Carl Albert Dinner Keynote Speaker
Beto O’Rourke is a fourth-generation Texan, born and raised in El Paso, where he has served as a small business owner, a city council representative, and a member of Congress. He founded and currently leads Powered by People, a Texas-based organization that works to expand democracy and produce Democratic victories through voter registration and direct voter engagement. Powered by People has helped register over 250,000 unregistered Texans to vote since its inception in December 2019.
Beto is married to Amy O’Rourke, and together they are raising Ulysses, Molly, and Henry in El Paso’s historic Sunset Heights.
Ken Martin is currently Chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, President of the Association of State Democratic Committees, and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. Martin was elected unanimously to a third term as President of the Association of State Democratic Committees by State Party Chairs and Vice Chairs on January 21, 2021.
Chairman Martin is currently serving his sixth term as chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party. He has held this post since 2011—making him the longest-serving chairman in the 75-year history of the DFL. Under Ken’s leadership over the past 10 years, the DFL Party has seen unprecedented success electorally, financially, and organizationally. Martin has not lost a statewide election during his time as Chair and there has never been a 10-year period in DFL party history that has seen more electoral success up and down the ballot.
As ASDC President, Martin created a comprehensive strategy to increase our Democratic Party’s support for State Party organizations. The vision was to create a true partnership with the DNC and a real 57-State Party strategy to build durable long-lasting infrastructure, ensuring that no State Party was left behind and that we seized on all opportunities, big and small. This plan led to robust investment, significant growth, and a greater impact at the ballot box.
Martin lives in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife Jennifer O’Rourke and their two sons, Samuel and James.
Federation Breakout Speakers
Federation of African American Democrats Speaker
Precious McKesson Bio
Precious McKesson started her political journey working as the Urban Affairs Committee Clerk for Nebraska Legislature Senator Justin Wayne. In 2018 Precious became the first African American on staff with the Nebraska Democratic Party as the Constituency Director, where her job was to ensure all citizens were civically and politically engaged, focusing on voter turnout in low-voting communities. Precious provided the necessary tools to ensure the African American community was a part of the voting process.
Precious has a passion for neighborhoods advocating for safe and clean neighborhoods. Precious is the president of North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance and National President of Neighborhoods, USA, also known as NUSA. When Precious isn’t fighting the good fight, she’s caring for her brother, who has been a quadriplegic for the last 14 years. Precious’s biggest accomplishment is being the mother of Taylor, who just wrapped up her first year of college at Creighton University.
Oklahoma Democratic Veterans Committee Speaker
Dr. Sheila L. Chamberlain
Dr. Sheila L. Chamberlain Bio
Dr. Sheila L. Chamberlain grew up in Post Nazi West Germany and graduated from Fort Knox High School in Ft Knox, KY. She graduated with Honors, Magna Cum Laude from Spelman College, Post Graduate Studies/M.P.A, University of Oklahoma, J.D. , University Of Miami School Of Law, (to name a few), Distinguished Military Graduate from Georgia Tech, a Reserve Officers Training Corps ( ROTC) General George C. Marshall Award Winner, Internships with the United Nations and the United States Senate, Public Affairs/ Press Secretary, former newspaper owner/ Filmmaker, Minister, Former Political Appointee ( Palm Beach County, Florida,) Chief of Staff for two ( 2) Florida State Senators, First African American Woman to run for County Commissioner in the Florida Keys and a Congressional local political appointee on Veterans Affairs (where she worked over 27 years to establish a Womens Veterans Womens Clinic in South Florida.) She Always Helps Everyone the best she can.
Young Democrats of Oklahoma Speaker
Colmon Elridge Bio
Nominated by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear in November 2020, Chairman Colmon Elridge was unanimously elected to lead the Kentucky Democratic Party. Upon his election, Colmon, 41, became the first African American and person of color to lead a major political party in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Colmon served eight years as the Executive Assistant and Senior Advisor to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and helped transform Kentucky’s education, health access, and business climate after the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
Viewed as someone who will run for office himself, Colmon has been named on many lists of people to watch, including being named one of four rising stars in politics by MSNBC.
Oklahoma LatinX Democratic Federation Speaker
Rep. Arturo Alonso-Sandoval
Oklahoma Hawaiian Alaska Asian Pacific Islanders Club Speaker
Rep. Andy Fugate
Colmon Elridge Bio
Representative Andy Fugate, House Minority Floor Leader is an accomplished Asian American and Pacific Islander politician who has made significant contributions to the state of Oklahoma. Throughout his career, he has successfully implemented policies and initiatives that have positively impacted the lives of many.
