Fuse is the state's largest progressive organization - people creating change online, on the ground, and on issues that matter.

Our goals at Fuse are to help progressives win more often and give ordinary people a strong voice in politics. We aim to provide organizing and communications power that helps progressives win today and tomorrow on critical issues and electoral campaigns, while strengthening the foundation for increased success over time. There are four basic strategies we use to help win campaigns and build long-term progressive success:

  1. Organizing: We mobilize grassroots activists online and offline, build councils of local leaders in key areas that drive the state's balance of power, and we organize political donors. We also organize coalitions when leveraging collaboration is critical to a campaign's success and Fuse is strategically well positioned to do so.
  2. Communications: We deliver stories and messages that move people through new media and the news media, and we train others in the progressive community to communicate more effectively as well. We also produce high-quality research to support targeted campaigns and understand our opponents.
  3. Increasing accountability and promoting leadership: We hold decision-makers' feet to the fire when they let voters down, and we back leaders who fuel progress.
  4. Targeting the obstacles to progress: Our highest priority is to solve the political problems that hold everyone back.

Fuse has several strengths as an organization that fuel our work:

  • A culture of innovation and creativity: we always aim to be an innovation engine and a game changer.
  • Long-term timeline and a focus on movement and capacity building: our strategies are designed to build long-term power for progressives in Washington while also delivering short-term results.
  • Speed and nimbleness: we possess a dynamic flexibility to tackle urgent challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

Frequent Asked Questions

  • What does Fuse stand for? Fuse isn't actually an acronym. The idea for the name came from a) "fusion" or people coming together and b) a fuse that acts as a catalyst.
  • When was Fuse founded? Fuse was founded in 2007 to help change the political landscape in Washington State. We celebrated our 10-year anniversary recently!
  • Where does Fuse work? Fuse is a Washington state focused organization. The current landscape has caused us to increase our advocacy at the federal level, however our main focus is advocating for progressive reforms at the state and local level and building the progressive movement here at home.
  • How many people work at Fuse? We currently have 15 staff positions. This includes communicators, organizers, and campaign-related positions.

Our board

Adam Glickman

is Director of Public Affairs for SEIU Healthcare 775NW, the long-term care workers union representing 30,000 home care and nursing home workers in Washington and Montana. As director of Public Affairs he oversees SEIU Healthcare 775NW's political, legislative, community outreach, and media relations work. Adam grew up on the East Coast and became involved in labor and other social justice work while at Wesleyan University. After graduating, he worked in New York doing communications and political work, including as the Communications Director for New York's Working Families Party. He has two wonderful children - Micah and Asher.

Adriane Leithauser

is a lifelong Spokane resident, and holds a BA and MA in Philosophy along with an MBA from Gonzaga University. As a Professor of Business Ethics at Gonzaga University she enjoys developing future leaders who will shape and serve their communities. Adriane represents Fuse as the co-chair of the Spokane Alliance Public Safety Committee and the statewide planning team for the Building a Better Washington Campaign while also playing a lead role in our work on mental health and criminal justice reform and reforming the state budget and tax system. Adriane loves to run and is a long time member of the Inland Empire Blues Society. She and her husband, Brian, are avid pool players and host an annual Kentucky Derby party fundraiser for race horse rescue.

Daniel Weise

Daniel is a community activist who is really worried about the march to fascism that the Republican party is hell-bent on leading us on. His other big thing is climate change. So, as you can tell, Daniel tends to dwell on existential threats to our civilization. Daniel is on the second of his two careers. His first was computer science researcher (PhD MIT AI Lab) where he started out as a professor at Stanford before helping to start up Microsoft Research in the early 90s by leading one of its first research groups. He left Microsoft Research in 2004 to work on computational evolution, but discovered climate change and joined the advocacy community after quickly realizing that solving global warming was not technical problem, but a social and political one. He has been on the boards of the Cascade Bicycle Club, the Hertz Foundation, Washington Environment Council, and Washington Bikes, and serves on the board of Climate Solutions. His latest project is the Take Action Network, a web platform for movement building by focusing on the needs of individual activists, not on advocacy orgs. The result is a system that shares knowledge and power, giving individuals more options and methods for creating change.

