George Albro, Co-chair for Downstate
George resides in Brooklyn, is a member of Brooklyn Progressive Action Network, and represents New York City.
George was born and raised in Brooklyn, attended Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School, and currently lives in Park Slope Brooklyn. He worked as a lawyer for Legal Services representing tenants facing eviction in Housing Court. He then transferred to Legal Aid where for 15 years he represented criminal defendants, first in trial court and later in the Appeals Bureau.
In 1995, George was elected an officer and joined the staff of the United Auto Workers Local which represented the 1000 attorneys who worked for the NYC Legal Aid Society. He became politically very active in the UAW and today continues as the chair of the UAW’s Community & Political Action Committees. In 1998, George was one of the founders of the Working Families Party. Within the WFP, George helped form the Brooklyn Chapter, was on the State Committee, and became involved in many progressive campaigns. He is currently one of the NYC Co-Chairs of the WFP. He retired from his union job 2 years ago.
Recently, George helped organize Bernie Sanders’ NYS delegate slate and was an at-large convention delegate to the 2016 Convention. After the Convention, George, along with Eddie Kay, traveled around NYS to meet with the various Bernie Sanders grassroots groups to discuss the idea of forming a statewide organization committed to fighting for a progressive future. The founding of NYPAN resulted from those efforts. George is currently a co-chair of the Brooklyn NYPAN chapter and of the statewide organization.
Jay Bellanca, Co-chair for Upstate
Jay resides in Salem, is a member of Washington County Progressives, and represents upstate New York.
I’ve been involved in politics since the 60s and the days of Abbie Hoffman. Growing up, my family moved many times. As a teen, our move from northern California to Florida opened my eyes to the institutional racism that continues to this day for which I commend Bernie for addressing.
For over 25 years, I’ve lived within minutes of the Vermont border in rural, Republican-dominated, upstate New York for over 25 years. My wife is from Vermont and works there so we have followed Bernie Sanders’ rise from Mayor of Burlington to the U.S. Senate and have been supporters for decades.
I served on the town board when we lived in central Pennsylvania. In Salem, NY, where I live now, I was unable to land a position on the town board among the “good ol boys”, though I ran for office twice. Democrats have a challenge making headway in this part of NY State.
As the Vice Chair of our County Democratic Committee, and Chair of the Salem Town Democrats, I actively support Democrats running for local and state offices.
I am retired from the graphic arts industry and am currently finishing up our next-stage-of-life house–energy efficient, low maintenance with living area on one floor. I keep horses and chickens and so have daily “farm” chores to attend to.
In my experience in the corporate world, I witnessed the cronyism, the supremacy of the profit motive and the inequity which Bernie targets as the cause of many of the social ills in our country today. In my work related travels to Europe and mostly Germany, I saw and heard about the benefits of living in a social democracy.
As the upstate Co-Chair of NYPAN, a director of Washington County Progressives, and a Democratic State Committee member from the 113 Assembly district, I continue to work for the goals that Bernie Sanders outlined and will continue to support “Our Revolution.”
Traci Strickland, co-chair for internal affairs
Traci resides in Brooklyn, is a member of Brooklyn Progressive Action Network, and represents New York City.
Traci is an attorney, practicing business law, civil litigation, and estate administration. She received an A.B. in philosophy from Princeton University, and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Traci grew up in Washington, DC, where her childhood career goal was to be the mayor (or an astronaut). Law school brought her to Brooklyn, and Bernie brought her into the world of politics.
A course in food justice opened her eyes to the inequalities in our society. According to Traci, “the need for large scale reform of so many areas – health care, jobs and income, criminal justice reform, housing – became clear, and Bernie was the only presidential candidate talking about the underlying issues, not just the surface symptoms.” One year after showing up at a stranger’s house for an organizing meeting, Traci found herself in Philadelphia as a Bernie Sanders delegate. Two years later, and she’s a co-chair of NYPAN, where she hopes to do her part in advocating for the progressive platform, issues, ideals, and candidates.
When not chairing NYPAN meetings, Traci enjoys working in her local community garden and cycling.
Juan Rosa, Vice-chair
Juan resides in Manhattan, is a member of Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan, and represents both New York City and our affiliates.
