As Texas Democratic politics moves into an increasingly national spotlight, it's only natural that this site — the biggest and most widely read progressive blog in Texas — would want to add more voices to chronicle the collective efforts to Turn Texas Blue.
That's why we're thrilled to announce that eight new Texas progressives are joining Burnt Orange Report. Our two new interns and six new staff writers come from diverse backgrounds and will be covering a wide range of issues for the site.
You've already seen some of their work on the front page over the last week, and you've seen the fruits of the interns' labor even if it isn't self-evident. We're very excited to welcome them on board.
Below the jump, please meet Danielle, Genevieve, Joseph, Katie, Matt, Natalie, Omar, and Tom.
Please give them a warm welcome in the comments!Meet our new Burnt Orange Report staff writers, in alphabetical order by first name! Please give them a warm welcome in the comments.
Danielle Nasr — @somethingdani
Danielle is a native Texan and lifelong progressive. She attended Trinity University in San Antonio, where she minored in Political Science and cultivated her interests in politics and activism. She attended UT Law and worked for the ACLU of Texas after graduation, where she had the privilege of helping to defend the civil rights and liberties of her fellow Texans. Since then, she has worked in various capacities in Texas politics and government. She has particular interests in electronic privacy and surveillance, particularly in Texas's many fusion centers, immigration and racial justice, and women's rights. In her spare time, she loves trying to pare a quotation or statement down to 140 characters with no abbreviations or grammatical cop-outs.
Genevieve Cato — @blasfemmetx
Genevieve Cato is a feminist activist and a native Texan. She tried to escape the pull of Texas nationalism by leaving the state for graduate school, but after the attack on women's healthcare during the 82nd legislative session she came back as quickly as she could. While not writing for the Burnt Orange Report, she can be found working to elect pro-choice women to the state legislature, tweeting as @blasfemmetx, and drinking copious amounts of pretentious local craft beers.
Joseph Vogas — @trowaman
The day after the 2004 election, Joseph Vogas declared himself a Democratic activist and has dedicated himself to electing Democrats and further progressive values through the state of Texas ever since. Joseph was raised in Friendswood and attended the University of North Texas where he majored in political science. During his studies, Joseph was elected as Vice President and then President of the College Democrats of North Texas. Joseph went on to work on several political campaigns throughout the state including those of State Senator Wendy Davis and Congressman Nick Lampson. In 2013, he was proud to have worked in the office of State Rep. Craig Eiland.
Joseph's education in electoral politics came from Swing State Project (now Daily Kos Elections) and the many writers and commentators of that website. SSP's precise focus on electoral results, candidate recruitment, and campaigns lead Joseph to specialize in electoral politics. Joseph strongly believes in the power of activism through community organizing.
Katie Singh — @kasingh19
Katie Singh grew up in Austin. Katie has known she's a Democrat ever since being the only student who disagreed with her fourth grade teacher's declaration that Al Gore was a “sore loser” in 2000. She got involved in Texas politics in middle school, volunteering on Kelly White's 2004 campaign and later interning on Valinda Bolton's 2008 campaign. She began reading Burnt Orange Report to stay up to date on Texas politics while attending Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. In 2012, she interned at Obama for America headquarters in Chicago. She also helped organize Northwestern student trips to canvass in Iowa and Wisconsin. The highlight of her time in Chicago was being at President Obama's victory speech on Election Night 2012. She graduated from Northwestern in 2013 with a degree in political science and global health. She's interested in health policy and plans to go to graduate school for public health to learn more about the relationship between social inequality and health disparities. Katie is excited to contribute her enthusiasm for progressive politics to BOR. Appropriately, her favorite color is blue.
Matt Stillwell — @AustinAgentMatt
Matt Stillwell has been a resident of Austin since 1990, is a small business owner, and a married father of three young boys. Matt and his family have lived in the Austin portion of Williamson County since 2005. He was the 2012 Democratic Nominee for Texas House District 136. Matt is active in the Round Rock Independent School District and the Williamson County Democratic Party, chairing the Student Health Advisory Council for RRISD and the Strategic Planning Committee and the Candidate Recruitment Committee for the WCDP. He belongs to the Texas Tech Alumni Association and also volunteers his time in his neighborhood property owners' association and as a youth flag football coach.
As a legislative candidate, Matt drew the endorsement of the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Parent PAC, scores of elected officials, every major teacher's group, the Sierra Club and many more. He was a delegate to the state democratic convention in 2012 and is a frequent contributor to the Hill Country News, serving southwestern Williamson County. Matt will be focusing on elections coverage and the functions of government for the Burnt Orange Report.
Natalie San Luis — @nsanluis
Natalie San Luis is an Austin native. She attended The University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a degree in Plan II Honors, English, and women's and gender studies. During her time at UT, Natalie worked with several organizations to foster a feminist community at the university. She also worked as a writing consultant for the Undergraduate Writing Center and wrote a column on local controversies for The Daily Texan. Natalie believes that the media is a critical institution for connecting citizens to their government, especially as Texas undergoes significant political transformations. She is particularly passionate about issues of reproductive justice. In her free time, Natalie enjoys reading books, baking, and visiting local breweries.
Omar Araiza — @omararaiza_c
Omar Araiza was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. His parents are originally from Mexico and came to the United States as immigrants with hopes of being able to provide a better life for their children. Despite only having the opportunity to complete a sixth grade education, Omar's parents were very politically involved in Mexico, volunteering to monitor voting booths during elections and also worked for the government. Not to make a mockery out of his parents' dreams and sacrifices, Omar is one of the first in his family to receive a higher education and has continued to carry the passion for public service his parents instilled in him at a young age.
Having faced harsh bullying and physical assaults for being gay as a young kid, Omar is not afraid to stand up for others facing discrimination and always roots for the underdog.
Omar was recently part of Texas State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa's staff, and is working towards obtaining graduate degrees in epidemiology and international security. He also really enjoys shooting at inanimate objects with his recurve bow (as a future zombie apocalypse survivor).
Tom Capp — @trcapp
Tom Reaves Capp grew up in Madison, Wis., where he gained his progressive and democratic values. While attending the Missouri School of Journalism, he realized he was more passionate about the issues he was covering than being a reporter. After graduation, Tom decided to take his communication and research skills and apply them to politics. In 2012, Tom worked on Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan's campaign, which also included focusing on the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and President Barack Obama. He's proud to be researching for the Burnt Orange Report to help keep public officials accountable.