Ric Bainter is an attorney who advises non-profits, international organizations and businesses on matters related to international law and relations. He served as legal counsel to the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and to the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and has been involved in a number of projects to promote democratic governance in Eastern Europe, South Sudan and Vietnam. He has taught classes on international law at the University of California, San Diego and at the University of San Diego School of Law. Bainter received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and a law degree from the University of Denver College of Law. He previously served as Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause and currently serves on Common Cause’s National Governing Board.
Dr. Sam Blakeslee is a former scientist, legislator, reformer, and businessman living in San Luis Obispo. He was elected to serve as a CA State Assemblymember, the Assembly Minority Leader, and as a State Senator. Upon leaving the legislature he founded the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where students and faculty utilize advanced technologies to explore innovative solutions to public policy challenges. His early career as a senior research geophysicist and strategic planner for ExxonMobil informed his non-partisan science and outcomes-based approach toward politics and public policy. In 2016 Sam served as co-proponent with Charles Munger Jr. to pass Proposition 54, a Constitutional Amendment that brought much-needed transparency to the CA State Legislature.
Bill Bloomfield served as president and CEO for Web Service Company for 35 years. He also served as Senator John McCain’s national Director of Volunteers in his presidential run in 2007-2008. In 2012, Bloomfield was a “No Party Preference” candidate for Congress for the 33rd Congressional District. He is past president of the Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach and serves on the boards of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, the Orange County High School for the Performing Arts, and three for-profit enterprises. He is the past Chairman of the Multi-Housing Laundry Association.
Brian Brennan is Vice President for Investor Relations and State and Federal Coalitions at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He previously worked for several years on political development programs for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Russia. Brian has a PhD in comparative government from the University of Oxford, where he studied electoral accountability in California’s special districts, and related degrees from Princeton and Stanford. He grew up in the artichoke fields around Castroville, California.
Autumn Carter manages growth at Portfolia, Inc., a venture investing platform designed for women. Portfolia creates and manages investment funds backing the entrepreneurial companies its members want in the world. Prior to joining Portfolia, Autumn led Government Affairs and Content Marketing at OpenGov, where she focused on aligning strategic content with the company’s rapidly evolving market position, elevating the company’s brand as a thought leader, and cultivating external relationships that helped the team communicate most effectively. Amid the economic recession and recovery, Autumn served as the Executive Director of United States Common Sense, a CivicTech nonprofit focused on fiscal sustainability policy. Under her leadership, USCS developed and launched GovRank, the largest nationwide assessment of fiscal sustainability and its accompanying data platform. The organization’s public sector financial and governance research has appeared in major media outlets throughout California and the United States. Autumn studied Political Science at Stanford University, where she conducted and published academic research on public opinion survey methodology. She specializes in strategic communications, market positioning, creating data-driven systems, and relationship development.
Todd Dipaola is an entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Los Angeles. He is the founder and CEO at inMarket, which brings the performance of digital marketing to brick and mortar retail. His work has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, New York Times, and Entrepreneur magazine among others. Todd sits on several non-profit boards including Represent.Us, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the South Bay Bicycle Coalition. While Todd began his work at California Common Cause as an intern, more recently he was the immediate past chair of California Common Cause.
Rod Diridon, Jr. is the City Clerk and Auditor for the City of Santa Clara. He was first elected City Clerk in 2004, appointed to the additional role of City Auditor in 2007, and prior to that served two terms on the Santa Clara City Council. Throughout his career, Diridon has been a champion for campaign finance reform, government transparency and community engagement programs. He also serves as the Chair of the California Ethics and Democracy Project, an award-winning non-profit effort to engage the City Clerk profession as advocates for good government programs. Prior to his tenure as City Clerk, Diridon had various careers as a political campaign consultant, high-tech global program manager and general manager of a regional car-sharing start-up.
