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Party Staff

Jacqueline Kozin
Executive Director
Tenaiya Baker
Director of Operations
David Kostek
Digital Director
Desiré Searles
Data Director
Chris Pitts
Organizing Director
Gunnar Abrahamsson
Director of Party Affairs
MacKenzie Bailey
Finance Director

Executive Director Jacqueline Kozin served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Ned Lamont’s successful 2018 election for Governor. Prior to Lamont, she served as Legislative Liaison and Director of Intergovernmental and Community Affairs for State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, whose first two races she managed. She is a seasoned political veteran who has lost only one campaign of the dozen she has led as manager over the past ten years.

A recognized national leader on women’s rights, Kozin serves on the board of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and is also the founder of Ella’s List, a PAC dedicated to building a pipeline of progressive women municipal candidates. Jacqueline founded the Connecticut Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus and was recognized by the Connecticut Democratic Party for her volunteer work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She has a M.I.A. degree from Columbia University and a B.A. in English from Albertus Magnus College. Kozin grew up in New Haven and currently lives in Hartford.

 

Operations Director Tenaiya Baker was born in New Haven, CT. She started her political work at age 15 with Organizing Beyond Barriers as the youngest field organizer to help get minimum wage raised and as a campaign manager in New Haven’s local Aldermanic races. She’s worked as an organizer on several campaigns. Organizing is where she found her passion for youth advocacy and women’s rights. Tenaiya graduated from Quinnipiac University with a BA in Criminal Justice and a double concentration in legal and women’s studies. She also worked on Governor Ned Lamont’s campaign as the supervisor of resourced callers and canvassers. She is currently a new mom and hopes to one day become a criminal lawyer.

 

Digital Director David Kostek was born and raised in Connecticut. He got his start in campaigning as a volunteer working to re-elect Rep. Jim Himes. David continued to work as a communications staffer for the congressman and joined his local Democratic Town Committee. In 2018, he served as New Media Director for Ned Lamont’s successful gubernatorial campaign. David is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology.

 

Data Director DesirĂ© Searles is originally from Hartford and now resides in the Lower Naugatuck Valley. She began working on campaigns in 2017 and has managed data for several municipal campaigns as well as State Representative Kara Rochelle’s victorious race in 2018. She is a member of her local Democratic Town Committee, and a former member of the Naugatuck Valley Young Democrats.

 

Second CD Organizer Chris Pitts has worked in Connecticut politics since his return to Connecticut in 2003. Chris was raised in Wilton, went to college in NC, NY and Italy, and then spent a decade on the West Coast. Many of you may know him through the Quiet Corner Democrats – a Democratic service organization he helped found for the Northeastern part of the state. He was worked on many municipal and state races over the years, but is most proud of helping Pat Wilson Pheanious take back Nancy Wyman’s house seat in 2018. Most recently, he has been helping the state party as your Interim Data Director in late 2019 and early 2020.

 

Gunnar Abrahamsson serves as Director of Party Affairs. Originally from Old Lyme, Gunnar attended the University of New Haven where he earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice, with a concentration in law enforcement administration. After graduating college he took an internship in Governor Malloy’s administration, and was later hired as a full-time staffer to assist with appointments to boards and commissions under the guidance of Douglas Dalena, Gov. Malloy’s General Counsel. In addition to his duties with CTDems, Gunnar is currently working towards a masters certificate in business at UNH.

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