Speaker Bios

Nina Turner

Turner was named President of Our Revolution, the political group launched by Sen. Bernie Sanders to elect progressive candidates to office across the United States, in June, 2017. Universal Health Care was a major plank in the Sanders campaign platform.

Turner received a Master of Arts degree from Cleveland State University, and began her career as a legislative aide in the State Senate. She was elected to the Cleveland City Council in 2005, and served in the council until her election to the State Senate in 2008. She served as a member of the Ohio State Senate from 2008 to 2014, and was elected to be the chamber’s Minority Whip in the 129th General Assembly. A supporter of the progressive movement, Turner has been characterized as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Congressman
Alan Grayson

Alan Grayson was the United States Representative for Florida’s 9th congressional district and a member of the Democratic Party. Grayson drew national attention when he stood on the House floor and said, “The Republicans have a health care plan. Their plan is don’t get sick. If you do get sick, die quickly.”

He previously served as Representative for Florida’s 8th congressional district from 2009 to 2011. He serve on two House Committees: Foreign Affairs and Science, Space, and Technology.

Grayson worked as a law clerk at the Colorado Supreme Court in 1983, and at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals from 1984 to 1985, where he worked with two judges who later joined the U.S. Supreme Court: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.

Toni Van Pelt

Toni Van Pelt, a longtime feminist and humanist activist, was elected president of NOW in July 2017. She is also president of the NOW Foundation and chair of the NOW Political Action Committee, and serves as the principal spokeswoman for all three entities. Van Pelt oversees NOW’s multi-issue agenda, which includes: achieving constitutional equality for women, advancing reproductive rights and justice, promoting racial justice, stopping violence against women, winning civil and human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community, and ensuring economic justice.
Spurred to action by attacks on reproductive rights in her home state of Florida, Van Pelt has served in leadership positions at all levels of NOW since 1989. She is a past president of Florida NOW (1996-2003), and past director of NOW’s southeast region–in addition to serving two terms on the national board (2010-2014). Van Pelt began her journey with the organization as the treasurer of the Upper Pinellas NOW chapter, and remains fiercely devoted to grassroots activists working at the local level.

Van Pelt is a longtime advocate for secular humanism, and the separation of church and state. Prior to joining the National Action Center full-time, she lobbied for policies driven by the empirical scientific evidence as opposed to faith. She is co-founder, president, and public policy director for the Institute for Science and Human Values. A former vice president and public policy director of the Center for Inquiry, Van Pelt organized and directed one of the first public policy offices of the secular humanist movement in Washington, D.C.

Van Pelt is a former member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and her past career as the owner of a travel agency specializing in international travel has given her the opportunity to expand her worldview through global travel. She is committed to building an inclusive, intersectional, and intergenerational feminist movement.

Michael Lighty

Michael Lighty is the Director of Public Policy for National Nurses United, where he has worked since its founding in 2009, and for the California Nurses Association since 1994. Michael has been organizing for social and economic justice for over 35 years, devoted especially to creating a just healthcare system for all.

He has served on the Oakland Planning Commission, and on community, education and political organizations’ boards of directors. He was the first openly LGBTQ Commissioner for the Port of Oakland.

Congresswoman
Lois Frankel

Representative Lois Frankel is an experienced public servant with a strong record of bringing jobs and opportunity to South Florida.

After serving 14 years in the Florida state legislature, including as the first woman Democratic Minority Leader, Lois became Mayor of West Palm Beach in 2003, where she served for eight years.
Lois was first elected to Congress in 2012 to represent most of Palm Beach County.
She was also elected as Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Women’s Caucus for the 115th Congress. Lois serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Foreign Affairs Committees.

As a Member of Congress, Lois has continued her record as a champion for seniors, families, veterans and small businesses. Additionally, she remains staunchly committed to women’s equality and access to health care. Lois is the proud mother of her son Ben, a US Marine war veteran.

Annette Taddeo

Annette is a Democratic politician who has served as a member of the Florida Senate, elected in 2017. She represents the 40th district, encompassing Kendall and surrounding areas in southern Miami-Dade County.

Mike Papantonio

Mr. Papantonio is the host of the international television show America’s Lawyer, where he provides in-depth investigations into major corporate and government corruption. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated radio program Ring of Fire, along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.

Mike Papantonio is a senior partner with the law firm of Levin Papantonio. He has received numerous multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate malfeasance. His award-winning work handling thousands of mass tort cases throughout the nation has helped make Levin Papantonio one of the largest plaintiff law firms in the country.

Mr. Papantonio is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers. He is a member of The National Trial Lawyers (past president), American Board of Trial Advocates, the American Association for Justice, the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and the Florida Justice Association (where he served on the board of directors for five years).

Mr. Papantonio is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He is listed in the publications Best Lawyers in America and Leading American Attorney.

Alex Lawson

Alex Lawson is the Executive Director of Social Security Works, the convening organization of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition — a coalition made up of over 340 national and state organizations representing over 50 million Americans.

Lawson has appeared on numerous TV and radio outlets including C-SPAN, FOX News and Al-Jazeera and is a frequent guest host of The Thom Hartmann Program, one of the top progressive radio shows in the country. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Lawson is also the owner of We Act Radio, a media corporation that combines broadcast and new media to deliver independent progressive voices in the formats people use most.

