful opponent, earned her national media attention throughout the course of her campaign. Her campaign prioritized progressive causes, including increased oversight of the county jail, expanding access to public transportation and improving government transparency – which ultimately earned her the support of 53% of voters in the 2019 election. Hallam now represents more than 1.2 million Allegheny County residents as an at-large member of council, and has made jail oversight a chief priority during her time in office. Hallam is also a member of the Allegheny County Board of Elections, which is tasked with administering elections. As part of the board, Hallam advocated for an extensive voter education campaign in 2020 to inform voters about changes to various voting policies and procedures.

Preston Heldibridle

Executive Director, Pennsylvania Youth Congress

Preston Heldibridle
Preston Heldibridle
Hansen Bursic

Few have gotten involved in Pennsylvania politics as early as Preston Heldibridle. A graduate of Dallastown Area High School’s Class of 2017, he’s played a critical role in advocating for inclusive LGBTQ policies in the commonwealth. Heldibridle served as state policy director for the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, the nation’s first youth-led statewide LGBTQ organization, from 2017 until 2021, when he became the organization’s first transgender person to be named executive director. While with PYC, he helped defeat a bill that would remove health care coverage for trans youth enrolled in the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program. He now oversees the organization’s relationships with more than 400 LGBTQ student groups, in addition to his work assisting school districts with inclusive policies, advocating for local non-discrimination laws, and leading responses to attacks on transgender youth in the General Assembly. 

Throughout his career, Heldibridle has spoken outwardly against bills such as those aimed at limiting transgender youth from participating in interscholastic sports, arguing that there ought to be inclusion without compromising the rights and safety of everyone. He says that PYC remains focused on advocating for non-discrimination and hate crime-related legislation to explicitly provide legal protections on the basis of gender idenity or sexual orientation. He remains focused on promoting gender recognition legislation that would make it easier for individuals to change their legal name and gender marker.

Scott Heppard

District Chief of Staff, Congressman Brendan Boyle

Scott Heppard
Scott Heppard
S. Tobin

Scott Heppard has been serving in the office of U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle for more than a decade. He began working for then-state Rep. Boyle in 2010 and served as field director and campaign manager during Boyle’s first congressional campaign in 2013. Once Boyle was in Washington, Heppard started as the district director in 2015 and took over as the chief of staff at the end of 2020. In his current position, Heppard oversees office operations for the congressman and works with staff in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. on executive outreach and legislative and communications strategies. 

As a United Food and Commercial Workers union alum, he’s helped Boyle advocate for labor rights and fair treatment of workers. In addition to his political work, Heppard also serves on several local boards, including Fox Chase Cancer Center's Community Advisory Board and Glen Foerd on the Delaware, the only riverfront estate in Philadelphia open to the public. He is a graduate of Temple University, where he earned degrees in economics, political science, and business administration, and remains a resident of the Philadelphia region. When he’s not working in politics, Heppard enjoys coffee and cycling and remains a frustrated but hopeful Flyers fan.

Joseph Hill 

Government Relations Principal, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

Joseph Hill
Joseph Hill
Cozen O'Connor

Joseph Hill, born and raised in the City of Philadelphia, is the lead government relations and public advocacy principal for Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies in the city and southeastern Pennsylvania region. In his second stint with the firm, Hill plays a key role in its executive and legislative advocacy and policy monitoring efforts. Hill received a bachelor’s degree in government and philosophy from Georgetown University. Prior to beginning his burgeoning career in politics, he served as chair of the Philadelphia Youth Commission and testified before the House Budget Committee on higher education policy. 

He later went on to serve as a Teach for America corps member, where he taught middle school social studies and science, before going to Capitol Hill to serve in a number of roles in the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. Hill then served as deputy political director for the Hillary for America campaign in the commonwealth, director of public participation for the Democratic National Convention Committee, and then as a government relations professional with Cozen. Hill took a brief hiatus to take over the position of deputy campaign manager and political director for Gov. Tom Wolf’s successful reelection campaign in 2017 and 2018, before returning to Cozen in his current position. Today, he serves on several boards, including Mural Arts Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts and Historic Philadelphia, Inc. 