Mary Elizabeth Hanna-Weir is a senior attorney at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights. A true good government geek, she served on the City of Santa Clara Charter Review Committee in 2016 and 2017. She has volunteered for the Election Protection hotlines in Michigan, and currently serves on the board on the American Constitution Society and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Northern CA. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
Norman Kline is the CEO and founder of LibraryWorld, Inc., a leading Web services company. He is also currently serving on the San Jose Planning Commission, Chair of the Valley Medical Center Foundation, Board Member on the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation, Board member on the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, formerly Mayor of the City of Saratoga and Chair of the City of Santa Clara Planning Commission. Before establishing his own company, Kline had technical and management positions at Apple Computer, Inc. and Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation.
Drew Liebert (Board Vice Chair) was one of the California Legislature’s most senior attorneys, having worked over 25 years in both Houses of the State Legislature. He was the Chief Counsel to the Assembly Judiciary Committee for over 17 years, where he and his staff counsel reviewed and advised state legislators about virtually all areas of the state’s civil justice system, including all areas of political law and reform. Mr. Liebert is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UC Berkeley, a recipient of a Masters in Public Policy from the Claremont Graduate School, a CORO Foundation Fellow in Public Affairs, and a graduate of UC Berkeley Law School. He is a frequent lecturer focusing on California’s political system and the Legislature’s inner workings. In addition to his work in the Legislature, Mr. Liebert has served as an adjunct professor at both the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento and at the University of California. He is also a frequent guest lecturer at the Panetta Institute of Public Policy, and has also been awarded a California Lawyer of the Year Award.
Mindy Romero (Board Chair) is the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP). Romero is a political sociologist and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersection of political behavior and race/ethnicity/age. Romero has been invited to speak about civic engagement and political rights in numerous venues, and has recently provided testimony to the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature. Her research has been cited in numerous major news outlets, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Politico and the Huffington Post. A native of California’s Central Valley, Romero is also active in community leadership. She currently serves as President of the Board of Mutual Housing California, and is a member of the Social Service Commission for the City of Davis.
Jonathan Stein is the head of the voting rights program at the Asian American civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and previously served as a voting rights staff attorney for the ACLU of California. He works to increase access to California’s democracy for historically disenfranchised or under-participating communities, including communities of color, low-income communities, young people, and the formerly incarcerated. While earning his MPP and JD from UC Berkeley, Jonathan served as the Student Regent on the University of California’s Board of Regents, fighting for the interests of the 230,000 students of the UC system. At Berkeley Law, Jonathan was a member of the Men of Color Alliance and the South Asian Law Student Association. Prior to graduate school, Jonathan spent four years at Mother Jones magazine as a researcher, assistant editor, blogger, and campaign correspondent during the 2008 presidential elections. Jonathan is a Commissioner on the City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission and the host of a video/podcast series on UCtv called In The Arena.
Kathleen Thurmond brings more than 20 years of executive experience in corporate and non-profit management. Leveraging a collaborative leadership style, she functions with a sense of urgency and a passion and commitment for supporting women and girls to find their leadership voice, a powerful voice that unfolds through conversation and emerges with a new understanding and compelling solutions. She is interested in public policy with the goal to facilitate change at a systemic level that will bring greater equality for women and girls. Currently Ms. Thurmond serves as Past-President of the Board of NAWBO-SFBA (National Association of Women Business Owners, San Francisco, an Executive Board Member on the Board of California Common Cause, and on the Board of Girls Inc. She is a business consultant who previously spent 12 years as the CEO of a uniform rental company in Southern California and 15 years in non-profit management. Thurmond holds a graduate certificate in Environmental Business from Presidio Graduate School, an MBA from the University of Southern California, an MSW from Washington University, and a BA from Southern Methodist University. She also is a licensed clinical social worker.
Zabrae Valentine is the immediate past executive director of the California Forward Action Fund and deputy director of the Action Fund’s sister organization, California Forward. Prior to joining California Forward, Zabrae directed The Commonwealth Club of California’s Voices of Reform Project, which promoted civic discussion of issues related to California governance and promoted bipartisan recommendations for improving government accountability and performance. Prior to that Zabrae served as a senior program officer for the National Democratic Institute in Malawi supporting legislative and policy analysis and budget monitoring, and as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Tom Daschle in Washington, D.C.