Meet the Team
We cannot defeat authoritarian populism from the establishment platform that gave rise to it.
Nick grew up a first generation American in northern Virginia. His parents had traveled to the U.S. from Chile in search of a good education, and Spanish became Nick’s first language. In middle school civics, he wrote a bill to help those impacted by climate change and realized that he wanted to better other people’s lives. He carried his passion to William & Mary where he studied sociology and environmental science.
After graduating, Nick spent several years working for mainstream Democrats including John Kerry and Terry McAuliffe. In 2016 he became the national political outreach coordinator on Bernie Sanders’ first presidential campaign. Later that year he helped Bernie found Our Revolution and was its first electoral manager.
For years he watched Democratic politicians take bribes from the wealthy while they dismissed the needs of working people – until he couldn’t take it anymore. His life changed after he was asked to greet dozens of maimed young men and women returning from the war in Iraq. Nick finally left his successful career in the Democratic Party when he realized that neither party shared his desire to help others. He was forced to confront that both parties are corrupt beyond repair. But his experiences taught him that regular people really can change everything by coming together in a party of their own, and he dedicated himself to building it.
They ran their heads very hard against wrong ideas, and persisted in trying to fit the circumstances to the ideas instead of trying to extract ideas from the circumstances.
— Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Politics has always played a big part in Carol’s life. As the daughter of a public school teacher who was active in his union, she grew up in union halls and on a picket line. At the University of Michigan, she combined her twin passions of political science and journalism. She volunteered on several New Democratic Party campaigns in Canada where she learned to see the U.S. through a critical lens and to appreciate the superiority of the parliamentary system.
As a 15-year journalist, she reported for the Detroit Free Press and McGraw-Hill World News (Business Week Magazine), covering the automotive industry and financial markets in the U.S. and Canada. A longtime publicist, she has repped movies from the production team of Michael Douglas and Steven Reuther, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and the Toronto International Film Festival plus promoted Roots Canada and the Canadian and U.S. Olympic teams. Politically, she volunteered on several Democratic Party campaigns including field organizing and national social media for Bernie 2016, on whose campaign she went to the DNC in Philly as an official “supervolunteer.” That surreal experience combined with Nick Brana’s profound November 2016 Huffington Post piece convinced her that we have one corporate party that will forever be bought and paid for by big money.
That money is killing our planet. With global heating a growing threat to human survival, she works every day with Nick and MPP organizers to literally save her children’s futures.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” — but it wont bend by itself!
Rod Brana has been a member of Movement for a People’s Party from its beginnings in September of 2017. Rod joined the movement because he believes the only way to a peaceful transition to a sustainable and just world is through the rise of truly independent political representation. This political power can be the means to create democratic institutions that reflect the best of human achievement and aspirations, instead of greed, competition, corruption and injustice. Rod believes in the interconnection of all life and that all sentient beings in the planet deserve life and coexistence. Rod is a board member of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in the Washington DC area. Rod has also served on other non-profit boards.
Rod is an architect who works in “recycling” houses, introducing solar power whenever possible. Rod has lived in Chile, Argentina and the US. Rod experienced what it is like to live under an authoritarian government following the 1973 military coup in Chile, the result of policies of “regime change.” This experience helped shape Rod’s interest in going beyond the “official” stories of the power structures, to work for justice, to uplift the dignity of all people, and to live accordingly.
Rod enjoys the outdoors, mentoring and all animals. Rod participates in storytelling and would like to undertake “the challenge of making people laugh” by doing stand up.
We are beginning a new age — one of renewable energy and digital money — and we need and deserve a new system to fit that future.
Suzanne grew up in the steel-town of Pittsburgh watching the off-shoring of its major industry almost destroy her city. She’s an experienced media consultant with expertise in writing, video / filmmaking, brand management, and web design and development. She’s held positions as Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Associate Creative Director, and Marketing Manager for a public television station. Currently, she is working as Communications Coordinator for the Public Banking Institute.
