PDA Board Members

CONOR BOYLAN

CONOR BOYLAN

PDA Board President

Conor is a native of Ireland and moved to the U.S. in 2006. After spending nearly 10 years in the high tech industry, most recently as an engineer in the semiconductor world, Conor decided to ditch machines to pursue his real passion, politics. He worked on the Obama primary campaign in Oregon and then worked as a field organizer in Ohio for the general election. Turnout in his turf increased by 800 votes, a critical swing in helping to deliver Ohio, given that Kerry lost by only 9 votes per precinct statewide. Conor lives in Chicago with his “professional-trouble-making” wife Nora, who works in the labor movement.

Judy Hess

Judy Hess

PDA Board Vice President

Judy attended San Diego State University and graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She retired from a 30 year career in the insurance industry. Judy has been the National Litigation Manager of a California based property and casualty insurance company. She has become a full time activist, founding the Metro San Diego Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America in January 2006, and the Fresno Chapter of PDA in January, 2010. She ran and won as an Assembly District Delegate to the California Democratic Party in 2007 in San Diego, and in 2011 for the 29th District in Fresno, and is a member of the San Joaquin Valley Democratic Club. She has recently accepted an appointment as Regional Coordinator of 5 counties for the Campaign for a Healthy California. Judy helps develop and coordinate PDA chapters–the fundamental structure for PDA’s grassroots operations. She is PDA’s California State Co-Coordinator.

RANDY SHANNON

RANDY SHANNON

PDA Board Secretary

Randy Shannon was a student leader in the 1960’s at Duke. He left Duke to organize campus groups for labor, peace, women’s equality, and civil rights in the South as a staff member of the Southern Student Organizing Committee. In Nashville, he was a leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement and the Free Angela Davis campaign. He was an organizer for the National Welfare Rights Organization and led a local delegation to the 1972 Democratic Convention in Miami to fight for a $6400 guaranteed income. He ran in the TN 5th Congressional District Democratic primary in 1972 successfully targeting a right wing anti-busing candidate. HHe worked as a welder and organized rank and file workers as a member of Teamsters Local 327. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1976 and still works in the R&D sector of the basic materials industry. In PA he organized the Pittsburgh Youth Movement for Jobs, was active in the peace movement, and progressive politics. In 1982 he moved to Beaver County and helped organize Beaver County Fightback, to defend the home ownership of unemployed steelworkers in the Ohio River valley. He lead the Jesse Jackson campaign in the 4th and 22nd CDs of PA opening an office in Aliquippa in 1988. He also helped organize ballot access campaign for Dennis Kucinich in 2004. He also helped organize the Beaver County Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and is still active in Beaver County Peace Links. He helped organize the first Citizens Congressional Hearing on Medicare for All, chaired by Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Aliquippa, PA in May 2005 and was an early advocate in PDA for Medicare for All. He has worked for ten years building a local chapter of PDA that reflects the progressive coalition of minority, labor, and progressive activists. For the last nine years he has been a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and a member of DSA. He authored “Its Time to Fight for Full Employment,” and co-authored “Change the System not the Climate.” He has been active in building a grass roots anti-fracking movement and has helped organize communities to protect drinking water. He is on the ballot for 2016 Democratic Convention Delegate for Bernie Sanders and working to recruit new members to the PA 12th CD Chapter of PDA.

