Elected officials and staff across the country are writing legislation that will shape our future.
The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a resource and strategy center that supports state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country. We have a long-term vision of building progressive power and infrastructure at the state level.
SiX is the result of an unprecedented merger of four organizations who combined forces to ensure that state legislators are empowered with top-notch research, training, policy expertise, communications support, political strategy and a space to network and share ideas.
Together, we are working to advance and defend policies that support working families, protect the environment, promote civil rights and strengthen our democracy.
Board of Directors
Naomi Aberly, Director
Naomi Aberly is a political activist and civic volunteer who focuses her efforts on Women’s Health. She has been deeply involved in progressive politics, policymaking and fundraising at the state and federal levels for the past fifteen years.
She is currently a Vice Chair of the DNC, and a member of the Democratic Victory Task Force of the DNA. Naomi is also an Advisory Board Co-Chair of Organizing for Action and co-founder of Women Invest to Elect, a political giving circle in Boston, MA.
She joined the Obama for America National Finance Committee in early 2007 and continued as a National Finance Committee member for the 2012 election. She has been a substantial fundraiser for Senate and House campaigns nationwide since 2004.
Naomi serves on the boards of both the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF). She is Vice Chair of the PPFA board and co-chairs the Development Council of both PPFA and PPAF. She also chairs the Planned Parenthood Federal PAC and created the PPAF Victory Circle.
She was elected a lifetime board member of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, having served that organization as development committee chair, Board Chair and Chair of its recent $20 million capital campaign. She also served on the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Action Fund board.
She is a former board chair of Annie’s List in Texas. She is a member of the Planned Parenthood Leadership Council, the Women Donors Network, and the EMILY’s List Majority Council. She is also an active supporter of the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Center for American Progress and the Texas Organizing Project.
In addition to her political work, Naomi has also served as a board member of the Belmont Hills School, Dallas Museum of Art, KERA Public Media for North Texas and The Center for Progressive Policy Priorities.
Paul Booth, Director
Paul Booth, a Washington, DC, native, was born for a life of public service unionism. His father worked for the U.S. Department of Labor and the International Labor Organization and his mother was a social worker. Paul attended Swarthmore College and earned a degree in political science. There, Paul was involved in the emerging student movement for participatory democracy and became national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society.
In that capacity, Paul organized the first march against the war in Vietnam. Then, at a University of Chicago sit-in, Paul met Heather Tobis, a campus leader. Three days later, he asked Heather to marry him. Two days after that, she agreed. Today, Heather and Paul are parents to Eugene and Daniel and grandparents to Henry, Sophie, Max and Oscar. Before joining AFSCME, Paul was a researcher at the Adlai Stevenson Institute and the research director for the United Packinghouse Workers. Paul worked with Saul Alinsky to form Citizens Action Program. He has been a board member of the Midwest Academy since its founding by Heather.
In 1974, Paul joined AFSCME as the International union representative for Illinois. He helped organize the state employees there, a hugely successful campaign that led to the founding of Council 31. He went to work for Council 31 and then returned to the International union as area director for Illinois.
As organizing director, Paul led AFSCME’s organizing program through the tumultuous Reagan years. While organizing director, he oversaw the union’s rapid growth in New Mexico, Maryland, Kentucky and Puerto Rico. Paul then took his organizing expertise to the executive office first as assistant and then executive assistant to the president. There, he worked with others to develop the AFSCME Organizing Model.
Raj Goyle, Chair
Raj Goyle is the CEO of Bodhala, a technology company in New York City. He was recently a business and philanthropic advisor to the family office of Shelley and Donald Rubin. A Kansas native, Raj served in the Kansas House (2006-2010), where he was the first Democrat elected in his district and the first South Asian elected in the state. In 2010, he ran one of the strongest campaigns in the country for election to the US House.
He served on the 2012 Obama National Finance Committee and was an early member of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign committee. He has served both as a Senior Fellow and a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.
Raj is a board member of the NYC Coalition Against Hunger and NewDEAL Democrats. Raj graduated from Duke and Harvard Law.
Mary Kusler, Director
Mary Kusler is the Director of Government Relations for the National Education Association. In her role at NEA, she oversees NEA’s advocacy with Congress and serves as its chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill representing over 3 million educators across the country.