Joshua Kail

State Representative

Joshua Kail
Joshua Kail
House Republican Photography

Joshua Kail is among the youngest Republican representatives serving in the General Assembly. He was born and raised in western Pennsylvania, attended Geneva College and Regent University School of Law, lives in Beaver, and now serves part of Beaver and Washington counties. Before running for office, he built a record of developing private-public partnerships working as an attorney representing small and midsize businesses. He also spent time as a solicitor for several boroughs and served for Beaver County’s Children and Youth Services. 

Describing himself as pro-Second Amendment, pro-life and pro-jobs, Kail promises to further develop the 15th district’s energy sector. His other priorities include controlling taxes while modernizing education and scaling back overregulation. When it comes to education, Kail says “every child is different,” and that “giving students and parents more choice in talent development will make our kids more valuable entering the local job market and offer more fulfilling and well-rounded lives.” 

Kail, who was appointed to serve on the House Education, Environmental Resources and Energy, Judiciary, and Rules committees in the 2021-2022 legislative session, says two of his many mentors are fellow state Rep. Jim Marshall and the Hon. Judge Deborah Kunselman. Most recently, he announced he will introduce a constitutional amendment to reform the Supreme Court’s King’s Bench powers in an effort to depoliticize the Court’s powers. 

Maegan Llerena 

Executive Director, Make the Road PA

Maegan Llerena
Maegan Llerena
Marco Calderon

Maegan Llerena is executive director of Make the Road PA, an organization dedicated to empowering Latino communities and communities of color throughout the state. Under Llerena’s watch, Make the Road PA is focused on building power within communities, promoting equity and intersectionality, as well as sustainability. Llerena began her time at Make the Road PA as an intern and later became program director, before ascending to executive director. She is also the Pennsylvania state director for Make the Road Action, the political arm of Make the Road. As an organizer, Llerena has worked to inform community members about local issues, and, while an intern at Make the Road, she helped create its Allentown Organizing Center, which focuses on issues like immigration, police brutality and abortion rights. She is also a member of Pennsylvania Voice, a statewide coalition dedicated to expanding power for communities of color that is made up of more than 30 advocacy organizations. Llerena received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Cedar Crest College and is currently seeking her master’s degree from Temple University. Born in New York, Ilerena is the first-generation daughter of Peruvian immigrants. She currently lives in the Lehigh Valley area.

Jonathan Lovitz 

Senior Vice President, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Jonathan Lovitz
Jonathan Lovitz
Joe Mac Creative

A recognized public policy advocate, community organizer and aspiring public servant, Jonathan Lovitz has a lot of ideas for the Keystone State. He currently serves as senior vice president for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and has political goals beyond that, as he’s also running for Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ 182nd district on a “pro-economy, pro-equity, and pro-solutions” campaign. Lovitz brings experience from NGLCC where he oversees government policy and the organization’s legal, construction and pharma task forces. He’s also contributed to more than 20 local and state laws aimed to help small businesses, particularly veterans, those with disabilities, and LGBTQ-owned businesses. 

Lovitz received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance at the University of Florida and made the shift toward advocacy a few years later. He became a vocal LGBT advocate shortly after and joined NGLCC in 2015 as the director in New York. After making his way to Philadelphia, he helped found the PhillyVoting.org initiative to expand voter registration and protect citizens’ rightsChi to vote during the pandemic. He also spends time as a mentor with AmeriCorps PA and Students Demand Action PA, which works to end gun violence in the U.S. He’s helped to raise funds for the Philadelphia Diversity & Inclusion Summit and Liberty City Democrats and serves as a member of the board of directors of the Global Philadelphia Association and the William Way LGBT Community Center. 

Teresa Lundy

Principal and Founder, TML Communications

Teresa Lundy
Teresa Lundy
Michael Gray/ TML Communications

Since founding TML Communications in 2015, Teresa Lundy has worked with clients in both the public and private sectors throughout Pennsylvania, offering a full range of public relations and communications services. Lundy has worked closely with public officials and advocates to push for criminal justice reforms in Pennsylvania. She represents clients ranging from Doordash and Lyft to the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office and the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local Union 57. Lundy and her firm, which celebrated its sixth anniversary this year, have also worked with government offices and agencies to promote masking and vaccinations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus in Philadelphia. 

Lundy was honored for her work in the communications field by AL DÍA, which named her to the “AL DÍA 40 Under Forty” list earlier this year. Lundy’s work can be seen throughout various mediums, including racial equity plans, videos, radio campaigns, billboards, social media and more. She is a board member of the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication Alumni Association, a member of the board of governors for the Philly Ad Club, a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP and a member of City & State Pennsylvania’s advisory board. 

