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 Democratic Municipal Officials 2014 Board of Directors


Cindy Lerner
Mayor, Pinecrest, FL
Democratic National Committee Executive Committee Member










Mayor Cindy Lerner is an attorney who gave up the active practice of law to run for political office and has never looked back. Her legal advocacy was with the Guardian Ad Litem Program at Miami-DadeCounty’s Juvenile Court where she represented the best interests of thousands of abused and neglected children, and recruited, trained and supervised hundreds of pro bono attorneys for sixteen years. Her desire to reform that dysfunctional system led her into politics.She suspended the active practice of law in 1998 to focus on advocating for better, more proactive legislative policies and priorities and was elected, in 2000, to the Florida House of Representatives to represent District 119, which included Pinecrest and all South Miami-Dade. Her legislative district was eliminated in the 2002 redistricting effort however, making it impossible to run for re-election. She continued her advocacy as a professional consultant and sometime volunteer on numerous community boards and child advocacy organizations. She was elected as Pinecrest’s third mayor on November 4, 2008 and re-elected for a second term without opposition on Nov 6th, 2012

Mayor Lerner is the recipient of numerous awards and recognition for her extensive community service efforts, including : 2001 Freshman Legislator of the Year award- Human Services Coalition Of Miami-Dade; 2001 Florida Chapter Sierra Club: Legislator of the Year; 2001 Woman of Valor Award-National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Miami Section; 2002 Florida League of Conservation Voters - Silver Award ; 2006 In the Company of Women Pioneer Award , Miami Dade County; 2007 Founders Award, Women’s Emergency Network; 2009 Woman of Impact Award, Women’s History Coalition; 2010 Leadership in Government Award, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; 2011 Democratic Municipal Official of the Year.

Mayor Lerner currently serves on the Executive Board of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities as 2nd Vice President, on the Miami-Dade County Community Based Care Alliance, the 21st century Bond Oversight Committee for Miami-Dade County Public School District, Vice President for Critical issues for Sisterhood of Temple Beth Am. Mayor Lerner is a graduate of Tulane University and Emory University School of Law. Mayor Lerner is married to Dr. Irv Lerner, a veterinarian, and they have three adult children.


President Emeritus
Mayor, Los Angeles, CA

A fourth-generation Angeleno, Eric Garcetti grew up in Los Angeles and was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001, becoming one of the youngest city councilmembers elected in the city's history. He was re-elected in 2005 and later that year was chosen by his peers to lead the City Council as its President. In his first two terms in office, he has emerged as an effective local problem-solver and a progressive voice on citywide and national issues. Since his election, Council President Garcetti led the creation of the nation's largest Affordable Housing Trust Fund, oversaw the economic and cultural revitalization of Hollywood, initiated programs to build more parks and clean up our drinking water, and helped fight to reduce the city's business tax and bring more than five thousand new high wage jobs to Los Angeles and his district.

In 2006, on behalf of the Kennedy family and Kennedy Library, Caroline Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy gave the prestigious New Frontier Award to Garcetti, awarded to one elected official in the country under 40 years of age that best embodies John F. Kennedy's vision of leadership and idealism.

In addition to his service at the local level, Garcetti serves in the United States Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Junior Grade. He also served as the Obama Campaign Co-Chair for California. Prior to his election, Eric Garcetti taught public policy, diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College and the University of Southern California and was active with numerous community and non-profit groups including Human Rights Watch, the Pobladores Fund, and the Roth Family Foundation. He has worked on human rights issues on four continents. Eric Garcetti studied urban planning and political science at Columbia University, where he received his B.A. and M.A. in International Relations. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. He is married to Amy Elaine Wakeland. The couple are foster parents to two teenage children.

President Emeritus
Former Democratic National Committee Executive Board Member
Alderman, Chicago, IL

Known as a pioneer for political reform, governmental transparency and democratic governance, Joe Moore has represented Chicago's 49th Ward since 1991. the 49th Ward is one of the nation's most economically and racially diverse communities. In 2011 he was re-elected with 72% of the vote.

