John Opdycke is the President of Open Primaries. He is an activist and strategist with more than 25 years of experience working in independent, alternative and reform politics. He is one of the country’s most visible and vocal advocates for primary reform.
Opdycke began his career as a fundraiser and researcher for the Rainbow Lobby, which advocated for ballot access and debate reform in the United States and supported the pro-democracy movement in the Congo (Zaire). In 1992, he joined Dr. 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 New York Democratic Party gubernatorial primary. That same year, he participated in the founding of the New York State Independence Party, a state affiliate of the National Reform Party. In 1998, became the director of development of Independentvoting.org, and between 1999 and 2014, developed a 50-state fundraising base and expanded Independentvoting.org's fundraising from $50,000 to $1 million annually.
He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and NBC and his written commentary on the subject of independent politics and electoral reform has appeared in USA Today, Newsweek, The Hill, and dozens of local publications.
Opdycke is a member of the Castillo Theater, the home for postmodern political theater in New York City. He was a member of Castillo’s improvisational troupe The Proverbial Loons for four years and will be directing a series of new improvisational shows in 2018. He grew up in Evanston, Illinois and attended the University of Michigan. He lives in New York City.
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.
Digital Communications Manager
Ophelia is the Digital Communications Manager for Open Primaries, where she manages digital properties, provides creative direction, and implements fundraising campaigns. Having worked for creative agencies, nonprofits, consulting firms, and digital publications, she has spent her career leveraging media to achieve social, political, and cultural change.
Before joining Open Primaries, Ophelia was the Communications Associate for Cities of Service, a nonprofit focused on citizen engagement, where she managed digital properties and produced a variety of marketing collateral. As an Associate at Greenlight Media Strategies, she created and managed direct mail for political candidates, political action committees (PACs), and nonprofits. Earlier, Ophelia was the Digital Social Change Fellow at Fenton Communications, where she supported issue advocacy campaigns for organizations such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, J&J Global Health, and Cycle for Survival.
Originally from Los Angeles, Ophelia earned her Bachelor of Media from the University of New South Wales and lives in Brooklyn.
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.
Jessie 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.