Dean Nielsen

Dean is principal of Cerillion N4 Partners, a political consulting and government relations firm where he works for political, non-profit, union and corporate clients in Washington State, across the country and around the world. Formerly, he was National Political Director for Progressive Majority, where he and his staff recruited, trained and elected more than 1,000 progressive champions. Dean is a career politico, having worked in various capacities on more than 250 campaigns throughout the Western United States and Eastern Europe starting with Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. His lengthy client list includes Governor Gary Locke (WA), Solidarity Party (Poland), the Gore/Lieberman Campaign, as well as issue campaigns for groups such as EMILY's List, National Education Association, Wellstone Action!, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, SEIU, Harborview Hospital, PCCC and the Democratic Party in several states. In addition to campaigns, he helped build and expand a grassroots and grasstops lobbying program for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, conceived and launched the Institute for a Democratic Future, did qualitative research for several casinos in Las Vegas, managed a crisis communications project for a Fortune 500 company and does a variety of projects for several clean energy companies.

Jeff Hansen

Jeff is a marketing professional and business strategist currently working for Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer where he leads the company's brand strategy function. In over 20 years at Microsoft Jeff has developed a deep and diverse set of skills across a range professions including human resources, advertising, brand and image management, market research, marketing communications, PR and crisis management, product management, and leading the company's "marketing profession excellence" function. Prior to rejoining the central marketing group, Jeff spent five years working for Microsoft's "Chief Software Architect", where he was focused on helping implement advanced technologies and computing scenarios that are critical to the company's long term success. Jeff is a Seattle native. He had a decade long hiatus in Oregon during which he graduated from the University of Oregon with honors in Psychology and Sociology. Jeff returned to Seattle in 1991 having a short career in the legal profession before joining Microsoft later that year. Jeff currently resides in Bellevue with his wife and two boys. He is currently past President of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, a member of the U of O regional council, a Social Venture Partner, and a frequent guest speaker at various universities.

Jeremy Barksdale

Jeremy Barksdale is a User Experience Researcher at Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft, he earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science (with a concentration in HCI) and a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Virginia Tech. Prior to entering the PhD program, he earned a B.A. in Broadcast Production with a minor in Business Administration and an M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Software Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. He has worked in the U.S. Government and at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Additionally, he worked as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina A&T State University and at the University of Washington in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering. His personal interests include volunteering in the community, playing musical instruments, singing, reading, and moderate outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.

Kurt Guenther

has helped clients reach the audiences they want with the messages they need to get results for more than 20 years. Known for his enthusiasm and openness to new ideas, Kurt combines research with savvy about people in his broadcast, print, Internet, and overall strategy work. Health, education, conservation, women's rights, workers' rights, freedom of speech, national service, new sciences and world relief & development are among issues Kurt has worked with clients to promote, as well as Presidential, Senate and Gubernatorial candidates. Kurt is a founder of doingsomething, an all-volunteer network featured in the national media, two-term member of the Partner Board at his children's public school, chair of communications for the board of the Washington Environmental Council, and a baseball/swimming/soccer dad. Kurt attended Occidental College and Boston University, where he graduated summa cum laude from the School of Public Communication with graduate work in advocacy.

Maria Bocanegra

Maria is currently an immigration attorney at the law offices of Gonzales, Gonzales & Gonzales. Originally from Guatemala, she has lived in the Seattle area for over 20 years. As an immigrant herself, she understands and empathizes with the challenges and struggles faced by members of underserved communities, and she is committed to eliminating the many barriers that prevent them from fully participating in society. Maria received her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law in 2011 and her B.A. from the University of Washington in 2008. Outside of work, you can find Maria planning her next traveling adventure.

Phyllis Izant

Phyllis is a former major gifts fundraiser in higher education. She moved to University Place, Washington in 2000 after a development career with Kent School in Kent, Connecticut and Purdue University. Since arriving in Washington State, she has volunteered her time with various local organizations with missions that match her progressive values, serving on the boards of the YWCA Pierce County, the Tacoma Art Museum, and Community Health Care. She also serves on the Board of Advocates for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. She is a member of the Tacoma Branch of AAUW and serves as Treasurer and College Relations liaison for the branch.