Juan Rosa is President of the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan and Vice President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City. In these positions, Juan organizes civically-engaged New Yorkers to push for progressive and socially just policies at all levels of government. This past summer, Juan was a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where he was proud to stand with Senator Bernie Sanders and to help elect the first female candidate for President of the United States under one of the two major political parties. Juan was born in the Cibao Valley of the Dominican Republic and emigrated with his family to New York in 1995, settling in Washington Heights. He attended local public schools and attained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from the City College of New York. After working on youth development positions with two reputable non-profit organizations, he went to work for various elected officials serving as Community Liaison, Director of Community Affairs and ultimately as Chief of Staff. Juan currently combines his community and political activism with a full-time position with Catholic Charities Community Services as Community School Director of an Upper Manhattan high school. As an openly gay Latino man, Juan is proud of the many accomplishments of the LGBTQ community in the United States and acutely aware of the many economic and social disparities that affect queer people of color.
Emily Adams, Secretary
Emily resides outside of Ithaca NY, is a member of Tompkins County Progressives, and represents upstate New York.
I was born and raised in the Ithaca area, attended Carleton College in Minnesota and graduated with a BA in Geology. After 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, I returned to New York briefly, and then moved on to Portland Oregon and Austin Texas. In Texas, I began a study in Chinese Medicine, but we moved again. I landed in Belgium in 1999, and decided to remain there after my first marriage ended. I continued to study and work in the alternative health sector. I gave Shiatsu treatments, did translations, raised chickens, promoted organic farms and sustainability projects, worked in a health food store and cleaned houses.
When my mother passed away in 2014, I returned to the Ithaca area, together with my Dutch husband Paulus, to be near my father. At the same time, Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy, and I dived in, helping to organize the first Ithaca Bernie meet-ups via Skype, from Europe. I was a delegate for Bernie and helped start our local progressive group after the elections ended.
When progressive groups around the state began to form and set up a statewide structure, I volunteered to help with that effort. As well as serving as secretary and handling administrative duties for NYPAN, I also co-organized our regional conference in Binghamton and participated in lobbying efforts for Single Payer and election reform. I currently devote more time to the statewide organization than to my local group and very much look forward to the time when NYPAN can hire a professional staff person, so I can spend a little time in my garden again.
Arthur Schwartz, Treasurer
Arthur resides in Manhattan, is a member of Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan, and represents New York City.
Arthur Schwartz is a 39-year labor union, plaintiff’s employment and civil rights lawyer. His long-time focus has been on union democracy and union election-related litigation, and he has represented thousands of workers in cases involving employment discrimination, wage theft, and unfair termination. He has been a movement activist since the late 1960s and has represented major anti-nuke groups, anti-Central America intervention groups, ACORN, NY Communities for Change, Make the Road NY, and Occupy Wall Street. Current clients include Transport Workers Union of Greater NY, NYC School Employees Union, The Black Institute, and Black Lives Matter of Greater NY. Arthur was elected Democratic District Leader in Greenwich Village (1995-2005, 2013-present). He was a delegate for Obama in 2008, served as Zephyr Teachout’s Treasurer in her run for Governor in 2014, and was Legal Counsel (and a delegate) for the 2016 Bernie Sanders NY campaign. Arthur also served as NYS Democratic Committee Member 2006-2013, and as a member of Community Board 2, Manhattan, where he focused on parks and playgrounds, 1991-2015. He is a father of 4, ages 12-30.
Stephen Carpineta, Communications Director and Assistant Treasurer
Stephen resides in Owego, is a member of the Tioga County Progressive Committee, and represents upstate New York.
Stephen Carpineta was born in Philadelphia and moved to upstate New York in his early teens. He graduated from Owego Free Academy (Owego, NY) in 2000. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Binghamton University (Binghamton, NY) in 2004 majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Law and minoring in American History. Stephen operates a technology company he created in 2007 and offers political consulting services for various campaigns and groups. He enjoys listening to and writing music, small-scale farming at his home, spending time with his pets, camping, hiking, spending time outdoors in general, and playing disc golf (yes, that’s golf, with frisbees). Stephen plans to retake the LSAT test soon and attend law school as early as next year. Stephen’s first venture into political action was his digital media and community organizing work for the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, which led him to take up the continued work of the “Political Revolution” that Bernie sparked in 2016. He petitioned his neighbors for signatures and joined the Tioga County Democratic Committee in 2016 before the Primary election. Later in 2016, Stephen founded the Tioga County Progressive Committee (Tioga County, NY), a chapter of NYPAN and Our Revolution. He also serves on the NYPAN Executive Committee, and is the Communications Director and Assistant Treasurer for NYPAN.
