Amy Blouin is the Founder and Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project. The Missouri Budget Project works to improve the quality of life for all Missourians by informing public policy decisions through objective research and analysis of state budget, taxation and economic issues. Amy has previously held positions in government relations and advocacy with the United Way of Greater St. Louis and Catholic Charities of St. Louis and has served as an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University. She is well respected throughout the state and was most recently named “One of the Most Influential St. Louisans” by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2012. Amy holds a Master’s degree from Saint Louis University and a BA from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Prior to earning her Master’s degree, Amy spent time working with the Iowa Department of Economic Development, European Office in Frankfurt, Germany; volunteered in Central America and southern Texas with refugees. She has clinical experience working with abused children.
THE HONORABLE MICHAEL BUTLER
Rep. Michael Butler, a Democrat, represents part of St. Louis City (District 79) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2012. Prior to his legislative duties, Rep. Butler gained experience in the legislature while serving as the Legislative Aide in the office of State Senator Robin Wright-Jones, and as the Legislative Assistant to State Rep. Mary Wynne Still. During his 2012 campaign, he served as a permanent substitute teacher in the St. Louis Public School System. Rep. Butler holds a bachelor’s degree in Business from Alabama A&M University, where he also served as Student Government President and as a Board of Trustee member. He obtained a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Born and raised in the 79th district, Rep. Butler’s childhood home is near Tower Grove Park. His father owned Pelican Printing in Midtown, and his grandfather taught for 20 year at Vashon High School, both in the 79th district.
Chris Chadwick is the founding Executive Director of FOCUS St. Louis, the region’s premiere leadership organization. It is a non-profit organization that develops and connects leaders from diverse backgrounds, and empowers them to work together to build a thriving St. Louis community. FOCUS programs and initiatives develop and engage leaders from high school students to senior executives. She was named the first Executive Director of the organization following the merger between The Leadership Center of Greater St. Louis and Confluence St. Louis in November of 1996. In June 2011, Chris oversaw another strategic transaction to incorporate the programs of Coro Leadership Center-St. Louis into FOCUS. In addition to serving as Executive Director, she also directs the flagship Leadership St. Louis and Experience St. Louis programs. She also serves as lead consultant/project manager on many customized programs FOCUS designs for clients. Chris has served on the boards of over 30 organizations.
Crystal Fowler is a Parent Educator with Raising St. Louis where she delivers relevant child development and parenting information to families based on their needs and interests using the Parents as Teachers curriculum. She conducts family assessments and developmental screenings to ensure families’ needs are being met. Her work includes engaging families during home visits one or two times per month, group connections monthly, and other events and opportunities as needed. She coordinates group meetings to allow families to come together and share in addition to receiving information about various topics relating to their experiences. She provides referrals to community resources as needed by families. Her previous positions included: Voices for Children, Urban Behavioral Healthcare Institute, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and Washington University in Saint Louis. She received her B.A. from Washington University in Educational Studies and Psychology with coursework in Counseling Orientation and Ethics.
Alison Gee is engaged in health policy, political and legislative work. Alison was previously VP of Public Policy at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri for 13 years. Prior to Planned Parenthood, Alison was COO of the Health Policy Institute, a Missouri-based education and advocacy group; Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Voters for Choice PAC; and PAC Manager for national NARAL. She worked on development and implementation of the Missouri Medicaid Managed Care (MC+) program, and has played a key role in the development, drafting and passage of Missouri state legislation on pre-natal substance abuse, collaborative practice regulations, and maternal and child health care reform. Alison is the foster-adoptive mother of two young men now in college. Her specialties include: policy analysis and development, lobbying, advocacy, coalition building, strategic planning, contract negotiation, marketing, planning, event coordination and grant writing.
