Dane Dems Board Nominees


CHAIR — Michael Basford (I)

20170126_165233I am running for this seat because: It has been an honor and a joy to lead our county party for the last six years. In that time we have grown our majority on the Dane County Board, expanded our elections support throughout the county, and turned out more voters for our candidates in fall elections than ever. I want to serve another term to build on our success going into 2018 and help other county parties run robust election efforts.

More about me: I have spent over 40 years helping Wisconsin Democrats win elections. For my day job, I am the Associate Executive Director at Housing Initiatives – an agency which provides permanent housing for homeless persons with severe mental illnesses. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and listening to music.  I live with my two cats, Tammy Baldwin and Shirley Chisholm.


image1.jpg Rajesh Raghavan

I am running for this seat because: Events over the past 2+ years, particularly with regards to the direction in which Donald Trump has pulled the Republican Party, has convinced me that that institution is now an existential threat to the U.S. Republic and must be thwarted in Washington, DC and in statehouses around the nation. As an engineer, I am really good with numbers, so I see serving as Treasurer as a good first step to getting more involved with the Party.

More about me: I moved here to Madison roughly a year ago after spending 6 years in Baltimore. Born and raised in the Boston area, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree from MIT in 1992 along with a Minor in Political Science and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

19894568_1810692139151376_8932482305001306836_n.jpgEric Finch

I am running for this seat because: I’ve been treasurer for various other organizations, such as the Student Bar Association in law school and I’ve advised many non-profits on financial compliance issues, so this seemed like a great fit.

More about me: I’m fairly politically engaged, but I also enjoy music and am a pretty avid harmonica enthusiast. I also like exploring the great outdoors with my wife, Liz, & dog, Frances.

SECRETARY — Meghan Parker (I)


I am running for this seat because: I am honored to be nominated for her second full term as Secretary of the Democratic Party of Dane County.  My goals are to raise the profile of the county party and increase membership, especially among younger people.

More about me: I am currently attending Edgewood College, majoring in communication studies with a minor in political science. I have managed, interned, and volunteered on multiple local, state, and national campaigns. After politics, my second passion is theater and I enjoy visiting American Players Theatre every summer.


Sundquist mugEric Sundquist (I)

I am running for this seat because: I am honored to have served in this role for the last two years and would like to serve another term, before handing the job over, if possible to a member of the Communications Committee. Having worked in newspaper and online journalism, I have the training for getting information to a wide audience, so this role has been a good way for me to contribute to the party. This year the Comms Committee, never before active to my knowledge, has greatly improved our web and social media presence. Going forward, as we prepare for the 2018 election season, we can use our new platforms and talent to expand and improve our content further, attracting more interest, membership and support for the party and the progressive causes for which we stand.

More about me: I work at COWS, a progressive policy center at the UW, specializing in sustainable transportation. Since 2008 I have been the team leader for the Madtown O’s, an action team that has made more than 500,000 door knocks and 250,000 phone calls for Dem and progressive nonpartisan candidates. I served for seven years on the Madison Plan Commission and currently serve on the board of Heartland Farm Sanctuary.

karen-wearing-yes-i-am-as-mean-tee-shirt.jpgKaren Edson

I am running for this seat because:  I believe that I can do a better job than the incumbent because I am retired and can devote my full time to the duties of this position. I believe that this position requires someone who can be more pro-active than the incumbent and I am ready to serve in that role!

More about me: I have served for the past two years as Assembly District Representative for the 37th AD to the Executive Board. I am currently retired, but I previously worked in personnel in a corporate staff role and as a factory personnel manager. I have worked with small computer systems and with big ones. I have been a technical writer and a consultant. I have been a “road warrior,” traveling to a client’s office on a Monday and home on the Thursday red-eye. But I have also worked for a firm that let me work from home (or from THEIR home on Maui, where I spent 9/11/01!). I have had cats, and dogs, and both at one time. Right now, I rent a room from a progressive lady with a small dog. My cousins are “up North” and my step-son and his family live in Detroit. I also have created a “campaign website” http://www.wisconsingrassroots.net/aboutkaren that goes into a bit more detail if you are interested.


SONY DSCRon Biendseil (I)

I am running for this seat because: I want to continue as Vice Chair of Volunteerism so that I can continue to provide our membership with opportunities to help elect Democrats in Dane County and the 2nd Congressional District (and defeat Paul Ryan in the 1st CD). I have been at the forefront of developing positive relationships with volunteers in Indivisible-Madison and Our Wisconsin Revolution-Madison, in order to foster collaborative efforts to elect progressives in our area.

More about me: I have lived in Dane County for about 35 years. Since 2000, I have enjoyed life in Middleton. I first got involved with the Democratic Party during the first Obama campaign when I came to realize that, with all its warts, flaws, and short-comings, the Democratic Party is the only real possibility of creating a progressive city, state, and country in which I want to live. As a retiree from the Dane County Youth Commission, I have time to garden, play low-stakes poker, serve on the boards of Middleton Commission on Youth and the Pheasant Branch Conservancy, and travel all over. I have one wife (Susan Dopp), eight step-grandchildren, and no pets (except for the squirrels and chipmunks we feed at our backdoor, and sometimes in our kitchen).

MichelleDunphyHeadshotMichelle Dunphy

I am running for this seat because:  I believe that if we want to be a part of developing a new voice for the Democratic party, we have to step up and lead. I think it would be great to see a mix of incumbent and new voices on the Executive Board. I’m an avid volunteer so I thought VC of Volunteers would be a great fit!