Blake Lynch 

Chief Impact Officer, WITF, Inc.

Blake Lynch
Blake Lynch
Joanne Cassaro

Blake Lynch was named WITF’s senior vice president and chief impact officer in August and is entrusted with leading the station’s community engagement efforts, as well as its fundraising, corporate sponsorships, marketing and sales. In this role, Lynch oversees efforts to expand the station’s impact and reach, as it currently serves 19 counties across central Pennsylvania. Lynch was most recently the director of community relations for the City of Harrisburg, where he was the liaison between the city’s Bureau of Police, members of the community and officers in the field. Prior to that, he was the director of development for the Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg, where he was tasked with securing grants and other gifts supporting the organization’s efforts to provide various programming to Harrisburg area youth. 

He is currently on the board of directors for both the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the Hamilton Health Center in Harrisburg, and serves on the advisory board for the First National Bank of Pennsylvania. Lynch is a lifelong central Pennsylvania resident and a graduate of Messiah College, where he currently serves on the President’s Leadership Council. Lynch lives in the Harrisburg area with his wife and their two sons.

Neil Makhija

Executive Director, IMPACT

Neil Makhija
Neil Makhija
Submitted

IMPACT is the nation’s leading Indian American and South Asian civic and political organization, and Neil Makhija has put its name on the map. The Philadelphia-based attorney leads IMPACT and its affiliates on their mission to engage South Asian and Indian American communities and help them run for, win, and be successful in elected office. Makhija was born and raised as a son of immigrants in Carbon County and went on to earn his law degree at Harvard Law School. His legal work focused on issues of consumer protection, workers’ rights and public interest, and he now serves as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has represented the City of Philadelphia against opioid manufacturers and a group of parents and children in the first class-action lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc. 

Makhija was the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 122nd District in 2016, during which time he won a court case protecting the rights of students and recent graduates to run for office in their home state under the Pennsylvania Constitution. In August, he was chosen as one of 13 Asian American and Pacific Islander civil rights leaders to meet President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House to discuss immigration and voting rights. When not advocating or doing legal work, he serves as president of the South Asian Bar Association in Philadelphia and as a member of the board of trustees at his alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College.

Carl Marrara

Vice President of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association

Carl Marrara
Carl Marrara
Hartman Benzon Media

As the vice president of government affairs with the statewide business organization representing the interests of manufacturers, Carl Marrara oversees PMA’s strategic external communications and lobbying efforts throughout the commonwealth. He advocates for pro-growth policies on behalf of PMA, focusing on building coalitions with stakeholders such as regional chambers, trade groups and think tanks. He acts as a writer, producer and reporter for a weekly half-hour news program on Pennsylvania business and government called “PMA Perspective.” He also maintains a partnership with the Business Industry PAC by deploying the “Pennsylvania Prosperity Project,” a voting and legislative toolkit for employers to engage their employees on political activism. 

Marrara earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Elizabethtown College and a master's degree in public policy from New England College, where he currently serves as a part-time lecturer. Prior to his current role, he also worked in business advocacy at the Pennsylvania Business Council and Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association before his friend and mentor David Taylor, PMA president and CEO, brought him onto the team. Marrara’s also a member of several boards, including the Business Industry PAC Prosperity Project Steering Committee and the Elizabethtown College Alumni Association Harrisburg Chapter, where he serves as president-emeritus. Marrara has recently voiced opposition to single-use plastic bans and the state’s entrance to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, arguing that both measures will shift costs back to businesses and consumers. 

Sean Meloy

Vice President of Political Programs, LGBTQ Victory Fund

Sean Meloy
Sean Meloy
Ethan Fujita

Sean Meloy is in his fourth year as vice president of political programs for the LGBTQ Victory Fund & Institute, the only national political action committee dedicated to electing LGBTQ people at all levels of government. In his role, Meloy oversees all political operations, managing candidate endorsements and engagement and creating and implementing outreach strategies. 