Prior to joining NEA, Ms. Kusler served as the assistant director of policy and advocacy for the American Association of School Administrators for almost a decade. In her role with AASA, she represented more than 13,000 school superintendents and local educational leaders before members of Congress.
Ms. Kusler has served as an executive committee member and past president for the Committee for Education Funding, chair of the National Coalition for Public Education, a national coalition of education and religious liberty organizations dedicated to fighting against vouchers and on the National Forest County and Schools Coalition Board of Directors.
A native of New York, Ms. Kusler graduated from Fairfield University with a bachelor’s degree in theatre and politics. She completed her master’s degree in public policy at George Mason University in Virginia.
Andres W. Lopez, Director
Andrés W. López is an accomplished lawyer with over 20 years of experience and a distinguished record of leadership in the American Latino community. He serves as president and founder of his own law firm, focusing on complex litigation. He also served for two federal district court judges, in Boston, MA and San Juan, PR. Mr. López served on President Barack Obama’s national finance committee and became one of the top fundraisers in the country. During the 2012 campaign, Mr. López served as co-chairman of the Futuro Fund, a Latino-led group that broke all records for Latino presidential campaign fundraising and shattered stereotypes about the financial strength of Latinos in America. Mr. López serves on the DNC’s executive committee and co-chairs the DNC credentials committee. Mr. López received a presidential appointment to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Previously, Mr. López received a presidential appointment to a bipartisan commission that developed a feasibility study for a Smithsonian American Latino Museum on the National Mall. Mr. López serves on the board of The Solutions Project, a non-profit focused on renewable energy. Mr. López has an A.B. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Joel Rogers, Treasurer
Joel Rogers is the founder of the State Innovation Exchange. He was the director of CSI and ALICE, both of which had first been projects of COWS, the high-road research and strategy center he founded and continues to direct at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Joel is the Sewell-Bascom Professor of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs, and Sociology at Wisconsin. He has written widely on American politics and public policy. Along with hundreds of articles, his books include On Democracy, Right Turn, Metro Futures, The Forgotten Majority, What Workers Want, American Society, and, most recently, Cities at Work. He is also a contributing editor at The Nation and Boston Review.
Joel is a longtime social and political activist in the peace, labor, civil rights, and environmental movements. Over his career, he has worked for or advised many governments, candidates, and movement leaders, and helped found and operate several progressive NGOs, including the Center for a New Democracy, New Party, Economic Analysis and Research Network, Apollo Alliance, and Emerald Cities Collaborative.
Along with many academic honors, Joel is a recipient of one of the MacArthur Foundation’s annual “genius” prizes. Newsweek identified him as one of the 100 living Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century.
Ken Sunshine, Director
Ken Sunshine founded Ken Sunshine Consultants (later to become Sunshine Sachs) in 1991, and over the past three decades the firm has acquired clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations, labor unions, and political figures to some of the biggest household names in the entertainment, music, and sports industries. Sunshine Sachs specializes in: corporate image programs, crisis communications, reputation and issues management, consumer and lifestyle marketing, public affairs, media relations, event promotion, and communications skills training. Before starting his own firm, Ken ran the public relations department of ASCAP, where he supervised events featuring internationally acclaimed music artists.
Sunshine has advised on media consulting and public policy for over thirty years, and has been a longtime activist in the civil rights movement. Sunshine’s career in Democratic politics began with the McGovern Presidential campaign in 1972 when he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic Convention. For decades, Sunshine has advised many national and local campaigns for such candidates as Bob Abrams, Bella Abzug, Hugh Carey, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, David Dinkins, Bill Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Bill DeBlasio. He served as Chief of Staff to Mayor Dinkins.
He has lectured widely on public relations, politics, and image management and has been a guest on television interview shows such as The Today Show, Nightline, Dateline NBC, CNN, 60 Minutes and MSNBC.
Richard Trumka, Director
Richard Trumka is president of the 12.5 million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest organization of labor unions in the country. An outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, Trumka is the nation’s clearest voice on the critical need to raise workers’ wages in this slow and painful economic recovery. He heads the labor movement’s efforts to create an economy based on broadly shared prosperity and to hold government and employers accountable to working families.
