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Ambassadors

Meet Our Ambassadors — the vital voices of CommonSense Americans in each state. These dedicated individuals bridge the gap between citizens and Congress, ensuring that the insights from our comprehensive issue briefs are heard and acted upon on Capitol Hill. Beyond their pivotal role in legislative advocacy, our Ambassadors are at the heart of our community, cultivating engagement and growth among our members. Meet the individuals behind this nationwide movement towards common sense governance.

If you are interested in this work and want to become an Ambassador, click here to complete an application.

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Alabama Ambassador

Alaska Ambassador

Michelle Goodwin

Michelle currently serves CommonSense American (CSA) as a Convo Facilitator and State Ambassador for Alaska. Joining CSA as a Member in 2019, Michelle excelled as a Facilitator in the initial roll-out of CSA Convos in 2022. She continues in this role while growing as the new State Ambassador for Alaska. Michelle is looking forward to engaging more Alaskans in CSA Membership opportunities as well as conducting briefings for the Congressional Offices of Alaska’s representatives in Washington, DC.

Michelle has led a variable path during her life as each plan was adapted to reality. From missing persons recovery, emergency medical services and firefighting, Michelle propelled forward after college to a short career in workforce planning. She then supported her family during her husband’s tenure as a U.S. Air Force Officer, maintaining a stable and supportive environment for her three children, each with unique special needs, while residing in Upstate New York, South Dakota, rural Alaska, and Utah.

During years of advocating for the educational needs of her children, including homeschooling at times, Michelle volunteered as a French teacher, library clerk, scouting leader, PTO board member, religious education teacher, religious service leader, Officers’ Spouses Club Thrift Shop Manager, Town Hall Renovation Committee member, Library Feasibility Committee Chair, soccer coach and historical walking tour host for elementary students.

At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, Michelle completed an Honors Thesis: The Diffusion of Gifted Education in America. This capstone led to graduation with a B.A. Sociology, summa cum laude. She continues to pursue new understanding in how people relate to one another in groups and building productive relationships through effective communication. Michelle’s greatest strength lies in meeting people where they are, listening to understand their needs, matching them to the resources to reach their goals, and assisting to guide a course of action to completion.

Kathleen Rahn
Arizona Ambassador

Kathleen Rahn

Kathleen Rahn, a retired school psychologist, and her family have lived in Mesa, Arizona for 30 years. In addition to her work in public schools, she has served her community on advisory boards and committees in the city of Mesa, Mesa Public Schools, and other nonprofit organizations. Kathleen has a history of advocating for public school funding, early childhood education and mental health services.

Through community service and interactions with her neighbors, Kathleen has learned that citizens of Mesa have more in common and share more values than disagreements. The city of Mesa works to envision a city “where all those living in, working in, or visiting Mesa are entitled to equal dignity and respect and have fair access to opportunities to thrive.”

In early 2020 Kathleen received an email inviting her to join CommonSense American and she discovered an organization that also shared her desire to work together to “instill common sense into American politics.” By reading briefs where all members review the same data- based information through CSA, the majority of members can find consensus. In 2023 Kathleen became a CSA Facilitator of conversations and became acquainted with other members yearning for a safe space to have conversations about vital issues such as infrastructure and revising the Electoral Count Act. She is proud to be an Arizona Ambassador.

Arizona Ambassador

Michael Bartelle

Michael Bartelle serves as one of CommonSense American’s Arizona Ambassadors after retiring from a distinguished service career. A native of the Bronx, NY, Michael Bartelle retired in 2009 after over 30 years of active-duty service in the U.S. Army. Upon retirement from military service, Michael served as a Senior Management Analyst for Lockheed Martin Corporation and then Vice President of Overseas Operations for a military affiliated credit union in Europe.

During his travels with Lockheed Martin in Africa and South America, he developed Security Sector Reform Programs for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, with a focus on Military Capacity Building for U.S. partner nations.

Currently a resident of Oro Valley, Arizona, Michael is an Executive Advisor for several non-profits in the greater Tucson community.

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Arkansas Ambassador

California Ambassador

Cynthia Irmer

After many years working in the public and private sectors as lawyer, teacher, advocate, student, peacebuilder and conflict resolver, Dr. Irmer retired from fulltime work and moved with her husband from the Washington, D.C. area to Southern California. She has a passion for acknowledging under-represented voices and for comprehending social complexity. As volunteers, she and her husband: conduct outreach to the homeless in San Diego, putting
people in touch with services; pick up, yearly, tons of trash from the San Diego Riverbed; support the creation of the San Diego Braver Angels Alliance; study and respond to CommonSense American (CSA) detailed policy briefs. She also serves as the CSA volunteer state ambassador for California.

