Campaign Team

Co-Chairs

Co-Chair
Sandy Spence

Sandy Spence studied political science at Allegheny College and “practical politics” at the Eagleton Institute of Politics for an MA at Rutgers that prepared her for a career in government and politics in Harrisburg and Washington DC. In Harrisburg, she campaigned for a state Governor and staffed the state’s Appalachia program. In the nation’s Capital, she lobbied for the National Association of Counties, the California Department of Transportation, Amtrak, and several smaller organizations before moving to Coastal Delaware in 2004. After learning her way around Sussex County with Habitat for Humanity, she joined the League of Women Voters and devoted over a dozen years to advocacy for the League of Women Voters of Delaware. Her retirement from active non-partisan lobbying last year allows her to join my campaign as Co-Chair.

Co-Chair
Mitch Crane

Mitch Crane is a retired Pennsylvania judge and, in his 20 years living in Delaware, has served as Delaware’s Chief Deputy Insurance Commissioner. He currently chairs the Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority and is Adjunct Professor of Public Administration in the graduate school of Delaware State University. 

Mitch is immediate past chair of the Sussex County Democratic Committee and past president of the Delaware Stonewall Democrats.  

Mitch resides outside of Lewes with his husband, Lewes letter carrier John Workman.

Treasurer

Bunky Markert

Francis “Bunky” Markert was an internal auditor and chief of the MD Department of the Environment accounting division.  Later he was a controller and finance director of a series of non-profit organizations including WCPN Cleveland Public Radio, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, MD Historical Society and others.   Now retired, he is a board member and treasurer of the CityLit Project, which promotes the literary arts in his hometown of Baltimore.  Currently he chairs the Rehoboth Beach Parks and Shade Tree Commission and was a member of the Planning Commission for nine years.    His wife Kate is the Executive Director of Hillwood Museum Estate & Gardens in Washington, DC.   Rehoboth Beach residents since 2010, Bunky enjoys music, playing and studying the guitar, local and national politics, and his community. 

Assistant Treasurer/Advisor

Assistant Treasurer/Advisor
Leslie Calman

Leslie Calman taught political science and women’s studies at Barnard College for 20 years, before becoming a leader in both national and international non-profit organizations. She was Executive Director of Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization and on the Boards of the National LGBT Health Coalition, and Breast Care for Washington. Prior to retirement in 2020, she was CEO of Engineering World Health, providing assistance to hospitals in low-income countries. She has lived in Rehoboth full time since 2018 with her spouse Jane Gruenebaum and as many dogs as they can manage.

Rehoboth Beach Campaign Coordinator

Rehoboth Beach Campaign Coordinator
Dick Byrne

Dick Byrne is a retired teacher, professor and University Administrator in the area of youth and family development (University of Minnesota and University of Maryland).  Since retiring and moving full-time to Delaware 13-years ago, he has served as Chair of the 14th Representative District Democratic Committee, as Treasurer of the Eastern Sussex Democrats, as Vice-Chair of the DE SPCA Board of Directors, as Chair of the Sussex Family YMCA Board of Governors, as a member of the Delaware YMCA Association Board, as Campaign Manager of Leslie Ledogar for Sussex County Council campaign, and as an elected City of Rehoboth Beach Commissioner for 3-years.    During that time he served as Chair of the Animal Issues Committee, he created the City Environment Committee, and served on the Tree and Green Infrastructure Committee.

Dick currently serves on the Rehoboth Beach Main Street Board of Directors, the Clear Space Theatre Board of Directors, the Rehoboth in Bloom Management Committee, and as President of his HOA. 

Dick lives in the City of Rehoboth Beach with his wife Sherri Wright and rescue critters Joey and Gracie.

Field Manager

Field Manager
Tom Iarossi

Tom Iarossi is a retired US Army First Sergeant and elementary school teacher who has made his permanent retirement home in Sussex County. Tom has worked on political campaigns from the school board to the Congressional level, and devotes his efforts to ensuring social, economic, and environmental justice for everyone. Tom and his wife Patty have five grandsons and live in the Angola Neck area.

Communications Chair

Communication Chair
Jeanne Shook

Jeanne Shook is an accomplished communications professional, defined by a 30-year career as both advertising executive and fundraising director. As a writer and editor for both corporate and nonprofit entities, she also provided public relations, strategic positioning and branding support for a diverse clientele in all forms of media.

