About me

I’m a political activist, teacher and writer who lives in the West Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.

I became the Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, an organization that does strategic policy research and analysis, advocacy and organizing December 2015.

Prior to joining PBPC I worked as the Grassroots Coordinator of the Allyson Schwartz for Governor campaign; as the Executive Director of Penn ACTION, where I worked to protect funding for education and women’s health care and expand Social Security; the Pennsylvania Director of Health Care for American Now, which led the largest issue advocacy campaign in Pennsylvania history in support of what became the Affordable Care Act; and the Health Care Campaign Manager for SEIU Pennsylvania State Council.

I was an academic for 25 years before becoming a full-time activist and organizer in 2007. I have a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a doctorate from Harvard University, both in political science. I taught at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; City College of New York; the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; and Temple University, where I was the associate director and internet coordinator of the Intellectual Heritage Program.

I’ve written papers on political philosophy, the history of political thought, American politics, and politics and film. I’m the author of the book Grassroots Advocacy and Health Care Reform: the Health Care for American Now Campaign in Pennsylvania, published in 2013. I recently finished two new books, Liberalism and Communitarianism Revisited and Civilization and Its Contents: Reflections on Sex and the Culture Wars. I’m also the co-editor of Ambiguity in the Western Tradition.

I was a political and community activist while an academic as  a member of One Philadelphia and a founder of Neighborhood Networks, a Philadelphia progressive political organization for which I lead successful campaigns for ethics reform in Philadelphia and for raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania. I was member of the steering committee and a staff member of the Pennsylvania Transit Coalition which advocated successfully for new transit funding statewide. I also served three terms as President of West Mt. Airy Neighbors, a Philadelphia community organization, where I helped save historic buildings from destruction, block unwanted development, and bring a new supermarket and neighborhood / school playground to the community. I ran for City Council at Large in 2007 and State Representative in 2004 and have worked on many political campaigns as an internet coordinator and field organizer.

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