Elected president of the federation in 2009, Trumka shapes the economy in two primary ways—by leading the mobilization of masses of working people through a nationwide network of state and local labor federations, and by working one on one with government executives, legislators and business leaders. The goal is adopting progressive, pro-worker laws and policies at every level to improve life for working families.
Trumka, who served as AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer from 1995 to 2009, has devoted his career to improving workers’ lives through a strong collective voice on the job. His leadership is focused on union organizing and collective bargaining, as well as the federation’s advocacy for labor law reform in Congress. Trumka also spearheads initiatives to help workers’ organizations partner or affiliate with the AFL-CIO, modeled after a 2006 partnership agreement with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). In 2011 the federation affiliated the National Taxi Workers Alliance and entered partnerships with the National Guestworker Alliance and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate Working America continues to expand, growing to more than 3.2 million members. Since 2003, Working America has organized in neighborhoods across the country, reaching people who do not belong to unions but who share union values.
Nicholas Rathod, Executive Director
Nick Rathod became the executive director of the State Innovation Exchange following the merger of PSN, CSI and ALICE. Prior to leading this organization, Nick served as the director of state campaigns for Mayor Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, where he oversaw legislative campaigns around issues of gun safety and violence prevention. He also served as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) assistant director of intergovernmental and international affairs, where he helped build the structure of the CFPB.
Previously, Nick served as a special assistant to the President and deputy director for intergovernmental affairs at the White House. He was responsible for setting up the Intergovernmental Affairs office for the Obama White House and was primarily responsible for President Obama’s policy and political work in the states and U.S. territories.
Nick served as a senior advisor to former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, and senior manager of state and regional affairs at the Center for American Progress. A lawyer by training, Nick has experience as a civil rights attorney and community organizer, with a focus on language access, housing discrimination, and immigrant rights issues. He is a founding member and former chairman of the board of directors of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering the South Asian community.
Nick is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American University Washington College of Law Alumni of the Year Award, National South Asian Bar Association’s Public Interest Attorney of the Year Award, and the Frederick B. Abramson Foundation Award, recognizing him as one of Washington, D.C.’s top public interest attorneys.
Peter Bailon, Chief of Staff and General Counsel
Peter Bailon serves as the Chief of Staff and General Counsel for SiX. In these roles he oversees day to day operations for SiX, coordinates program implementation, advises on program strategy and organizational development, and oversee SiX’s finances, HR, and legal compliance. Peter also works with program staff on state-level criminal justice reforms. Prior to working at SiX, he was a Senior Legislative Policy Analyst with the American Legislative & Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE), where his work focused on policy development and legislative research and analysis. Peter was also a researcher at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, a think and do tank housed at the University of Wisconsin Madison. In this role, he worked on a variety of projects, focusing primarily on state and municipal policies addressing resident integration and equity, transparency, and access in government institutions, as well as criminal justice reform. Peter has also spent time in private practice and worked with the ACLU of Wisconsin on challenges to Wisconsin’s felon disenfranchisement and voter ID laws. Before attending law school, he worked for nongovernmental organizations on a variety of infrastructure and child deinstitutionalization projects in East Africa and development initiatives in Thailand and northwestern Cambodia. Peter is a licensed attorney in Wisconsin. Peter holds a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Arriana Belkin, Associate Legislative Director
Arriana Belkin is the Associate Legislative Director at SiX. In this role, she focuses primarily on developing and deepening relationships with state legislators and organizational partners across the country. Before SiX, Arriana worked at America Votes in Colorado, where she focused on strategic planning and voter projections for the 2016 election cycle. She also served as a summer coordinator for Leslie Herod’s successful campaign for state representative in Colorado. As an organizer for New Era Colorado in 2014-2015, Arriana played a significant role in executing the organization’s pre-registration program in Denver and Jefferson County public high schools. She is a recent graduate of the University of Denver, where she earned a dual B.A. in Sociology and Pre-Law. While at the university, Arriana served for three years as co-chair of the Center for Multicultural Excellence’s Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence. She maintains a deep and abiding commitment to economic and social justice and to highlighting the importance of diversity and youth outreach.