Mike Fox

Mike Fox is Deputy Director of Progressive Democrats Of America, and is active in the Democratic Party in Florida. He’s the Campaign Chair for Pinellas County, is the President of the St. Petersburg Democratic Club, and is former President of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Veterans Caucus, a board member with the Pinellas County Stonewall Democrats, and former Campaign Chair with the State Progressive Caucus. He’s managed numerous successful local campaigns, and is a proud FDR/Bobby Kennedy Democrat.

Gerald Friedman

Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Gerald Friedman was born in New York City in 1955. After graduation from Columbia College in 1977 he worked on the research staff of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, before attending graduate school at Harvard where he earned a Ph.D. in economics. In addition to his 1998 book, State-Making and Labor Movements. The United States and France, 1876-1914, he has written Reigniting the Labor Movement: Restoring means to ends in a democratic labor movement (2008) and Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities (3rd edition 2017). Professor Friedman is also the author of numerous articles on topics in the labor history of the United States and Europe, on the evolution of economic thought, labor economics, economic theory, the history of slavery in the Americas, and on current economic issues. He has been a correspondent on economics to television and other media outlets, a consultant to labor unions, and has drafted funding plans for campaigns for single-payer health insurance in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and to Physicians for a National Health Plan. He is currently working on plans for Ohio and the state of Washington.

Professor Friedman lives in Amherst with his wife and his dog, Corduroy where he wishes his two wonderful daughters would visit more often.

Follow him on twitter at @gfriedma

Dr. Dale Taylor

Dale B. Taylor, Ph.D., is a Board Certified Music Therapist, former Chair and current Secretary of the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care, member of the AMTA Music & Memory Work Group, a recent Visiting Professor at Augsburg College and Alverno College, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Allied Health Professions at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and founding Director of the Music Therapy Program, past Editor of the International Journal of Arts Medicine, Secretary-Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the International Arts Medicine Association, member of the International Relations Committee and former member of the Assembly of Delegates of the American Music Therapy Association and the National Association for Music Therapy, past Chair of the NAMT Certification-Registration and International Activities Committees and National Coordinator of Student Affairs, and past member of the Wisconsin Public Health Leadership Institute. He has also served as President and Vice-President of the Great Lakes Region of NAMT, chaired the founding meetings of the Wisconsin Chapter for Music Therapy, served on the boards of Music Education for the Handicapped and the International Association of Music for the Handicapped, and is a member of the Music Therapy Neurology Network.

Dr. Taylor’s presentations of his Biomedical Theory of Music Therapy have been made at conferences and academic institutions throughout the United States as well as in Canada, South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Estonia, Japan, Korea, and Australia. His papers on this and other topics appear in the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, International Journal of Arts Medicine, and he has authored numerous chapters appearing in books edited by colleagues.

Tim Canova

Tim Canova is a law professor and activist who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 23rd Congressional district. He ran last year for this House seat in a closed Democratic primary against a long-entrenched incumbent who was then chair of the Democratic National Committee. From the beginning of his campaign, Tim was proud to stand for universal health insurance coverage, and he has endorsed the Medicare For All bills introduced in both the House and Senate.

Tim also stands for campaign finance reform and election integrity. He has refused to take campaign contributions from any corporate interests and their political action committee and Super PACs, and his 2016 campaign broke records for small online donations. Since the 2016 primary, Tim sued the Broward Supervisor of Elections to inspect the ballots under Florida’s public records law. In the course of the litigation, the Supervisor admitted to destroying all the paper ballots in his election in violation of federal and state law, as well as the discovery rules of the pending litigation.

Tim is a Professor of Law and Public Finance at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law in Davie, Florida. He previously served as a legislative assistant to the late U.S. Senator Paul E. Tsongas, practiced law in New York City with two large multinational law firms, and was a Swedish Institute Visiting Scholar at Stockholm University. His scholarly works have been published in dozens of peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, monographs, newspapers, and magazines in the U.S. and overseas. He argued for many years against the deregulation of banking and finance and warned of an impending crisis in the bubble economy prior to the 2008 financial collapse. In 2011, he was appointed by Senator Bernie Sanders to serve with leading economists on a select advisory committee on Federal Reserve reform.

Tim received his A.B. degree from Franklin and Marshall College and his J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. He previously taught at the Chapman University School of Law in Orange County, California, where he served as associate dean for academic affairs and the Betty Hutton Williams Professor of International Economic Law. He was first granted tenure at the University of New Mexico School of Law and has taught as a visitor at the University of Arizona College of Law and the University of Miami School of Law.

Dr. Alina Valdes

Dr. Alina Valdes, an immigrant from Havana, Cuba, received her medical degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. From there, she completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the South Bronx, where she remained as Attending Physician and Assistant Professor in both the Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine Departments. She has been practicing in medically under-served communities since 1983, in areas of the South Bronx, East Harlem, Miami Dade and Broward Counties.

Her thirty plus years of service to the needy and marginalized populations stems from her mission and passion to provide quality health care to those most in need regardless of their ability to pay. She has been an outspoken advocate for a national one-payer health system because health care is a human right that should be available to all.

