Meet Our 2017 Progressive Heroes!

WFP Progressive Heroes 2017We’re proud to announce the launch of WFP’s Progressive Heroes 2017 project! We’re mobilizing a huge grassroots team of activists to help elect awesome down-ballot progressives across the country this fall.

Change in America always begins at the grassroots. This year, we’ve endorsed nearly 1,000 local candidates nationwide, many of them activists and organizers who thought they could make a difference in their community and stepped up to the plate to do it.

Together, we can help elect this next generation of progressive heroes to local office all over the nation — below are just a few of them. Got a few minutes to make some calls to help get out the vote? Click here to start phone banking.


Randall Woodfin
Mayor (Birmingham, AL)
Randall is running for mayor because he wants to make Birmingham work for all of its citizens. He believes that in order for Birmingham to be successful as a city over the long haul — the emphasis has to be on investing in young people. Not just in education, but in all aspects of their lives, in every area that encourages and supports their growth and development and provides them with opportunities to be engaged in the ongoing growth of the city.
LaToya Cantrell
Mayor (New Orleans, LA)
Whether fighting for more affordable housing in the city or a $15 minimum wage or advocating for strong criminal justice reform to end the school to prison pipeline in our city and take on the bail bond industry – LaToya has clearly demonstrated her commitment to fight for the issues that matter most to New Orleans’ working families.
Dimple Ajmera
City Council, At Large (Charlotte, NC)
Dimple is the first Asian-American and youngest woman to ever serve on the Charlotte City Council. She is fighting for safe neighborhoods, economic opportunity and expanding the mass transportation system in Charlotte.
Yvette Simpson
Mayor (Cincinnati, OH)
Yvette is currently serving her second term on Cincinnati City Council and chair the Human Services, Youth, and Arts committees and serves on several others, including the Budget & Finance committee. She has worked to bring paid family leave, youth to work programs, and homeless employment programs to Cincinnati.
Vincent Fort
Mayor (Atlanta, GA)
Senator Fort has consistently been a powerful progressive voice in the fight for economic equality that promotes a living wage, expands healthcare for everyone, and protects the environment. He is nationally recognized as a leader in the fight against predatory lending practices and foreclosures after authoring model legislation in 2001.
Braxton Winston
City Council, At Large (Charlotte, NC)
Braxton seeks new models of engagement for communities who have historically been left out of the Charlotte decision-making process. As a citizen journalist, he presents the public with stories not covered by traditional media outlets and his journalism serves to amplify and uplift voices from Charlotte’s most challenged communities by providing a lens that focuses on the impacts of injustices in our city.
Tristan Rader
City Council (Lakewood, OH)
Tristan was a local field director for Senator Bernie Sanders and a co-founder of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus in Lakewood. As a council member he will push back against privatization, and defend first-rate public services and good local jobs. He will work to ensure that Lakewood promotes a diverse economy, and maintains a diverse housing stock with places for all age groups and income levels.
Lydia Edwards
City Council, District 1 (Boston, MA)
Lydia is an African American legal services attorney and member of UAW local 9. She currently work for the city of Boston preventing displacement. Prior to working for the city Lydia was part of the state wide organizing effort to expand worker rights to domestic workers in Massachusetts.
Susan Swanson
State Representative, 7th Legislative District, Position 1 (WA)
Susan is a 4-year Navy veteran and 28 year+ retired federal civil servant. She is running to protect public education, protect health care, protect Planned Parenthood, protect working families abilities to earn a living wage, grow our rural economies, and so much more!
Garlin Gilchrist
City Clerk (Detroit, MI)
After a successful career as a software engineer at Microsoft, technology entrepreneur, and political organizer with and the Obama campaign, Garlinreturned home to Detroit with his wife Ellen and then-ten-month-old twins Garlin III and Emily Grace to become the City of Detroit’s Director of Innovation and Emerging Technology. He has made city services easier to use, city information easier to access and understand, and city departments work better together. At work and in his neighborhood, Garlin works hard to make Detroit a city that works for everyone.
Vernetta Alston
City Council, Ward 3 (Durham, NC)
As a lawyer, Vernetta has devoted her professional career to helping advance progressive ideals through social justice work. Through her work representing death-sentenced individuals, she sees how structural racism, poverty, and fear born out of hatred and lack of understanding funnel whole communities of people into a deeply flawed criminal justice system. She has been a steady voice for abolition of the death penalty, against racial injustice, and for those who often have no other advocate.
Yes We Can: Columbus Working Families
Candidates for City Council and Board of Education (Columbus, OH)
WFP's affiliate in Columbus, OH, Yes We Can: Columbus Working Families has recruited a strong slate of candidates to run against incumbent Democrats in Columbus' municipal elections. hey have been running on a platform of smart affordable development instead of big tax giveaways to corporations and fighting for criminal justice reform and public education. (Will Petrik and Jasmine Ayres for Columbus City Council, and Abby Vaile, Amy Harkins, Erin Upchurch for Columbus Board of Education)

We’re mobilizing a huge grassroots team of activists to help elect awesome down-ballot progressives across the country this fall. Sign up here to be a part of our Progressive Heroes 2017 project and learn how you can help elect progressive heroes across the country.