Leadership Changes at Be One Texas and Annie's List

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It's not surprising to see some major staff changes in the wake of an election cycle. In the last two weeks, two major leadership changes were announced at two of our most successful progressive entities here in Texas.

Robert Jones, long-time director of Annie's List, will be starting as CEO of Be One Texas this week. Robert brings a wealth of Texas-specific and national political experience to the role. I'm glad we're keeping Robert's passion and institutional knowledge here in Texas fighting for our shared progressive beliefs.

For those of you unfamiliar with Be One Texas, it is a donor collaborative based on similar efforts in swing states that directs investment in groups doing civic engagement, voter registration, and GOTV among under-represented populations in Texas.

Taking over at Annie's List in March will be Grace Garcia, a San Antonio native currently working at the Department of State under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is also a co-founder of PODER PAC, an organization that supports Latina candidates up and down the ballot.

Annie's List, an organization dedicated to electing Democratic women here in Texas, has racked up some of the biggest wins in the State House this past cycle, re-electing Wendy Davis to the state senate, and electing Mary Ann Perez, Mary Gonzalez, Toni Rose, Nicole Collier, and re-electing Dr. Alma Allen and Donna Howard to the legislature.

The press releases from Be One Texas and Annie's List are below. Congratulations Robert and Grace! We at BOR look forward to blogging about your many triumphs over the coming election cycles.  

Robert E. Jones named CEO of Be One Texas to Lead Multi-Million Dollar

Donor Collaborative and Statewide Progressive Infrastructure Project

(Austin,Texas) – Today, the Board of Directors of Be One Texas is excited to announce the appointment of Robert E. Jones as it's first Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mr. Jones, who will officially start in February, is well known in political circles as the longtime Executive Director of Annie's List, one of the most successful political action committees in Texas. Interim Executive Director Michael Li is spearheading the transition and will serve as a Senior Advisor afterward.

“We want to express our deep gratitude to Michael Li for guiding us through our first full election cycle. The various groups Be One Texas investors funded this year ran one of the largest civic engagement programs in the country- making over 1.1 million voter contact attempts and registering nearly 90,000 voters. With this solid foundation now in place, Michael also played a key role in recruiting a permanent successor with the vision to build on it,” said Be One Texas founder Alexa Wesner.

“Robert's reputation speaks for itself. Annie's List is one of the few Democratic organizations in the state that has built lasting infrastructure and orchestrated tough wins in the last decade. We are very excited to have him at Be One Texas to harness state and national resources for Texas to build winning progressive infrastructure statewide,” said Wesner.

“Texas is really coming into the national spotlight in a big way. There is no one better placed to guide the discussion about the path forward with a complicated mix of in-state, national and institutional donors, than Robert,” added Li.

“I look forward to using my experience winning tough races and my passion for a more progressive Texas to continue to build out the statewide infrastructure we need to realize demographic opportunities, persuade natural voting allies and to communicate the real contrast in values in upcoming elections,” said Jones.

As CEO, Jones will oversee strategy and fundraising for the Be One Texas donor collaborative, the Progress Texas communications hub and the affiliated non-profit 'tables', with the goal of maximizing coordination and funding for existing progressive groups. And where gaps in progressive structure are identified in statewide planning for 2014, 2016, 2018, and beyond – Be One Texas will work to create and fund new entities to meet those needs.

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Annie's List Board of Directors Announces New Executive Director Grace Garcia

With great excitement, the Annie's List Board of Directors is announcing the selection of Grace Garcia as its new Executive Director.

Garcia, a San Antonio native, is currently Senior Advisor to the Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Garcia worked for Austin-based GSD&M, and for President Bill Clinton at the White House as well as on both of his presidential campaigns. She is also a co-founder of the PODER PAC, the first Latina PAC modeled after EMILY's List and Annie's List that provides resources and funding to Latina candidates at the local, state, and national levels.

“Annie's List is an amazing organization and I am honored to have been selected as the next Executive Director,” Garcia said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in my home state of Texas.”

“We are thrilled to have Grace join us as we continue to use our voice and build our power,” said incoming Board Chair Amber Anderson Mostyn. “We look forward to working with Grace to further Annie's List's mission to change the face of politics in Texas.”

Garcia takes over from Robert Jones, who will join Be One Texas as its CEO. “We are thankful for Robert's terrific service in building Annie's List into a powerful organization,” said former Chair Robbie Ausley. “We wish him the best of luck and look forward to working with him to advance Texas politics in his new role.”

Garcia will formally assume her duties as Executive Director in March following her resignation from the Department of State.

Annie's List is dedicated to changing the face of power in Texas politics and combating the assault on issues most important to women and families by recruiting, training, and supporting Democratic women candidates for state and local office, as well as mobilizing the turnout of women voters across the state.

About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

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