Advance Notice: Briefs

Former El-Sayed policy director behind ‘Green New Deal’

By: - December 6, 2018 5:47 pm

Rhiana Gunn-Wright, who served as Abdul El-Sayed’s policy director for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, has moved on to the national stage.

E&E News, a Washington, D.C.-based energy journal, reports that Gunn-Wright is part of a nonprofit, the New Consensus, that’s crafting the “Green New Deal” championed in Washington, D.C., by U.S. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The goal is to move the United States from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Ocasio-Cortez endorsed El-Sayed’s bid and campaigned for him during the Democratic primary, which he lost to now-Gov.-Elect Gretchen Whitmer. Both El-Sayed and Ocasio-Cortez have snagged significant media attention as being part of the next generation of the movement of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders-style progressives.

Gunn-Wright, 29, is a Rhodes Scholar like El-Sayed. She told E&E News that his campaign served as “a training ground,” as it was her first time “running a policy team and doing field work.”

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.