"The arms race for money that drives our campaigns threatens the concept of one person, one vote."
North Carolina Voters For Clean Elections
Melissa Price Kromm, Coalition Director
Ms. Kromm is the Director of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, North Carolina's leading voice for returning power to citizens and lessening the corrosive influence of special interests in state politics. Kromm serves as lobbyist and leader of the 40+ member coalition, which helped passed North Carolina's "Voter-Owned" public financing for select judicial and Council of State races, as well as the pilot municipal program. Under Kromm's leadership, in 13 municipalities across North Carolina passed resolutions opposing the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, leading to the filing of a joint House and Senate resolution opposing Citizens United in the NC General Assembly. Kromm's research on special interest spending has been featured in the Charlotte Business Journal, Facing South, Governing and other publications. Before joining N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, Kromm was part of a successful effort to pass same-day voter registration at early voting sites in North Carolina and a legal assistant at Wallace & Nordan specializing in election law.
Chris Kukla, President
Chris has been with CRL since 2002, and is primarily responsible for directing CRL’s North Carolina policy work. Chris also works with lawmakers and advocates in other states on consumer lending legislation. He received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School, and received his B.A. with honors from Alma College in Alma, Michigan. Prior to joining the Center, Chris worked for five years on Capitol Hill, most recently as Appropriations Associate and Counsel to U.S. Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York.
Brent Laurenz, Vice President
Brent Laurenz joined the Center as director of outreach in 2010. Prior to that, he worked in policy and government relations for the Civil War Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields. He received a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech and a master's degree in political management from George Washington University. In addition to his work at the Center, Brent also serves on the Board of Directors for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Triangle and the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission.
Bob Hall, Treasurer
Mr. Hall is the executive director of Democracy NC. He has been working with grassroots groups across North Carolina since 1970, collaborating with them on research projects on economic and social issues. He has served as executive director and research director with the Institute for Southern Studies and was recognized for that work with a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992.
Bob Phillips, Secretary
Mr. Phillips is the executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. His interest in campaign finance reform comes in part from his other work experiences which include television news reporter and press secretary for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. He is a native North Carolinian and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Mr. Andrews is the President of the North Carolina AFL-CIO. He served as the organization's Secretary-Treasurer for 13 years before being elected President. Originally from Warren County, NC, he helped organize a union at his plant in Henderson before becoming Director of NC Frontlash in 1974. He has several decades of organizing and advocacy experience in North Carolina
Ms. Chapin was an early supporter of campaign finance reform. She was the Co-President of the League of Women Voters of NC, Chair of the Board of Democracy NC and on the Original Board of NCVCE. Presently, she works as the Advocacy Chair of the League of Women Voters of Charlotte, Mecklenburg and State Coach for League of Women Voters.
Mr. Coulson is the former and founding president of NCVCE. A retired hospital executive, he devotes himself to good government issues. He serves on the Governing Board of Democracy North Carolina, of Common Cause/North Carolina and heads the Jane Bingham Chapter of Common Cause/NC, covering North Carolina\'s eleventh Congressional District.
Dr. Goerner is the director and co-founder of the Integral Science Institute, a non-profit research and educational center dedicated to developing the applications of Integral Science for human systems fields such as education, business, medicine, economics, and sustainability. With advanced degrees and professional experience in computer science/engineering, nonlinear dynamics, and psychology, Dr. Goerner's specialty is showing how major social, scientific, economic, and political crises and alternatives building in our time are all part of one common evolutionary transition, the movement from Modern to Integral society and from a mechanistic to a "web" worldview. She has spent the last 15 years working with a researchers from many fields to fuse the facets of Integral Science into a single, common-sense framework that can help clarify and unify the cultural, organizational and content reform efforts already underway in various endeavors. During this time she has lectured extensively throughout Europe, the United States and Japan on how the integral framework provides a solid, unifying understanding capable of crystallizing the shift from crumbling, Modern nation-states to a more intelligent and sustainable Global Integral civilization. Dr. Goerner is on the scientific advisory council of the European Academy of Evolution Research (Berlin), a member of the General Evolution Research Group, and past-president and co-founder of the Society for Chaos Theory in the Life Sciences, she has authored over 50 articles and two books, After the Clockwork Universe: The Emerging Science and Culture of Integral Society (1999), and Chaos and the Evolving Ecological Universe (1994). Two more books are in also press: The Coming Great Change in Education (2006) and Sustainability as the Cutting Edge of Great Change (2007). Less formally, Dr. Goerner is best thought of as scientific missionary devoted to helping smooth the social transition to the Integral Age by providing those already struggling with great change in business, education, health, community etc. a solid foundation and a clear vision of how their fragments of reform fit within a larger picture of what we need to do survive as a civilization.
Ms. Levy is the Voter Service Chairman of the League of Women Voters of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Her responsibilities include coordinating voter registration of new citizens on the day they are naturalized, administering a high school voter registration drive project, in which the 20 public high schools and about five private high schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are invited to conduct a voter registration drive. The student organizations such as NAACP chapters, student government, leadership groups and social studies classes run the drives themselves, under the supervision of the faculty advisor. The League gives an honorarium of $100 to each organization that successfully registers or pre-registers at least 35 students to vote. This project is now in its eighth year and through the years thousands of high school students have registered or pre-registered to vote. Her other interests include volunteering in the first grade of a local public school with a majority of Hispanic students, exercise classes, religious studies and Spanish conversation groups and classes. Prior to retirement her work experience included administering a high technology trade organization on Long Island, NY; and in Charlotte coordinating a commercial real estate organization, and administrative duties in property management firms.
Mr. Sotak is the Organizing Director for Democracy North Carolina and has been on the NCVCE board since 2005. He has been working with Democracy North Carolina (formerly Democracy South) since January 2000. Prior to his work at Democracy NC, Adam received his MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill and trained and worked as a labor organizer. He also spent two years working with at-risk youth. In 2001, he received the Humanitarian Award from the Charlotte-Black Political Caucus and in 2005 he received the 'Unsung Hero Award' from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP for his work for voting rights. He continues to work in the Charlotte area and throughout the state\'s Piedmont and western counties, encouraging citizens to take ownership of their democracy.
Jeanne Van Divender
Ms. Van Divender has over ten years experience as an information consultant. She has worked for several chemical and pharmaceutical companies in New York and North Carolina in their Knowledge Management and Informatics departments. She has been a Key Legislative Contact for AARP for two years. She is also a precinct judge for the Wake County Board of Elections. Ms. Van Divender received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia.
Mr. Wilson joined the North Carolina Justice Center as Deputy Director in January 2012. Prior to coming to the Justice Center, he was Associate State Director for Advocacy at AARP North Carolina. From 2000 to 2005, he worked for the NC Advocates for Justice as Director of Politics and Government Relations. He worked for the NC Association of Educators from 1990 to 2000, where he directed the government relations program. Wilson owned a technology consulting and research firm, and did survey research at the Research Triangle Institute. He has been a frequent speaker on legislative strategy, politics, and policies.
Wilson played a key role in several pieces of legislation that included creating a consumer rating system for North Carolina’s adult care homes, raising North Carolina teacher salaries to the national average, and eliminating the death penalty for persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities. His policy and advocacy work has included the areas of health care, taxes, education, legal issues, election reform, and aging policy.
He has degrees in journalism from UNC Chapel Hill and information studies from Syracuse University.