The Pittsburgh native graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in political science and secondary education. His political career began when he served as a staff assistant to U.S Rep. Mike Doyle’s reelection campaign in 2010. He then stayed on his Washington, D.C. staff. Meloy went on to serve as campaign manager for Kristin Cabral’s congressional campaign, director of LGBT engagement with the Democratic National Committee, and then deputy national director of outreach for Keith Ellison’s 2017 race for DNC chair. He also worked to garner LGBTQ support for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

Meloy was appointed to the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee in 2017 and serves as the chair of its LGBTQ caucus. He also sits on Gov. Tom Wolf’s commission on LGBTQ Affairs and on the board of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. With the redistricting process underway, the Victory Fund and Meloy have focused their efforts on ensuring that independent and LGBTQ individuals are treated as a community of interest. 

Trey Miller 

Chief of Staff, Former Gov. Ed Rendell

Trey Miller
Trey Miller
Shannon Pepe

Trey Miller has worked for some big names in his young career. As chief of staff for former Gov. Ed Rendell, he manages Rendell’s political initiatives and private sector endeavors, including overseeing strategic campaign support efforts at the local, city and state levels. Miller serves as the primary liaison between Rendell and his various board and advisory positions as well.

Miller worked closely with President Joe Biden’s campaign to organize fundraisers and distribute information in the Philadelphia area. Following the election, he teamed up with Ballard Spahr on a variety of initiatives involving the White House and federal government. Prior to his time working with Rendell, Miller got his start in organized labor. While studying political science and government as an undergraduate at Temple University, he spent time as a grievance and arbitration intern and union scholar for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, known as AFSCME, in both Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. Now, Miller is in his second year studying law at his alma mater in the evening division of Temple University Beasley School of Law. Miller enjoys watching sports, and although he lives in Philadelphia, he says he will always root for his New York teams and suffer through the Knicks’ struggling seasons.

John Neurohr 

Director of Client Relations & Engagement, Shelly Lyons Public Affairs & Communications

John Neurohr
John Neurohr
GEHR Photography

John Neurohr has a wealth of experience in communications for progressive causes, with more than a decade of experience crafting communications and messaging plans at the local, state and federal levels. He’s currently the Director of Client Relations & Engagement for Shelly Lyons Public Affairs & Communications, a position he’s held since February 2020. Prior to his time at Shelly Lyons, Neurohr was the communications director for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a progressive think tank and research center based in Harrisburg. He also spent time as the communications director for Keystone Progress and ProgressNow, the latter of which is a 22-state network of progressive advocacy organizations. 

Neurohr began his career as a deputy press secretary and strategic communications manager at the Center For American Progress before handling communications for America Votes, a nonprofit that advances progressive policies. He is a member of the Education Voters of Pennsylvania Parent Advisory Committee and co-chair of Why Courts Matter – Pennsylvania. Neurohr is a graduate of Ithaca College and George Washington University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in political management, respectively. He also has a graduate certificate in project management from Cornell University. Neurohr lives in Butler County with his wife and two sons.

Salewa Ogunmefun

Executive Director, Pennsylvania Voice

Salewa Ogunmefun
Salewa Ogunmefun
Jose Mazariegos of Jmaz Photion

Salewa Ogunmefun is finishing off her first full year as executive director of Pennsylvania Voice, a political organization that seeks to have a more inclusive democracy and to expand the power for communities of color in the commonwealth. A Nigerian-American social justice organizer, Ogunmefun has gained experience throughout the Keystone State and the nation’s capital, beginning her career as a consultant with Field Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, where she worked on programs to reach historically neglected communities. She went on to spend time as the political director of One Pennsylvania, the founding executive director of ImpACT Inc., and the civic engagement and political manager of the Center for Popular Democracy. 

At Pennsylvania Voice, Ogunmefun brings more than a decade of electoral campaign and field operations experience. She oversees the organization’s more than 44 partnerships with state and local organizations looking to create a more accessible and reflective democracy. As a former employee of the School District of Philadelphia, she says she advocates for policies that prioritize people over profits and strengthen community relations. One of her most notable accomplishments is the time she spent with workers and advocates pushing for the passage of Fair Workweek legislation in Philadelphia, which requires employers to provide employees with notice of their schedules and anticipated work hours.

