Staff - Open Primaries
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Meet our staff

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John Opdycke

President

John is the President of Open Primaries. Prior to that, he served as Director of Development of Independentvoting.org, a think tank and strategy center for the independent political movement.

In 2009, Opdycke launched an effort to focus attention on Independentvoting.org’s legal, legislative and grassroots efforts to enact and protect open and nonpartisan primaries. In 2014, Opdycke partnered with philanthropist John Arnold to expand that effort into a national campaign for more open primary systems.

Opdycke began his career as a fundraiser and researcher for the D.C. based Rainbow Lobby, which advocated for electoral reform in the United States and the democracy movement in the Congo (Zaire). In 1992, he joined Lenora Fulani's independent campaign for president as a regional fundraising director, and in 1994 assisted Dr. Fulani in her campaign against Mario Cuomo in the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary. That same year, he participated in the founding of the New York State Independence Party, a founding affiliate of the National Reform Party.

In 1998, Opdycke was hired by Independentvoting.org as Director of Development.  Between 1999 and 2013, Opdycke developed a 50-state fundraising base and expanded Independentvoting.org's fundraising from $40,000 to $1 million annually. He capitalized the launch of The Neo-Independentmagazine in 2002, the Choosing an Independent President process and national convention in 2004, "independent to independent" campaigns to enact Top Two Nonpartisan primaries in Oregon (2008) California (2010), and Arizona (2012) and Jacqueline Salit’s book Independents Rising in 2012.

He has appeared on Fox NewsandNBC,and his written commentary on the subject of independent politics and electoral reform has appeared inUSA Today and numerous local publications.

Opdycke is a member of the artist collective of the Castillo Theatre, the home for postmodern political theatre in New York City. He has been involved as an actor, sound designer, and producer in over 15 Castillo productions over the last 20 years, and is currently a member of Castillo's resident musical improvisation troupe, the Proverbial Loons.  

Opdycke grew up in Evanston, Illinois and attended the University of Michigan. He and his partner Kathy live in New York City.


Jeremy_edited_headshot_sized.jpgJeremy Gruber

Senior Vice President

Jeremy is the Senior Vice President at Open Primaries.  He is a lawyer, writer, and internationally recognized public policy advocate who has helped enact over 60 state, federal and international laws and regulations.  These include the successful passage of the first U.S. civil rights law in over twenty years, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), a federal law protecting Americans from genetic discrimination.

Gruber has wide ranging experience in public policy and public affairs work, public education, coalition and grassroots building. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, the FDA, and numerous state, federal and international legislative and regulatory bodies. Previously, he worked as the field director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Taskforce on Civil Liberties in the Workplace, then as legal director for the National Workrights Institute and more recently Executive Director of the Council for Responsible Genetics; a public interest organization focusing on bioethics.

Gruber is regularly featured in the press and is the author of three books, Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense published by Harvard University Press, Biotechnology in Our Lives published by Skyhorse Publishing, and The GMO Deception by Skyhorse Publishing.

Gruber received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from St. John's University School of Law and a B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University.

He and his wife live in Brooklyn with their two sons.

Read Jeremy's Open Primaries Story


RussellHeadshot.jpgRussell Daniels 

Creative Communications Associate

Russell is a Communications Associate with Open Primaries. He also works as a Development Associate at IndependentVoting.org. He is thrilled to be a part of the open primaries movement in this creative and collaborative role. Russell is also an actor in NYC and can be seen regularly in the Off-Broadway Interactive Show, "That Bachelorette Show" every weekend.

He also performs with his sketch team, Uncle Function, who recently had a five month winning streak at Upright Citizens Brigade's Backyard Brawl. In the past, he has worked with many regional theater companies including: American Shakespeare Center, Nebraska Shakespeare, Chenango River Theater and NTC Productions. Look for his upcoming web series, This is my Roommate at www.thisismyroommate.com coming in January of 2016.

He holds a Bachelors of Music from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and an MFA in Acting from The Professional Theater Training Program at The University of Houston.

Read Russell's Open Primaries Story

 


JessieFields_Headshot.jpgJessie Fields, MD

Board Member and National Spokesperson 

Dr. Jessie Fields is an attending physician in Internal Medicine affiliated with the Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. She maintains a primary care general medical practice at the Mount Sinai Faculty Practice in the Harlem community. She is on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and an adjunct faculty member at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. At both medical schools Dr. Fields is a role model for medical students pursuing careers in primary care in underserved communities.

Having grown up in a poor black community in Philadelphia, she set out on a career to bring better health conditions to poor urban communities. Dr. Fields was awarded a National Public Health Service Corps medical scholarship and attended Bryn Mawr College and the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1985, and became Board Certified in Internal Medicine the same year.

During medical school she worked on the West Side of Chicago at a neighborhood health center where she initiated a hypertension screening program. As a physician she would go on to practice at the same community health center.

Dr. Fields moved to New York City in 1991, initially working as a primary care physician for the Health Insurance Plan of New York, in Brooklyn and then for the 32-BJ Union Health Center in Manhattan. In 1994 she became affiliated with North General Hospital in Harlem and remained on the voluntary staff there until the hospital closed in 2010.

An advocate for the health of the Harlem community, Dr. Fields took her commitment to community health into the political arena and has run for public office as an independent candidate, including for Manhattan Borough President in 2005 and for other local offices. She is very active as an independent leader.  

Read Jessie's Open Primaries Story


AllyHeadshot_web.jpgAllison Minoux

Operations and Research Coordinator

Allison Minoux is the Operations Coordinator at Open Primaries. Allison has worked in the New York City Council as a Policy Intern. Prior to that, she worked at a community nonprofit as an Event Coordinator in Washington Heights.  

Allison is a native New Yorker; she graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning and Public Policy. While still in school, Allison worked at Open Primaries as a Research Intern where she helped draft content for this website and researched pending primary legislation.

She then joined the Phone Outreach Team where she has engaged voters from all over the country and organized support for primary reform. 

 

 

 


 

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Jason Olson

Director of National Outreach

Jason D. Olson is the Director of National Outreach at Open Primaries. He is a longtime political reform activist and nonprofit professional. In 2002 Olson founded IndependentVoice.Org, a California association of independent voters working to reform the political process. He was a leader in the passage of California’s Top Two Nonpartisan Primary (Proposition 14) in 2010 and the redistricting reform efforts of 2008 and 2010 in the state.

Olson has also worked in the international aid and development nonprofit community as the Operations Director for Architecture for Humanity. A graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, he is an independent political analyst who has appeared on CNN, Fox News, C-SPAN, and California radio stations.

Read Jason's Open Primaries Story

 




Jesse Shayne

Digital Director

Jesse Shayne is the Digital Director at Open Primaries. He previously worked for the American Jewish Congress, the New York State Assembly, and as a campaign organizer for progressive causes. He is also a political writer with a deep interest in progressive movements and reform, as well as the Middle East. He first became interested in the issues surrounding open primaries and voter disenfranchisement while serving as an intern for the Independent Voter Network, which ultimately led him to pursue a career in political advocacy work.

Jesse graduated Cum Laude from Skidmore College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2014. He now resides in Ridgewood, Queens and enjoys running and playing the drums in his free time.