Lara Granich is Director of the Missouri Jobs with Justice coalition. Jobs with Justice is a coalition of nearly 100 organizations committed to working together on workers rights and economic policy issues. Lara is a native St Louisan raised in North St Louis County and now residing in south St Louis City. She graduated from Rosati-Kain High School and from Macalester College in St Paul with a degree in International Studies. She worked as a neighborhood organizer in the St Louis Association of Community Organizations and as a union organizer with the United Health Care Workers before becoming a founding member, then the first staff person for St. Louis Jobs with Justice. After labor and community leaders formed a Kansas City Jobs with Justice she was asked to oversee Jobs with Justice coalitions throughout the state of Missouri by serving as the state director. She is also a former member of the national board. Lara is a graduate of FOCUS St Louis’ Leadership St Louis program and the Community Arts Training Institute of the St Louis Regional Arts Commission. She serves on the Citizen Review Panel of the St Louis Regional Arts Commission, and on the boards of Gateway Homeless Services and the Missouri Citizen Education Fund.
Charles Hinderliter serves as Manager Advocacy Outreach at St. Louis Regional Chamber where he enhances the website and Advocacy Action Center. He assist in drafting and publishing Advocate e-newsletter and other Public Policy communications. His duties include integrating policy development and advocacy initiatives into website, social media, electronic communications vehicles and advocacy materials. He continually builds relationships with Chamber members and other stakeholders to obtain feedback and keep up with best practices to improve the effectiveness of website, social media, electronic communications, and advocacy materials. He produces advocacy materials and collateral materials for Public Policy Chamber members, committees, networks, public officials and staffs, and the business and civic communities. On an ongoing basis, Charlie tracks legislative activity in Illinois and Missouri and candidates for public office. Previous to his current position, he staffed Representative John Diehl’s reelection campaign, taught Congress and the Legislative Process at Maryville University and served as Campaign Manager for Representative Rick Stream.
KIM E. HUNT
Kim Hunt engages in political advocacy on behalf of Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois. Children’s Home and Aid Society is a leading child and family service agency in Illinois. The organization helps children recover their health, their hope, and their faith in the people around them. Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois links children to a network of opportunity and care, to extended family, teachers, mentors, and the resources of the neighborhood and community. For more than 130 years, the organization has gone wherever children and families need them, and worked where it has been proven to be most effective: at home, in the classroom, in the neighborhood, in the course of daily life. The organization has offices located across Illinois and serve more than 40,000 children and families in over 60 counties each year.
DR. TERRY JONES
Dr. Terry Jones is a Founders' Professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and the author of The Metropolitan Chase: Politics and Policies in Urban America, Fragmented by Design: Why St. Louis Has So Many Governments and Conducting Political Research, as well as dozens of scholarly articles, chapters, and technical reports. He has served as a consultant to more than fifty governmental and non-profit agencies and has held offices in many professional and community organizations. His research interests are primarily in the area of metropolitan governance, urban public policy, state government, and public opinion. He received his Ph.D. at Georgetown University.
DR. TRISH KOHL
Dr. Kohl’s scholarship focuses on strengthening, implementing, and sustaining evidence-based interventions that improve the quality of care provided to vulnerable families. Through her research, which is informed by several years of clinical practice with children and families, she seeks to close the gap between research and community-based practice. Her intervention and implementation research is informed by analyses of large datasets to examine how characteristics of parents within the child welfare service system, such as substance abuse and mental illness, influence parenting behaviors, child emotional and behavioral health, and the safety of children. Dr. Kohl is also currently serving as the interim Associate Dean for Social Work. Dr. Kohl received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006, after which she joined the faculty of the Brown School. She is currently chair of the Children, Youth and Families concentration and teaches Social Work Practice in Early Childhood and Social Work Practice with Children in Families.
Mr. Sanders is a classroom educator with 10 years of experience at the preschool and elementary levels in Saint Louis Public Schools, specifically Adams Elementary. His classroom is fully-inclusive with 10 students receiving special services incorporated into the room. He provides a safe, nurturing learning environment for students and continually works to foster positive relationships between school and home. He implements a Project Construct curriculum and uses data to develop lesson plans designed to reach all students. Mr. Sanders engaged in the following: National Teaching and Learning Conference March 2014; AFT/St. Louis Public Innovative Fund Work Preschool Workgroup; Preschool Assessment Committee; Project Construct Teacher Leader; Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council; Principal Leadership Team; Local 420 Building Steward and Afterschool Coordinator. His M.A. is in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Inclusion from Webster University with his B.S. in Early Childhood Education received from Missouri State University.