Jason Ortitay

State Representative

Jason Ortitay
Jason Ortitay
Submitted

Currently in his fourth term as a state representative for the 46th House District, Jason Ortitay has emerged as a lawmaker focused on efforts to make state government more accountable – and more transparent – to the citizens it represents. This session, Ortitay has made government oversight a chief priority, as he sponsored a measure to investigate an administrative blunder at the Department of State that led to a proposed constitutional amendment getting delayed. He also called for investigations into a data breach that jeopardized the personal information of 70,000 Pennsylvanians. 

Ortitay also had legislative language signed into law this session that updates requirements for tax credit applicants and brokers and improves transparency among those applying for tax credits. He currently serves on the House Education, Environmental Resources & Energy, Gaming Oversight and State Government committees. Prior to his time in the General Assembly, Ortitay ran his own cheesecake company and spent five years working at PNC Bank in retail banking and treasury management. He is a graduate of Robert Morris University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in business management, and Stetson University, where he received his Master of Business Administration. Ortitay lives in Cecil Township with his wife Amanda, their daughter Delaney.

Alison Perelman 

Executive Director, Philadelphia 3.0

Alison Perelman
Alison Perelman
Rachel DeLucia

As the founder and executive director of Philadelphia 3.0, Alison Perelman spearheads the organization’s efforts to reform and modernize Philadelphia politics. Perelman heads the nonprofit and PAC, which is dedicated to supporting reform-minded candidates running for Philadelphia City Council. Under her watch, Philadelphia 3.0 focused its electoral efforts on the city’s 3rd councilmanic district, supporting a candidate that would go on to become the first challenger to defeat an incumbent council member since 1995. Philadelphia 3.0 also trained hundreds of Philadelphia residents to run for committeeperson seats. 

Perelman is the co-founder of the Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition, which advocates for the modernization of Philadelphia elections and for the elimination of the Philadelphia City Commissioners office. She also co-founded Open Wards Philadelphia – an initiative focused on reforming the city’s ward system. She serves on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, The Forum of Executive Women, The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, the Bella Vista Neighbors Association, and is a Democratic committeeperson for Philadelphia’s 2nd Ward. She is a graduate of both Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia’s Bella Vista neighborhood with her wife and son.

Julie Platt 

Associate, Bellevue Strategies

Julie Platt
Julie Platt
Michael Gray

As Bellevue Strategies’ health, human services and education policy leader, Julie Platt is driven by a passion to assist communities that don’t always have access to power. Platt has been at Bellevue since early 2020 and her clients include labor unions, nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies. Platt has been instrumental in pushing laws that mandate corporate transparency and require paid sick leave for frontline workers in Philadelphia. She has also spent considerable time working on political races, serving as the campaign manager for Greg Weyer’s bid for Philadelphia judge; deputy campaign manager for Emily Skopov’s bid for the state House; and a deputy campaign manager for Delco Victory 2019, in which she helped manage eight separate campaigns for public office. 

Throughout her time working in campaign management, Platt has been responsible for both paid staff and hundreds of volunteers, and has managed a $1.5 million budget. She has been honored for her work in the political and advocacy realms and was named to The Incline’s “Who’s Next in Politics” list in 2018. She served as the National Association of Social Workers’ Pennsylvania representative in 2018 and currently volunteers with multiple Philadelphia-based organizations, including Better Civics and Street Soccer Philadelphia.

Clare Pozos 

Senior Advisor to the U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Clare Pozos
Clare Pozos
Maya Torgerson

Few have made their way up the legal ladder as quickly as Clare Pozos. In her 11th year working in the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, Pozos has served as senior advisor to the U.S. Attorney since May 2018. In her current role, Pozos leads the Office of Public Affairs and Engagement and works to strengthen the office’s relationships with law enforcement and community partners. She also oversees communications with the Department of Justice, the public and the press, and continues to prosecute criminal cases related to narcotics, fraud and public corruption. 

Pozos began serving as an assistant U.S. Attorney back in 2010, first in Washington D.C. and now in Philadelphia as the second-ranking official in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

She leads charging decisions, employment and administrative matters and policy initiatives, as well as heads the office’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She also had a brief congressional run in 2018 when she ran for the state’s 7th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Pozos has a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Today, she resides in Delaware County with her husband and their two children. When not working or spending time with family, she serves on the boards of the Lankenau Medical Center Foundation, Rock School for Dance Education and the Agnes Irwin School. 

