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May 22, 2019

DNCC and Milwaukee Host Committee Announce New Hires to the Milwaukee Convention


Today, the Democratic National Committee is proud to announce new hires to the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC): Debra Alligood White as DNCC Chief of Staff, who will oversee day-to-day operations of the convention team; Jorge Neri as DNCC Director of Public Engagement; and Teresa Vilmain as a DNCC Senior Advisor.

Additionally, the Convention Host Committee announced key members of its senior leadership team: Liz Gilbert as Host Committee Executive Director, Shirley Ellis as Senior Advisor to the Host Committee, Martha Love as Senior Advisor to the Host Committee, Marcus Switzer as Host Committee Finance Director, and Alex Lasry as Host Committee Finance Chair.

These announcements are just the beginning of what will be robust convention and host committee teams. Additional hires, including members of the technical leadership team, will be announced in the near future.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the team we’ve put together to make sure next summer’s convention is a success,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “By the time the balloons drop in July, I’m confident our nominee will be in the best position to defeat Donald Trump.”

“I’m humbled and excited to work with such an experienced and diverse team,” said DNCC CEO Joe Solmonese. “While we still have a number of critical positions to fill, I have no doubt in my mind that this team will play key leadership roles in successfully organizing one of the most consequential conventions to date.”

“In order to have the best possible convention, we must make sure we have the most experienced people in place who possess the unique skill set required to ensure a convention that reflects the diversity of background and perspective that make Milwaukee special,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore. “I’m excited about each one of these new additions to our team and look forward to working with them in showcasing our great city in 2020.”

“We look forward to welcoming these staff members who are new to our city,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “We’re excited about beginning the work to get Milwaukee ready for our moment in the spotlight.”

DNCC New Hires:

Debra Alligood White will serve as DNCC Chief of Staff, managing day-to-day operations to plan for and execute the Milwaukee Convention. Previously, Debra worked as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Planned Parenthood, where she was part of a leadership team that oversaw a staff of some 500 employees and a budget of some $175 million. She most recently played a key role in helping the organization navigate their leadership transition. Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, the Harvard University and UCLA Law School graduate spent more than two decades practicing law.

Jorge Neri will serve as DNCC Director of Public Engagement. Jorge brings a wealth of regional and national political experience, and has spent more than a decade working with democratic stakeholders at the local, state and national levels. Jorge led Hispanic outreach at the White House under President Obama and served as State Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Nevada operation. Most recently, Jorge worked as Campaign Manager for Daley for Mayor, where he led a staff of more than 50 and served as spokesperson for the campaign.

Teresa Vilmain will serve as a DNCC Senior Advisor. Widely regarded as one of the top political strategists in Wisconsin and the national progressive movement, Teresa has directed campaigns and transition efforts for public officials at every level of politics, including Secretary Hillary Clinton and serving as State Director in Wisconsin for the Gore-Liebermann campaign in 2000. She also served as the General Election Strategist for the DNC over the 2004 presidential cycle.

Host Committee New Hires:

Liz Gilbert will serve as Host Committee Executive Director, overseeing the day-to-day efforts of the Host Committee to develop the resources, technical plans, and organizational infrastructure needed for the community of Milwaukee to deliver a successful convention. This will be Liz’s third consecutive cycle working for the convention host committee, having served in 2012 and 2016 in finance and housing roles. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Liz most recently served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

Shirley Ellis will serve as Senior Advisor to the Host Committee. Shirley is a highly respected political operative in Milwaukee, having worked with Congresswoman Gwen Moore for nearly three decades. She will be taking a leave of absence from her current role overseeing Rep. Moore’s district staff and operations, and bringing her deep political network, experience, and management skills to the Milwaukee Host Committee.

Marcus Switzer will serve as Host Committee Finance Director. Originally from Milwaukee, Marcus has extensive experience in political and campaign fundraising. Marcus was Deputy National Finance Director for the Hillary for America presidential campaign, where he managed Midwest fundraising efforts. Marcus also held senior roles on President Obama's reelection campaign and within the Obama administration. He served as National Finance Director of the African American Leadership Council (“AALC”) at the Democratic National Committee and as the Deputy Director of the AALC and the Midwest region.

Martha Love will serve as Host Committee Senior Advisor. Martha has extensive experience with the Democratic National Committee and its convention. Martha is currently a DNC member from Wisconsin and  has previously served as chairwoman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Alex Lasry, who chaired the Milwaukee DNC bid committee, will now serve as Finance Chair for the Host Committee. Lasry also serves as Senior Vice President for the Milwaukee Bucks.

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