John Opdycke is the President of Open Primaries. He is an activist and strategist with 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 expanded Independentvoting.org's fundraising from $50,000 to $1 million annually.
He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Cheddar TV, PBS, 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 performs and directs improvisation at the Castillo Theatre, a multi-racial home for black, political, and avant-garde performance in New York City. 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 Communication Manager
Russell Daniels manages digital communication, content creation, and video production for Open Primaries. He maintains the websites and on-line campaign hubs and creates content for distribution across all of our digital platforms. Russell is also an accomplished actor. He can be seen regularly with his sketch team, Uncle Function at the Peoples Improv Theater or on the house team, House of Birds at Maude Night at UCB Theatre in New York. He has worked with regional theater companies including the American Shakespeare Center, Nebraska Shakespeare, Chenango River Theater and NTC Productions.
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.