Russell Drapkin, OFA Arizona Regional Field Director, 30

Member of the Week

Russell’s career in the field began before most of us knew what the word “democracy” meant:

My first political experience was when I was in 5th grade and my mom’s boss was the campaign manager for a county executive bid in Maryland. Of course mom got dragged in, and so did I. So I’m pretty sure I was stuffing envelopes (old school!) and knocking on doors then.

Following up on this illustrious start (and much door-knocking and phone-banking since then), Russell is flying today to Phoenix, AZ — where he will take up his new role as Regional Field Director for Organizing for America (OFA). He’ll be managing Community Organizers and joining the good fight as the Dems head into what will be, by all estimates, a bruising midterm election season.

Originally from the DC area, Russell moved to NYC after finishing conservatory in Chicago in 2002. He took up residence in Harlem and got involved with MYD through the 2008 Open Seat Project — where we asked young Dems to run for elected office in the local county committee. Since then, he’s navigated us through harrowing bus rides to Mamaroneck, gotten very active in local campaigns as a volunteer, and generally always been willing to teach us a whole lot about politics and policy every time we’re all meeting for drinks.

Though his work in Arizona will be in the field, good progressive policy is also near and dear to Russell’s heart:

Arts policy in the US is pretty terrible. ┬áIt’s terrible at the federal, state, and local levels. Education is a lifelong endeavor. It doesn’t stop at the end of high school, college, or even grad school. Having things that will continue to challenge, engage and inspire people is something we should pay more attention to, and fund substantially better than we do now. The arts should be a big part of that.

We wish Russell all the best in his new gig — and we’ll miss you!

A pic to remember us by