While many people are resigned to the current state of affairs in the campaign finance arena, we believe there is much that can and should be done to fix this broken system. We believe that the way in which we elect our officials is not a partisan issue; it is an American issue. But it is an issue that far too many people feel is beyond their control, that far too few people engage in, and that far too often lacks solutions consistent with conservative principles.

Our organization was formed and is run by individuals who understand the political process from the inside out, and are now seeking to educate people about the power they have to shape the process from the outside in. Our staff members have participated in elections of all shapes and sizes across this great nation. Rather than standing idly by as those who seek to buy political favor continue to exert a disproportionate impact on our political process, we are determined to educate and engage the citizens of this great land who are both disenfranchised with and disgusted by the entire political process. We want to educate people about the real issues, the real challenges, and help them to see that there are real solutions. We want people to see that this important debate need not be one-sided.

We believe that a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is not one beholden to big business and union influence. We believe that once individuals better understand these issues, and understand that there are many more like them who share their disdain for the status quo, the natural outgrowth of this understanding will be a better engaged and more involved citizenry. And then the people – not us, nor any corporation or special interest – with eyes wide open will realize their power to Take Back Our Republic.

 

Take Back Our Republic believes that individual participation in the American political system is the best way to preserve and strengthen our liberty. We engage in research, education, and advocacy about returning political power to individuals and ending the system of escalating campaign contributions by corporations, labor unions and special interests that fuels government spending. We believe politicians should be responsible to the people and not to self-serving moneyed interest who seek government subsidies and special treatment at a significant cost to taxpayers.

As with any successful team, each member of Take Back brings to the table a different, though equally impressive background in politics that unifies their desire to change the process in which our country funds campaigns. Collectively, in grass roots efforts, they have knocked on thousands of doors of everyday Americans across this country and asked for their vote in order to meet or beat the polling numbers. They have advised candidates and legislators alike, from how to win an election to crafting local zoning issues to coalition efforts for Presidential campaigns and been elected to office. They've fought against intrusive regulations, raised money to fight opposing money, and more recently, found themselves watching more Americans decide to stay at home on Election Day simply because of a systemic disdain for American politics. But as vast as their personal experiences may be on paper, they all vehemently agree that the system is inherently flawed and needs to be changed in order to reverse the damage that is slowly stealing our Republic.

JOHN PUDNER

Executive Director

Email: johnp@takeback.org
Phone: 334-329-7258

John Pudner
Executive Director

The oldest of 9 children growing up in a 3 bedroom house in inner city Richmond, VA - now the father of 9 children, John Pudner learned at a young age the importance of timing, negotiating and diplomacy. More importantly, he learned how to live on a shoe-string budget. Those early life lessons helped put him on the national political scene when in the 2014 primaries, he jump-started the campaign of Dave Brat, who would ultimately unseat U.S. Majority Leader Eric Cantor in one of the most unprecedented upsets in political history. Later in the general election of the same year, he would help defeat a 32-year incumbent state senator in Alabama’s general election. He managed campaigns for almost three decades. His now-famous strategy of outsmarting instead of outspending the opposition was born out of a hobby of extrapolating statistical data on sports teams. With an affinity for numbers and grassroots initiatives, John became known as the go-to-guy to help upstart candidates that didn’t have the financial backing needed to play in the political sandbox. During his career, he won 3 out of every 4 races in which he was involved. But through all his successes, John Pudner saw firsthand the influence of money on politics—the manipulation of the system and the loopholes that didn’t favor a transparent election— one in which only select major corporate donors and union bosses were the true winners. With a desire to now recreate the system instead of circumventing it, John Pudner will lead this team of ex-political wonks to help change the very industry in which they once thrived.

  

DIANE CULLO

Director of Development and Outreach

Email: diane.cullo@takeback.org
Phone: 703-244-5891

Diane Cullo
Director of Development & Outreach
Diane Cullo manages the Washington office of Take Back Our Republic. She brings almost 30 years of expertise from political, agency, association, government and corporate positions. Since working with TBOR Executive Director John Pudner on Oliver North’s 1994 Senate campaign, she has owned and operated her own business to provide clients with strategic and tactical counsel to raise awareness, enhance image, shape policy and build market share through high-impact calculated solutions. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Fairfax County Republican Committee guiding the nation’s largest county party and was the national spokesperson and campaign director of a renewable energy initiative where she secured both GSA and EPA involvement to establish national standards for domestic recycling.In 2004 Diane was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities where she provided the vision and leadership to expand public and private programs and financial support for these minority serving institutions. Through her fundraising and advocacy efforts she was able to increase programmatic funding five-fold through the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Energy, other agencies and private foundations.