Moore recently served on the Board of the National League of Cities (NLC), a national organization that advocates on behalf of America's cities and towns, and now serves on its advisory council. In the past, he has chaired several NLC committees including the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Central Cities Council. Moore also served on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) where DNC Chairman, Governor Howard Dean, appointed Moore to a newly formed DNC Committee on Budget and Finance.



Vice President
Democratic National Committee Member
City Council Member and Former Mayor, Memphis, TN

Myron Lowery is a man who cares about people. He views his public service on the City Council as an extension of the community service he has provided most of his life.

For his efforts he has been honored by the Tennessee Jaycees as one of "Three Outstanding Young Men" in the state and the United States Jaycees honored him as one of "Ten Outstanding Young Men in America". In 2003, Councilman Lowery was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame for his community service.

Councilman Lowery has served as a board member of the Tennessee Municipal League, Tennessee Quality, Goals for Memphis, Leadership Memphis, Goodwill Boys Club, The Memphis Zoo, the Headstart Policy Council, and the Board of Trustees of LeMoyne-Owen College.

In the national arena, serves on the Board of Directors for National League of Cities and Myron has served as Vice-President of the National Association of Black Journalists and as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice- Chairman and Chairman of the Democratic Municipal Officials. In 1996, he was a speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Lowery is a member of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.

Councilman Lowery has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from LeMoyne-Owen College, a Master of Science in Education from New York University and a Master of Science in Urban Education from the University of Tennessee. He holds an honorary degree from Southeastern College of Technology.

Lowery is the only African American elected At-Large as well as from a Super District. He currently represents more than 330,000 Memphians. He is the Council's representative as a board member for the Riverfront Development Corporation and Regional Chambers.

Councilman Lowery and his wife Mary have one daughter, Carol Reaves and two sons, Carlos Reed and Mickell Lowery.

Representative to the DNC

Democratic National Committee Member
City Council President, Newark, NJ

Mildred Crump

Mildred Crump was sworn in as Newark 's first African-American councilwoman in the city’s 336-year history on July 1, 1994, bringing a much needed perspective to that governing body. A long-time community activist, she has been a consummate and consistent advocate for women, children, senior citizens, the disabled, working families, and those in need.

In July 2006, she was again sworn in as councilwoman at-large. And she again made history when she was elected as the first female president of the Newark Municipal Council, where she served until 2010.

In addition to local service on numerous boards, Crump has held leadership positions with:

  • First African-American President, Greater Newark Chapter of the New Jersey State Opera Guild
  • Founding Member, New Jersey Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.
  • Founding Member National Political Congress for Black Women of Newark
  • Founding Member Global Women's Leadership Collaborative of New Jersey
  • Member, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, a public service sorority

Crump was born in Detroit, Michigan, where she attended and graduated from the local public schools. Upon graduation from Wayne State University, she received the David D. McKenzie Honor Society Award as the "Most Outstanding Female Student for Leadership and Scholarship." Again making history, she was the first African-American Braille teacher in Detroit, and upon moving to New Jersey in 1965, she became the first African-American Braille teacher in this state. Mildred Crump is a competitive Bridge player.



City Council Member, Cathedral City, CA

Though a resident of Cathedral City since 1979, Greg didn’t become involved with Cathedral City government until much later. Initially working in hospitality and realty, Greg did not run for election until 1994. Nevertheless, his foray into politics was a success and he has served as a councilmember ever since. Greg has made a powerful impact on the lives of Cathedral City residents by developing a first-time homebuyer program, completing the city’s new public library, and assisting the police and other agencies to crack down on drug abuse in the Cathedral City area. He also helped oversee the rejuvenation of the city’s downtown area. Greg is currently working on initiatives to improve the health care system, environment, education, and economy. Other notable positions he holds include executive director of the Palms Spring Youth Center, President of the city’s Rotary Club, and board member of both United Cerebral Palsy of the Desert and the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy. He received his B.A. from Azusa Pacific University, his M.B.A. from University of Phoenix and graduated from a municipal government program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Greg Pettis was named our DMO of the Year in 2012.



