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Supporters react to 2020 Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) after he addressed a crowd at the Royal Family Life Center on March 14, 2019 in North Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Fulfilling Vow to Run 2020 Campaign Differently, Sanders Campaign Claims 70% of Top Leadership Now Women

"I think it's the most diverse presidential campaign team ever assembled," said one supporter

Jon Queally

Facing previous criticism that his campaign team during his 2016 presidential run was "too white" and "too male," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) received praise on Tuesday after it was reported his campaign has hired a diverse slate of high-caliber women for key posts on his 2020 leadership team.

As journalist Natalie Gontcharova of Refinery29 was the first to report, the Sanders campaign now claims that "every single one of its teams — management, political, policy, organizing, communications, advance, digital, and fundraising — has women, and predominantly women of color, in leadership positions. Overall, the national leadership team is around 70% women."

According to Gontcharova, the ten new female staffers include (emphasis added):

René Spellman, deputy campaign manager, a Bernie 2016 alumna who has worked in the Obama White House; Analilia Mejia, political director, a union organizer who was honored by President Obama as a "Champion of Change"; Sarah Badawi, deputy political director, previously the legislative affairs director for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee; Claire Sandberg, national organizing director, a Bernie 2016 alumna and previously the deputy campaign manager for Abdul El-Sayed's gubernatorial run in Michigan; Dr. Heather Gautney, deputy director of policy, formerly a senior policy advisor on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and a researcher for Bernie 2016; Arianna Jones, communications director, a Bernie 2016 alumna with experience leading media strategy for progressive clients; Sarah Ford, deputy communications director, a Bernie 2016 alumna who served as the communications director for Cynthia Nixon's 2018 gubernatorial campaign in New York; Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary, a former attorney and senior politics editor at The Intercept; Georgia Parke, senior social media strategist, who worked in Sen. Sanders' Senate office since 2016; and Robin Curran, digital fundraising director, formerly the email director at the Democratic National Committee.

The new staffers follow last month's announcement of Sanders' national co-chairs, who include: former Ohio state and Our Revolution president Sen. Nina Turner, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif), and Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen. Over the weekend, the Sanders campaign also announced that staff workers would be unionized.

Tuesday's news of the fresh hires was met with congratulations for many of the well-known progressive journalists, organizers, and scholars headed to the campaign as well as a nod to Sanders for taking concrete step towards fulfilling his promise to build a much more diverse and representative team:


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