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Levana
Levana Layendecker.jpg
Born St. Johnsbury, Vermont, USA
Residence Burlington, Vermont
Alma mater Presbyterian College (1996)
Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania (2007)
Occupation Director of Communications, Democracy for America
(2010-present)
Website levanalayendecker.com

Levana Layendecker is the Director of Communications at Democracy for America (DFA) a progressive, people-powered political action committee, headquartered in Burlington, Vermont.


Education[edit]

In 1996, Levana graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English and Sociology from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. During her time at Presbyterian, Levana participated earnestly in Student Council and was a student activist on campus. In 2007, Levana graduated from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania with a masters in Government Administration.

Work with State Public Interest Research Groups[edit]

Shortly after graduating Presbyterian College, Levana was hired as a canvas director for the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) network in 1998. Her first campaign took place in Atlanta, Georgia where Levana worked on the campaign to reauthorize the Clean Air Act, a law enacted by Congress in 1990 to define Environmental Protection Agency responsibilities to protect and improve air quality in the United States.[1]

Levana continued to work with state PIRGs for the next five years. In 1999 she transferred from Georgia to New Jersey to work as an Americorps member with New Jersey Community Water Watch, a project of New Jersey PIRG to empower students and community members to address water quality problems in the state.[2] With the Water Watch, Levana worked as a campus organizer at Rutgers University. She organized students to protect water ways and educated the community about water pollution and protection. The following year Levana became a full-time campus organizer for the New Jersey PIRG student chapters, working with students throughout the state on key campaigns. One of her most notable successes was keeping legislation from passing that would have allowed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.[3]

In 2001, Levana became director of PIRG's Fuel Buyers, a heating oil cooperative for residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[4] At Fuel Buyers, Levana helped negotiate discounted oil prices for local residents, offering prices 10 to 30 cents per gallon lower than regular retail price.[5]

In 2002, Levana become the Administrative Director for New Jersey PIRG in Trenton, New Jersey. She assisted on numerous campaigns, including New Jersey Clean Cars Act. This bill was signed into effect in 2004. It will reduce air toxins in New Jersey by an additional 23 percent than federal standards and smog precursors by 19 percent by 2020. It also allows for hybrid technology to become mainstream. [6] The bill passed with bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly.[7]

Introduction to online organizing[edit]

During her work with PIRG, Levana started volunteering online with the Howard Dean campaign.[8] In 2004 Levana left PIRG to work with Advocacy Inc., an online consulting firm, and began doing online organizing. After the Dean campaign, Levana became a member of Philly For Change, a volunteer progressive group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania fighting for "democracy, social and economic justice for all people, peace, the environment, and the green economy."[9] The group was created by activists from Philly For Dean, a Philadelphia-based group in support of Dean's 2004 bid for the presidency, who wanted to continue to participate in politics at the end of Dean's campaign.[10].

After extensive work with online organizing, Levana was hired in 2006 as director of Web communications at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker-affiliated organization that works to promote peace and social justice.[11] During her time with AFSC, Levana attended University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a Masters in Government Administration in 2007. While at school, Levana was an active member with American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, a US labor union, and acted as union steward for the group.[12]

Health Care for America NOW!![edit]

In 2006, Levana began working as the director of online communications for Health Care for America NOW! (HCAN) [13] , a grassroots coalition of over 1,000 organizations that support health care reform in the US.[14] At HCAN, Levana was part of the leardership team. HCAN was the largest national coalition to pass health care reform.[15] As director of online communications, Levana's voice was central to gathering support and rallying Americans nationwide for the highly controversial health care campaign.[16]

Democracy for America[edit]

Levana was hired in 2009 as Communications Director at Democracy for America (DFA), the progressive member-driven political action committee based in Burlington, Vermont.[17] DFA focuses on running issue campaigns, training progressive activists across the country, and endorsing candidates in local and national elections[18].

Notes[edit]