Mark Dudzic

Mark Dudzic is the National Coordinator of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer based in Washington, DC and has been a labor activist for over 30 years. In 1979 he joined Rahway, NJ Local 149 of the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers (now part of the United Steelworkers) after helping to organize his precious metals refinery. He served as full-time president of his Local Union and as president of the largest District Council in the OCAW. After the death of his friend and union brother Tony Mazzocchi, he came to Washington, DC in 2003 to work on Tony’s many unfinished projects including efforts to build a labor-based political party, advance occupational safety, promote working class culture, and win national healthcare.

The Labor Campaign for Single Payer was founded in 2009 just prior to the inauguration of President Obama. Its mission is to ensure that the voice of the grassroots labor movement is heard in the debates over the future of healthcare and to advocate for a single-payer, Medicare-for-All healthcare system. The Labor Campaign played a crucial role in the unanimous passage of a resolution endorsing a single-payer “social insurance model’ long term solution to the healthcare crisis at the AFL-CIO’s 2009 Convention and works to promote national single-payer legislation and labor-supported state universal healthcare initiatives. Their affiliates include 15 national unions and hundreds of local and regional labor organizations in the fight to make healthcare a right for everyone in America.

Stephanie Myers

The Miami New Times named Stephanie Myers one of the Most Interesting People in Miami in 2017 adding to her name to a group of legends like DJ Khaled, Phil Collins, Gabrielle Union and Lee Brian Schrager. She earned this honor after stepping into the leadership role of the Women’s Rally in South Florida, which brought out 25,000 locals to speak up for women’s rights. While it was her first true activist event as organizer or attendee, Stephanie had seen the ugly rhetoric before, during, and after the election cycle of 2016 and knew that healing needed to take place in her native South Florida community. Passionate about protecting her community, she was concerned about how Trump’s reckless agenda would impact local issues like the delicate environment of South Florida, healthcare, and education, and she knew she must step up to do something.

Stephanie did not just stop her newfound activism when she left the Women’s Rally in South Florida. In fact, once she became active she knew she could not stop. Not only had she found her passion, she had found her voice. Stephanie continued her activism by becoming involved in organizations where she could make a difference in issues that she was passionate about. First, she joined the Broward Democratic Party, the Broward Democratic Progressive Caucus, the West Broward Democratic Women’s club, and became a member and a Board Member of the ACLU along with engaging with other local and national organizations. She also serves on the board of the Broward Chapter Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida.

Stephanie would find her path once again being changed but this time not by a Facebook posting but by a phone call. Not any phone call but a phone call asking her to speak at the Democratic Party’s “Come Together and Fight Back” tour stop in Miami. She agreed, despite it being her first formal public speech ever, and found herself in the enviable position of being the speaker just before Senator Bernie Sanders and DNC Chairman Tom Perez was scheduled to take the stage. During her passionate speech about how she answered the call to serve to put together the Women’s Rally in South Florida where she reminded the crowd “If you do not have a seat at the table, it is because you are on the menu”, she heard a voice unexpectedly scream from the crowd, “Run for office!” Knowing that this had to be a sign and knowing that the only way to effectuate change was to run for office, she has done just that.

Stephanie Myers is running to flip Florida House District 93 and with your help, she will be able to take her passion, her voice and her ability to actually get things done to Tallahassee and make changes that will benefit the residents of Broward County and the State of Florida.

Ryan Torrens

Ryan Torrens is running for Florida Attorney General. For more than four years, Ryan has been going to battle in Court against the biggest banks in this country on behalf of Florida’s consumers. When Ryan says he will fight for Florida’s consumers, these aren’t just words. Ryan owns his own law practice, which focuses on foreclosure defense and consumer protection litigation.

Ryan will be speaking to his views on health care as a human right, the legal underpinnings for this assertion, and how he will be able to fight for consumers facing crippling medical bills.

Thomas Kennedy

Born in Argentina, Thomas Kennedy came to the United States with his parents at the age of ten, first living in New Jersey before settling down in Miami. After living as an undocumented immigrant for over a decade and seeing the daily struggles his parents overcame in their daily lives in order to have a better life, Thomas became involved in student activism and immigration reform advocacy. He graduated as an International Relations major from the Florida International University and is Deputy Political Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition as well as being a fellow for the Center for Community Change.

Libby Devlin

Libby Devlin is the Southern Region Director for National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United. She has been a union organizer for over 30 years, engaging workers in the struggle for social and economic justice, and fighting to create a just healthcare system with a single standard of care for all. She has lived in Tampa, FL for the past 15 years with her spouse and two children.

Tamika Lyles

I am a progressive Democrat who believes in the ability of the people to work together with their representatives to create a better America. My focus is on empowering the people of Florida, and the nation at large to build a better future. Some of my main priorities are in establishing universal healthcare, equitable education opportunities, and bringing about climate justice. The intersection of these issues with human rights, peace and safety will ensure a stronger economy and happier livelihood for all Americans, whether born and raised or newly welcomed.

Dr. Margaret Flowers

Dr. Margaret Flowers is a pediatrician from Baltimore who practiced medicine for 17 years. She left practice in 2007 to advocate full time for national improved Medicare for All (NIMA).

Flowers is an adviser to the board of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). She is co-chair of the Maryland chapter of PNHP and on the leadership council of the Maryland Health Care is a Human Right campaign.

During the 2009-10 healthcare reform process, Flowers served as a Congressional Fellow for PNHP and pushed for the inclusion of NIMA in the reform process. She and 7 others were arrested in the Senate Finance Committee for protesting the exclusion of single payer health care advocates.

