Welcome to the EDF Action Campaign Academy
Learn how to run smart political campaigns -- with a strong environmental message -- from some of the best strategists on both sides of the aisle.
What is Campaign Academy?
Today, more voters than ever believe elected officials should protect our air, water, and climate — but there are not enough champions in our city halls, state legislatures, and the U.S. Capitol fighting for strong action. Across the country, too many candidates are missing an opportunity to use environmental values and climate action as a winning issue. That’s why EDF Action has designed a first-of-its-kind course to give candidates the tools they need to connect the environment to their local campaigns — and win.
Check out our highlight reel about how to best communicate on environmental issues.
What You'll Learn
Through the EDF Action Campaign Academy, you’ll hear from some of the brightest and most successful political minds in the country. They will give you the insight and skills you need to become a stronger environmental advocate and a winning candidate or campaign staffer. You’ll learn about current public opinion surrounding environmental issues, how to craft a values-driven message, the best ways to deliver a consistent message through all aspects of your campaign, and how to respond to attacks on the environment and your campaign.
Meg Ansara is a political strategist who served most recently as the Battleground States Director for Hillary for America. She was previously National Regional Director for the 2012 Obama for America campaign, where she oversaw the grassroots and public engagement programs in the Midwest and southern states.
Luis Avila is the President and Founder of Iconico Campaigns, a company that works to build advocacy capacity in organizations around the country. Migrating in 2000 from Mexico, Luis stayed in the U.S. to attend college, where he developed projects with people involved in arts, politics and social justice. In 2004, Luis learned about civic participation in Jackson, Mississippi, as part of the American Freedom Summer program. He collaborated with organizers and leaders to advocate for the DREAM Act, fight against SB1070 and challenge Sheriff Joe Arpaio's discriminatory practices in Arizona..
Andrew Baumann began his career as a physicist before deciding to give up super colliders for Senate campaigns. Since becoming a strategist and pollster a decade ago, he has provided research and strategic advice to political campaigns, issue advocacy organizations, and corporations.
Mark Beatty is a Founding Partner with 270 Strategies who served as deputy battleground states director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama. In this role, he had primary responsibility for the strategic campaign plans for each of the 10 battleground states, and managed the campaign's $150 million state program budget, the largest on record for any presidential campaign.
Jeremy Bird is President and a Founding Partner at 270 Strategies with extensive experience working with startups, domestic and international political campaigns, labor and policy organizations, and Fortune 500 companies. He helped launch 270 Strategies after serving as the national field director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama. Jeremy is also the founder of Battleground Texas, a long-term grassroots effort to get out the vote and register millions of Texans whose voices have been silenced in the political process.
Joe Bonfiglio leads EDF Action, Environmental Defense Fund’s 501(c)4 sister organization. In this role, Bonfiglio focuses on developing and executing advocacy strategies designed to deliver environmental policy and legislative wins. In the past year, under Bonfiglio’s leadership, EDF Action has successfully fought against draconian budget cuts for EPA and other agencies, and has lobbied against unqualified nominees for important protective roles – including chemical and tobacco industry consultant Michael Dourson’s nomination to lead EPA’s toxic chemicals office.
Kate Catherall is a Co-Founder and Partner at The Arena, an organization that activates the next generation of civic leaders in pursuit of a more equitable and inclusive democracy. Kate has a decade of experience in leadership and management, having started as an organizer on President Obama's campaign in 2008. Kate has worked as a strategist and consultant with causes, candidates, and political parties across 40 countries.
Rick Davis is a Republican strategist with a long and distinguished career in both the public and private sector. Having served on President Ronald Reagan’s political team, Mr. Davis also served in three Reagan Administration Cabinet Agencies including as White House Special Assistant to the President for the Domestic Policy Council. In his capacity in the White House, Mr. Davis managed all domestic policy development including issues related to Climate, Energy and Environment.
Kathleen Gasperine has more than 7 cycles of experience working on high-profile, democratic political campaigns and in the national leadership of nonprofit development. As a veteran of the three most recent presidential campaigns, she is a seasoned and strategic fundraising professional who specializes in forging strong relationships and building dynamic, effective teams.
Sarah Horvitz has spent the last decade organizing and training for candidates across the country. She is currently the Political Director at Run for Something, a PAC dedicated to helping the next generation of Democrats run for local and state office. Prior to Run for Something, she worked on Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign as a Deputy Organizing Director in Virginia and was also a member of the Iowa Caucus team. She previously worked in San Francisco as a consultant for BMWL & Partners.
Tony Kreindler is the former senior government relations director for Environmental Defense Fund and its advocacy partner, EDF Action, where he works with members of Congress to advance bipartisan solutions to the most challenging environmental problems. He has also served as EDF’s senior strategic communications director and national media director during major legislative campaigns at the state and federal levels. Prior to joining EDF, Tony was chief executive of a Washington, DC-based news and research company and worked as a reporter covering the executive branch and Congress through three presidential administrations.
Robby Mook is a nationally recognized political strategist, who has organized winning organizations at the local, state and national level. Mook served as Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, where he built a $1 billion, 50-state, 4,500 person organization. He also ran Terry McAuliffe’s winning campaign for Governor of Virginia, U.S. Jeanne Shaheen’s first winning campaign for U.S. Senate and led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2012, when Democrats gained 8 seats.
Hari Sevugan has played a leading role on some of the most-watched races in the country over the last decade. Named one of Politico's "Top 50 Politicos to Watch," Hari has led research, policy, and communications teams on numerous statewide campaigns, and, among others, helped to elect Tim Kaine and Martin O'Malley as governor. In the 2008 cycle, Hari served as a senior spokesman for Obama for America, where he helped lead the effort that worked to define primary opponents and later John McCain and Sarah Palin for the press corps.
Mitch Stewart is a longtime political activist who has played leadership roles in some of the most groundbreaking organizations in American history. As battleground states director for the 2012 Obama for America campaign, he oversaw the strategy that garnered victories in nine of the 10 battleground states, an effort the The Guardian called "a historic ground operation that will provide the model for political campaigns in America and around the world for years to come."
Lynda Tran is a public affairs strategist who most recently served as director of communications for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during the Obama administration. In this role, Lynda oversaw the agency's nationwide earned and paid media efforts, including messaging on federal regulations, new automotive safety technologies, and vehicle fuel economy, as well as nearly $30 million each year dedicated to NHTSA's "Click It or Ticket" and "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaigns. After leaving NHTSA she became a Founding Partner at 270 Strategies.