2019-2020 Leadership in Action Partners

MAINE PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE

State Advocate: Ben Chin, Deputy Director
Senior Leader:  Judy Feder

Ben Chin is the Deputy Director of Maine People’s Alliance. From 2011-2018, Ben served as MPA’s political director, where he oversaw MPA’s lobbying and electoral work. Prior to that, he was a community organizer focused on immigrant rights. He started at MPA in 2005 as a canvasser and canvass director. Throughout his time at MPA, Ben has helped build the team that has won a minimum wage increase for one in three Maine workers, expanded Medicaid coverage to 70,000 people (first state to do through ballot measure), passed America’s first policy guaranteeing workers five days of paid time off for any reason, and proposed a vision for universal home care and childcare. He has run statewide electoral campaigns, and lives in Lewiston with his wife and two children.

https://www.mainepeoplesalliance.org

HEALTH ACCESS CALIFORNIA

Advocate: Ronald Coleman, Director of Policy and Legislative Advocacy 
Senior Leader: Mary Kennedy

Ronald E. Coleman, Director of Policy and Legislative Advocacy, joined Health Access in 2018 and represents California’s health care consumers in the State Capitol. He leads our legislative, budgetary, and administrative advocacy portfolio, and manages Health Access’ Policy Team.

In 2018, Ronald managed his own advocacy firm and lobbied on behalf of the ACLU of California, the California Low-Income Consumers Coalition (CLICC), and the California Street Vendors Campaign; while he also engaged in outreach on behalf of SEIU. Prior to that, Ronald was the Director of Government Affairs at the California Immigrant Policy Center, where he led numerous legislative and budgetary campaigns to improve the lives of California’s immigrants and communities of color. Ronald was also the Legislative and Policy Director at both ACORN and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), where he represented low-to-moderate income families on a wide range of economic justice and consumer protection issues.

Ronald received his Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center, and his BA in Political Science from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. He is originally from New Jersey, and a member of their State Bar.

https://health-access.org/

ALABAMA ARISE

State Advocate: Debbie Smith, Organizer
Senior Leader: Armika Berkeley

Debbie Smith is an organizer with Alabama Arise. Based in Fort Payne, she works to expand Arise's outreach and growth in north Alabama. She is from Meridian, Miss., and has a B.A. and M.S. degrees in speech communication from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Before joining Alabama Arise in 2018, Debbie served as a communications assistant at the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program (MHAP). During her time in this role, Debbie provided support for MHAP’s Affordable Care Act Implementation Project and the Mississippi Food Policy Council. She then transitioned to a position at MHAP’s consumer assistance program, Health Help Mississippi. While working at Health Help, Debbie served as a certified application counselor, helping consumers sign up for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, and CHIP.  

https://www.alarise.org/

ARC OF GEORGIA

State Advocate: Elizabeth Snarey
Senior Leaders: Jeff Keilson

Elizabeth Snarey is the Director of Programs and Family Supports at The Arc Georgia. Elizabeth carries a Master of Social work degree as well as 5+ years’ experience working as a paralegal at an elder and special needs law firm where she gained an in-depth understanding of state programs and supports for families and caregivers of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. As a social worker, Elizabeth understands the importance of a wholistic approach when serving people and communities. In addition, she has spent time working closely with communities of color to remove food insecurities for elementary aged children. Her participation in the year-long fellowship program, Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) program developed her leadership and evaluation skills through participatory action research projects and focus groups. She spent her undergraduate career at Emory where she studied English and developed a passion for advocacy.

At The Arc, Elizabeth serves as the Grassroots Organizer for a collaborative project around Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) in the state of Georgia. The project’s grassroots efforts emphasize the importance of receiving the stories of all people and making sure the voices of individuals who experience intellectual/developmental disabilities are at the table and part of the conversation around transportation as a social determinant of health. In addition, Elizabeth has spent time working closely with communities of color to remove food insecurities for elementary aged children. Her passion for advocacy and inclusion had very personal beginnings, as Elizabeth is the parent to a child who experiences a progressive disability. Elizabeth lives in Atlanta with her 11-year-old son Michael.

https://ga.thearc.org/