Ian Pfeiffer
Alderman, Annapolis, MD











Alderman Pfeiffer received a Bachelors degree in Political Science from California State University at Sonoma. In 2001, he joined the staff of Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) as his Legislative Director. In this capacity, he managed the Member’s legislative operations with a focus on his role as a Senior Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. In addition, he also served as the staff associate to Representative Filner when he served as Ranking Member to the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

After many years on Capitol Hill, Pfeiffer accepted a year-long fellowship and earned a Master’s in Public Administration and Politics degree from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. While in graduate school, he developed the framework for an independent government relations consulting practice that would focus on smaller municipalities, companies, and community organizations, particularly those with transportation projects. He was interested in helping the kind of groups he saw as a Congressional staffer who had very legitimate business before the federal government but had little understanding of how Washington worked. Pfeiffer Government Relations was born in 2005.



Finance Chair
Joe Buscaino
City Council Member, Los Angeles, CA


Joe Buscaino (bOO-sky-EE-no) is a member of the Los Angeles City Council, elected on January 17, 2012 to fill the vacancy left by Janice Hahn, following her successful bid for US Congress. He was re-elected to his first full four-year term on March 5, 2013.

Councilman Buscaino quickly won the respect of his City Council colleagues, and was appointed by the Council President to serve as Chairman of the powerful Public Works & Gang Reduction Committee. As Chair, Buscaino is tasked with oversight of the City’s gang reduction efforts, and the Department of Public Works. Public Works is the City's third largest department and is comprised of a staff of more than 5,000 employees who are responsible for the construction, renovation, and operation of City facilities and infrastructure. The Department builds the City's streets, installs its sewers, and constructs storm drains as well as public buildings, rights-of-way, and service facilities.

Councilman Buscaino’s other committee assignments include Public Safety, Trade, Commerce & Tourism, Housing, and Arts, Parks, Health, Aging & River. In addition, he serves as the Mayor’s appointee to the South Coast Air Quality Management District as well as on the Board of Directors for the League of California Cities and the National League of Cities.

Prior to his election to the City Council, Buscaino served for 15 years as a police officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. His assignments included the Office of Chief of Police, West Traffic Division, Emergency Operations Division and, for the previous six years, Senior Lead Officer for the Harbor area, where he became a well-liked and well-respected leader in the community. He created the LAPD’s first Teen Community Police Advisory Board, an organization that works with teens to problem solve and break the barriers between police and teenagers. His concept of bringing youths’ perspectives to problem solving with the police department was implemented citywide in 2011.

Councilman Buscaino has lived in the 15th District his entire life, and is a first-generation Italian-American, whose parents emigrated from Italy over 40 years ago, in pursuit of the American dream.

Buscaino graduated Cum Laude, with a BA in Communication from California State University – Dominguez Hills.

He has served on Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Harbor

Area, the San Pedro YWCA’s Racial Justice Committee, and the Advisory Council for the Los Angeles Watts Summer Games and is active with Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church and various Italian-American organizations.

Joe and his wife, Geralyn, a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, are raising their two children in San Pedro.

The 15th Council District includes the Port of Los Angeles and the communities of San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway and Watts.



Chair of the Council of State Chapters
City Council Member, Winston-Salem, NC

Dan currently serves on the Board of the National League of Cities (NLC) and as chair of the Large Cities Council for NLC. He also serves as a member of the NLC Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee.

Dan Besse Served by appointment of the N.C. Governor on state rulemaking commissions:
* N.C. Environmental Management Commission (1993-2005)
* N.C. Sedimentation Control Commission (1994-2002)
* N.C. Coastal Resources Commission (1985-1993)
* N.C. Emergency Response Commission (1987-1992)
He most recently served as a member of the N.C. Climate Action Plan Advisory Group (2007-2008), which assisted the N.C. Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change with background, technical data, and action recommendations.

Dan represents the City of Winston-Salem on the following regional bodies:
* Piedmont Triad Early Action Compact. (Dan chairs the stakeholders committee for this regional effort for cleaner air.)
*Winston-Salem Urban Area Transportation Advisory Committee. (Dan represents the city on this regional planning board for transportation improvements.)

Dan graduated North Carolina public schools, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and UNC School of Law.
Active member, Ardmore Neighborhood Association. He is a public interest attorney and educator. He is a teacher and educator and has taught courses on environmental law, environmental policy, and government, at N.C. State University, Guilford College, Duke University, Forsyth Technical Community College, and Winston-Salem State University.