Alex Reber

Managing Partner, Miller Dixon Drake, PC

Alex Reber
Alex Reber
Sten Hartman

Alexander Reber is coming up on his 15th year with Miller Dixon Drake, PC, a CPA firm in downtown Harrisburg. Reber, who began as a senior accountant, has worked there since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business from Lebanon Valley College in 2007. He began his current role as managing partner at the beginning of 2021, but he’s more than just an experienced accountant. 

Reber’s public service includes a decent amount of volunteering. He serves as chair of the Harrisburg City Audit Committee, is a member of the Upper Dauphin Industrial Redevelopment Authority and a member of the Legislation Committee of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs. More notably, Reber was elected as treasurer of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, an honor that makes him the youngest state Democratic officer in memory and the first openly LGBTQ officer. What’s more, Reber recently co-founded and serves as treasurer for Turn South Central PA Blue, a political action committee seeking to elect more quality Democrats to public office in Dauphin and Cumberland counties. With expertise in campaign finance and business administration, he’s currently running for re-election as tax collector in Millersburg Borough, where he lives with his husband. 

Geoffrey Roche

Senior Vice President of Workforce Development, Dignity Health Global Education

Geoffrey Roche
Geoffrey Roche
Harrisburg University

As senior vice president of workforce development for Dignity Health Global Education, Geoffrey Roche uses his experience in hospital administration and business development to further DHGE’s mission of providing health care-focused workforce development opportunities to health care professionals across the globe. He is currently an adjunct instructor teaching graduate-level courses at Moravian University, focusing on the intersection of law, regulations and ethics in health care. He also serves on the board of directors for the United Way of Pennsylvania. Roche spent two years as executive director at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, where he served as an advisor to help expand the university’s health sciences programs, while also working to expand academic and business partnerships with the university. He also worked for Lebanon Valley College for three years, serving as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Secretary of the College, and as an adjunct instructor of health administration. Roche also served on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Health Equity Response Team, where he focused his efforts on Pennsylvanians over the age of 65. He is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he received his master’s degree, and Moravian University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science. 

Michael Schlossberg 

State Representative

Mike Schlossberg
Mike Schlossberg
House Democratic Caucus

State Rep. Mike Schlossberg is in his fifth term serving the people of the 132nd House District in Lehigh County. His start in politics began in 2009 when he became the youngest member ever elected to the Allentown City Council. And just three years later, he was elected to the state House. Today, he sits on the House Rules Committee and was elected by his colleagues to serve as the House Democratic Caucus Administrator. 

Schlossberg made his way to the Keystone State when he attended Muhlenberg College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology in 2005. He followed that up with a master’s degree in the same subject from Lehigh University. During his time in the legislature, his openness about his experiences with mental illness has helped the General Assembly make strides in changing the conversation and destigmatizing the issue. He’s also a vocal advocate for improving education, particularly in school districts like Allentown. Schlossberg was the primary sponsor of the Level Up funding plan earlier this year, which invested $100 million in the 100 poorest schools in the commonwealth, including $6.4 million to his home district. Schlossberg also sits on the Mental Health & Justice Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. 

Zach Shamberg 

President and CEO, Pennsylvania Health Care Association

Zach Shamberg
Zach Shamberg
Roger That Photography

Health care issues aren’t discussed in Harrisburg without Zach Shamberg weighing in. As the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, he emerged as one of the state’s most vocal advocates for the long-term care community in 2020 and has fought for resources for nursing homes ever since the start of the pandemic. More than 18 months later, his advocacy holds steadfast as the legislature and stakeholders grapple with continued staffing shortages in nursing homes. As the leader of the PHCA, Shamberg represents more than 400 member facilities across the commonwealth. He has joined other long-term care facility leaders in expressing concern for the vaccine mandates, arguing that they would make hiring even more difficult. He recommended alternatives, such as testing requirements or plans for workers who may be affected by a mandate. 

Shamberg graduated from Ursinus College with a degree in communication and politics before working for state Rep. Todd Stephens. After spending time as a campaign manager and chief of staff for Stephens, Shamberg eventually made his way to PHCA. Representing long-term care providers, workers and residents in the state, he previously served as director of advocacy and legislative affairs before taking over as president and CEO in April 2019. He is also currently a board member of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform. 