The beginning of her career was spent in the political trenches, galvanizing networks of constituencies for two presidential campaigns, various U.S. Senate and congressional candidates as well as the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee. She was influential in creatively combining her unique talents with public and media relations and event fundraising, major donor and PAC programs.

Diane remains faithful to the concept of pragmatic politics where communication is key and getting citizens involved in the democratic process is the only way to move forward as a nation.

  

 

MELINDA MCCLENDON

Director of Marketing

Email: melindam@takeback.org
Phone: 334-329-7258

Melinda McClendon
Director of Marketing
A highly successful marketing executive who left her small town in south Alabama to catch the world by its tail, Melinda McClendon helped market and advertise some of the largest companies in the world; Domino’s Pizza, Nutri System, Macy’s, and Movie Gallery, Inc., before eating her words and moving back to her hometown 20 years later to marry and raise 4 children. A graduate of Auburn University, McClendon specialized in multi-unit marketing and product launches throughout her career.The parent of a special needs child and a breast cancer survivor, McClendon quickly became an advocate which, ultimately led to a recent short career in politics. An appointed local City Commissioner and an elected County Commissioner, McClendon saw first-hand the ineffectiveness of many elected officials. She ran for the Alabama Senate to unseat a 4-term Independent Senator who spent two years during her last term in court defending herself against a federal indictment for corruption. Because the incumbent was financed by the state’s powerful teachers union, McClendon was outspent 2-to-1. Trailing by 30 points in the early polls, McClendon lost the election by fewer than 700 votes, but not without leaving her supporters her commitment to help make changes to the unfair political process.

McClendon refuses to sit on the sidelines and watch her vote become invalid.

  

JUSTIN HILL
Director of Operations

Email: justinh@takeback.org
Phone (334) 329-7258

Justin Hill
Director of Operations
Don’t let Justin’s unassuming southern accent fool you. This Alabama native has an incredible, innate ability to recruit, organize and motivate a mega-team of disjointed volunteers into a fine-oiled machine. His experience as a YMCA Youth Director developed and honed his communication skills enough to ultimately plan and execute more than 40,000 door knocks and thousands more phone calls for candidates like Alabama State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts and Alabama House Commerce Committee Chair, Jack Williams.Justin’s departure from the “Y” led him straight into the political arena to direct large grassroots initiatives for campaigns in Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia. He’s proven to be a natural networker and extremely successful grassroots operative for several winning campaigns. Most notably the 2014 general election as he helped unseat a 32 year incumbent Alabama Senate member with a no-name gynecologist candidate who’d never served in office before..

Justin will be an incredible addition to the Take Back team as he orchestrates and manages the day to day operations that will prove to be the oil in this engine.

  

Lacy Campbell

LACY CAMPBELL

Email: lacyc@takeback.org
Phone (334) 329-7258

Lacy Campbell
Lacy Campbell is an Auburn native and recent graduate of Auburn University with a degree in nutrition science and a minor in Spanish. Lacy is an avid reader and traveler (she has visited four of the seven continents) and enjoys any outdoor activity, including camping, backpacking, and hiking.

During her time at Auburn, she served as the sole senator representing the College of Human Sciences in the Student Government Association Student Senate. In this role she, as apart of the Code of Laws committee, oversaw an almost complete yearlong audit of the Code of Laws, which is the governing document of the student body.  As well, she was elected to serve as the Collegiate Recruitment Information Chair for her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, working to receive and process all incoming recommendations and letters from alumni about potential new members as well as organizing current members through out the recruitment process.

Lacy is dedicated to serving her community that has seen her throughout her life thus far.

 

  

GARY HOWARD
Director of Digital Media

Email: garyh@takeback.org
Phone (334) 329-7258

Gary Howard
Director of Digital Media
Gary Howard’s first campaign was for a candidate who knows something about overcoming big money with small money. Gary ran the media operation for Rand Paul in his US Senate victory over Kentucky Attorney General by a 56% to 44% margin, and then continued to serve as his press secretary in the US Senate.Paul became the nominee after he started a “Money Bomb” for small dollar donors to overcome big money raised by his GOP Establishment opponent Trey Grayson at a $500-per-plate fundraiser in Washington, filled with sitting senators and blessed by Republican leadership. "This deck stacking favoritism in a highly contested GOP primary is unacceptable," Paul wrote on Kentuckyfight.com, the website promoting the fundraising match. (as recounted later in Bloomberg Politics)

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-07/rand-paul-and-the-art-of-the-presidential-money-bomb

Gary then kept his work in the family by putting together a highly efficient, though underfunded, effort for Ron Paul for President that resulted in wins in Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and Louisiana and a third place overall finish.

