Board of Directors - Rights and Democracy

Board of Directors

See our RAD Education Fund (c3) board members here -
Sylvia_Gale.jpg SYLVIA GALE, Co-Chair (NH)

For more than forty years Sylvia has worked on behalf of women and children and their families throughout the State of New Hampshire. Her work has focused on victim/survivor advocacy and support for program development and implementation on behalf of victims of crime. Sylvia has served as a member of the NH House of Representatives from 2012 - 2014, as well as served as the Executive Director of the NH Commission on the Status of Women. In 2016, she was a member of the Steering Committee for the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign in New Hampshire. (2018)

Jade_Fitzgerald.jpg JADE FITZGERALD, Treasurer (NH)

Jade is a long time technology professional with a background in computer security and data analytics; and is a cloud engineer at the moment. She finds her hobby in volunteer work having co-founded both DrawnCon Incorporated and Lunar Solis Corp; both of which are educational 501(c)(3) organizations in support of Animation and the Arts. She has additionally spent time volunteering as an EMT, and began her political organizing with Bernie Sanders NH campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016. She believes in the people's ability to influence the government they live in, and will assist that fight in any way she can. (2018)

Traven_Leyshon.jpg TRAVEN LEYSHON, Treasurer (VT)

Traven has been a long time supporter of independent working class political action. He currently serves as Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Vermont State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), as President of the Green Mountain Labor Council, and as a member of the Vermont Workers Center. He hosts a weekly radio program, Equal Time, on WDEV that focuses primarily on questions of social, economic and climate justice. (2018)

Victoria_Parmele.jpg VICTORIA PARMELE, Secretary (NH)

Victoria has a background in land use planning and environmental protection, and for as long as she can remember have focused on the need for a more sustainable society. She is currently the Chair of Strafford Regional Planning Commission, an organization that focuses on planning for the future of the region, in the areas of transportation, environmental protection, housing, employment, education, healthcare, etc. She has contributed to RAD by attending leadership meetings and attending/working on events; making financial contributions; developing Legislative Tracking for the 2017 Legislative session; starting to disperse information to RAD members on the Free State Project; and helping to evaluate/rethink where RAD is headed in New Hampshire. (2019)

Alison_Nihart.jpg ALISON NIHART, At-Large (VT)

Alison began volunteering with Rights & Democracy about a year and a half ago. She now serves as the chair of the Addison County Organizing Team, where she is helping to build RAD's organizing capacity in her town and neighboring communities. She is also a member of the Vermont Leadership Committee, where she has been involved in the development of RAD's proposed structure, as well as building the Vermont Movement Politics plan for endorsing and supporting candidates in 2018. She is passionate about building accessible and transparent systems that facilitate broad democratic participation in our work, and enjoy the process of figuring out how to design and maintain those systems. (2019)

Mary_Gerisch.jpg MARY GERISCH, AT-LARGE (VT)

Mary is a retired human rights attorney and past President of the Vermont Workers’ Center. She is a task force member of the U.S. Human Rights Network (USHRN) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and as the Co-Chair of the Universal Periodic Review task force for USHRN, and sits on their International Mechanisms Coordinating Committee. She sits on the board of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Healing Winds Pow Wow, the Turning Point Club of Bennington and Spirit Riders Equine Center, a therapeutic riding program. She is a representative on the Greater Bennington Interfaith Council, which has established and supports the Bennington Free Health Clinic, as well the Bennington Vermont Food Bank Distribution Center. She has been actively organizing for clean water in Bennington with RAD and Southern Vermont Water Warriors. She is currently the Chair of the Bennington Town Democratic Party. (2018)

Mari_Cordes.jpg MARI CORDES, AT-LARGE (VT)

Mari is a registered nurse and union and community social justice activist. She is the former local president of Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. She co-led on a number of policy issues such as an effort to remove discriminatory health insurance practices for transgender individuals, to strengthen public and regulatory oversight of not-for-profit hospital assets, and in the effort to establish publicly funded health care with no barriers to access for all Vermonters. Her first academic degree was in Natural Resource Management, Economics and Policy, and has served on the 350VT board. She lives off the grid in the mountains with her husband David. (2018)

Mark_Hughes.jpg MARK HUGHES, AT-LARGE (VT)

Mark is the co-founder and executive director of Justice For All, a grassroots organization committed to advancing racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system through advocacy, education and relationship building. In 2017, Justice For All anchored the Racial Justice Reform Coalition (30 organizations) and successfully facilitated the passage of H.308 (Act 54), one of the most progressive racial justice bills in Vermont history! He recently helped launch a Vermont chapter of the New Poor People's Campaign; A National Call for a Moral Revival. (2019)


During the 2016 elections Griffin pressured presidential candidates to take stronger stances on climate through birddogging, banner drops, and disruptions. While working for 350 Action in the 2016 primaries, Griffin learned how to engage with candidates in order to change the national narrative. During his time at 350NH he's learned an incredible amount about what it takes to organize community volunteers. Similar to RAD, 350NH is an organization driven by volunteers. He's learned how to craft a strategy that incorporates the broad range of ideas volunteers bring to the table. (2019)

Jan_Schaffer.jpg JAN SCHAFFER, AT-LARGE (NH)

Jan works for the national AFL-CIO. She is currently the Governance, Organizational and Leadership Development Coordinator for the Northeast. She works with State Federations, Central Labor Bodies and affiliated unions to assist with planning, governance, leadership development and training. From 1989 through 1997 Schaffer was the Political Director for the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. In the 1980s Schaffer was an organizer for the United Auto Workers (UAW) Technical, Office and Professional Workers Department, primarily organizing workers in the academic sector. She has been a member of the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of Teachers. Currently, she is a member of the Communication Workers. She lives in Warner, NH. (2018)

Andrew_Tripp.jpg ANDREW TRIPP, AT-LARGE (VT)

Andrew has spent much of the last 30 years involved in the struggle for a more just society. From demonstrations against US support of Apartheid South Africa and wars in Central America in the 80’s, to his first job in politics organizing to try and defeat the passage of NAFTA in 1993, to the anti-WTO demonstrations of the 90’s, to organizing unions for most of the last 20 years. His professional life has been as a Union, Community, and Civil Rights Organizer, nationally and in Vermont. For 20 years, in 28 States and four countries, he has organized unions, negotiated contracts, run strikes, built and run organizations and campaigns, worked to elect candidates, and passed legislation. (2019)

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  • commented 2017-09-14 09:57:30 -0400
    In an association with voting individuals, the board follows up in the interest of, and is subordinate to, the association’s full gathering, which for the most part picks the individuals from the board. In a stock enterprise, the board is chosen by the investors and is the most elevated expert in the administration of the partnership. In a non-stock enterprise with no broad voting participation, the load up is the preeminent representing body of the establishment; its individuals are here and there picked by the board itself.
  • commented 2016-12-06 10:22:11 -0500
    Great blog, lots of quality content and great global trends, I hope to see a lot of content here. Next year I’m going to try to volunteer for these attitudes. curso de inglês online
  • commented 2016-07-14 19:23:20 -0400
    You just sent me a newsletter email that had this statement:
    > Despite the official conclusion of Sanders’ campaign

    I read no further because that is a lie. Bernie has not conceded. He has not suspended his campaign. In fact, he just addressed via conference call his 1,900 pledged delegates and asked them to come to Philly and said there will be a roll call vote and asked them to vote for Bernie Sanders for president.

    He had to endorse Hillary to avoid both he and his delegates being shut out of the convention.
    Please send out a correction immediately.
    Thank you,
    Anna Fessenden


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