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Colorado Ambassador

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Conneticut Ambassador

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Delaware Ambassador

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Florida Ambassador

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Georgia Ambassador

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Hawaii Ambassador

Idaho Ambassador

Jason Honn

Jason Honn is the Chief Technology Officer for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. He has created and helps manage NICDs websites including: NICD.Arizona.edu, CommonSenseAmerican.org, NxtGenUSA.org, EngagingDifferences.org, GoldenRule2020.org, and NICDResearch.org. He also assists with video production and graphic design.
Jason brings over 20 years of experience in development and design. He has a wide range of familiarity with different web platforms and technologies. He has worked with varying businesses and organizations in both the private, nonprofit and public sectors. Jason has created and managed over a 100 sites that range in both scale and function. He aligns tightly with NICDs purpose and objectives, and is passionate about helping this organization successfully make a difference.

Jason graduated with a degree from BYU Idaho. Jason and his wife Sheri have 5 children ranging in age from 21 to 5 (Talia, Braden, Cooper, Finley, and Gracie). They are active in their church and enjoy supporting and coaching their kids in sports, music, and life.

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Illinois Ambassador

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Indiana Ambassador

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Iowa Ambassador

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Kansas Ambassador

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Kentucky Ambassador

Louisiana Ambassador

Georgia Fox

I'm a Louisiana born and bred girl, but have been fortunate to live in a few other places before returning to my home state. Currently, I'm in my 15th year of working at LSU of Alexandria where I advise students, make the Ms. LSUA pageant sash, and perform in plays (when I'm not making costumes). I hope to expand my understanding of politics and become more involved in helping to shape this country as a member of CommonSense American.

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Maine Ambassador

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Maryland Ambassador

Massachusetts Ambassador

Jan Swindell

Janice Swindell is the Massachusetts Ambassador for Common Sense American, connecting with congressional offices at the state and federal level. In this she has the honor of representing the commonsense views of Massachusetts CSA members to Congress. Additionally, she is blogging as a climate change educator @climatechangesimplyexplained.blog.
Janice is also involved with various environmental groups, among them Th!rd Act, where she is the liaison to the Leadership Committee.
She has a background in science and science education, having taught Environmental Science, Biology, and Physics in the public schools. As well, she has many years’ experience as a Field Biologist for MassAudubon. Other involvement has been at the Ecotarium, a museum for Environmental Exploration, and as a Senior Technical Assistant and manager of a Microbiology Laboratory at the UMass Medical School in Worcester, MA. Janice has a B.S. in Natural Science from Worcester State University, and is currently working towards her Master’s in Education. Her passion is Environmental Education and empowering people to act as advocates for the environment and clean energy.
Currently living in central Massachusetts, Janice enjoys nature photography, hiking, solo kayaking, and habitat restoration through garden design.

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Michigan Ambassador

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Minnesota Ambassador

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Mississippi Ambassador

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Missouri Ambassador

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Montana Ambassador

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Nebraska Ambassador

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Nevada Ambassador

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New Hampshire Ambassador

New Jersey Ambassador

Linda Murphy

Linda was born in New Jersey, where she and her husband raised their two children. She is a retired educator who now has more time to devote to those interests she is passionate about, such as the CommonSense American program.

Linda earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Upsala College and her master’s degree in teaching from Marygrove College. During her tenure in education, she worked for a county vocational school system and witnessed firsthand the benefits of career connected learning. She worked with industry partners to secure paid internship positions providing students with invaluable work-related experience. Not only did this help students build the required technical skills, but it also helped them learn the much-needed softer skills employers desire.

Linda is an avid reader and a lifelong learner. She is currently researching her family genealogy and learning how to play chess. She enjoys walking, biking, and going to the beach.

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New Mexico Ambassador

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New York Ambassador

North Carolina Ambassador

Helen Sullivan

Helen is a retired career federal civil servant, with 30 years experience. She began her career as an Army JAG, then after a short stint in the private sector, moved on to serve as a civilian attorney, first with the Library of Congress, then with the Defense Mapping Agency. She concluded her service with 13 years in the Office of the General Counsel to the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, including serving as a senior level attorney.