Flowers went on to organize the occupation of Washington, DC in 2011, and then co-created Popular Resistance, a daily movement news and resource website. Popular Resistance also runs and participates in campaigns on a wide range of issues. Currently, Flowers is coordinating the Health Over Profit for Everyone (HOPE) campaign.

Sharon Graham

Sharon Graham, MM, MT-BC, is a Music Therapist-Board Certified, founder and director of the Tampa Bay Institute for Music Therapy (TBIMT).  She received her master’s degree in music therapy from the Florida State University, is a certified NICU Music Therapist (NICU-MT), Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT), and has a variety of clinical experience. ​As education and advocacy are important functions of TBIMT, the director maintains a clinical internship training program and is a frequent presenter at regional and national music therapy conferences. She also is an invited lecturer at medical conferences and colleges. She is co-chair of the Florida Music Therapy Task Force and represents Florida music therapists with the Coalition for the Exceptional Education of Students (CEES).

“The Other”
Chuck Woolery

Chuck’s professional grassroots organizing and advocacy successes on global health issues led to his elected position on the respected Action Board of the American Public Health Association (membership of 120,000 US Health Professionals). Later he was then elected by his peers to Chair the United Nation’s Association Council of Organizations (over 110 US based NGOs representing a collective membership of over 25 million Americans). His focus has been connecting local and global issues to US national security interests and using non-partisan fundamental principles to advance public thinking and US policy on vital systems and structures essential to forming a more perfect union.

Chuck credits much of his successes to his mother’s love and his background in Biology and wrestling. He qualified for the Olympic Trials only to find out he was seriously not qualified – but was honored to make it that far coming from a childhood of obesity and sloth. “We are all”, he says “always wrestling with issues and concerns our entire lives. Or we should be — given the persistent changes in our bodies and the world.” “Loving persistence” and “ruthless compassion” are two qualities his mentors offered him. Perhaps to his detriment he usually offers what people need to hear instead of what they want to hear. Chuck is an avid quote collector… one of his many favorites — “Science is my passion, politics my duty.” Thomas Jefferson

Eric Stevens

Eric Stevens helped launch Florida’s Medical Marijuana Yes on 2 campaign with United for Care in 2013 with John Morgan and Ben Pollara. He served in basically every role but settled in as the Campaign’s Finance Director from 2014-2016 The 2016 campaign passed with the highest margin of any medical marijuana question in any state ever at 71%.

He now serves as the Deputy Executive Director of Florida for Care, a non-profit(c)(4) membership based organization made up of the majority of those involved in Amendment 2. Florida for Care focuses on educating elected officials and continuing to enact smart policies for Florida’s medical marijuana system for patients, doctors, and MMTC’s.

Before this, Eric worked in his home state of Massachusetts with the Mass Patient Advocacy Alliance to help pass Question #3 for Medical Marijuana in November 2012. Eric attended the University of Miami business school in Coral Gables, where he helped found the University’s chapter of Student’s for Sensible Drug Policy. He originally received an endowment at UMiami that allowed him to begin his pursuit in this field.

While residing in Miami Beach for the past five years, Eric helped push Miami Beach to become the first city in the state to decriminalize possession and Miami Dade to as well to become the first county before the state law passed. He has also been involved in many local ordinances, zoning and land use regulations related to this also.

Deborah Foote

Deborah Foote currently serves as the Managing Director for Oral Health Florida and has over 25 years of public policy experience, including 7 years specifically dedicated to improving oral health. As the previous executive director of Oral Health Colorado, she was instrumental in assuring that oral health was viewed as an integral part of health care in Colorado’s initial health care reform initiatives. Deborah has first-hand policy experience, having served as a state legislator for six years in the New Hampshire legislature.

A well-respected speaker and facilitator, Deborah has recently presented at the National Oral Health Conference, the Families USA Oral Health Pre-Conference, and the School-Based Health Alliance’s Oral Health Pre-Conference.

Deborah earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Bowdoin College and a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of New Hampshire. Deborah now lives in Tallahassee.

Chardo Richardson

Chardo Richardson is a father, veteran, and advocate. Born in Mississippi, Chardo joined the military after high school and served for nearly twelve years. He participated in the Global War on Terrorism, taught both hands-on and podium style instruction, and gave freely of his time to those in need. After he honorably separated from the military, Chardo attended law school in Florida and began advocating against mass incarceration and for criminal justice reform.
Mr. Richardson, recently stepped down from his role as the President of the ACLU of Florida Central Chapter where he managed the fight for civil liberties and civil rights in four counties. In this position he communicated with and educated the public on their rights, developed the next generation of ACLU leaders, established coalitions around civil justice, and directed the fight for equality in Central Florida.
Mr. Richardson is currently the Director for Seminole County UniServ where he advocates on behalf of educators and education support professionals. Mr. Richardson has announced his candidacy for Florida’s 7th Congressional District House of Representative in 2018.

Arlene Engelhardt

Former Director of Pacifica Radio and current Co-Producer and Co-Host of “From a Woman’s Point of View” on Tampa Radio: Making the Media Serve the People

Laura Finley

Laura Finley earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Western Michigan University in 2002. She is currently Associate Professor of Sociology & Criminology at Barry University. Dr. Finley is the author, co-author or editor of eighteen books. She has also authored numerous journal articles and book chapters about peace, social justice and human rights and is a regular keynote speaker, workshop leader and trainer at local, state, and national conferences. Additionally, Dr. Finley is actively involved with a number of organizations and community-based peace education initiatives.