Anthony Gad, Director of Research
Anthony Gad is the Director of Research at SiX. In this role, Anthony manages program activities related to research and technical assistance for state legislators, creation of legislative and policy publications, and the development of online legislative research tools. Prior to the creation of SiX, Anthony was the assistant director for research and legislative drafting services at the American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE) and lead efforts to develop an online library of model and exemplary laws, as well as legislative research support to state legislators. Anthony has also worked as the policy director for the Center for State Innovation (CSI), which acted as a conduit of progressive policy ideas between experts and state executives. At CSI, he organized a range of policy academies for governors’ offices around the country. His work has also included researching public financing models, and he has coauthored economic impact analyses on public banking. Anthony previously worked as a legislative analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB). At the LRB, Anthony authored public policy briefs on a variety of issues, served as reference staff in the legislative library, and worked closely with legislative offices to provide customized research. Prior to graduate school, Anthony served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania, working on NGO and community development projects. He received a BA from Boston University and MPP from Georgetown University.
Vanessa Harmoush, Digital Communications Manager
Vanessa Harmoush is the Digital Communications Manager at SiX. In this role, Vanessa handles the organization’s online engagement and digital media efforts. Prior to working at SiX, Vanessa served as a production intern at the Al Jazeera America news network in Washington, D.C. She also assisted with constituent outreach and media relations as an intern for former U.S. Senator Mark Udall – an experience that sparked her interest in progressive politics. Before she found her niche for progressive politics, Vanessa worked at various print and tv news stations around Colorado where she wrote and produced in-depth story pieces. Vanessa graduated with a Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and Leadership from the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder. She was born in Colorado and spent half of her childhood living overseas in Lebanon, where she learned three languages: French, English, and Arabic. In her spare time, Vanessa loves to travel to faraway places and try the delicacies of that region.
Sean Hinga, Program Director
Sean Hinga is the Program Director at SiX. In this role, he coordinates and champions progressive legislative policy across the country and provides support to state legislators. A Colorado native, Sean has nineteen years of political experience. In his thirteen years with AFSCME, he worked on the ground or desked campaigns in twenty-nine states and Puerto Rico, including three Presidential races. As AFSCME’s Colorado Political and Legislative Director, he ran campaigns throughout the state and worked to pass bills like HB13-1303 that modernized elections. Additionally, Sean has extensive political targeting, policy and fundraising experience. He began his political work as a staffer on Mark Udall’s 1998 campaign for Congress and served in his Congressional office. He has worked on several Congressional campaigns, at the Democratic National Committee and was on assignment as Managing Director of Project New West (now Project New America) for the 2010 cycle.
John Magnino, Legislative Director
John Magnino is the Legislative Director at SiX. In this role, John works to develop and deepen relationships with legislators, legislative staff, and organizational partners in states across the country. Before joining SiX, John worked at the American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE) helping to develop an online library of progressive state-level and local legislation. Prior to ALICE, John worked at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in a number of roles relating to party-building, membership, and administration. John is a 2015 fellow of New Leaders Council – Wisconsin and currently serves on the board of New Leaders Council – Colorado. John received his Master’s of Public Affairs from the La Follette School of Public Affairs with a emphasis on social policy. John graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. John originally hails from Arlington Heights, Illinois.
Karen Moldovan, Associate Legislative Director
Karen Moldovan is the Associate Legislative Director at SiX. In this role, she focuses primarily on developing and deepening relationships with state legislators and organizational partners across the country. Before SiX, Karen was the Director of Policy at LiveWell Colorado where she developed policy strategies at the municipal, state, and federal level to advance healthy food access, active transportation, and health equity in Colorado. Karen also worked as the Director of Policy for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) for six years. In that capacity, she conceptualized and championed numerous legislative efforts regarding response to sexual violence in Colorado, with a focus on increasing survivor access to critical medical services. Prior to CCASA, Karen served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga. Following her Peace Corps service, she returned to the U.S. and assisted in conceptualizing, drafting, and passing The Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act—federal legislation that created a comprehensive response system for Peace Corps Volunteers who become victims of crime during their service. Her professional experience has often focused on working with underserved populations, including survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, families experiencing homelessness, and pregnant and parenting youth. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and gender studies and a master’s degree in teaching.
