Dr. Robert Kraig Executive Director (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A. University of Georgia; B.A. University of Pittsburgh)
Over the past 14 years, Robert has played a significant role in the Wisconsin public policy arena. Robert is a leading strategist in the Wisconsin progressive movement, and is especially known for developing innovative approaches to promote health care reform. Robert is leading in the development of new progressive communications models which are more effective and fully integrate traditional organizing with earned, social, and new media strategies. Robert frequently appears in Wisconsin media. He has also appeared on major national media outlets such as Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, and many syndicated radio programs, and has been quoted in national newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The American Prospect, The Atlantic, and Mother Jones. In October of 2011 Robert was one of the recipients of the Citizen Leadership Award from the Campaign for America’s Future. In January of 2009 Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers, presented Robert with its "Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award." Also in 2009, the Wisconsin State Assembly gave Robert a special citation for his work in promoting health care reform in Wisconsin. In 2007 Kraig shared, with his colleague Matt Brusky, the "Progressive Innovation Award" from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center. He is also a policy expert, authoring eleven reports on various aspects of the health care crisis, and speaking throughout the country on reform legislation. Robert earned a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.A. from the University of Georgia. He is the author of several major academic articles on American political rhetoric and a well-regarded book, Woodrow Wilson and the Lost World of the Oratorical Statesman (Texas A&M Press). The book topped a Wall Street Journal list of the five best books on presidential rhetoric. From 1999-2005 he was the Wisconsin Political Director for SEIU, where he helped develop and win the passage of several policy innovations which enabled over twelve thousand low- wage workers to form unions. He grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and has lived in Wisconsin since 1989.
Matthew Brusky Deputy Director
Over the past nine years, Brusky has been working to elect progressive candidates to state and national office. Over the past two election cycles, Brusky has played a leading role in devising and leading cutting-edge health care reform electoral strategies. In 2007 Brusky shared (with his colleague Robert Kraig) the "Progressive Innovation Award" from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center. In 2004 Brusky won the “Forty Under 40” award from the Milwaukee Business Journal, which recognizes up and coming professionals. Brusky came to Citizen Action from Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, where he was Field Director. He was the Deputy Political Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Wisconsin State Council from 2000-2005. He was raised in Milwaukee and went to Marquette University High School. He attended college at Loyola Marymount University in LA, and earned a Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer
Kevin joined Citizen Action of Wisconsin in June of 2011 as the Healthcare Organizer. Kevin’s interest in health care stems from a host of family members in the field, his own work on Capitol Hill during the health reform debate, and his personal experience of being protected by the Affordable Care Act. Kevin became Lead Organizer in the Fall of 2013.
Prior to joining Citizen Action, Kevin was a founding member of the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, an insurance co-op that provides health insurance to over 20,000 people. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Political Science from Marquette University, a health insurance broker's license to truly understand health insurance, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Applied Economics. He is a former AmeriCorps VISTA and Fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership. Kevin was awarded the "Advocate of the Year" in 2012 by HealthWatch Wisconsin and the Friend of the Family Farmer award by the Wisconsin Farmers Union in 2013. He was a finalist for the New Organizing Institute's national "Most Valuable Organizer" award in 2013.
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Anita Johnson, Organizer
Anita joined Citizen Action of Wisconsin in August of 2008 as the Election Administration Advocate. In that role she worked with coalition partners to build a more robust democracy at the local and state levels by advocating to improve the quality of election administration in the State of Wisconsin. Prior to joining Citizen Action, Anita worked for People For The American Way as Foundation Consultant Wisconsin Election Protection State Coordinator, recruiting and training volunteers to work the polls on election day as well as educating the public about voter rights. Anita has received the Women Who Put Their Stamp On Milwaukee award, the United States Postal Service Award for Community Service and was awarded Grassroots Organizer of the Year award from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. She attended Milwaukee Area Technical College where she majored in Secretarial Science. Anita is also a graduate of Leadership Milwaukee.
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Essence Magazine - The Latest Assault on Your Voting Rights - feat. Anita Johnson
Brian Wooldridge, Director of Operations (HR, Accounting, Office Manager, Membership Database Manager, Web master, etc)
Brian is a accomplished musician and has a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Erik Kirkstein, Health Organizer
Erik joined Citizen Action of Wisconsin in July 2014 as the Health Organizer. Erik's primary work involves coordinating our statewide advocacy program addressing the increase in heroin, opioid and other substance use disorders among Wisconsin youth. A Wisconsin native, Erik attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he graduated with honors with a degree in Political Science. During his academic career, Erik worked as an intern in the Governor’s Office of the State of Wisconsin located in Milwaukee. Over the past 6 years, he has worked for a variety of Wisconsin-based advocacy organizations in both strategic organizing and communications capacities.
Jen Cohen, Organizer - Jen joined Citizen Action in July of 2014 as there Northeast organizer. Jen works with members to pursue healthcare and economic justice initiatives at the local level across the state. Prior to Citizen Action Jen worked with We Are Wisconsin as there Northeast Organizer. Jen also has a background in working on campaigns and ballot initiatives across the country in states like Maine and Michigan. Prior to joining the We Are Wisconsin team Jen received a double degree in Political Science and Women Studies with a Minor in Sociology from the University of Maine. While at the University of Maine Jen helped develop the successful Speech and Debate Team as well as being a Founding Sister of a community service sorority on campus.