After retirement, Helen moved to Western North Carolina with her husband John. There she served as a Board member and president of an art-related nonprofit based in McDowell County and also as a Board member and Board President of the McDowell County Tourism Development Authority.

North Dakota Ambassador

Kim Koppelman

Kim Koppelman has led a distinguished career in business and public service. He retired from the North Dakota Legislature as Speaker of the House in 2022 after serving for 28 years, many of them as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He previously also chaired the Constitutional Revision and Administrative Rules Committees.

During his years as a legislator, he sponsored landmark legislation and Constitutional amendments to preserve important Constitutional principles, protect individual rights, improve criminal justice and government efficiency and protect our freedoms.
Speaker Koppelman has served in leadership roles on the state and national level. He was elected National Chairman of the Council of State Governments—which consists of all three branches of government in all 50 states—and organized and hosted the First
National Interbranch Summit of the States, which included leaders from all three branches of government, nationwide.

As CSG Chairman, he also presided over its 75th Anniversary, organized and led the first national search in 19 years for a new Executive Director and, from a large pool of notable applicants, hired the current Executive Director who has now served for 15 years. He cofounded the national CSG Interbranch Working Group and has represented his state and nation before world leaders, from Ottawa to Berlin; from Taiwan to Prague, where he led a delegation to confer on governing principles with Czech President Vaclav (pron. “Vass-lav”) Klaus. He also led a delegation of American dignitaries and state officials to Iceland.
He is a graduate of the Bowhay (pron. “Bowwee”) Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD) and the Toll Fellowship leadership programs and participated in the Rising (American) State Leaders Program of the Canadian national government. He has led delegations of American state leaders to international exchanges and had helped facilitate civility training workshops for legislatures of other states.

He served on the Executive Committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Midwest Legislative Conference and the Council of State Governments and also on the CSG Governing Board and the Twenty-First Century Foundation Board, as well as in many other leadership roles. He has helped author model legislation on regulatory reform.
Speaker Koppelman is the recipient of several awards for his legislative service and business achievements. He is the founder and President of Koppelman & Associates, LLC, an award-winning, full-service communications, public relations, marketing and advertising firm serving clients in a variety of fields on a local, regional, national and (on occasion) international scale, which now also offers government relations consulting. He has been active in his local community and church as has served on numerous boards. He has been a guest lecturer in colleges and universities and has spoken before government, business, and general audiences throughout the nation.

He and his wife, Torey, reside in West Fargo, North Dakota.

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Ohio Ambassador

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Oklahoma Ambassador

Allen Guthier
Oregon Ambassador

Allen Guthier

Allen is a first-generation Cuban-American originally from Miami, Florida, and is now proud to call the Pacific Northwest home. His guiding principles of curiosity, empathy, and kindness aligned with the values of CommonSense American. As a member since 2020, a conversation facilitator, and state ambassador for Oregon, Allen takes pride in supporting an organization that brings people from across the political spectrum together to engage in productive dialog and then sharing that collective wisdom with our elected officials and their staff.
Pennsylvania Ambassador

Preston Gibson

Preston enjoyed a career in the U.S. Coast Guard, then another career in community news media at the Jersey Shore. Preston and his wife now live in a small mountain lake community in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A search for constructive socio-political engagement led Preston to CommonSense American, where he now serves as CSA's Ambassador for Pennsylvania.

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Rhode Island Ambassador

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South Carolina Ambassador

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South Dakota Ambassador

Tennessee Ambassador

Bill Andrews

Mr. Andrews has over 40 years experience in the development and direction of energy, environmental and policy analysis projects and organizations. This includes systems analysis, decision support, risk management, program development and management, international business, public communication, and stakeholder engagement.
Texas Ambassador

Ron Baker

Ron is a recently retired IBM Distinguished Engineer from their Sustainability Software organization, with products that manage Assets, Building Facilities, Supply Chains, Weather and Environmental Intelligence and ESG Reporting product suites, featuring climate risk analysis and financed emissions. He led the Environmental Insights Strategy, the SRE discipline and operations technology for SaaS offerings. Having previously led the design and delivery of the expansion of AI and Analytics on Internet of Things content. Prior to this, he was the Director of Geospatial Content & Analytics in the Weather Company, leading the curation of global location data from our mobile and web properties and their use in industry and consumer applications. This global data lake is one of the largest IOT platforms in the world, with world-class spatial-temporal analytics capabilities. Ron was also the technical executive leading the IBM Smarter Cities software portfolio, and its corresponding domain products in Transportation, Water, City Planning & Operations, Video Analytics, and Energy. This software supports cities, regional municipal entities, stadiums, airports, and other operations-based organizations. Bringing together different agencies into a single view, these products were named the industry leader for three straight years by Frost & Sullivan, IDC, and Navigant for their vision and breadth of features. He holds over a dozen software patents.