Ruth Lipscomb

Ruth is a community activist and volunteer. She grew up in Oregon and after college came to Washington to work as a software engineer. Ruth is a founding board member of the Progress Alliance of Washington and is a trustee of Sightline Institute. In her spare time she gardens, fosters kittens, travels and tries to find time to exercise and read.

Sarah Worley

Sarah is a Program Manager in Worldwide Operations for Amazon. Over the past eight years, Sarah has dedicated herself to serving veterans. In 2009 Sarah worked as a constituent services representative in the office of Congressman Walt Minnick (ID-01) where she specialized in veteran and military affairs, immigration, and housing; managing more than 150 cases weekly. Sarah has also time with Hiring Our Heroes (HOH), a grassroots initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Sarah created and expanded an inaugural program for HOH, connecting transitioning military with fellowships with corporate companies such as Amazon, USAA, Verizon, GE, and more. Sarah holds a B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University. She currently resides in Seattle, WA where she spends her time volunteering and staying actively civically engaged.

Suone Cotner

Suone lived in Washington DC for ten years prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1983. Once here, Cotner served as President of the Mt. Baker Group, a fundraising and public affairs consulting company. As a consultant for 14 years, Cotner advised clients on fundraising strategy, and designed and supervised the implementation of both short term and long term fundraising plans to raise between $250,000 and $12 million. In 1997, she joined the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, now the Washington State Association for Justice, which represents attorneys and professionals in the legal field committed to champion the cause of those who deserve redress for injury to person, property or civil rights. As the Development Director and now Deputy Director, she is responsible for the organization's major donor and special project fundraising efforts.

Tom Miller

Tom is a retired professional software developer who worked at Digital Equipment Corporation and worked at Microsoft between 1989 until 2012. He is an expert in file systems and storage, and was a key developer of Microsoft Windows NT. Mr. Miller enjoys skiing, sailing, hiking and traveling with his wife and two sons. He has been an avid supporter of Save the Children for about 30 years, and has visited programs in Azerbaijan and Georgia, Myanmar (Burma), Malawi, Bhutan and the United States. He has participated in a Jimmy Carter Habitat for the Humanities build in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and another Habitat build in Guatemala. His humanitarian priorities are the chief fuel for his passion for progressive politics!

Our staff

aaron

Aaron Ostrom

Executive Director

Aaron is the master of "strategery" behind Fuse and its innovative campaigns to move progress forward in Washington state. Before helping to launch Fuse in 2007, Aaron served for eight years as the Executive Director of Futurewise, an organization dedicated to protecting rural areas and natural resources from irresponsible development and making cities great places to live. Aaron was a co-founder and Director of the Transportation Choices Coalition and also worked as a manager in the City of Seattle's Strategic Planning Office. He serves on the board of Progress Now and Win/Win, and has served as a board member of Smart Growth America and several other non-profits. He has chaired and/or played a critical leadership role in several statewide and regional ballot measure campaigns. Aaron has a B.A. in Public Policy from Brown University. In his off-time, Aaron plays basketball with other slow old men and aspires to more enthusiastically celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day. He and his family, including sons Cole and Desmond, live in Seattle.

Alison Cheung

Alison Cheung

Communications Hub Manager

Alison Cheung, Communications Hub Manager, helps Washingtonians tell their stories to build a statewide narrative for change. An islander at heart, Alison calls both Hong Kong and Bainbridge Island home. She is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she worked on education accessibility for marginalized youth and yelled a lot about racist housing covenants. Alison is into quilting, racial justice, podcasts, bikes, books, education, and other people's dogs. When she's not in the office, you can find her in the produce aisle or trying to get other people to ride bikes with her.

Anastasia Taylor

Anastasia Taylor

Development Coordinator

Anastasia works to build and engage Fuse supporters. She is passionate about progressive change, social justice movements, and holding politicians accountable. Anastasia has a B.A in International Affairs and Social Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. Prior to working with Fuse Anastasia has worn many hats interning with Seward Park Audubon Center, Washington Environmental Council, Hamomi Children's Centre, and CODEPINK. When Anastasia isn't involved in activist work she loves kayaking, biking, reading historical fiction, and exploring Seattle for the best happy hour.

Collin

Collin Jergens

Communications Director

Collin leads Fuse's earned media, social media, and email programs, as well as the Progressive Voters Guide. Collin has a B.A. in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. in Communications, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University. Prior to joining Fuse in 2010, Collin worked at a startup technology company in Washington, D.C. before hitting the road to work as a field organizer for the presidential campaign of then Senator Barack Obama. Collin loves spreadsheets, statistical significance, and A/B testing most things in life.

Desiree Wilkins Finch

Desiree Wilkins Finch

Pierce County Manager

Desiree Wilkins Finch was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. As a graduate of The Ohio State University, she earned a BA in West African and African American studies. Desiree holds a MA in Transformational Leadership with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Seattle University.

As Fuse’s Pierce County Organizer, Desiree’s mission is to build leaders to resist Trump’s agenda, lead efforts to clean up our state’s upside-down tax code, and help progressives win back key local offices. Desiree will also play a leading role in implementing Fuse’s racial equity plan by enabling Fuse to become a strong ally with under-represented communities in Pierce County.

Desiree’s mantra is that leaders drive values, values drive behaviors, and behaviors drive a community. She believes that humanity has been given the task to care of each other. Desiree has faith in the collectivism of faith and community and has spent more than 10 years as an organizer spreading a message of hope, action, and change. In her spare time, Desiree is a flautist and enjoys spending time with her husband and son.

Dujie Tahat - Communications Hub Director

Dujie Tahat

Communications Hub Director

Dujie Tahat is the Director of Fuse Washington's Communications Hub. Dujie got started politics as a Field Organizer for the 2012 Washington state coordinated campaign—organizing in the community he grew up in. That experience originated his obsession with building political will in communities that are traditionally left out of the political process. Dujie has since worked on a range of issue and candidate electoral campaigns as well as provided communications support for economic and environmental justice advocacy organizations.

Garrett

Garrett Havens

Eastern Washington Organizer

Garrett Havens is based out of Spokane and is spearheading multiple efforts to organize, engage and mobilize the Eastern Washington progressive community. Garrett has worked in community and government relations for more than 13 years, where he has achieved numerous progressive victories in Washington state. Prior to joining Fuse, Garrett was the Executive Director of the Washington Student Association where he organized students on campus and in Olympia to achieve major policy victories such as the passage of the Washington State Dream Act, securing in-state tuition for veterans, and fully funding the first statewide tuition cut in Washington’s history. After his time at the Washington Student Association, Garrett worked as a campaign consultant that focused on helping candidates of color and from underrepresented communities get into elected office. When Garrett isn’t working to build power in the progressive community, he can be found relaxing with friends and family and enjoying Eastern Washington’s natural beauty.

gavin

Gavin MacPherson

Visual Design Specialist

Gavin strives to mediate a clear, unique, and effective voice that is supported by sound design. He is an Illustrator and Graphic Designer who began his formal studies in the applied arts at Pratt Art Institute where he developed a taste for digital mediums. Since life is never a straight line, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Submariner. Upon realizing that being under the ocean for long periods of time is less fun then drawing pictures he separated from the Navy. He completed his degree in Communication and Design at the Art Institute of Seattle and has worked for Planned Parenthood, Woodland Park Zoo, and several other progressive groups. When he isn't creating for the greater good, he cherishes his time with his family cooking, dancing, and nerding-out to Sci-fi and Fantasy.

Jamie Wheeler

Jamielyn Wheeler

Campaign Director

Jamie works to build a bigger and stronger progressive movement through electoral and issue campaigns at Fuse. Prior to joining the Fuse team, she worked as a Government Affairs consultant during the 2014 legislative session after which she managed a legislative campaign in the 26th LD of Pierce and Kitsap counties. Jamie is an Olympia native and graduate of the University of Washington Seattle, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Communication. Jamie dreams of having the super power of Omnilinguism, so she could travel around the world without having to worry about any language barriers.