Denis G. Campbell

Denis G. Campbell is Editor and Publisher of UKProgressive.co.uk Magazine, co-host of weekly 150+ episode Three Muckrakers politics and business podcast on iTunes and author of ten books. He contributes US, Middle East, Asian and EU political and business articles and commentary to the BBC, itv, CNN International, Al Jazeera English, China Radio International, Hong Kong TV and the USA’s msnbc, npr, PBS, CBS, ABC and others.

He is CEO of Monknash Media, a digital media and video consultancy and agency focused on helping companies with media and selling messages. Denis spent 30-years as a global business consultant in Washington, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam Miami and Los Angeles with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and was a business and regulatory lobbyist with former Carter AG Ben Civiletti and later with former DNC Chair Chuck Manatt.

An Honours BA graduate of the Jesuit University Boston College and post-graduate of the University of Colorado, he has lectured at the Universities of Miami, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, American University-Washington and Beirut, Erasmus Universiteit-Rotterdam, Leiden University, Zayed University-Dubai, UCLA, Warwick University, University of Durham, Cambridge University, Cardiff University and others on politics and business topics related to his books.

A dual British and US national, he lives, broadcasts and writes from Ogmore by Sea in Wales, United Kingdom. Please follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive.

Jennifer Leslie

Jennifer Leslie is a graduate of Florida Int’l University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, and a Master of Public Health/Health Policy Management. She is also a graduate of University of Miami School of law with a Juris Doctor degree.

Jennifer is a former legal intern at the Florida Department of Health with Chief Legal Counsel Mort Laitner (Dade County). She also interned at the Public Defender’s office and the State Attorney’s office in Miami. She is a former law clerk at Ford, Domnick, & Wolf (Miami). Jennifer’s primary background is in healthcare, where she worked as a nurse and in areas of risk management, case management, credentialing, utilization management, HMO Managed Care, and education.

Jennifer has served in the community as a member of the FNPAC Board of Trustees, where she participated in the endorsement of Florida elected officials and candidates running for office. In 2010, she served as a nationally elected ANA-IMD Delegate, where she attended Washington, DC, participated in by-law amendments and conference hearings during an ANA convention, and shook the hands of the most powerful man in the world at that time, newly elected President Barack Obama. She also served as Vice-Chair of Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization. In 2010, she was involved with the Haiti’s Earthquake Relief Effort and traveled to Haiti to assist. While in Haiti, she was interviewed by the First Lady of Haiti and interviewed with Port Au Prince Mayor Jason Jean-Pierre, by Dr. Raymond Pierre. She previously served as Chairperson of the Florida House of Representatives District 108 Health Task Force. In 2016, Jennifer was appointed to serve as Chair of the Florida Senate District 38 Health Task Force, and recently, in October 2017, she was appointed Senate Health Advisor for District 38.

Jennifer is the first Jamaican/American woman to hold the title as Health Task Force Chair for both legislative chambers – Florida House of Representatives D108 as well as The Florida Senate D38. She has been honored with a Proclamation by the Miami-Dade County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. In June 2017, Jennifer earned the Caribbean Change-Maker Award from the Caribbean Democratic Club of Palm Beach County. Months later, in November 2017, she received the Lord Shepard International Woman Empowerment Award. She is a self-published book author of “Higher”.

Jennifer is a wife, mother, business owner, founder of a non-profit organization, Senate Health Advisor D38, and Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee At-Large Representative.

Robert Abston

Robert Abston is the Director, of the Florida Health Care Summit, Founder and CEO, of Florida Media Labs and a computer programmer who has worked in Fortune 500 companies for over 35 years. He has contributed to major projects at AT&T, Sun Microsystems, A.C. Nielsen, Borland Intl, GE, Harris Corp, Boeing Computer Systems, Computer Sciences Canada, Siemens-Westinghouse, CN Railway, and others. He is also a Democratic Precinct Committee Man in Lake County, Florida.

Abston has also been involved in civic affairs throughout his life, starting with his experience at Brevard Community College where he started the College Young Democrats Club. Abston worked as a volunteer for the presidential campaign of George McGovern in Brevard County in 1972 and has worked as a volunteer on many campaigns since. He is also a past president of the West Palm Beach Jaycees and later, District Director for the Florida Jaycees in District 9.

Erin Spring

Erin Spring, MM, MT-BC obtained her bachelors and masters degrees in music therapy from Ohio University and interned with the Cleveland Clinic Palliative Care Unit and Cleveland Music Settlement. She is a practicing board-certified music therapist and founded Central Ohio Music Therapy, LLC in 2010 serving central and southeast Ohio. Erin served as adjunct professor and currently provides supervision services to the Ohio University Music Therapy Degree Program. Ms. Spring currently serves as the co-chair of the American Music Therapy Association Workgroup on Music and Memory and co-chair of the Ohio Music Therapy State Licensure Task Force.

Jay Schwartz

Commissioner Jay Schwartz and his sister were born and raised by their single Mother in Philadelphia. Commissioner Schwartz moved to Pembroke Pines in 1989. He was the first in his family to attend college, having earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Barry University, and his post graduate Masters in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University.

