Politics As Usual


Aug. 3 2016, Published 8:00 p.m. ET

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Catalyst Network Foundation Inc. Presents:

Politics As Usual

Panel Discussion Topics:

Media Effects: Mainstream Media and Social Media

What’s your tool for change it may not be the ballot?

Politicking: State and Local

Approaches for Advocating Change: Bottom Up… Top Down… Follow-Through...

Black and Brown Agendas: Economic & Educational Policy

Obama Presidential Legacy: Dream Deferred?


Is a Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates, where he serves on the Judiciary Committee. He was first elected to the chamber in 2014. Will is an attorney with a public policy law firm. He previously served as Director of the US Department of Homeland Security's Advisory Council and is a commissioned officer in the United States Naval Reserve. He was the first person in his family to earn a college degree, graduating from The College of William & Mary. He earned his masters in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from William & Mary.

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Is the Director of Bread for the City's newly-minted Advocacy Department. She began at Bread as a a Community Organizer in the legal clinic's Community Lawyering Project. Though she has only been organizing at Bread for the City for 3 years, her organizing experience dates back to her teenage years, when in her role as NAACP Youth Council President she did grassroots organizing work around improving conditions at Oak Hill Juvenile Detention Center. She comes to this work as a young Black woman raised by socially conscious parents who always pushed their children to not just examine, but also challenge oppressive systems. Aja is passionate about working with community members to build lasting infrastructure that will continue to develop leaders, put pressure on systems and challenge the status quo long after she has retired to Tahiti with her rich husband (don't laugh, it could happen).

Past wins in her work include the passage of the Fair Criminal Records Screening Act of 2014 (Ban the Box), a transportation access win for seniors living at Victory Square Senior Apartments, and 2 resolutions to protect return rights for public housing residents who's properties are being redeveloped. In addition to campaign work, Aja organizes and conducts political education workshops for Bread for the City's client leaders, and also for residents of CTF (the women's jail).

Is a policy analyst at the National Governors Association where he advises governors on issues pertaining to economic mobility, security, and development. Additionally he liaises with The Administration to identify opportunities for states to maximize their usage of federal dollars and programs.

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Most recently, he was a researcher with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ state fiscal health project where he worked with senior state officials to evaluate their economic policies and programs.

He’s a 2016 New Leaders Council Fellow, graduate of Morehouse College, and an alumnus of Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Was raised by Haitian immigrants in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. She is currently a writing fellow at The American Prospect, where she covers criminal justice, race, and reproductive rights.

Is Principal at Caldwell Strategic Consulting. This bipartisan firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., focuses on healthcare, financial services, energy, and local government issues. Gianno has held a role on behalf of a member of Congress as well as roles at the federal, state, and local level reflecting over five years of legislative experience and culminating in the recognition of his ability to effectively create legislative strategies and build bipartisan coalitions.

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Gianno began his government relations career serving as the Director of Government Relations for Naperville Township, a local government agency in Illinois. His primary focus was to develop strategies to cut costs relative to transportation, healthcare, taxes, pensions, and local government. In this position, he successfully lobbied the reduction of property tax rates for the whole of Naperville Township.

In 2011, Gianno served as the Director of African American Outreach for the DuPage County Republican party, the largest Republican county organization in Illinois. Additionally, Gianno served on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for President as an advance staffer. Gianno frequently provides analysis and commentary on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, CNN, HLN as well as various National News networks. He is also as a contributor to the Hill Newspaper. Gianno is a native Chicagoan and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Grand Canyon University.

Panel Moderator - Trey Barnette

Branch Manager, Robert Half International and Director of Professional Development at Catalyst Network Foundation Inc.'


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