Jon Monteith, Director of Communications
Jon Monteith is the Director of Communications at SiX. In this role, he oversees the organization’s communications strategy, media relations, and overall branding. Prior to joining SiX, Jon served as Communications and Engagement Director for Mental Health Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. He also led communications for One Colorado, the primary statewide group advocating for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. While there, he played a key role in the removal of anti-transgender exclusions in Colorado’s health plans, efforts to build public support for marriage equality, and the defeat of several anti-equality bills in the state legislature. During his time in Washington, DC, Jon served as chief speechwriter for the Democratic National Committee, worked for the policy team of the Human Rights Campaign, and was a press aide to former U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL). He currently sits on the board of directors for the Delores Project, a homeless shelter serving women and transgender individuals in the Denver community. Jon graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a dual concentration in Rhetoric and Political Science.
Sam Munger, Director of Special Projects & Senior Advisor
Sam Munger is Senior Advisor and Director of Special Projects at SiX. He began his political career while he was still in high school as a volunteer on the 1992 Clinton campaign, and has been working in the fields of public policy and politics ever since. Sam’s previous experience includes working as an Analyst for a prominent Democratic polling firm, as a legislative researcher for a national consumer advocacy watchdog, and as a researcher for The Nation magazine, as well as working for John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential campaign, where he ran the campaign’s overnight tracking and other research. Prior to joining SiX, he was a founding member and head of outreach for the American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE), a project to develop an online library of model and exemplary laws and provide legislative research support to state legislators. From 2008 to 2014, he was Managing Director of the Center for State Innovation (CSI), which provided policy resources and technical assistance to Governors and state and local policymakers. Sam has presented on public policy topics for a wide range of audiences and written for publications including Campaigns and Elections, The Nation and the Newsletter of the National Center for Children in Poverty. He holds a JD from NYU School of Law and clerked for two years in the Southern District of New York. Sam currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his lovely wife and two highly energetic children and in his spare time enjoys hiking, biking, writing about and playing Ultimate Frisbee and drinking local beer.
Molly Noble, Director of Partnerships
Molly Noble is Director of Partnerships at SiX. In this role Molly works with leading policy and advocacy organizations to provide policy guidance and a legislative strategy to state legislators interested in advancing a progressive agenda. Before SiX, she was a researcher and founding team member of ALICE where she drafted model legislation, wrote policy memos and toolkits, and helped to build ALICE’s library and website. She received her BA in Metropolitan Studies at New York University and her MA in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a focus in economic and organizational sociology. As a graduate student she represented the interest of graduate student workers as an active member and treasurer of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, and as an executive board member of AFT-Wisconsin. Prior to moving to Madison she worked at the New York City Department of Small Business Services in the Neighborhood Development Division and One City/One Community, a non-profit aimed to increase communication among NYC social service agencies.
Preethi Raghavan, Development Director
Preethi Raghavan is the Development Director at SiX. In this role, Preethi manages the organization’s fundraising and development work and provides strategic support to the Executive Director. Prior to this role she served as a Senior Advisor for State Campaigns at Mayor Bloomberg’s gun violence prevention group, Everytown for Gun Sense. She also served as a Special Assistant to Director Richard Cordray at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She began her career on Capitol Hill as a health Legislative Assistant at the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. After graduating college, she also served as a development intern at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. She received her BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a dual concentration in Economics and Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science. It was during this time her interest in politics was ignited, after serving as a summer intern for Member of Parliament Dawn Butler in the House of Commons in London, England. In her spare time, Preethi enjoys eating good food, spending time with family and friends, and Pilates.
Where did the State Innovation Exchange come from?
SiX combines the resources of three previously independent state policy non-profits: the Progressive States Network (PSN), the American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE), and the Center for State Innovation (CSI). Consolidating resources from each of these organizations allows SiX to offer an unprecedented home for state and local elected officials to discuss and drive progressive policy initiatives, building on the best ideas and the greatest successes from across the country.
What resources does SiX offer?
To begin with, our library of legislation allows you to look at model legislation from across the country on a range of issues. For additional resources specific to any of our issue priorities, visit the issue priorities page.
What can I do to support SiX?
Thank you for your support! If you find our resources helpful, sign up to receive e-mail updates from us. Share SiX with your friends and colleagues through Twitter, Facebook, or email. Finally, consider making a donation to help us continue moving this work forward.