Ron has served on the Board of MEASURE, a non-profit dedicated to elevating the experiences of people of color, using data and analysis to educate and recommend policy change and the President of the Board of Austin Smarter Cities Alliance, working to bring technology to the City of Austin to improve citizen services and the effectiveness of city agencies. He was the co-chair of the Affordable Housing Committee, where he is working to ease the effects of rapid growth on lower income families and individuals.

Utah Ambassador

Maury Giles

As Chief Growth Officer Maury leads all sales and marketing efforts at Heart+Mind Strategies, bringing over 25 years of market research, analytics, and communication strategy expertise across numerous industries.

Prior to joining Heart+Mind, Maury founded and led a global strategic consulting group at Ipsos called Strategy3—launched after Ipsos acquired his own consultancy PURSUIT, a blend of branding, marketing communications, design, and market research disciplines.

A story-teller at heart, Maury is a three-time David Ogilvy Award winner for his work at Wirthlin Worldwide, Omnicom’s GSD&M, and PURSUIT. Maury started his career as a journalist before entering the consulting world of political strategy on behalf of candidates, associations, and non-profit organizations. He spent 10 years with Wirthlin in the US and Singapore. At GSD&M, Maury launched a new internal division at the ad agency called analytical solutions. His team developed tools and frameworks to link creative, media, and planning teams in a unified focus on accountability to deliver real, in-market results for the agency’s clients.

For the last 15 years, Maury has pioneered the development and application of systems thinking to mapping journey of human decision-making across categories. The solutions his teams have created provide the foundation for Heart+Mind Strategies’ journey mapping offer.

Over his career at both the research firm and ad agency side, Maury has consulted clients on five continents in most major verticals.

Maury studied at BYU and New Mexico State University. He regularly gives guest lectures at universities across the country and is an adjunct professor now at BYU. He also continues to lead the National Advisory Board for the NMSU College of Arts & Sciences.

Maury and his wife Jody live in Herriman, UT. They have a blended family of 10 kids from the ages of 29 to 16 – lots of love, chaos, and joy!

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Vermont Ambassador

Virginia Ambassador

Lisa Row

Lisa Row served as a US Marine for 27 years. Her military career included multiple tours in Virginia. After retirement from the Marine Corps, she attended Old Dominion University, earning a PhD in Education. Then Lisa undertook another challenging assignment as the homeschool administrator and teacher for her sons. Now that these young men have graduated from high school, Lisa is deciding what to do in the "next phase" of her life.

Presently, Lisa is drawn to bridge-building across political chasms. She worries about partisanship creating artificial divides in communities and across America. Lisa wants to help others understand the complexity of contemporary issues, the nuance in most people's views, and the areas where common ground exists. This calling led her to Braver Angels and CommonSense American, which both seek to help Americans understand diverse viewpoints and to find common ground. It then led her to discover some balanced news sources that present viewpoints from varied perspectives. With a related interest in bridging divides between practitioners of various faith traditions, she is now contemplating ordination as an interfaith minister.

Lisa and her family share a farm in northwestern Virginia with a dog, a cat, a few chickens, and some itinerant cows. She and her husband dream of boating the great loop one day after he retires.

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Washington Ambassador

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West Virgina Ambassador

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Wisconsin Ambassador

Ambassador At-Large

Kerry Kirk

Kerry serves as an Ambassador-at-Large focusing on briefing members of Congress and policy staff on the selected legislative issues in current focus for bipartisan support. He also assists the National Staff and State Ambassadors in advancing membership participation and development.

In 2023 Kerry retired from a 28-year career with global investment firm Cambridge Associates, LLC during which span he served as a Managing Director and executive consultant to major endowments, foundations, and healthcare organizations on all aspects of asset management policy and implementation. Kerry has also worked in the banking profession managing commercial and consumer banking activities and serving on a merger & acquisition team. Prior to joining the private sector, Kerry served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps with deployments to the Far East, Middle East, the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Scandinavia.

Kerry is a distinguished graduate of the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree.