Openly Secular Elected Officials

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About the Freethought Equality Fund PAC

All of the information on this page has been provided courtesy of the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF). FEF provides nontheist Americans the opportunity to make their voices heard in the political process by supporting candidates who identify as humanist, atheist, agnostic, and who share our goals of protecting the separation of church and state and defending the civil liberties of secular Americans.

The FEF PAC is affiliated with the Center for Freethought Equality, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association. Find out more about FEF here and sign up for a free FEF membership here.

Arizona

State Representative Juan Mendez

Representative Juan Mendez, currently a member of the Arizona State House, won his race against David Lucier and will represent the 26th Legislative District in Arizona’s State Senate. Mendez identifies as an atheist and has made national headlines in his effort to deliver secular, rather than religious, invocations at the opening of House sessions. He has a passion for politics and social justice, which is reflected in his commitment to build strong communities by strengthening public schools, public universities and other public services to “restart the American dream of upward mobility for everyone, regardless of privilege.”

School Board President Katie Paetz

Katie Paetz, serves as President of the Osborn School District Governing Board  in Phoenix, Arizona. Ms. Paetz identifies as a humanist. She was elected in 2014 to a four-year term.

State Representative Athena Salman

Representative Athena Salman was elected to Arizona’s State House in the 26th Legislative District. Salman identifies as an atheist and is a native Arizonan, community leader, and education advocate. Her campaign focused on increasing the quality and access of education, helping local businesses thrive to improve the economy, and strengthening the community with improved infrastructure and clean, renewable energy.  Mendez was endorsed by the Freethought Equality Fund.

School Board Member Beth Weisser

Beth Weisser serves on the School Board of the Kingman Unified School District. Ms. Weisser identifies as a freethinker and humanist. She was elected in 2016 to a four-year term.

California

School Board Clerk Karalee Hargrove

School Board Clerk Karalee Hargrove, serves in the Morongo Unified School District. Ms. Hargove doesn’t identify with any religion. She was re-re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term. This is her third term.

Colorado

State Representative Chris Kennedy

Representative Chris Kennedy was elected to Colorado’s 23rd State House District, defeating Republican Chris Hadsall by twelve points. Kennedy, who was raised without religion in his life, identifies as agnostic. He made a major career change from architectural engineering to public service because “he could no longer stand on the sidelines and watch the erosion of the middle class, the squandering of our federal budget on wars and handouts to special interests, the destruction of our environment and the denial of equal rights to so many of our citizens.” Kennedy has volunteered on many local and federal campaigns and worked for several local elected officials. From these experiences and the political contacts he developed, Kennedy was urged to run for this open seat, as the Democratic incumbent could not seek re-election due to term limits.

Connecticut

State Representative John Elliot

Representative Josh Elliott serves in the Connecticut State House (District 88). Rep. Elliott identifies as agnostic atheist. He was elected in 2016 to a two-year term.

State Representative Roland Lemar

Representative Roland Lemar serves in the Connecticut State House (District 96). Rep. Lemar identifies as agnostic and humanist. He was re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term. This is his fourth term.

Florida

David Maynard

David Maynard serves as the Hillsborough County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor (District 1). Mr. Maynard identifies as a humanist. He was re-elected in 2014 to a four-year term. This is his second term.

Illinois

Howard Katz

Howard Katz won his election on April 4 to become the Batavia (IL) Township Clerk. Batavia Township is located forty miles west of Chicago and just north of Aurora, IL. Howard is very active in the secular community. In addition to being a Humanist Celebrant, he is a board member of the American Humanist Association and the Humanists of West Suburban Chicagoland. He has been active in politics since the third grade when his parents had him handing out flyers for Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign. He is also Chair of the Democratic Party in Batavia Township. Howard has been appointed to local office before, including the Clerk position, but this was his first electoral victory (he ran unopposed). See his essay on seeking elected office – “I’m doing my part – are you?”.

Dylan Parker

Dylan Parker serves the City of Rock Island (Illinois) Alderman (Fifth Ward). Mr. Parker identifies as a humanist. He was elected in 2017 to a four-year term.

Craig Schneider

Craig Schneider serves the Village of Rapids City (Illinois) Board of Trustees. Mr. Schneider identifies as atheist/humanist. He was elected in 2017 to a four-year term.

Maine

State Representative Pinny Beebe-Center

Representative Pinny Beebe-Center serves the Maine State House (District 93). Rep. Beebe-Center is a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. She was re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term. She initially won this seat in a 2015 special election.

Maryland

U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin

Congressman Jamie Raskin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, defeating Republican Dan Cox with 59.2% of the vote. As a self-identified humanist and lifetime member of the American Humanist Association, Senator Raskin is one of the leading advocates for the separation of church and state. Also a progressive Democrat, Senator Raskin led efforts in Maryland passing bills on same-sex marriage, repealing the death penalty, and legalizing medical marijuana. After first being elected to the State Senate in 2006, Sen. Raskin has been a rising star of Democratic politics in Maryland, serving in leadership roles on the Select Committee on Ethics Reform, the Judicial Proceedings Committee, and having been selected as Majority Whip (the second top leadership position in the State Senate) in 2012. He also serves as a constitutional law professor at American University, having received his law degree from Harvard in 1987.

Massachusetts

State Senator William Brownsberger

Senator William Brownsberger serves in the Massachusetts State Senate (Second Suffolk and Middlesex). Sen. Brownsberger identifies as nontheist. He was re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term. This is his third term. Brownsberger served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 2007 to 2012.

Michigan

Councilwoman Marissa Postler

Councilwoman Marissa Postler serves the Wyoming, Michigan City Council (2nd Ward). Ms. Postler identifies as an atheist. She was elected in 2016 to a four-year term.

Nebraska

State Senator Ernie Chambers

Senator Ernie Chambers won re-election to Nebraska’s 11th State Senate District, defeating opponent John Sciara. Chambers is a hero in the secular movement with his attempt to end state-supported chaplain legislative prayers in the Supreme Court case Marsh v. Chambers (1983) and his 2007 legal action against God to protest frivolous and inappropriate lawsuits. He the longest-serving state senator in the history of Nebraska, although he did have to take a short break when term-limits were introduced. Senator Chambers received the American Humanist Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award at its 75th anniversary conference this year.

New Hampshire

State Representative Martha Hennessey

Representative Martha Hennessey was elected to New Hampshire’s 5th State Senate District, defeating Republican Marie Lozito in the general election. She is currently a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives (District Grafton 12). Hennessey is not affiliated with a religious organization and believes “in the dignity of all human beings and our individual rights to pursue personal meaning and truth; I believe in complete separation of church and state.” Hennessey is a Psychologist and taught at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine. She is a progressive legislator advocating for the environment, women’s reproductive rights, public education, LGBT rights and gun control.

State Representative Brandon Phinney

Representative Brandon Phinney serves in the New Hampshire State House (Strafford District 24). Rep. Phinney identifies as an atheist. He was elected in 2016 to a two-year term.

State Representative Tim Smith

State Representative Tim Smith was re-elected to New Hampshire’s State House in the Hillsborough District 17. Smith is a lifelong atheist. He is also a Major in the Civil Air Patrol and a member of the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee. Smith was first elected in 2012 and is serving in his second term. He promotes policy that will empower everyday people to improve their circumstances such as supporting public education and ensuring a viable social safety net. Smith has introduced legislation to protect rape victims from child custody lawsuits, enhanced penalties for corrupt contractors and corporate criminals, and a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

New Jersey

Councilwoman Charlene Komar Storey

Councilwoman Charlene Komar Storey, Borough of Roselle Park (New Jersey) Council (At Large). Ms. Storey identifies as a humanist. She was elected in 2012 to a three-year term as the Ward 2 Council member, and in 2014 elected to a three-year term as the At Large member.

New York

Christopher Shaeffer

Christopher Schaeffer serves on the Pomfret, New York Town Board. Mr. Schaeffer identifies as agnostic and Pastafarian. He was elected in 2013 to a four-year term.

North Carolina

Councilman Cecil Bothwell

Councilman Cecil Bothwell serves on the Asheville, North Carolina City Council. Mr. Bothwell identifies as post theist. He was re-elected in 2013 to a four-year term. This is his second term.

Mayor Bob Scott

Mayor Bob Scott serves the Town of Franklin, North Carolina. Mayor Scott identifies as a humanist. He was re-elected in 2015 to a four-year term. This is his second term. Previously he served 10 years as an Alderman on the Franklin Board.

Ohio

Councilman Jason Kasunick

Councilman Jason Kasunick serves the City of Eastlake, Ohio Council (Ward 3). Mr. Kasunick identifies as humanist, freethinker, skeptic and atheist. He was elected in 2015 to a four-year term.

Oregon

State Representative Jeff Barker

Representative Jeff Barker serves in the Oregon State House (District 28). Rep. Barker identifies as a religious skeptic. He was re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term. This is his eighth term.

State Representative Julie Fahey

Representative Julie Fahey was elected to Oregon’s 14th State House District, defeated Republican Kathy Lamberg. Fahey, who doesn’t identify with any religion, believes “critical thinking and science can best help us understand our world.” Her public policy decisions will be “guided by evidence and a rational approach to decision-making, rather than by dogma or religious beliefs.” She is passionate about protecting the environment, expanding economic opportunities, improving education, defending a woman’s right to choose, and will be a “tireless voice against discrimination in all its forms.” Fahey has spent the last 15 years in the private sector helping businesses and nonprofits pay and treat their employees fairly to create positive work environments.

State Representative Diego Hernandez

Representative Diego Hernandez defeated Michael Langley in the Oregon House of Representatives District 47 general election. Hernandez, who was raised Catholic, is now an agnostic. He is a strong supporter of the separation of church and state and believes that public policy should be “subject to argument, and amenable to reason.” He is dedicated to supporting education, community safety, and an economy that supports working families and small businesses. He received a BA in Political Science and Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon and a Masters in Social Work at Portland State University. He has worked as a middle and high school teacher and was elected to the school board. Hernandez is currently the Co-Executive Director of Momentum Alliance, a nonprofit that develops young civic leaders.

State Representative Pam Marsh

Representative Pam Marsh was elected to Oregon’s 5th State House District, defeating Republican Steve Richie. She is not affiliated with a religious organization and believes that “one’s religious views are irrelevant to public office.” Marsh has been an Ashland City Council member since 2012, and she is a small business owner and manager of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. She earned a BA in Political Science from Southern Oregon University. Marsh is committed to strengthening public education and health care delivery systems, and increasing affordable housing and the minimum wage. She will promote legislation to address climate change by fostering an energy economy based on renewable resources and emerging technologies.

Pennsylvania

Patrick Edwards

Patrick Edwards serves as the White Township Auditor in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Mr. Edwards identifies as a secular humanist. He was elected in 2015 to a six-year term.

State Representative Brian Sims

Representative Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State House (District 182). Rep. Sims is nonreligious and is the only Pennsylvania legislator who swears his oath on the Constitution instead of the Bible. He was re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term. This is his third term.

Vermont

State Representative Warren Kitzmiller

Representative Warren Kitzmiller serves in the Vermont State House (Washington-4 District). Rep. Kitzmiller identifies as humanist. He was re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term.  This is his tenth term.

Rebecca White

Rebecca White serves on Vermont’s Hartford Selectboard. Ms. White identifies as an atheist and is a member of a Unitarian Universalist society. She was re-elected in 2017 to a two-year term.  This is her second term.

State Representative Sam Young

Representative Sam Young was re-elected to the Vermont State House – Orleans-Caledonia-1 District. Young was raised Christian, but is now agnostic. He was first elected in 2010 and is serving in his third term. Young is working to expand broadband and telecommunications in this district to increase economic opportunities, realign tax policy as a member of the Ways and Means Committee to increase funding for public education, and decriminalize Marijuana possession and invest in drug treatment and harm reduction services.

Washington

State Representative Beth Doglio

Representative Beth Doglio was elected to Washington’s State House as the 22nd Legislative District State Representative – Position 2. Doglio, who in her early childhood was raised Catholic, is now agnostic about religion. For the past 30 years, she has focused her efforts on working for civil and environmental justice. She currently is the campaign director for the environmental protection organization Climate Solutions. She has also worked and volunteered for other environmental, reproductive rights and educational organizations as well as for local and federal political campaigns.

State Representative Strom Peterson

Representative Strom Peterson was re-elected to Washington’s State House as the 21st Legislative District Representative – Position 1. Peterson identifies as agnostic and says that “Religion does not play a role in my personal life, but my personal beliefs such as helping the poor and protecting the environment influence my policy decisions.” Serving in his first term in office, he has successfully reached across the aisle to pass environmental legislation to protect honey bee colonies, provide funds to replace outdated and leaking petroleum storage tanks and made it easier for doctors to monitor the over-prescription of opioids. He is also a champion of fully funding public schools to reduce class size and increase teacher pay.

Wisconsin

State Representative Melissa Sargent

Representative Melissa Sargent was re-elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly District 48. Sargent identifies as agnostic. She was first elected in 2012 and is serving in her second term. In the harsh political environment created by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Assembly and Senate, Sargent has been a strong progressive voice to fully fund public schools and make college affordable, increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, enact common sense gun control, legalize marijuana, and protect women’s reproductive choices.

State Representative Amanda Stuck

Representative Amanda Stuck serves in the Wisconsin State House (District 57). Rep. Stuck is a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. She was re-elected in 2016 to a two-year term. This is her second term.