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Dr. Bilal Dabir Sekou, PhD. – Chair of the CCCT Advisory Board: Bilal Dabir Sekou is an Associate Professor of Political Science in Hillyer College at the University of Hartford. His research interests are race and politics, urban politics, and campaigns, elections, and voting behavior. He has published articles on social and political participation by African Americans and public attitudes toward quality and integrated education in Connecticut.

Dr. Diana Evans, PhD. – Vice Chair of the CCCT Advisory Board: Professor Evans has been a professor of political science at Trinity College since 1979. Evans received her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1980. Her research interests are in the U.S. Congress, with a focus on pork barrel politics within Congress itself and congressional elections. Her book, Greasing the Wheels: Using Pork Barrel Projects to Build Majority Coalitions in Congress, won the American Political Science Association’s 2005 Richard F. Fenno Prize for best book in legislative politics. Her current research is on the effect of pork barrel projects on congressional elections.

Professor Evans focuses on both real-world American politics and the theoretical tools to help students see patterns in complex political processes. She is also Director of the Trinity College Legislative Internship Program.

James Barber:  James retired in 2022, after 58 years of leadership, from his role as Director of Community Outreach at Southern Connecticut State University. James comes to Common Cause in Connecticut with decades of social justice and community outreach experience in Connecticut, especially focusing on youth. In 2010 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Greater New Haven African American Historical Society for his work.

Michele Jacklin: is recently retired from serving as the Director of Media Relations at Trinity College in Hartford, and owns a communications consulting firm, Michele Jacklin Communications LLC. Jacklin was a journalist for 30 years, 28 of them with The Hartford Courant, where she mostly covered state and local government, politics and public policy. Among her jobs at The Courant, Jacklin was a legislative reporter, chief political reporter, an editorial writer and political columnist. Jacklin is a board member of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government. She lives in Glastonbury.

Mary Jennings: is the Operations Director at Connecticut Voices for Children. She is part of the Operations & Executive Team. She has over 20 years of nonprofit experience with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Seattle and Connecticut, as well as Connecticut Association for Human Services. Mary is a transplant from Seattle, WA. Mary earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Washington.

Alex Knopp: Formerly a Connecticut State Representative and then Mayor of Norwalk, Alex has since served as Executive Director of Dwight Hall, The Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale and is now a visiting professor at Yale School of Law. He is currently a consultant to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for Scheff v. O’Neill, the landmark desegregation education case and Chairs the Connecticut State Advisory Committee of the United States Civil Rights Commission.

Dan Livingston: is a founding partner of Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly PC who has been a labor and progressive activist in three states — New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. He has extensive experience in labor and employment law including arbitrations, and litigation before the State Labor Relations Board, the National Labor Relations Board, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities, the Connecticut Superior Court, the U.S. District Court, the Connecticut Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Dan also serves as chief negotiator in union contract negotiations, and lead advocate in interest arbitrations, including the successful effort of State Employee Unions to secure health and pension benefits for domestic partners of the state’s gay and lesbian employees.

Julius Preston: Julius Preston is a Staff Representative at CSEA SEIU LOCAL 2001, a union representing state, municipal and school workers across Connecticut. He worked his way up through the ranks to serve for seven years as President of CSEA’s Correction Supervisor Council where he led all aspects of the correction supervisors’ organizing including contract negotiations and enforcement, civil rights advocacy, strategic development of political campaigns and more. Julius is a vibrant leader whose professional experience in organizing, lobbying, and policy implementation make him a formidable advocate for justice in all aspects.

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