Hillsborough County Democratic Leadership

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Ione Townsend, mother of five sons, served as a senior executive in two medical institutions, with many awards and gubernatorial appointments in Maine. She is a double certified nurse practitioner. In Florida she became involved in politics in 2008 in Pasco County. In 2012 she became 1st Vice Chair of the HCDEC in 2014, and chair in November of 2015. Under her leadership, the party has notched many wins and outraised the Republican Party in fundraising. She reoriented the HC Democratic Party to a county party, recognizing that 64% of all Democratic voters reside in unincorporated HC.

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Ella Coffee

Vice-Chair of Operations

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Ella Coffee grew up in Plant City. While her mother served in the military, Ella’s grandparents raised her. It was during her many outings and time spent with her grandmother that she witnessed the importance of service. For Ella’s grandmother, Bessie Lee Wadsworth, service was a way of life.
Ella, has sought change through Elections. Dedicated to voter engagement, Ella worked with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections as the Community Liaison for the African-American community, as well as trained poll workers and assisted in the Vote by Mail ballot count. She has worked on several campaigns, from local to national campaigns.
In addition to her electoral work, Coffee has served on the Board of NAACP Hillsborough County Branch #5139, the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Board, and the East Tampa Community Revitalization Partnership.

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Vice Chair of Outreach

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[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.3.3″]Russell E. Conn moved to Hillsborough in 2016 from South Florida, where he grew up, and joined the HCDEC in 2017. His work experience primarily focused on wholesale importing and sales. In 2018, his father passed away and since he has devoted all of his free time to getting Democrats elected. “I like doing something that actually matters and I’m lucky to be in a position that I can advocate for others.” In 2019, he founded the Hillsborough County Democratic Environmental Caucus and is currently the Chair, advocating to ensure good environmental policies are enacted and followed. “It’s the battle of our lifetime; we need to protect our way of life for future generations. We can’t wait to act.” During his time organizing for the Party, he has stepped up to any task asked of him, including the position of Vice Chair of Outreach.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure=”1_3,1_3,1_3″ _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_image src=”https://staging5.hillsboroughcountydemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Untitled-design-19.png” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”on” align_tablet=”center” align_phone=”” align_last_edited=”on|desktop” admin_label=”Donna Harwood” _builder_version=”3.23″ custom_margin=”||10px|” custom_padding=”||0px|” box_shadow_style=”preset1″]


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Donna Harwood was born in SE Pennsylvania and raised by Democratic parents who were active union members. She moved south to attend college and graduated from Georgia State University in Atlanta. She worked for 47 years in the commercial insurance industry, moved to Tampa in 2006 and retired in 2017.
Donna became a member of the New Tampa Democratic Club in 2018, was elected as the club Secretary, and joined the HCDEC. Her background in insurance financial auditing has served her well in fulling her duties as HCDEC Treasurer. She became a member of the Hillsborough County Democratic Environmental Caucus in 2019.

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Sarah Gozdor is an environmental consultant specializing in contaminated site assessment and cleanup. She lives in Riverview with her husband Matt and three German Shepherds: Luke, Bo, and Wallace. Sara joined the HCDEC in early 2017 and has been a key player in organizing multiple important and record-breaking fundraising events for the Party, including the annual Kennedy King Dinner and Spring Fling. In her free time, Sara enjoys travelling abroad, crafting, and working on home renovation projects.

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State Committeewoman

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Vanessa Lester was born in Jacksonville, and spent her formative years in Ocala.  Following in the footsteps of her uncle, she joined the US Army. After retiring from the military, she opted to reside in Virginia until 2006 when she returned to Florida to care for her grandmother. She is also Vice-President of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Tampa Bay (DPCTB). As 1st Vice Chair, she ensured that HCDEC’s membership is as inclusive & diverse as the communities it serves and to increase voter turnout through voter education in 2020 and for future generations. She has just been elected State Committeewoman without opposition.

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Marcus Klebe

State Committeeman

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A life-long Democrat, Marcus Klebe joined the HCDEC after the 2016 election and is currently proud to serve as State Committeeman. Marcus has served the HCDEC in various other capacities, most recently as HCDEC Legislative Chair (focused on tracking local legislation and regulation proposed at the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners and at Tampa City Council), as well as Kennedy – King Gala 2020 Co-Chair (the HCDEC’s biggest fundraiser of every year, which was successfully moved online to rave reviews and still set fundraising records despite the pandemic). Marcus previously served as Deputy Regional Director for the FDP / Andrew Gillum Coordinated Campaign in 2018, where he helped oversee the field program in Pinellas County. Marcus is an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Tampa Bay (DPCTB), and he sits on the Board of, and has raised funds for, the Florida Progressives Political Committee (PAC) under the leadership of Susan Smith. Marcus spent many years working as a successful corporate attorney, during which time he discovered an aptitude, and love, for community mediation. Marcus lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and four children, for whom he is the primary caregiver.

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Committee Chairs

Constitution and Bylaws – Benjamin Geiger

Diversity and Inclusion – Stacey Carter

Finance – Ed Weaving

Credentials – Julie Ford

Precinct/Field Org. – Humaira Afzal

Legislative Liaison – Nicholas Glover

Campaign/Candidates Committee – John Godwin

Membership – Renee Goldstein

Public Relations – Marcy Hennecke

Information Technology – Rick Myers

Community Outreach – Sylvia Adams

Platform – Nina Tatlock

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Region Leaders & Region Information

We have divided the county into regions and districts (made up of precincts) for better communication and mobilization. Look at the maps to help you identify your region and districts. Reach out to the leader for information on volunteer opportunities in your area.

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Region 1 Leader – Rob Slebos region1dems@fastmail.org

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Region 2 Leader – Vacant  (Districts 1, 2, 3) 
Region 2 Leader – Michael Fischer (DIstricts 4, 5, 6) mgfische@eagle.fgcu.edu

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Beau Robichaux hillsboroughregion3@gmail.com

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Dori Kane dorikane2@gmail.com

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Rudina Richter (Districts 2,3,4,5 and 9) drgfi@aol.com

CL Townsend (Districts 1,6,7, and 8) cltownsend1016@gmail.com


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Merle Berg merlebergregionaldir@gmail.com

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Region Leader: Kiara Colon-Torres contact@kiaract.com


Deputy Regional Director: (Open) =====@gmail.com