Chair of the Policy Council
Mayor, Gloucester Township, NJ

In 2010 the Honorable David Mayer became the mayor of Gloucester Township in New Jersey. While fairly recent, his commitment and dedication to the people of New Jersey has not been. In fact, David Mayer has a long history of working for the benefit of New Jersey and its residents. Earning his B.A. from Rutgers University in 1990, he went on to earn his M.P.A. from there as well, and in 2001 he earned his J.D. from their School of Law. Educated by one of New Jersey’s premiere universities, he began his career in government immediately after earning his B.A. From 1990-1995 he served as the District Director for Representative Robert Andrews. He then went on to serve as the chief of staff to Camden County Clerk James Beach until 2003. However, one year prior, in 2002, he was elected to Gloucester Township’s Council for one year before running for the State Assembly. He served in the assembly in 2003 and 2005 before returning to the municipal level and embarking on the road to mayor of Gloucester Township. Particular interests and areas of skill include education and financial reform.


DMO Board Member

Leland Cheung
City Council Member, Cambridge, MA


Leland Cheung is currently serving his second term on the Cambridge City Council, where he has been a strong leader in economic development, community building, and regional cooperation. In addition to being the youngest member of the Cambridge City Council, Cheung is the first currently enrolled student to be elected to the Council, as well as the first Asian American.

Currently, Cheung is the chair of the Cable TV, Telecommunications & Public Utilities Committee and the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee.

The son of immigrants, Cheung developed a deep appreciation for American values and the importance community participation. Guided by these principles, he ran for office on the platform of strengthening the community and creating opportunities for the next generation. Cheung carries out these beliefs as he advocates for job growth, government transparency and affordable housing across Cambridge each and every day.

Cheung was first elected in 2009 while pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to returning to graduate school, Cheung earned a BS in Physics, BA in Economics and MS in Aerospace Engineering from Stanford University. Following graduation, Cheung worked as a Senior Associate at Masthead Partners, a Cambridge-based venture capital firm focusing on digital media, mobile, and internet infrastructure.

Outside of work, Cheung has served as the Executive Vice President of The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAP), a non-profit that cultivates, empowers, and promotes Asian American leaders, and as a mentor at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay.

In 2009, Cheung worked as a Summer Fellow at the Department of Energy's newest agency, ARPA-E. Chartered by President Obama as the 'Venture Capital arm' of the DOE, ARPA-E was charged with making high-risk, high-reward investments with the potential to radically transform how America generates, delivers, and consumes energy. Cheung is also a Truman Partner and 2012 Eisenhower Fellow.

Additionally, Cheung is a member of Governor Deval Patrick’s Asian American Commission, Massachusetts State Chair for the Democratic Municipal Organization, Massachusetts Democratic State Committee member, member of the Policy Committee on Personnel and Labor Relations for the Massachusetts Municipal Organization, Steering Committee member on Community and Economic Development for the National League of Cities, connector for the Boston World Partnerships, member of the Leadership Committee on Expanding Democracy for the Young Elected Officials Network, and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative board member, a quasi-public agency that supports economic development in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Cheung can be seen commuting around Cambridge on a handmade electric scooter.



DMO Board Member
Chris Coleman
Mayor, St. Paul, MN


Chris Coleman took office as Saint Paul’s Mayor in 2005 after several years as a city council member, community and neighborhood leader. Immediately, Mayor Coleman set forth initiatives to make Saint Paul the most livable city in America. His priorities include working to close the achievement gap, creating sustainable and responsible budgets, and investing in the infrastructure of Saint Paul.

Mayor Coleman has achieved several of his goals, advocating for education and public safety, and being instrumental in championing the Green Line (Central Corridor Light Rail line)—the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the state of Minnesota.

These efforts and initiatives are all accomplished with sound fiscal management in mind and guided by a passion for the City of Saint Paul.