Sal Batista, Executive Committee Member
Sal resides in the Bronx, is a member of Bronx Progressives, and represents New York City.
Salvador “Amaury” Batista, better known as Sal Batista, is an entrepreneur, actor and movie producer. Sal never had any interest in politics because he knew like millions of other Americans that the system is rigged so why even bother? …that was the attitude, until Senator and presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders came into the national spotlight and inspired millions of Americans, including Sal, to become politically engaged in our local, state and national politics. During the 2016 presidential elections, Mr. Batista met community leader and political activist, Carlos Suarez who recruited Sal to be part of Bronx For Bernie, which later became BRONX PROGRESSIVES, a chapter of NYPAN and OUR REVOLUTION. Sal donated his business office for the Bernie Sanders campaign and that office became one of the two official Bernie campaign offices in the Bronx. Mr. Batista was elected to represent Bronx Progressives on the executive committee of NYPAN and the board of directors. Sal Batista understands that one of the most effective and realistic ways to bring about the progressives changes we need in our political system is by reforming the democratic party from the inside out, the bottom up, and starting on a local level, becoming engaged in the political process. Sal is contributing whatever he can to help bring about that change.
Maurice Brown, Executive Committee Member
Maurice resides in Syracuse, is a member of Uplift Syracuse, and represents Upstate New York.
Maurice is a Founding Member of Uplift Syracuse. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Maurice moved to Syracuse to attend Onondaga Community College, where he graduated with an Associate Degree in Communication. Maurice was a Bernie Sanders Delegate Candidate for NY’s 24th Congressional District in 2016. Currently he is a student at Syracuse University, where he is a member of the College Democrats and the Students of Sustainability. Maurice is a Military Veteran and for fun he does stand up comedy.
Steven Cecchini, Executive Committee Member
Steven Cecchini resides on Bethpage, is a member of Long Island Activists, and represents Long Island.
Steven is an elected steering committee member of Long island Activists. Born and Raised on Long Island, he began his work career as a mechanic, eventually running his own shop. Now he works on a small organic farm in Bethpage NY, helping to provide healthy food to the local community. After volunteering for Bernie Sanders, Steven is a strong advocate for The NY Health Act, for many other progressive solutions, and for the candidates who support them.
Nancy de Delva, Executive Committee Member
Nancy resides in Queens, is a member of New Queens Democrats, and represents New York City.
When I came to the US as a child, my first experience in school politics was for the election of class president. This was new and exciting to me since I had come from a country with a dictatorship, where children were not allowed to participate in any political discussions. I loved it.
This love affair continues till this day. I was a Political Science major in college. Elected twice, as a judge. Our biggest case was impeaching the student evening president.
I have volunteered in numerous political campaigns.
I joined Bernie Sanders campaign and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, where the New York delegation decided to create NYPAN, I joined and am now one of the directors of New Queens Democrats. I was elected to represent the Metro NY region on the Executive Committee of New York Progressive Action Network.
Cari Gardner, Executive Committee Member
Cari has recently moved to Greene County and is planning to start a chapter there. She hopes to represent upstate New York in 2018.
I am a (not so calm) yoga teacher/activist. I’m old, so I’ve done a lot of different work related things. Also, being old, I have done a lot of volunteer organizing. I am an elected official by virtue of being a County Committee Member. I have two adult daughters who think I’m nuts because I could be having a relaxing retirement but I seem to be driven. I believe there is too much work to do to help leave behind an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable world. When Bernie Sanders announced his run for Presidency, my life completely changed. (There’s no time left to teach yoga anymore!) I was extremely honored to be a delegate for him at the Convention and very proud to be on the NYPAN EC as well as chair of the NYPAN Enviro Committee.
Zack Smith, Executive Committee Member
Zack resides in Guilderland, is a member of Capital NYPAN, and represents upstate New York.
Zack Smith is the Co-Chair of Capital NYPAN, centered in Albany and covering portions of Congressional Districts 19, 20, and 21, and the Chair of NYPAN’s Electoral Committee. During the presidential primary he was the Strategist & Volunteer Manager for the New York Capital Region for Bernie. He is a Geologist and Real Estate Consultant specializing in litigation support, economic and valuation services as well as the Campaign Manager for the Rensselaer County Executive’s race for Andrea Smyth (D, WFP, WEP).