Jim Dawson

Jim Dawson

Program Director

Jim works to coordinate statewide organizing efforts and develop leaders in Eastern Washington to ensure our progressive movement is growing strong from the Cascades to the Selkirks. He has worked almost 20 years for nonprofit organizations on the state, national, and international levels. Before Fuse, Jim was the Field Director at the Washington Toxics Coalition where he lead the campaign to pass the nation's best standards for toxic chemicals in kids' products and a first-in-the-nation ban on toxic flame retardants. In his spare time he is leading the development of the first cohousing community in the Inland Northwest, co-manages Our Natural Homes LLC, and leads a meditation group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane. Learning how to grow, cook, and preserve yummy organic foods from the urban farm in his backyard is a favorite pastime. He lives in Spokane, WA in a historic home with his partner, several housemates and their pets.

lauren

Lauren Currin

Deputy Director

Lauren works to build a broader base of support for Fuse’s work and a stronger organization. She engages Fuse donors and activists in our strategy to build a more progressive Washington state and helps drive forward key internal organizational development initiatives. Prior to joining the Fuse team, she interned with RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and worked with CommunityWise Bellingham on water quality and climate change projects. Lauren was first introduced to politics in 2012, when she managed a state legislative race in Whatcom County. Lauren is a Spokane native and a graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned a BS in Environmental Science and Resource Management. When she’s not out running, walking, or otherwise traveling on foot through the streets of Seattle, she enjoys hiking, yoga, and volunteering.

Rumeal Falcons Lovell

Rumeal Lovell

Web Developer and Technology Manager

Rumeal is excited to be managing Fuse's email and web properties as well as producing Fuse's web content. He's looking forward to bringing his admittedly nerdy passion for responsive web design, optimizing websites for mobile, and data analysis to the online team at Fuse. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Rumeal moved to Washington in 2005. He graduated from Washington State University (Go Cougs!) in December 2013 with a degree in Management Information Systems. In addition to his work at Fuse, Rumeal manages a design firm that both creates and consults with clients on new responsive design techniques. In his free time, he watches lots of sports ball, including his hopeful rooting for future Super Bowl champion Atlanta Falcons, and can rattle off arbitrary sports trivia that normal people shouldn't know. He also enjoys reading books and attending seminars that teach about the latest trends in web and database development...it's fun, he swears.

Stephanie Spence

Stephanie Spence

Digital Communications Specialist

Stephanie makes Fuse look good online. She is one of the primary researchers and writers of the Progressive Voters Guide; she also writes content for Fuse's email, supports the organizers' actions out in the field, and poses the office dogs for Instagram. She graduated with a degree in environmental sciences and worked in the Midwest on conservation issues before moving to the Pacific Northwest. When she's not in the office, she's usually off drawing, complaining about hiking, and writing children's books and science fiction audiodrama.

Tarek Akkari at Fuse Washington

Tarek Akkari

Eighth Congressional District Organizer

Tarek is fired up and ready to organize progressive across the 8th Congressional District. Tarek grew up in Columbus, Ohio and was drawn to work in politics through his study of environmental policy at Ohio State University. Motivated by an intrinsic desire to create meaningful impact within communities hit hardest by climate change, Tarek began working on political campaigns to help elect officials who share his progressive values. In the 2016 election, he helped register voters on the OSU campus and last year he served as a Fuse Eastside Organizer. Tarek says, “organizing is a really important part of the political process. It’s the people on the ground that get politicians elected.”

Yvette Maganya

Yvette Maganya

South King County Organizer

Yvette Maganya is the South King Organizer for Fuse Washington. Yvette was born in Congo-Kinshasa and migrated to the United States from Kampala, Uganda at the age of seven. Yvette's personal experience as an immigrant has built up her desire to fight for our communities and to break down systemic barriers to opportunity. Prior to joining Fuse Washington, Yvette co-founded the SeaTac Neighborhood Action Council, a community group that advocates for social justice and equitable reforms in the greater South King County area. As a well-known immigrant rights activist, she brings to Fuse her extensive experience working with community-based organizations and coalitions that aim to strengthen the voices of underrepresented populations. As our South King County organizer, Yvette will continue to build power within communities by getting everyday people involved in politics and providing opportunities for political accountability. When Yvette is not fighting for change, you can find her reading biology and medical textbooks as she studies to become a doctor.