Mayor Coleman’s sound fiscal judgment transformed a decades-long practice of balancing the city’s budget using one-time fixes and gimmicks into structurally-balanced budgets that use ongoing revenues for ongoing expenses. Putting the city on solid fiscal ground positioned Saint Paul nationally as an attractive city for investment from new businesses and employers, and allowed Saint Paul to host large international events such as Red Bull Crashed Ice, the USA Gymnastics National Championships and the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Mayor Coleman is currently the President of the National League of Cities, a national organization of city leaders across the United States. In 2012, Mayor Coleman was elected as the Second Vice President of National League of Cities, and became the League’s Vice President in 2013.

Under Mayor Coleman’s terms, Saint Paul’s downtown has seen a revitalization. As light rail construction has progressed and more restaurants and entertainment venues have moved in, demand for housing has increased exponentially and downtown’s vibrant culture has grown.

Bridging the education gap for children has been at the core of Mayor Coleman’s agenda. Understanding that the future and current success of Saint Paul depends on our ability to equip our students with the tools for success from cradle to career, Mayor Coleman has introduced revolutionary programs such as Sprockets that focuses on how our students spend their crucial time outside of the classroom. Mayor Coleman has marshaled the best minds and resources to enrich the lives of children by extending social and academic opportunities beyond the school day, opening new doors of opportunity to a better life and creating a safe environment for them to live and play.

Under Mayor Coleman’s leadership, Saint Paul has become a national leader in green initiatives and sustainable living. Just after taking office in 2006, Mayor Coleman signed the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and has hired sustainability, energy, environment, sustainable transportation and water resources coordinators. The city’s sustainable investments include retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, equipping public places with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, and more.

Mayor Coleman’s top priority has always remained the safety of all residents and visitors to Saint Paul. Committed to building world-class departments that set the standard for service to residents and community, Mayor Coleman continues to invest in emergency personnel and training, as well as improved technology to assist them in keeping our communities safe.

Mayor Coleman and his wife, Connie, live in Saint Paul’s West Side, where they raised their two children, Molly and Aidan.



DMO Board Member
Van R. Johnson II
Mayor Pro Tem, Alderman, District 1, Savannah, GA

A native of Brooklyn, New York, he was educated in the New York City Public School System. He further matriculated at Savannah State College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and later, Master of Public Administration Degrees from Savannah State and Georgia Southern Universities.

In Savannah, GA since 1985, Mr. Johnson has served as Minister of Music, Musical Director or Associate Musician to many of Savannah's finest churches and singing aggregations. He is the Founder of God's Project, a local gospel organization that has donated over $20,000 to local non profit organizations.

He was a recognized air personality on XM 33 Satellite Radio and WSOK 1230 AM and was the host of "Open Line Outreach" for five years. He was also a featured weekly columnist in the Savannah Tribune and the Savannah Herald Newspapers.A former Chatham County Police Officer, he was one of the first School Resource Officers in Chatham County. He is still actively involved in law enforcement, providing training to members of the Chatham County Sheriff's Department as a State of Georgia certified law enforcement instructor. He is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society for Human Resources Management and a Certified Professional (CP)by the International Personnel Management Association (IPMA). He is currently employed by Chatham County Government as the Employee Services and Training Manager for the organization. He serves as the Director for the Chatham County Youth Commission, the Savannah Youth Council and he is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Johnson Group, Inc., which provides private consultation, motivational, training, and musical services.

A graduate and former Vice President of Leadership Savannah and a graduate of Leadership Georgia, his current affiliations include: Georgia Municipal Association, National League of Cities, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Fraternal Order of Police, Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP),the International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi, Pi Alpha Alpha, and Pi Gamma Mu.

Active in the Community,Alderman Johnson serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chatham County Department of Family and Children Services,President of the Board of the Wesley Community Centers, Founding President of the Savannah Metropolitan Chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA)and presently serves on the following Board of Directors: National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO),the Big Brother/Big Sister Program of the Coastal Empire, the Big Kidz Foundation, Goodness and Mercy Foundation, and the Savannah Regional Youth Detention Center Advisory Board. In 2010, he was selected by the Georgia Governor Perdue and the Obama Administration to serve on the Selective Service Local Board.


DMO Board Member
Patsy Kinsey
City Council Member and former Mayor, Charlotte, NC


Patsy Kinsey, a Democrat, is serving her sixth term as a member of City Council from District 1.