More about me: I’m originally from Fond du Lac, but am excited to have recently made our home here in Madison. By day, I’m the Development Director with the small non-profit Brighter Tanzania Foundation. I also volunteer daily at Tammy Baldwin’s campaign office. In addition to being a regular attendee at the Dane Dems meetings since I moved here, I’ve also become an active member of Young Dems, moderator of the She Should Run Incubator’s Wisconsin Facebook group, co-hosted this summer’s big Madison Fired Up for Tammy event, and am currently an OFA Community Organizing Fellow.



I am running for this seat because: I would like to continue serving in this position because I enjoy thinking creatively and having fundraisers that are unique and fun for those who attend. I have sponsored three huge garage sales that have brought in money that I felt like was “new money”, meaning funds that we would not have otherwise received. Recently I introduced the “Sacrifice Your Vice” campaign to give members who can’t give a lot the chance to give what they can and feel connected to the party.  I hope this will also create awareness of how much money each of us fritters away on unneeded items and how contributing that little amount really adds up when everyone gets involved.

More about me: I am married to Eric Sundquist, and we have a daughter, Madelyn who is 22 and a senior at UW here in Madison. We also have two big, sweet, goofy dogs who dominate a lot of our time. I enjoy exercising, especially biking. Something most people don’t know about me is that I have had Parkinson’s for 22 years. I had brain surgery back in 2008 (waited until after Obama was elected). Although I do pretty well, sometimes I might need an extra hand or two.


20915075_10212064635030191_2243269430598993271_nDevon Cook

I am running for this seat because: I’m excited for the opportunity to continue and improve upon the great work of the Campaigns Committee. I have served on the committee for the past two years and have a deep understanding of the endorsement process, which is crucial for maintaining and expanding Dane County’s status as a Democratic stronghold.

More about me: I am a lifelong Madisonian, longtime employee of Madison Public Library, and recent graduate of UW-Madison with a BA in Political Science. Democratic politics is a passion of mine, and I have worked on campaigns since before I was old enough to vote. Over the next two years, we will have an opportunity to make gains in places where Democrats have rarely been involved and I hope I can be a part of our success.

image.pngNoah Lieberman

I am running for this seat because:  I want to take this committee beyond its current level and help ensure progressive victories across the county. If we can assemble a group of exciting candidates in every race and coordinate their campaigns, Dane County can drive victories up and down the ballot for all of Wisconsin. I’ve worked on campaigns from school board to the Senate, and I plan on using my knowledge and experience to help recruit driven, passionate candidates and get them the resources they need to succeed.

More about me: Politics has always been an interest of mine (I worked for my first campaign in eighth grade) and it’s why I studied Political Science and Applied Math at the University of North Carolina. I moved to Fitchburg last winter to work in Technical Services at Epic (a story I’m sure you’ve never heard before) and have been loving living in this beautiful city since the moment I got here. When not doing political work, I love doing anything involved with theater – acting, directing, or enjoying a show.


renazantz2016.jpgChristine Lazar (I)

I am running for this seat because:  I want to continue to help grow our membership by bringing about unity with our fellow Dane County citizens who know that we must move our county and state and country forward to a better future and resist the current administrations.  As a member of the Executive Board/Dane Dems I have done my best to help our members with their questions and concerns as well as doing weekly outreach to nonmembers at the Dane County Farmers Market and other venues for quite a few years. And will continue to support the Dane Dems in every way that I can.

More about me: I have attended almost every monthly membership and Executive Board meeting of Dane Dems since joining the party back in the “W” years.  I previously served as the Assembly District 77th Rep for 3 terms and was just elected to be the V.C. of Membership earlier this year.  I believe that volunteering is the most important investment we can make to our county party. I was humbled to be the Volunteer of the Year in 2016.

IMG-20171022-WA0002Luis Varela

I am running for this seat because:  Since I came to the first meeting in February as a new member of the Dane Dems, I felt inspired to effectively engage our current members and design strategies so that all the new people feel included, understood, and can make a meaningful impact on the party.  I am invested in working together on new member engagement strategies including more approachable meetings, guide programs, educational/intro sessions, outreach to minorities and low-income Madisonians.  We need everyone to win these upcoming elections!

More about me: Born, raised and educated as an Industrial Engineer in Colombia. I took a few jobs as a Curriculum Designer and Educator when I moved to Madison two years ago. Most of my free time, you’ll find me playing soccer in a regular pickup group and dancing salsa. As an Engineer, I wanted to get things done but also discovered that education, communicating and working on all of our relationships are key to all achievements.


Mike--thoughtful--low-q.jpgI am running for this seat because: I’ve been on the executive board of the Dane Dems since February of this year, serving as the board representative for the 77th Assembly District, and also co-chairing the Grassroots Engagement subcommittee. I want to serve as Nominations and Elections Vice Chair because I believe we can increase grassroots engagement through increasing participation in our county party’s elections. We’re doing better. This cycle we have the most competitive elections we’ve had in a long time. My main goal as Nominations and Elections Vice Chair would be to encourage a competitive race for EVERY county party office.

More about me: For my day job, I am a professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at UW-Madison, and I direct the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems there. I am also a part-time musician and composer. You can learn more about my work and passions at www.michael-bell.net.