Tori Shriver 

Political Director, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

Tori Shriver
Tori Shriver
Nadine Sherman

Tori Shriver leads efforts on behalf of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters to mobilize more than 41,000 members from seven states – including Pennsylvania – in support of both labor issues and pro-labor candidates. Shriver lobbies lawmakers for policies that improve worker’s rights, while also overseeing the union’s endorsement process for political candidates. To carry out the endorsement process, she conducts interviews with political candidates and recommends to her union which candidates to support. 

Shriver was named the union’s political director this year after spending four years as its deputy political director, where she focused on labor policy and politics. After being named the union’s political director, Shriver listed protecting workers’ safety standards, prevailing wage policy, infrastructure investments and stopping wage theft as her top priorities. In a statement following her appointment, William C. Sproule, the executive secretary-treasurer of the EAS Regional Council of Carpenters, said that she would be a “major asset” in the union’s efforts to protect worker rights and educate elected leaders. Before joining the EAS Regional Council of Carpenters, Shriver was a political organizer for the Keystone + Mountain + Lakes Council of Carpenters and spent time as an intern with Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. She is a University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown graduate, where she studied political science and history.

Jarrett Smith

Legislative Director, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania

Jarrett Smith
Jarrett Smith
Jana Korn

As SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania’s legislative director, Jarrett Smith leads efforts to advance policies supported by the caregivers and health care professionals that make up the statewide union, which represents 45,000 members across Pennsylvania. Throughout his tenure at SEIU, Smith has pushed for safe staffing ratios for nurses, won CARES Act funding for home care workers, organized support for union contract campaigns and helped advance legislation focused on health care facility ownership changes. Before he was the union’s legislative director, Smith was SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania’s representative for government relations, where he helped advance the union’s policy programs, led state and local legislative campaigns and developed relationships with elected officials and stakeholders. He spent a year and a half at NextGen America, where he was the organization’s state director, leading a youth voter engagement program comprised of 55 full-time staff and 72 college fellows that registered more than 25,000 people to vote. Smith is currently theLegislative Liaison Committee Chair of the Philadelphia Rent Control Coalition, which advocates for inclusive housing reform in Philadelphia. He also serves on the board of Young Involved Philadelphia, where he is co-programming chair and works to help plan events that promote civic engagement among young Philadelphians. 

Isaiah Thomas 

Councilmember At-Large, Philadelphia City Council

Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas
Jared Piper/ PHL Council

First elected to Philadelphia City Council in 2019, freshman member Isaiah Thomas has made helping essential workers, Black-owned businesses and the arts and entertainment industry key priorities during his time in office. Just this year, Philadelphia City Council approved two “Driving Equality” bills from Thomas designed to curb negative interactions between police and drivers by limiting when an officer can pull over drivers for secondary traffic violations. Thomas said the bills will help eliminate discriminatory traffic stops and lead to “safer and more equitable” streets in Philadelphia. When Council passed the legislation, Thomas said he could breathe “a sigh of relief” knowing that his bill would take steps to limit racially-motivated traffic stops. 

Thomas currently chairs Philadelphia City Council’s Streets Committee and serves on a number of boards and committees outside of the government body, including the Thomas & Woods Foundation, PIAA District 12 and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Thomas got his start in politics by working part-time for former state Rep. Tony Payton, which helped motivate him to run for an at-Large Philadelphia City Council seat in 2010. Thomas came up short, but nine years later, found success in another attempt at an at-Large seat.

Phillip Trometter 

Vice President of Operations, Penn Strategies

Phillip Trometter
Phillip Trometter
Eric Stashak Photography

As the vice president of operations at Penn Strategies, Phillip Trometter oversees the firm’s daily operations, while also performing economic development consulting work for municipalities and counties across Pennsylvania. Trometter was an appointee of the executive office of former President Donald Trump to serve in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked with the White House, congressional staff and federal agencies to further Opportunity Zone development on the east coast, including the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C. 

Prior to his appointment in the Trump administration, Trometter was a senior vice president at Penn Strategies and did consulting work for political campaigns for governor and lieutenant governor, as well as county and municipal elections. He has experience in state and local political campaigns and nearly 10 years in communications and advocacy work. Trometter was previously a member of the Loyalsock Township Planning Commission and a Pennsylvania State Coordinator for Count on Coal, a nationwide advocacy group dedicated to promoting the use of coal power. He is a native of Williamsport and studied at Penn State University in Harrisburg and Arkansas State University, receiving a master's degree from the latter.