In July2013, Kinsey became Charlotte’s second female Mayor after being appointed to the office by her colleagues on City Council to serve out the remaining term of former Mayor Anthony Foxx from July to December 2013.Foxx had resigned his post as Mayor to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Kinsey was first elected in 2003 to serve her fifth term on Council. She chairs the Housing and Neighborhood Development Committee and is a member of the Council-Manager Relations and Transportation and Planning Committees.

She is the Council representative to the Discovery Place Board of Directors as well as the Centralina Council of Governments (COG) Executive Board, where she serves as secretary. She also serves on the Board of Charlotte Center City Partners.

Kinsey served on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners from 1990 to 1994. She has also served on the board of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, the Executive Board of the Central Council of Governments , and the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force. She was a member of the Mecklenburg County ABC Board, the Mecklenburg County Alliance of Excellence in Justice, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Landmarks Commission, and the City of Charlotte Historic District Commission.



DMO Board Member

City Council Member, Seattle, WA

Nick Licata grew up a political activist, but did not make his foray in politics until 1998. Prior to that, Nick worked in insurance, journalism, and education. However, once he joined Seattle’s City Council he hit the ground running and is now serving his fourth consecutive term. During his time on the City Council Nick has began Seattle’s Poet Populist Position, writes and maintains Urban Politics, an electronic newsletter, founded the Civic Foundation (which promotes neighborhood issues), is the acting President of the 911 Media Arts Board, founded Friends of Westlake Park, acts as the founding board member of CHHIP, and much more. He has a history of defending first amendment rights, protecting the environment and character of Seattle, and vehemently oppose redlining in Seattle and elsewhere. Nick Licata earned his B.A. from Bowling Green State University and his M.A. from Washington University.



DMO Board Member
Pam O'Connor
Mayor, Santa Monica, CA


Throughout nearly two decades of service, Mayor Pam O’Connor has championed policies and partnerships that enhance community livability and well being. She is particularly interested in issues that advance mobility, transportation and sustainability.Pam O’Connor was first elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 1994, and is currently in her fourth term as Mayor.

Mayor O’Connor has served on the Los Angeles County Metro Board since 2001, steering the planning, coordination, design, construction, and operation of the transportation/transit system for the nation’s most populous county. In this capacity, she leads Metro’s Sustainability Committee. Pam O’Connor is also Chair of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Board that oversees building of the light rail line that extends from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

Mayor O’Connor serves on the Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments, the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization representing six counties. As President in 2012, Pam O’Connor led the 84-member Regional Council in the unanimous adoption of the region’s first Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Pam O’Connor also served on the California Coastal Commission as an alternate from 2010 to 2012. This quasi-judicial regulatory body oversees land use issues that impact California’s coastline, with the goal of protecting and conserving the environment and preserving public access to this natural resource.

Mayor O’Connor works with cities throughout the world on environmental, sustainability and climate issues as a member of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability-USA Board. She is on the Board of Directors of the Local Government Commission, California Transit Association, National Association of Regional Councils and CalCog. Mayor O’Connor serves on Advisory Boards for the Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute, the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies in UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, and the University of California Collaboration on Sustainable Communities. She is an active member of the National League of Cities and the US Conference of Mayors.

Mayor O’Connor’s achievements have been recognized with the Southern California coalition Mobility 21’s Public Sector Leader of the Year Award (2012), Move LA Award (2012), LA League of Conservation Voters Environmental Champion Award (2012), Los Angeles County Chair’s Green Leadership Award (2008), American Planning Association—LA Distinguished Leadership Elected Official (2006). Pam O’Connor was recognized as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Transportation in Southern California by the Women’s Transportation Seminar (2010).

Program; Planner for the City of Pasadena; and Research Associate at the Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Pam O’Connor holds Masters’ degrees in Planning and in Technology Management from Eastern Michigan University and a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University.

Mayor O’Connor views community wellbeing as the natural next step in the evolution of local government, as well as a way to advance the connection between mobility and sustainability issues by looking at their impact through the lens of human flourishing.


