Election 2024:
Democracy, Hope and Action

February 7, 2024 | 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. | UCMBEST/MBEP, Marina

We are excited to extend an invitation to you for our upcoming Political Headwinds Panel Discussion, following up on the engaging discourse initiated during the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership's Annual State of the Region in 2023.

This panel discussion promises to be enlightening and thought-provoking, featuring esteemed speakers including Mike Madrid, Debbie Mesloh, and Heidi L. Sieck. The session will be expertly moderated by Zach Friend.

Our panelists will delve into the current political climate, analyzing trends, challenges, and potential pathways for the future. Their diverse expertise and perspectives are sure to provide invaluable insights.

Lunch will be served. This event is FREE for MBEP Members and $39 for the general public.

Zach Friend,
Second District Supervisor, Santa Cruz County

Zach Friend is a global government affairs, communications and public affairs expert with significant experience crafting and shaping public policy and communications strategies on behalf of executive level business and political leaders. He has built and led government affairs and communications teams, served as a spokesperson for multiple presidential campaigns and advised executive level business and political leaders on communications strategy, messaging and narrative development. He has extensive experience in crisis communications and speech writing and has acted as a global spokesperson on a multitude of high profile issues. He has counseled startups and Fortune 500 companies in crisis management, government affairs and messaging. Read more...

Mike Madrid,

Mike Madrid is a communications expert and a nationally recognized expert on Latino voting trends. He graduated from the Edmund G. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1997, where he wrote his senior thesis on Latino politics and the perspective that politicization of emerging Latino voter groups in Southwestern states was unique in American history. The work focused largely on a critical assessment of professor Peter Skerry’s work “Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority” and addressed questions surrounding the experience of Mexican American politicization as a choice between the pursuit of an aggrieved racial minority or a more typical assimilative integration into the broader political and social culture of the United States. Read more...

Debbie Mesloh,
Principal, Mesloh Strategies

Debbie Mesloh has served at the highest levels of national public affairs and political communications including serving as a spokesperson and surrogate for multiple presidential campaigns and as a senior-level appointee in the Obama Administration. Debbie started her career in politics as a press secretary for the mayor of her hometown – Wichita, Kansas and has continued in senior levels on both the campaign and staff level for many California-based political leaders.

She has long served as one of Kamala Harris’ senior advisors.  In addition, she served as communications director at the SF DA’s office and the California Attorney General’s office. Debbie also co-led Senator Harris’ transition to the United States Senate.  Debbie served as a spokesperson in the 2008 Obama for President and 2012 Obama for re-election campaigns.  She was appointed by President Obama as a White House Political Appointee to the Public Affairs Office of the United States Trade Representative, where she had a focus on China and cybersecurity.

Heidi L. Sieck, Founder & CEO, #VOTEPROCHOICE; Founding Chief Operating Officer of Civic Hall and Democracy.com and interim Chief Operating Officer of Rock the Vote in Washington, D.C.

Heidi L. Sieck is an award-winning, C-level civic entrepreneur with a lifetime commitment to political organizing and foundational systems intervention - particularly elevating women to positions of leadership. She is the founder and Chief Empowerment Officer (CEO) of #VOTEPROCHOICE, the founding Chief Operating Officer of Civic Hall and Democracy.com and interim Chief Operating Officer of Rock the Vote in Washington, D.C. Heidi established herself as a civic technologist and government transformer when she led the -Mayor Gavin Newsom’s award-winning 311 Customer Service Center project, a $20 million construction, technology, and transformational government service establishing the foundation of the open government movement in the U.S. Heidi has worked on eight presidential campaigns and countless state and local races from New York City to Nebraska.  She co-founded the San Francisco Women’s Policy Summit with (now) Vice President Kamala Harris. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Business from the University of Nebraska and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was awarded the Holly Taylor Sargent Award for Advancement of Women in Leadership.


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Launched Monterey Bay Housing Trust

Funding 500 new affordable homes.

Published Housing White Paper

Resulting in 14 + new policies that are improving housing affordability

Published Housing + Water "Blue Paper"

To recommend water policies that are increasing housing production

Published ADU White Paper

Aiming to educate about new laws, and strengthen policies and practices in Monterey County.

Launched Action Center

Resulting in 2,029 new homes

Implemented Farmworker Housing Action Plan

Resulting in 2,200 + new beds

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