Gary was so effective in that role that RNC hired him after Mitt Romney’s nomination, and Democrats who had seen his effectiveness attacked him.

https://dougwead.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/rnc-hires-gary-howard-ron-paul-press-secretary/

Gary set to work on improving Republican websites, which to that point were simply trying to copy the 2008 Obama campaign sites that were outdated four years later.

In addition to his years as a staffer in the US Senate, Gary was a Deputy Chief of Staff in Congress before leaving Capitol Hill this year. His work as Director of Digital Media for Take Back Our Republic brings Gary back to the non-profit area, as he worked for the Competitive Enterprise Institute 10 years ago after graduating from the University of New Orleans.

  

Kristi Reiff

KRISTI BROADFOOT REIFF

Email: kristir@takeback.org

Kristi Broadfoot Reiff

A native of Florence, Alabama; and a graduate of Auburn University, Kristi Broadfoot Reiff recently returned to Auburn. She spent several years living in Washington, DC, working for Republican Members of the Alabama Delegation handling multiple legislative issues. After marrying a United States Marine, Kristi found herself living in North Carolina where she worked on a congressional campaign and later for her local Board of Elections. Though newly back to Auburn, Kristi and her family are excited to establish roots and be active members of the Auburn community. She volunteers for the Semper Fi Fund, serves as the Vice-President of Membership for the Junior League of Lee County, and serves as the chapter adviser for the Gamma Rho chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha.

  

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THERESA GORMAN
Director of Administration

Email: theresag@takeback.org

Theresa Gorman
Director of Administration 

Based in Auburn, Alabama, Theresa Gorman currently is the administrator and bookkeeper for Take Back Our Republic. When not in the office, she is heavily involved with community volunteering including food pantry, working with her church's outreach for Haiti, and at various other volunteer areas. She previously worked as the Religious Education Director for a large local church. She considers herself a student of life and tries to learn as much as possible when the opportunity arises. Theresa holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a business minor from the North Central College in Illinois.

 

 

 

  
INTERNS

ERIC YANG

Policy Associate

Email: ericy@takeback.org
Phone (334) 329-7258

Eric Yang
Policy Associate

When Eric Yang won the National Geographic Bee National Championship in the 7th grade, good thing the judges didn’t ask him where the “Loveliest Village on the Plains” is located. Otherwise, he would never have made it to the World championship—where he bested everyone in attendance. But Canada.A sophomore at Harvard University, Yang graduated Valedictorian from The Colony High School in Colony, Texas, in 2014. He then followed his dreams of studying economics at the storied Ivy League school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after a perfect score of 2400 on his SAT secured him an invitation. A year into his studies, Yang is a Team Member of the Harvard College Debate Union and a Coach for the Harvard College Mentors for Urban Debate. He also serves as Vice President of Outreach for Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association and is an Assistant Bible Course Leader at the Harvard College Faith and Action.After working two summers in the district office for U.S. Representative Michael Burgess of Texas, Yang discovered he had a knack for policy and politics. His internship through Harvard enabled him to spend the summer with the TBOR staff here in Auburn, Alabama, and we are determined to send this Ivy Leaguer back up north with solid ammunition to debate his progressive classmates on campaign finance reform.

  

ALEXIS NICOLE ESNEAULT

Development Associate

Email: alexise@takeback.org
Phone (334) 329-7258

Alexis Nicole Esneault
Development Associate

The only intern who truly understands the historical value of sweet tea in the south, Alexis Esneault grew up in the aerospace epi-center, Huntsville, Alabama, and graduated with honors from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, in May, 2015. Though her travels from the northern most to the southern most cities of the state garnered her a degree in Philosophy, this soon-to-be law student has shared her indelible personality and passion for liberty throughout the country and landed her back in Alabama to help raise national awareness for TBOR.Esneault’s resume is a reflection of her inability to accept status quo. In addition to her studies (that secured a 5-time inclusion on the Dean’s List), she founded and served as President of the first ever Young Americans for Liberty Chapter on Spring Hill’s campus in 2013. She was recruited to be the Mississippi State Chair of the YAL and ultimately founded Liberty On The Rocks chapter in Mobile, AL, in order to involve the community outside the campus. She’s been invited to speak at regional and national YAL conventions and is the go-to person for starting and growing a conservative think-group on college campuses around the country. Her internship through Harvard enabled her to spend the summer with the TBOR staff here in Auburn.Esneault’s conservative roots run deep. Surrounded by progressives in both her community and college environment, she’s become quite savvy in defending her allegiance to the concept of small government, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—all while protecting the Constitution. Her excitement and zest for life are contagious. But consider yourself warned—this former philosophy major who tutored Logic for fun, is well-informed and will win the argument. Every. Time. TBOR is thrilled she’s on our side.

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