DMO Board Member
Mike Suarez
City Council Member, Tampa, FL
Mike Suarez is a third generation resident of Tampa, with deep roots in West Tampa. After graduating from the University of South Florida with a Bachelors degree in Political Science and while completing work on a Master of Public Administration degree, Mike began working as an unpaid intern with Senator Bob Graham's office in Tampa. Within a few weeks he became a part time Staff Assistant and he eventually rose to take the Central Florida District Representative position in 1990. In his work for Senator Graham, Mike learned the finer points of serving the public interest.
In 1993 Mike left public service and began a career as an insurance professional working in several capacities. His 18 plus years in the business have included positions as a designer of insurance products for specific industries, insurance agency owner and currently as a producer and commercial risk manager for Insurance Office of America (IOA).
Prior to his election in 2011, Mike was involved with numerous local charities and professional organizations. He was the President of the Guardian Ad Litem Guild (renamed Voices for Children), served on the subcommittee for Urban Enterprises Initiatives and was Chairman of the Water Resource subcommittee for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a Board Member and past President of the Insurance Agents of Greater Tampa, a board member of the Centro Asturiano de Tampa and a board member of the Macfarlane Park PTA. From 1997 to 2004 Mike has helped select candidates to the U.S. Naval and Air Force Academies for Senator Graham and since 2005 for Senator Bill Nelson. He previously served the City of Tampa on the Civil Service Board and was Chair of the Equal Business Opportunity Advisory Committee.



DMO Board Member
A. C. Wharton
Mayor, Memphis, TN











A C Wharton Jr. is the 63rd mayor of the City of Memphis and the eighth mayor since city government was restructured into a mayor-City Council form of government in 1968.Mayor Wharton attended Tennessee State University, where he majored in political science and graduated with honors in 1962. Six years later, he entered the University of Mississippi Law School, where he was one of the first African-American students to serve on the Moot Court Board and the first African-American to serve on the Judicial Council. He graduated with honors in 1971, and three years later, he became the first African-American professor of law at University of Mississippi, a position that he held for 25 years.

In October, 2009, Mayor Wharton was elected Memphis Mayor with 61 percent of the vote in a field of 25 candidates. Filling the unexpired term left by the resignation of the former mayor, he announced the most detailed platform in modern Memphis politics, and since taking the oath of office, he has been energetic in implementing it. As a result, Memphis is in motion, achieving a record number of "firsts” that have reduced crime, improved city services, enhanced quality of life, and created new good-paying jobs for Memphians. In addition, for the first time in decades, Memphis is involved in national conversations about cities, including the Obama White House, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Brookings Institution, CEOs for Cities, National Endowment for the Arts, Mayor’s Institute of Civic Design. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked Mayor Wharton to help review his city’s anti-poverty plans, and with Mayor Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Mayor Wharton is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.

Mayor Wharton was reelected in 2011 for a full four-year term with 65 percent of the vote to 28 percent for his nearest opponent. He took office January 1, 2012, with a promise to usher in a new era of communication and collaboration and a concentrated focus on four key priorities: reinvesting in safe and vibrant neighborhoods, creating jobs and prosperity of all, giving every child a fair start in life through early childhood development, and a high-performing government that fights crime and inefficiency.

Mayor and Mrs. Wharton have been married 41 years and have raised six sons. Mayor Wharton was honored with the DMO Susan Burgess Memorial Award in 2012 given to a DMO who demonstrates a strong commitment to public education.


DMO Board Member
City Council Member, Cleveland, OH

Matt Zone

Councilman Matt Zone grew up in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood on Cleveland’s near west side and was elected to office in November of 2001. On council, Matt chairs the Sustainability Committee and is a member of the City Planning, Community & Economic Development, Health & Human Services, Personnel & Operations and Public Safety Committees.

Matt is recognized nationally, regionally and locally as a leader on environmental and arts & cultural issues. Currently, he serves as the Chair of the National League of Cities – Energy, Environment and Natural Resource committee. Regionally, Matt is the Past-President of the Northeast Ohio City Council Association (NOCCA) and one of the original members of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, which is working to create off-shore wind generation in Lake Erie. He also serves on the steering committee of the Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI) which is working to create a "Smart Growth” plan and "Revenue Sharing” for NE Ohio.


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