MIMI KENNEDY

MIMI KENNEDY

ADVISORY BOARD CHAIR

Mimi Kennedy has been PDA’s Advisory Board Chair since our founding in 2004, and hosted countless PDA events, actions, and receptions. An expert on election integrity and other issues, she is a co-coordinator of PDA’s Election Issues Team. Born in Rochester, NY, Mimi has spent her life performing, writing, and working to promote peace and progress. Mimi was a key supporter of Dennis Kucinich’s campaigns. and has traveled from coast to coast, organizing street heat and meeting elected officials with PDA. She studied Nonviolent Theory and Strategy with 60’s civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson. A founding member of Artists Unnited to Win Without War, Mimi is a leading voice for peace and progress. A uniquely talented and versatile actress, Mimi has appeared on stage, on television, and in feature films. Highlights include her roles as Dharma’s hippie mother on the sitcom “Dharma&Greg,” and as Ruth Sloan on “Homefront.” Her TV credits range from Night Court and Drop Dead Diva to St. Elsewhere, ER, House and Grey’s Anatomy. She appeared on stage in the Broadway and road companies of “Grease,” and in the acclaimed one-woman show “The Lady with All the Answers” as Ann Landers. Recent projects include HBO’s political comedy VEEP, Woody Allen’s romcom “Midnight In Paris,” and BBC Film’s anti-war satire “In The Loop” with the late, great James Gandolfini. Mimi is also a talented writer. She was a story editor for the Knots Landing TV Series, and her book, “Taken To The Stage: The Education of an Actress,” was praised as “one of the great theatrical memoirs.”

Kimberly Buchan

Kimberly Buchan

Administrative Coordinator

Kimberly has been volunteering and working for PDA since 2004. Since moving to Arizona in 2003, Kimberly discovered her inner progressive and volunteered with the Kucinich Presidential Campaign and later the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus.

She is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelors Degree in Music Therapy, and a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a masters degree in Speech and Language Pathology.

Kimberly now resides in her home state of Michigan, where she lives with her husband, Bryan, her adorable boy, Elliot James and daughter Cora Beatrice.

DAN O'NEAL

DAN O'NEAL

PDA Board Member - At Large

Dan has a B.A. in Political Science from California State Hayward, a Masters Degree and a Teaching Credential from San Jose State University. A 60’s political activist, he first got involved in the student anti-war movement in 1967 and was leader of SDS at San Jose State University. Dan was arrested during the famous Student Strike at San Francisco State in 1969. Dan went on to get involved in several community organizing efforts, including anti-nuclear protests, organizing the unemployed, and union organizing in the electronics industry in Northern California. Dan was a leader in the South Africa Anti-Apartheid / Divestment Movement at the University California in the 1980’s Dan is a retired Public School History teacher and long time activist in the California Teachers Association serving on the CTA State Committee representing his local in the San Jose area. Dan joined PDA in Nov. 2004 and has been the Arizona State Coordinator since 2006. He has built bridges in the Phoenix area with several key Immigrant Rights organizations and has been a leader in Phoenix against SB-1070, Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer and the Right Wing hate machine in Arizona. He is active in the Arizona Democratic Party serving as a Precinct Committee-person, an elected member of the ADP State Committee, and appointed delegate from CD-5 to the ADP Executive Committee. Dan lives in Gilbert, Arizona with his activist wife Isabel, his step-daughter Belen and their dogs Boots and Lily. Dan has two grown children Jennifer, John and several grandchildren. Mostly recently Dan has been active in the campaign to support Bernie Sanders. First organizing PDA’s “We Want Bernie” chapters in Arizona and later serving as a volunteer adviser and Maricopa County Coordinator for the Bernie Sanders for President – 2016 in the Phoenix area.

MICHAEL LIGHTY

MICHAEL LIGHTY

Advisory Board Member

Michael Lighty joined the PDA national board in 2010. He’s been a pillar of PDA’s organizing, speaking at Progressive Central events, attending Progressive round table meetings on the Hill, and joining us for two PDA leadership retreats at Winslow. Michael brought PDA into coalitions with labor and other organizations—most recently the Robin Hood Tax Campaign. He is currently the Director of Administration and Public Policy for the California Nurses Association (CNA). Michael manages CNA’s national effort for healthcare reform on the single-payer model, an issue he has worked on since 1991. He coordinated CNA’s successful effort to reverse California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rollback of CNA’s landmark hospital nurse-to-patient staffing law. He was campaign manager for the Prop 89 clean money initiative that won a prestigious Pollie award, and helped CNA lead the effort rejecting Gov. Schwarzenegger’s 2005 ballot measures, and CNA’s statewide ballot initiative campaign for HMO reform. Lighty joined CNA in 1994 and has served as Political Director. He was then-Mayor Jerry Brown’s first appointee to the Oakland Planning Commission, and served for more than seven years. He has been active with nonprofit organizations devoted to healthcare reform, voter registration, urban planning, and lesbian and gay equality.

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