Commissioner Schwartz was elected to the Commission on January 31, 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He was appointed Vice Mayor 2014-2015. Prior to being elected, he served as Chair of the City’s Economic Development Board, Chair of the Broward County Central Examining Board for General & Specialty Contractors, Chair of the Miramar/Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Development Committee, and served on the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee.

Mitchell Stollberg

Mitchell Stollberg is the Progressive Democrats Of America Broward County Chapter Chair. He’s a community organizer working with a team holding rallies for support of HR 676 and S.1804 Medicare for all bills. He’s a member of the the Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus State board, Platform committee, Campaign Committee , and is Legislative Chair. He’s a Board member of the Broward Progressive Caucus: as well as serving as Sergeant at Arms for the Broward County Democratic Party.

Natalie Jackson

Attorney Natalie Jackson is a Florida-based lawyer and former U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer who has litigated several highly publicized cases over the span of her career, including co-representing Trayvon Martin’s family with Attorney Ben Crump. She has also appeared as a legal analyst on local and national news networks, including CNN and MSNBC.

Natalie received her undergraduate degree in History from Hampton University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. She is admitted to practice law in all Florida State Courts, the Middle District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. In 2012 and 2013, Super Lawyer Magazine honored her with the designation of “Rising Star” and she has been invited to join the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum because of the settlements she has earned for her clients.

Nicole Sandler

Nicole Sandler is a popular progressive radio host and blogger, with years of corporate broadcast radio under her belt, including a stint with Air America Radio.  She’s a lung cancer survivor who has chronicled her challenges with the healthcare system on the air and on her blog.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez

City Commissioner of Miami Beach Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is a proud single mother and (Associate) Professor at Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest community college. She has served on Miami Dade College’s Legislative Advocacy Committee and lobbied in Tallahassee, and Co-Chaired the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation Undergraduate Pathway’s Program to create clear and defined routes to earning student degrees.

In 2015, Kristen ran for the Miami Beach City Commission, donning a backpack, and walking the city, winning in a competitive runoff competition with 59% of the vote and 10% of her opponent’s resources, proving that money doesn’t always determine local municipal elections.

Tom Wells

Since mid-2016 Tom Wells has been devoting the bulk of his time and effort to running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida Congressional District 3. His effort includes active face-to-face campaigning and exploring the issues raised in those campaign conversations. By running for Congress, he is acting upon a long term pre-occupation with the direction our government has taken, and a passion for taking political action to protect the future of our nation’s people.

As the son of a middle class family – his father was a Major in the Army Medical Corp in Japan and later the Chief of Surgery at Swannanoa VA Hospital – Tom grew up believing in the American Dream. He soon realized, however, it wasn’t available to everyone, and that parts of it were for sale to the highest bidder.

As your Congressman for U. S. District 3, Tom will make sure that working people get a fair shake in our economy. He will work to enact Singular Healthcare, Single Payer implemented in a Single Year, for all. He will not waste taxpayer money on useless foreign wars that send our young people to their deaths. Tom will protect the environment so we have a planet to leave our children and grandchildren.

Tom is a business owner, president of a small technological company based in Gainesville, Florida. He studied physics at the California Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a B.S. in Physics in 1972, and received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Maryland in 1978.

Tom is the father of a pediatrician, a physical therapist, a pharmacist, and a 21-year-old still working on his education. He has biked all across Congressional District 3. He and his wife Divanice of fourteen years, call Gainesville home.

Lynne Hubbard

Councilwoman Lynne Hubbard, for the city of Riviera Beach’s career has been Community Self Sufficiency. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University. She previously served on the Riviera Beach City council from 2007-2009 and was elected again in May of 2016.
As a political leader, organizer and advocate her goal is to create policies and implement procedures that will improve the quality of life for residents. She is a staunch advocate for Economic and Social Justice.

Councilwoman has championed initiatives such as the Summer Youth Employment Program, the re-institution of the Civil Service Board, Equity and Inclusion in City Hall through procurement. She has championed the removal of liens from Homestead property in Riviera Beach giving residents thee opportunity to use the equity in their homes to improve and preserve their investment of home ownership.

Councilwoman Hubbard was presented the 2016 Voice Award by the PBC Action Alliance for Mental Health, and she’s a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women WPB, Leadership PBC, Northside Kiwanis Club, League of Women Voters, and Florida Black Caucus of Elected Officials.

Archie Lamb

Archie is a nationally recognized leader in national healthcare and physician issues, and serves as of-counsel with Levin Papantonio. In 1999 Archie organized a consortium of law firms to pursue a lawsuit against the deceptive trade practices and contract violations of eight of the nation’s largest health insurance companies.

Archie was the designated lead counsel in this massive HMO RICO (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act) lawsuit. The case included over 60 healthcare companies and Archie was responsible for overseeing 26 law firms and over 170 lawyers in the prosecution of this case.

Peter J. Mougey

Peter J. Mougey is recognized as one of Florida’s top 100 trial lawyers, a Florida Super Lawyer in securities litigation, Florida Trends Legal Elite, and the former President of the national securities bar association Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA). In addition, Mr. Mougey has been rated AV Preeminent by his peers through Martindale-Hubbell. He is a shareholder with Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor and is head of the Securities & Business Litigation Department. is recognized as one of Florida’s top 100 trial lawyers, a Florida Super Lawyer in securities litigation, Florida Trends Legal Elite, and the former President of the national securities bar association Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA). In addition, Mr. Mougey has been rated AV Preeminent by his peers through Martindale-Hubbell. He is a shareholder with Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor and is head of the Securities & Business Litigation Department.

