Party Leaders

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Mother of 5 sons, Ione 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 became chair in November of 2015. Under her leadership the party notched many wins and has 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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Vanessa Lester was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and spent her formative years in Ocala, Florida. 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). Her goal as 1st Vice Chair is to ensure the HCDEC’s membership is as inclusive & diverse as the communities it serves and to increase voter turnout through voter education not only in 2020 but for future generations.

 

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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.

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