One of Representative Fugate's most notable achievements is his role in the establishment of the Oklahoma AAPI Caucus. As one of the founding members, he has been a leading voice for AAPI representation in the state legislature. He has also worked tirelessly to improve access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities for all Oklahomans, including those from underrepresented communities. He has also served and been a voice for Veteran and Military Affairs and currently serves on the Appropriations and Budget Education Subcommittee.
Native Federation of Oklahoma Speaker
Colmon Elridge Bio
Rebecca Jim is the Tar Creekkeeper as well as the Executive Director and co-founder of the LEAD Agency. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation.
Rebecca began working in Miami Public Schools as a counselor in 1978 and soon made finding ways to reclaim Tar Creek, restore the land and protect the health of the people her mission.
Rebecca holds a BA in Behavioral Sciences from Southern Colorado State College and a Masters in Education, Counseling from Northeastern State University.
When not fighting for environmental justice, Rebecca is enjoying her home on tallgrass prairie in northeastern Oklahoma and is a craftsperson in beadwork and baskets, with a lifetime love of the arts.
County Networking Panel Speakers
Robbie White is a published author, a leader in political and community organizations, a mother of three, and a recent Chair of the Oklahoma County Democratic party. Robbie graduated from Edmond Memorial High School. She then attended the University of Oklahoma, graduating from the College of Education. After graduation, she moved to Maryland and taught elementary school in Baltimore before choosing professional motherhood. While raising her three children, she earned a second degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at Salem College in North Carolina.
Robbie is a proud member of the Democratic Party, the South Oklahoma City Democratic Women, and the Edmond Democratic Women. Robbie has been married to Ben since 1990. They have three amazing children who continue to delight her as they live their adult lives! She enjoys reading, visiting the mountains, cooking, and organizing to elect Democrats!
Laura Pounders was raised at the knee of an elderly yellow dog democrat, Laura became aware of the struggles for justice and equality through his stories of standing up for the underdog. Her Grandfather often said Democrats are the party of the working class and stood for what was right. Laura grew up believing this and has always followed these beliefs in her journey in this sometime unjust world.
Laura has lived in Pontotoc County for the last 40 years. She has a degree in Agriculture from Oklahoma State University and majored in Animal Science. She attended East Central University in the late 1980s and remembered Lou Watkins encouraging students to be active and to work for the candidates that represented their beliefs. Lou was right about this and today Laura continues to do just that.
Rural Discussion Panel Speakers
Crystal LaGrone is the Chair of the Wagoner County Democratic Party, and has been an active part of the county party since 2008, serving as Secretary, Vice Chair and Chair. She graduated from OSU in 2011 with a BA in political science and was named Senior of Significance. In 2016, she graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s of Engineering in e-Governance Services and Technologies from Tallinn University of Technology in Tallinn, Estonia. In 2022, Crystal was a candidate for Oklahoma’s House District 12.
David Pepper is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian. David was first elected to public office in 2001 when he served on the Cincinnati City Council finishing first out of a field of 26 candidates, and was reelected for a second term in 2003, again leading the pack in votes. David came to the Cincinnati City Council as riots, a severe crime wave, and a public safety crisis rocked the city. Amid this turmoil, David’s leadership was key in the successful push to improve police-community relations, and he ultimately served as the Chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee. David played an instrumental role in negotiating a historic collaborative agreement between the police, the community, and City Hall, which healed long simmering tensions while setting the stage for improved safety. David also played leadership roles in economic reforms, new investments, and progressive policy changes that helped spark a decade-long renaissance that continues in Cincinnati to this day. In 2006, David was elected to the three-member Hamilton County Commission. He served as the Commission President from 2009-2010. During David’s tenure at the County, Hamilton County won 19 National Association of County Awards for outstanding management practices, more than all other Ohio counties combined. David focused particularly on cleaning up the very poorly managed government that he inherited: adding much-needed transparency, championing greater disclosure and higher ethics, eliminating wasteful spending, and rebuilding the County’s reserve fund. Independent ratings agencies praised the County’s fiscally responsible policies. David was nominated by Ohio Democrats to run in statewide elections twice.
Stonewall Panel Speakers
Senator Kay Floyd
Representative Jared Deck
Representative Annie Menz