Tasha Young, Executive Committee Member
Tasha Young resides in New Rochelle, is a member of Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network, and represents the Westchester/Rockland.
Tasha is a lifelong public servant. Her career of service began at the age of 16 when she and her best friend developed a dance group for younger girls in their community that focused on performance and building a positive self esteem and image! Since then, Tasha has allowed her love for people to propel her into a career of social work with a concentration on clinical interventions for individuals, couples and families.
Alongside her professional career, Tasha has maintained a meaningful and successful volunteer life as a Missionary with her current house of worship. Over a ten year period, she gave leadership to food service efforts where well over 11,000 families were fed. She has worked with children in foster care, brought children to interact with the elderly in nursing homes, and collaborated with Prison Fellowship to bring gifts to children of incarcerated parents. She has done AIDS outreach work in Africa.
Tasha has since moved from missionary and clinician work to employment as an administrator in social work, and is in the forefront of the Medicaid managed care roll-out in New York State. This puts her front and center of the healthcare issue and gives her firsthand knowledge of how the lack of insurance affects families.
Tasha is a District leader in Westchester County, a founding member of the Westchester Black Political Convention, and a featured writer for Black Westchester magazine.
Currently Tasha serves on the executive committee for NYPAN and lends a unique perspective as to how government policy affects people on the ground in “real-time.” She doesn’t have to rely on reports or hear stats as much because she has experience and expertise from the communities being served, or not served.
Tasha heads the criminal justice committee for NYPAN and is currently working on policy to combat the horrendous school to prison pipeline. Tasha is also working on a collaboration between NYPAN and Just Leadership with the goal of decreasing the prison population by 50% by 2030.
Tasha is a mother to one daughter and grandmother to one brilliant granddaughter.
Christine Pellegrino, Ex Officio Member
Christine resides in Islip, is a member of Long Island Activists, and represents all of us in the New York state assembly. She is an “ex officio” member of our EC.
Christine is a teacher, a true progressive and a community activist. She has worked for years as a leader of the Long Island Progressive Coalition and the Long Island Opt Out movement, which is fighting for local control of schools and against the common core requirements in the state of New York.
Christine was also a Bernie Sanders delegate, and as a volunteer, she worked tirelessly to organize voters in her community and throughout the state of New York. As of May 2017, she represents her district in the New York State Assembly. Her platform from her campaign included:
- Women’s rights, including expanding and protecting reproductive rights and equal pay for equal work.
- Free college tuition for all of our students; reducing student loan rates; and ending the profiteering on student loans.
- A living wage for all workers, including pay for overtime and a $15 hour national minimum wage.
- Getting big money out of politics by enforcing existing campaign finance rules; passing a constitutional amendment; making it clear that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in elections; and establishing a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that multiplies small donations, along the lines of the Fair Elections Now Act.
- Protecting drinking water and the environment. She vows to fight for the resources from Albany to clean up the toxins that threaten drinking water and make sure polluters are not poisoning our families.
Charles Hess, Ex Officio Member
Charles resides outside of Buffalo NY, is a member of Liberty Union Progressives, and stepped down from our EC in 2017. He remains an “ex officio” member.
Many people were woken up by the candidacy of Bernie Sanders in 2015-16; I am proud to say I was one of them. I grew up in rural New York, south of Buffalo and was surrounded by conservative minded friends and neighbors. I never bought into that mindset fully but it influenced me until I really look at what my beliefs were and researched. My upbringing allows me to understand the conservative mindset and how to counter it. I have always been a Democrat because it was the closest to my belief system and I believe in reforming the party, no matter how grueling it seems.
To that end I have taken on the task along with my fellow Co-Chairs, Matt Dearing and Sara Palmer along with our members to take what we built as Buffalo for Bernie to our new group Liberty Union Progressive. The name tends to confuse some but we really like the call back to Bernie’s start in politics with the Liberty Union Party. So then adding Progressives at the end we believe this shows our affinity for Bernie Sanders and Progressive values.
Going forward we hope to be a group that organizes to keep independent minded people who are on the left political spectrum working together to get ethical and community minded politicians elected and boosting civic engagement. In the face of apathy we want to keep people empowered to exercise their right to influence their government.