Eagan Kemp

Eagan Kemp recently joined Public Citizen as its Health Care Policy Advocate after nearly a decade at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Much of his time is devoted to fighting cuts to health care and the social safety net while pushing for Medicare-for-All, lower drug prices, and other reforms to improve our health care system. At GAO, he led and published analyses on a variety of health policy topics, including Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance, the Children¹s Health Insurance Program, the Veterans Health Administration, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, mental health, and drug shortages. His academic background focused on the social determinants of health, including the impact of inequality and discrimination on health status, and international health systems.

Katherine Ntekim

Katherine Ntekim, NP received a doctorate in nursing from the University of Miami and works with Armor Correctional Health Services. She cares for incarcerated patients within the Broward County’s sheriff’s office facilities.

Dr Ntekim believes in providing comprehensive care to all age groups. She supports and encourages patients’ participatory care to enhance compliance in their overall wellness. She organized and continues to lead personnel’s through Global Hands Medical Foundation Inc., in providing medical/surgical mission projects to rural communities in Nigeria on a bi-annually basis since 2003. She teaches and involves the community health care providers to problem-solve and eventually take over their own care, to enhance and improve care services upon completion of every project.

Dr Ntekim served as the president of Oron Developement, USA (ODU); She is currently the president of AkwaIbom Association, Miami and is serving as the chair for Nigerian American Foundation’s board of advisors on cultural and community affairs.

Dr Ntekim has been recognized and received awards of professional excellence from the Broward county sheriff and the Florida Nurses association. She has also been recognized many times by the AkwaIbom and Oron communities for her services to the people, both in the USA and Nigeria.

She is hard working, expressing her beliefs through her volunteer services and relates her knowledge to the underserved within the communities here and abroad. She is a mother of three children, with a very supportive husband of over thirty years.

Drew Martin

Drew received his education at University of California, Davis, with a B.A. in History, and University of California, Berkeley, with an M.I.M. in International Business, a Certificate in Computer Science, and received Lecturer status in New Technologies at Berkeley.

Drew spent his early career working as a contract software engineer for IBM before moving into customer service technology at Bank of America Headquarters. There, he chaired a committee to create corporate-wide customer service policy and financial management improvement. Within their Money Transfer Department, which was responsible for moving $20-Billion in funds daily, he restructured express line operation while increasing employee productivity programs. Drew moved into financial management systems programing, where he received special commendation from Bank of America’s then President. He embarked upon Energy Savings and developed an Environmental operations report, encompassing the Bank’s more than 1200 locations. Seeing the use for new technology, Drew continued to develop mathematical analysis software, and moved to a regional bank to oversee credit analysis of corporate loan quality, in both the high-tech and real estate industries.

As the years passed, Drew relocated to South Florida. Settling in Lake Worth, he decided to focus on his passion and lifestyle, realizing the degradation of Florida’s environment was at a crossroads. He began to focus on Environmental Protection and devoted himself to working on environmental issues and advocacy. Taking to heart the philosophy of acting locally and thinking globally, Drew became Chair of the local Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee, serving as the Conservation-Chair of Sierra’s Loxahatchee Group, on the Everglades Coalition, and on their Waste Activist Team.

In Lake Worth, Drew has been active on many issues, serving on various City and County governmental boards. He serves as Environmental Director with the Palm Beach County Environmental Alliance (PBCEA.org), and served on the Tree Board, the Climate Change Task Force, and the Library Board, where he spent time as the President of the Friends of the Lake Worth Library. Drew is a graduate of the Lake Worth Municipal Institute and a member of Lake Worth’s Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT). He served on both the Democratic Legislative and Democratic Environmental Committees of the Palm Beach Democratic Party. Drew also served as a member of the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Advisory Board. He was elected to the Lake Worth City Commission (2005 – 2007), and the Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District (2008 – 2016), where he served as Supervisor, then Treasurer, and ultimately Vice Chair. Drew holds Florida Teacher Certification, and is perhaps Palm Beach County’s most well known Environmental Conservationist. He is currently running in 2018 municipal election, as candidate for Mayor of Lake Worth.

Paul Laura

“A Health Assessment from Exposure to Environmental Abuse”

Paul Laura received his education at St. John’s University, with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and University of Florida, with an M.S. majoring in Reproductive Physiology supported by a Grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Paul spent much of his career in management and product development, as Former Global Manager of Lubrizol Corp., a multinational conglomerate of Warren Buffet Company, Berkshire Hathaway. Prior to retirement, he spent more than a decade abroad, living in Germany and Holland, before settling in as a resident of Jensen Beach, Florida. While living overseas, Paul’s son Michael attended the Hamburg International School, where volunteer requirements, both locally and outside of Germany, became part of his attending curriculum. While his son spent several summer’s in Ghana building a school, and later in Sri Lanka assisting in the cleanup after a tsunami, Paul also became municipally involved. Paul has recognized the importance and fulfillment of civic participation and responsibility, in lending one’s time to the community. Paul took early retirement for the opportunity to do so. Identifying in 2015, that the health of Treasure Coast’s Indian River Lagoon ecosystem was under attack, Paul quickly began focusing an interest in Marine Biology at the Florida Oceanographic Society of Stuart (FOS), the Smithsonian Marine Station of Fort Pierce (SMS), and the Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island, as a volunteer scientist in Research and Development. He is a key volunteer for their research departments, through his active involvement with projects such as oyster shell deployments, filtration of algae, monitoring sea-grass populations, water quality testing analysis, and habitat restoration, as well as helping the organization with advocacy, community outreach, and special events.

