Burnt Orange Report Staff
Karl-Thomas Mussleman, Publisher. Karl-Thomas Musselman was destined to become the first man on Mars having twice won the prestigious "Right Stuff" award at Space Camp. Al Gore changed all that when he won the 2000 election, sparking a undiscovered passion for politics which led Musselman to his current activism in grassroots Democratic politics. An early supporter of Howard Dean, he first experienced snow canvassing neighborhoods in Iowa and New Hampshire. He would later become Texas' youngest delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. In that presidential election, he helped organized one of the most successful student voter registration and GOTV drives ever at the University of Texas-Austin, with one campus precinct reporting 99.58% turnout, the highest in Travis County.
Having written for Burnt Orange Report since 2003, Musselman became its second editor in the summer of 2005. Shortly thereafter, he spearheaded the UT-Austin effort against the state's gay marriage ban which resulted in a 1,000% increase in student turnout and an opposition vote averaging 85% among students. In 2006, he served as Tech Director for the Travis County Coordinated Campaign and wrote for the Secretary of State Project which elected 5 new Democratic officeholders in key states across the country. During this time he joined the steering committee of Democracy for Texas, the state's largest online progressive advocacy PAC at the time.
In 2007, Musselman took on the new role of Publisher of Burnt Orange Report upon his acceptance of employment at ActBlue in Cambridge, MA and graduation from UT-Austin as a Liberal Arts Honors Government major. He has since returned to his native Texas where he worked on Rick Noriega's US Senate campaign, served as Campaign Manager for Rep. Mark Strama who was re-elected with 63% of the vote, and was a technology advisor for Bill Spelman's Place 5 City Council campaign in 2009. His developed the online outreach strategy for Austin's successful Proposition 1 Mobility Bond campaign. He recently complete 2.5 years of service on the City of Austin's Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Task Force.
He currently sits on the board of the TexBlog PAC and additionally serves as the treasurer for the Central Austin Democrats, Austin Progressive Coalition, Texas Action PAC, and BOR PAC.
Katherine Haenschen, Editor in Chief. Katherine Haenschen is an organizer, activist, and blogger in Austin, Texas, where she has managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns. Efforts include the 2011 Travis County bonds, Randi Shade for Austin City Council, the 2010 Travis County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign, Kurt Kuhn for Third Court of Appeals, Chris Riley for Austin City Council, and the 2008 Austin Vote for Change registration drive.
Prior to professional campaigning, Katherine earned nearly all of her PhD in Media Studies from UT, where she served as Vice President of the Graduate Student Assembly, and organized her department for a 50% increase in salary. She has been an active volunteer since 2004, when her then-State Senator, Barack Obama, ran for Illinois Senate. As a grad student at UChicago she organized her friends to help register voters on subway platforms for Obama.
Katherine is active with many of our local Democratic clubs, sits on the board of NARAL TX, and is easily the most enthusiastic fan of UCONN Women's Basketball in Texas.
Michael Hurta, Senior Staff Writer. Michael began reading BOR before graduating high school, back in 2006 when he discovered the site while Googling "angry at Rick Perry." But he had first gotten politically involved when his former teacher, Jim Henley, ran against Congressman John Culberson in 2006. As the "kid who used the Internets," he did some blogger outreach for that campaign. And by the time he stepped on the 40 Acres of UT, he was a Burnt Orange Reporter. In college, he interned for Rick Noriega's Senate campaign, Bill White's gubernatorial campaign, and Representative Diana Maldonado. His senior year, he became president of the University Democrats and led part of the losing battle of 2010. He has since graduated and plans on going to law school in the future. He currently manages David Wahlberg's campaign for the 167th District Court.
Phillip Martin, Contributing Writer. Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that will promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics.
Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. In 2007, he took a brief hiatus from BOR to serve as Chief of Staff for State Rep. Garnet Coleman. Following the 2007 legislative session, Phillip left Austin to pursue a Master's in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Homesick, Phillip continued writing for BOR, producing comprehensive posts about how the Texas Democrat delegate selection process worked and creating an analysis of the 2009 Speaker's race that helped turn the tables against then Speaker Tom Craddick.
Since returning to Austin in 2009, Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool. If you take him to Dirty's he'll still write anything you want.
Emily Cadik, Staff Writer. Emily Cadik grew up outside of Houston in Montgomery County, where rampant conservatism sent her fleeing in the opposite direction. She then went to the University of Texas, followed by the Harvard Kennedy School, where she studied government and public policy with a focus on political rhetoric and voter turnout. Emily now works on affordable housing policy in Washington, DC, but pines for breakfast tacos, Shiner Bock and the unfailingly outrageous brand of politics found only in Texas.
Joe Deshotel, Staff Writer. Joe has worked in and around politics for over 10 years. He has worked for members and representatives of Congress, the Texas legislature, Jefferson Co. and the City of Austin. He believes government has been a defenseless whipping boy for 'conservatives' and big business. He believes we first we have to define the role of government and then we can decide whether tax payers are getting what they deserve. His goal is to see progressive candidates win in Texas and believes it comes down to messaging and infrastructure. Joe plays in a band and loves living in the Live Music Capital. Personal highlights include introducing Barack Obama in his home town of Beaumont, Texas.
Edward Garris, Legal Correspondent and Staff Writer. Edward Garris is the principal of a general law practice in Austin, Texas. A Longhorn, he cut his teeth in litigation and politics on the North Side of Chicago before returning home to the warmer climate of Central Texas.
Nick Hudson, Staff Writer. Nick Hudson is a political aficionado, writer, and social media guy. Nick grew up in small towns across Texas and moved to Austin in 2005 to study government and philosophy at the University of Texas. Nick was the statewide director of Texas Students for Barack Obama during the 2008 primary, and the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator for the Mike Martinez Campaign in 2012. Nick worked to reform criminal justice sentencing as a volunteer legislative liaison for the ACLU of Texas during the 2007 and 2009 legislative sessions. He is the former Research Specialist for the southern-based nonprofit, Grassroots Leadership. At Grassroots Leadership, Nick authored research papers and wrote for the Texas Prison Bidness blog. Nick current works at Susan Harry Consulting.
Chaille Jolink, Staff Writer. Chaille Jolink began her interest in Texas politics as a Senate Messenger in 2003 and has since worked for Rep. Naishtat, Senator Lucio, and Rep. Joe Moody serving as his Legislative Director in the 2009 session. She started off as a reporter writing for the legislative tracking website Gallerywatch.com during the 2007 session, and has been a contributor to local publications such as TODO Austin and NSIDE Austin. She started writing for BOR in 2011, and was Field Director for the Chris Frandsen Campaign in 2012. She has her BA from UT in History, English, and Government and believes in public options for health care, transportation, and free love.
Ben Sherman, Staff Writer. Ben Sherman grew up in New York City, but found Texas' call was too loud to ignore. Currently, he's a student at UT-Austin studying political science. In 2010, Ben worked on the Bill White campaign as Communications Coordinator, handling media requests, writing news briefs and organizing the communications team. With Burnt Orange Report, he looks forward to tracking our slippery governor and covering the daily politics beat.
Shelby Alexander, Staff Writer Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Shelby is a senior entering her final semester at St. Edward’s University. She has worked for a handful of campaigns on the local, state, and national level during her undergraduate career and recently served as the College Democrats president at St. Edward‘s for the 2011-2012 school year. Her primary passion is combating the Republican War on Women and hopes to continue fighting on a larger scale upon her graduation this fall.