Mitch Vidovich 

Vice President of Government Affairs, Independence Blue Cross

Mitch Vidovich
Mitch Vidovich
Jessica Ford Neale

Mitch Vidovich plays a crucial role in advancing Independence Blue Cross’ policy objectives as the company’s vice president of government affairs. Prior to his current role, Vidovich was Independence Blue Cross’ director of government affairs for five years. Vidovich has an extensive background in working for elected leaders and political campaigns, including stints working for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain. He uses that experience – as well as the connections he developed throughout his time on campaigns and Capitol Hill – to help further Independence Blue Cross’ agenda. 

In charge of the Independence Blue Cross Political Action Committee, one of the largest PACs in the state, Vidovich helps establish partnerships between stakeholders and the IBC Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to improving health care through innovation. In this space, he focuses on mental health and health equity. Vidovich is also board president for the Delaware County Child Advocacy Center, an advisory board member for SRI Capital and a board member for the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. He is a graduate of Susquehanna University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and Villanova University, where he earned his master’s degree.

Martina White 

State Representative

Martina White
Martina White
Submitted

State Rep. Martina White is a bit of a political oddity these days. She’s a rare Republican in a city that predominantly elects Democrats. But that fact hasn’t stopped her from finding success in her political career. Not only has White been elected to three-straight terms representing the state’s 170th legislative district, but after her election in 2015, White became the first new Republican to win in the City of Philadelphia in 25 years. And she has continued to rise through the ranks of her party’s leadership. 

White was elected chair of the Philadelphia Republican Party in 2019 and was chosen by her peers as House Republican Caucus secretary in November 2020. She chaired the House Republican Transportation Infrastructure Task Force, which developed legislative recommendations for how to address the state’s transportation-related woes. Throughout her tenure in the House, White has sponsored legislation to increase the number of scholarships available under the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit scholarship program, as well as a separate proposal that would allow people to sue sanctuary cities and withhold funding for such cities that refuse to work with federal immigration officials. White is a graduate of Elizabethtown College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is a lifelong resident of northeast Philadelphia.

Lindsey Williams

State Senator

Lindsey Williams
Lindsey Williams
James Robinson

State Sen. Lindsey Williams burst onto the political scene during the highly-watched 2018 campaign, where she narrowly defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer. Since then, Williams has become a strong voice in the Democratic caucus as she serves Allegheny County residents in the 38th district. 

Williams has been a consistent fighter for workers’ rights, even before her time in the legislature. After graduating from Dickinson College, she earned her law degree from the Duquesne University School of Law. She spent time as the director of advocacy at the National Whistleblowers Center, but she was terminated following attempts to unionize the center’s small workforce. Williams took her wrongful termination case to the National Labor Relations Board and eventually got her claim resolved. From there, she went on to work for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers before deciding to run for office. 

Now, as the minority chair of the Senate Education Committee in this legislative session, Williams continues her fight for more equitable education funding for school districts across the commonwealth. She has also advocated for fair treatment of all students in schools, most recently introducing legislation to protect LGBTQ students from being discriminated against by schools that receive tax credits and scholarship funding from the state. 

Jingyao Yu 

Senior Editorial Associate, Resolve Philly

Jingyao Yu
Jingyao Yu
Maria SimBarcelos

As a senior editorial associate at Resolve Philly, Jingyao Yu helps carry out the organization’s mission to improve how historically misrepresented communities are covered by the press. In her current role, Yu works to elevate certain narratives and voices, with a particular focus on immigrant communities. Before joining Resolve Philly, she spent years working in the nonprofit sector, with an emphasis on health care, aging, senior care, domestic violence and other issues. Yu is president-elect of the Philadelphia-area chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and is a member of the advisory board for Love Now Media.

Outside of her work at Resolve Philly, Yu is a member of the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Philadelphia chapter. She serves on the board of the Asian Mosaic Fund, a philanthropic organization focused on building networks of donors and supporters to financially support nonprofits and programs that support AAPI communities. Yu is also a member of the Lenfest Visioning Table, a group of journalists, media professionals and community leaders that provide guidance and help shape the Lenfest Institute’s mission. Yu received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and her master’s degree from Drexel University.

Editor’s Note: Samuel Chen, Joseph Hill and Teresa Lundy are members of City & State PA’s advisory board.