The Pennsylvania Young Democrats announce the election of a new Executive Committee headed by two of the commonwealth’s brightest rising stars.
State Representative Tony Payton Jr. (left) of Philadelphia was chosen as PAYD’s new president and State Representative Chelsa Wagner (right) of Pittsburgh was selected as PAYD’s new vice-president in a vote attended by Young Democrats from across Pennsylvania this past Saturday in Harrisburg.
“We are honored to have attracted leaders like Tony and Chelsa to guide our organization into 2008. Their enthusiasm to serve as our chief officers confirms our past record of accomplishment and strengthens our reputation as Pennsylvania's premiere political organization for youth,” said Paul McKrell, PAYD Executive Director.
Rep. Payton was unanimously elected to replace outgoing PAYD President Yarone Zober, Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Under Mr. Zober’s leadership, the organization underwent unprecedented growth, including a doubling in membership and chapters. Mr. Zober’s most important accomplishment was securing funding for PAYD’s first full time Executive Director and PAYD’s successful peer-to-peer young voter program, which oversaw the efforts of dozens of paid canvassers and numerous volunteer organizers in their work in Congressmen Murphy’s and Altmire’s districts in 2006.
“We are excited to have such diverse talent representing every corner of the state on our new board. Tony has assembled a great team to move PAYD forward into another winning year for Democrats in Pennsylvania,” said McKrell.
The rest of Rep. Payton’s newly elected board includes Tim Brennan, Tara Reynolds, Alex Reber, Dan Tyman and Rebecca Sammon. A brief biography for each new officer follows.
PAYD President Tony Payton Jr. was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 179th District in Philadelphia County in 2006. Before running for office he worked as a housing counselor at United Communities in South Philadelphia. He has been active in his community helping found the Icon Community Corporation, a non-profit organization that assists in bridging the gap in reading disparities among school-aged youth. He served as treasurer of PA PAC for Progress and for the Philadelphians Against Santorum campaign, as well as completed a fellowship with the Center for Progressive Leadership. He holds active memberships in the Philadelphia’s Young Nonprofit Leaders (PYNL), the Young America PAC, and the Social Action Committee. Rep. Payton is a contributor to the Young Philly Politics Web site, and co-chair of Students for Progressive Ethics Amendments and Reform (S.P.E.A.R).
PAYD Vice-President Chelsa Wagner was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 22nd District in Allegheny County in 2006. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the women's varsity basketball team, and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Law School, where she was the recipient of the Community Service Award. Prior to being elected, Rep. Wagner worked as a plaintiff's attorney specializing in medical malpractice. She has also worked as a policy analyst reforming large state governments throughout the country.
PAYD National Committeeman Tim Brennan graduated from Ursinus College and the Widener University School of Law. He volunteers for and has founded a number of charitable, legal, community and Democratic organizations, has been published in the fields of equine law and redistricting law and has lectured at the Dickinson School of Law. A member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar, Mr. Brennan was appointed Assistant Solicitor for the City of Bethlehem in 2005 by Mayor John B. Callahan.
PAYD National Committeewoman Tara Reynolds is from Allegheny County. She is currently a board member of the National Stonewall Democrats and Community Human Services Corporation located in the South Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the PA Democratic State Committee and has consulted on numerous campaigns in Western Pennsylvania. Ms. Reynolds works for the Women's Law Project and is finishing a degree at Carlow University.
PAYD Treasurer Alex Reber recently graduated from Lebanon Valley College in December 2006 with a dual major in Business Administration and Accounting and a minor in Political Science. A co-founder of his College Democrats chapter, he has been involved with the PA Young Democrats for the past three years. Last summer Mr. Reber was a finance intern on Senator Bob Casey’s campaign and is presently working as a Senior Accountant at Miller Dixon Drake in Harrisburg.
PAYD Corresponding Secretary Daniel Tyman of Chester County is a graduate of West Chester University. He has been involved in Chester County politics for the past few years, including as Secretary of the Chester County Democratic Committee. Mr. Tyman currently serves as President of the Chester County Young Democrats, an organization he led through their efforts to elect Congressman Joe Sestak, State Senator Andrew Dinniman and State Rep. Barbara McIlvaine-Smith.
PAYD Recording Secretary Rebecca Sammon of Luzerne County started her career as a field operative for Kerry/Edwards 2004 in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She served as Campaign Manager for newly elected State Representative Mike Carroll in 2006. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she earned her JD, and of Temple University, where she earned her BA in Classics and Political Science, Ms. Sammon works for the Democratic Caucus in Harrisburg as a research analyst.