State Innovation Exchange Hires Veteran Grassroots Union Organizer as National Political Director

December 2014

DENVER – The State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a new organization devoted to promoting and advancing a progressive agenda at the state level, announced today that it has brought on Sean Hinga, a veteran grassroots union organizer, as its first national political director.

Hinga, who spent 12 years at one of the country’s largest unions, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), brings a wealth of campaign and policy experience to the organization. Sean was also responsible for helping build and support the progressive infrastructure in Colorado, which many across the country hold up as a model for progressive power-building at the state level.

“We’re delighted that Sean will be bringing to SiX his expertise in state infrastructure-building and legislative engagement,” SiX Executive Director Nick Rathod said today. “The organizing work Sean has done in Colorado to help advance a progressive agenda and to out-organize and out-maneuver those who have stood in the way of popular, progressive reform for too long will be invaluable to the organization. That’s a battle Sean’s been fighting his whole career, and we intend to draw upon that experience as we begin the hard work to build progressive power in states across the country.”

Hinga’s hiring comes on the heels of SiX’s inaugural conference, attended by more than 200 state legislators in Washington, DC last weekend. Speakers included U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Senator Bernie Sanders, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Van Jones, former White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

“I am excited to join a great team and work to push back against the conservative tide we saw in the midterm elections,” Hinga said today. “I am looking forward to working with leaders across the country to strengthen the middle class, enfranchise voters, make our kids safer, and protect our air and water.”

Hinga was previously AFSCME’s political and legislative director for Colorado. Over the years he has worked on campaigns in 29 states, including three presidential races.

He also helped to pass progressive comprehensive election reform (HB 1303) in Colorado. He began his career as a campaign staffer for Mark Udall and served in his congressional office. He has worked for several congressional campaigns and at the Democratic National Committee.