Suzanne is the daughter of British ex-pats, and an alumni of Carnegie-Mellon University where she received a masters in professional writing after undergrad degrees in biology and psychology. She started her career in the pharmaceutical industry to improve human health, but realized firsthand that profits not health drive the healthcare industry. Shifting gears, she went to film school in Vancouver, BC, and then onto Los Angeles where she made a short film, wrapping production the weekend before 9/11. The events of that day, however, would impact her greatly. She saw through the WMD lies and founded Imagine Festival, a music and arts festival for peace. In the middle of writing a book about the fraud-based financial system, she joined Occupy LA and became a central part of Occupy Fights Foreclosures. She helped to save families’ homes from being stolen by mega-banks. Inspired by Bernie Sanders’ talk of defeating the oligarchy, she became an early super volunteer for his 2016 campaign and joined the core team of independent grassroots Bernie Sanders Brigade. When the 2016 primary vote day chaos unfolded in Los Angeles, she founded Count Our Votes CA to push for an investigation of the election fraud. Realizing the Democratic Party was not abiding by the will of the people, she called for Bernie Sanders to leave the Democratic Party and form a new party. She found Nick Braña and Draft Bernie soon after and got to work building the party we deserve — one that will create a political system and economy that serves all the people, not just the already rich and powerful.
Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
With an activist mother and grandfather, Lezlie literally was born into the Democratic Party. When she was 10, she was a balloon girl when her mother’s friend ran for US Senate. In 1960, at the age of 14, she served in a “Kennedy Kutie” Honor Guard between the plane and the podium when candidate Kennedy came to KY to speak. She served as an officer in Young Democrats, fighting for Civil Rights and against the war as a member of Students for A Democratic Society in college. Living in AZ since 1976, she worked as Volunteer Coordinator, managed campaigns, served on the AZ State Central Committee and as a party officer, and consultant. She started pulling away from the party after the 2000 election when not one person in Congress helped Al Gore to fight back against election theft. Never completely trusting the Clintons, Lezlie turned her back on the Establishment and worked on Howard Dean’s campaign. When he was sabotaged, she opted to work locally, and then to help Dean become DNC Chair. She worked on Obama’s first campaign, believing him to be an agent of change. Then she retired from politics, when Obama became a disappointment. She worked for Bernie in 2016, full-time. After the primary/convention debacle, she registered as the Independent she had always been at heart.
After giving up again, at the age of 70, on finding the change she sought in politics, she read an article by Nick Brana in Huffington Post. He had all the right ideas about an alternative movement and had covered all the things that went wrong with all the previous movements she had joined. The most impressive point he made was starting an Independent Movement outside the Democratic Party. Other pluses were that no corporate donations would be accepted and that we must form a coalition with like-minded groups. This was a workable formula! She came out of political retirement for good and started working with Draft Bernie and the next version of the movement, MPP (Movement for a People’s Party), finding the political home she had been looking for since the ‘60s and a chance at long last of making a difference.
Nothing is more personally empowering and fulfilling — or as politically powerful — as when we liberate our minds from what we are told is possible and get to work building solutions with those who share our same struggle.
Mateo was born in a small American town and is the proud son of a truck driving father and 911 dispatching mother. Although he was passionately conservative until he left his hometown, he began working for progressive causes once he began understanding the realities of how injustice is perpetuated in the lives of everyday Americans. His organizing has taken him from leading marches in the streets alongside Gulf War I vets, to educating about nutrition and herbs as an alternative to pharmaceutical medicine, to working side by side with indigenous communities of South America in defense of their forests and ways of life. Professionally, he has done everything from worked at a gas station, to managed teams of petitioners, to headed up sales for a $70 million brand.
As a passionate advocate for election integrity and the platform of Bernie’s 2016 campaign, he applied himself to understanding what strategy would best serve the progressive movement after witnessing the realities of the rigged 2016 Democratic Primary. This deep dive brought him to MPP and a thorough understanding that progressives simply cannot succeed in the Democratic Party. It is from this understanding — out of duty to people and planet — that he volunteers with MPP today.
Movement for a People’s Party*
P.O. Box 68
McLean, VA 22101-0068
*MPP is an initiative / program of People for a Working Democracy, a Michigan 527 organization.