Paul is leading the continued effort along with FOS, SMS, and the Martin County Community, to restore its living shoreline, and pave the way for the restoration and conservation of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon (IRL), St. Lucie River, and the diverse waterways of our imperiled Sunshine State.

Paul currently holds many positions on Community Boards and within the Democratic State Party. He serves as Legislation and Policy Director with the Palm Beach County Environmental Alliance (PBCEA.org), is an acting Board Member of the Marine Resources Council (Melbourne, Florida), a Member of Florida’s River Coalition (Stuart, Florida), a Board Member and Director of Southeast Region, to the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida (DECF), and acting Chair of the Treasure Coast Democratic Environmental Caucus (TCDEC).

David Richardson

Representative David Richardson was first elected to the Florida House in August 2012 for the term that began in November 2012. This was the first public office that he campaigned for and subsequently the first public office he has held. He represents House District 113 which includes all of the City of North Bay Village, City of Miami Beach, downtown Miami and Little Havana.

During his first term in office, Representative Richardson filed a bill calling for stricter oversight at the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, including the establishment of an Office of Inspector General. The language of this bill was included in an omnibus insurance bill and today we have an Inspector General at the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. In the 2014 Legislative Session, Representative Richardson passed legislation authorizing public health trusts to lease certain real property, requested funds for several local projects and expanded opportunities for retail pharmacies. In 2015 Representative Richardson began an extensive review of the state prison system and has been successful in reducing violence and improving inmate living conditions. He has made over 90 visits and has spent over 800 hours working studying the issue.

And most importantly for this conference, he is co-sponsor of the single-payer bill in Tallahassee.

Rick Ford

Frederick W. “Rick” Ford is President of Floridians for Health Care (FFHC), a Palm Beach County based statewide health care advocacy organization dedicated to promoting a single payer Medicare-for-All health system.

A 1976 graduate of Howard University Law School in Washington, DC, Rick was an active trial attorney in both state and federal courts for over 40 years practicing almost exclusively plaintiff’s employment discrimination law until his retirement in 2017.

Since coming to Florida in 1989, the majority of his practice was representing public employees against governmental employers, including police departments, state, county and municipal governments.

Rick is an active associate member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and an officer in the PBC Democratic Progressive Caucus and various other community and political organizations. He was a candidate for State Representative in District 83 (North Palm Beach County) in 2006 and 2008.

He has been President of Floridians for Health Care since 2007 and was instrumental in obtaining the endorsement for single payer by the United States Conference of Mayors in 2008.

He is a regular lecturer on the benefits of a single payer Medicare-for-All health system.

Michael Minardi

Michael C. Minardi is the Campaign Manager of Regulate Florida, part of the NORML Legal Committee, and serves as a board member of The Silver Tour, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana, and The Florida Cannabis Action Network. He is also a Board member and Legal Director of NORML of Florida. Michael earned his undergraduate degree Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island in 1998, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad Law Center in 2002, where he was a Senior Staff Member of the Nova Law Review.

Michael is the Senior Partner at Minardi Law. For over 14 years, Michael has dedicated his practice to fighting for clients charged with cannabis crimes. His passion has driven him to learning and understanding cannabis laws in the State of Florida and throughout the country. Michael’s practice represents clients in corporate consulting and services for business and individuals looking to enter the cannabis industry, forfeiture matters, and criminal matters, with a focus on cases where an individual purchases, uses, or cultivates cannabis for medical purposes. He has successfully won many medical cannabis cases, including several landmark high profile cases in Florida. He has represented some well-known patients including Cathy Jordan, Delbert Mullins, Jesse Dosher and Jeffrey Kennedy whom have had their cases dismissed. He won the first and second jury trial presenting the medical necessity defense to cultivation and possession of cannabis charges in the cases of Jesse Teplicki, and Bridget Kirouac in Florida. Michael has represented patients, including veterans, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Chronic Pain Disorders, Depression and Anxiety, Glaucoma, Severe Anorexia, Fibromyalgia, Liver Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and other medical conditions charged with cultivation, manufacturing or possession charges. He recently assisted Kristoffer Lewandowski in Oklahoma, a ten-year marine veteran facing two-years to life in prison for six plants, who received a deferred prosecution with no supervision and no jail time.

Gary Stein

Advocate, activist, and author, Gary Stein provides content for numerous publications including the Huffington Post, Florida Politics, Health News Florida, High Life and Revive magazines and more. He has his Masters in Public Health Education & Health Policy from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. For two decades, he worked for the Centers for Disease Control tracking HIV, TB, and other STD’s across Florida and as program director with the Florida Department of Health, Gary oversaw the Hillsborough County Tobacco Control & Prevention and the Health Equity Programs. He currently serves as Political Director of CFL NORML. His book, The Great Green Hope strives to educate the general public on the history of cannabis, it’s prohibition, and issues faced by those who need it as medicine.