 When crafting carefully targeted messages to specific audiences, Jeanne subscribes to Mark Twain’s credo, that “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

 A seasoned wordsmith and freelance writer, Jeanne resides in Lewes with her husband Dave and their dog—“Lewes.”

Communications/Social Media/Advisor

Communications/Social Media/Advisor
Rony Baltazar-Lopez

A native of Milford, Rony currently works for the Delaware Secretary of State and is currently the vice president of the Milford School Board of Education. Rony is also the Vice Chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. He has served in other roles including in the Delaware Attorney General’s Office and the United States Senate.

Rony has a B.A. in political science and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Delaware.

Social Committee Chair

Chris Eggert

Chris Eggert, along with Sara Rosen both serve as schedulers for Russ’s campaign. They research area community events for Russ to attend, book Meet and Greets and help plan future campaign activities. 

Chris, a retired speech and language pathologist, spent seven years of her career providing speech and language services in the Indian River School District. She has coordinated with teachers and school administrators to design and deliver individual and group services to hundreds of children during her 37 year career. 

She also worked extensively with parents,  providing educational workshops and support to assist them with their children’s individual needs.

Chris is an avid Argentine Tango dancer and organizes activities for Tango at the Beach, a local Argentine Tango club.

A member of the 14 RD of the Democratic Party,  Chris serves as Fundraising and Event Planning Committee Chair.

Chris  also serves as Scheduler for Russ’s campaign.

Schedulers

Social Communication Chair and Scheduler
Sara Rosen/Chris Eggert

Sara Rosen is working with Chris Eggert to assist Russ in managing his schedule. Sara worked for now Senator Chris Van Hollen when he was in the U.S. House of Representatives. During her tenure with Congressman Van Hollen, she served on his staff in constituent services where she assisted constituents to solve problems requiring Sara to liaison with local, state and Federal agencies.

Previous to working for Senator Van Hollen, Sara was a social worker, involved in all aspects of social work and spanning over 40 years.

Currently, Sara is on the boards of Seaside Jewish Community and the Jewish Federation of Delaware.

Sara is also a member of the 14 RD of the Democratic Party.

Chris Eggert

Please check out her bio above.

Environmental advisors

Susan Love (AICP)

Susan is a native Delawarean, public servant and conservationist.  She has worked for the state of Delaware for more than two decades, leading efforts to conserve wildlife habitat, revitalize urban neighborhoods and prepare the state for climate change. Susan is an AICP certified Planner and has a history of civic engagement, previously serving various roles in her civic association, including as president. Susan is currently serving as the vice-chair of the board of the Urban Bike Project in Wilmington and also serves on the 15th RD committee.  Susan holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture, both from the University of Delaware. 

Frank Piorko

Frank Piorko enjoyed a 30+ year career as a manager of natural resource and environmental programs throughout the Delmarva region, including 26 years with Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Frank is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in agricultural sciences and Wilmington University with a master’s in public administration.    

Frank’s work experience has included management and policy in coastal science, infrastructure financing, drainage and flood control, grants management, contract administration, and landscape level conservation and restoration.

Frank currently resides in Lewes with his wife Lauryn, does volunteer work and part-time consulting for environmental non-profits and municipalities.

Dr. Marc A. Weiss

Dr. Marc A. Weiss is Chairman and CEO of Global Urban Development (GUD), a nonprofit international policy organization and professional network of more than 700 leaders and experts in 60 countries.

He has been an adviser on Metropolitan Economic Strategy, Sustainable Innovation, and Inclusive Prosperity for cities, counties, regions, states, in the United States and in countries throughout the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Morocco, Panama, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dr. Weiss has served in a wide variety of academic and governmental policy positions, including: Public Policy Scholar and Editor of Global Outlook at the Smithsonian Institution’s Wilson Center; Coordinator of the 1998 Strategic Economic Development Plan for Washington, DC; Special Assistant to the Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD Liaison to the President’s Council on Sustainable Development in the Clinton Administration; Senior Adviser and Spokesman on Housing and Urban Policy for the 1991-92 Clinton Presidential Campaign; Associate Professor and Director of the Real Estate Development Research Center and Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; and Deputy Director of the California Commission on Industrial Innovation.

He is the author or co-author of many books, articles, and reports, including the widely acclaimed book on urban development and planning, The Rise of the Community Builders, published by Columbia University Press.

He also has taught at Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, University of California-Irvine, George Washington University, University of Illinois-Chicago, and University of Rhode Island.

He earned a Ph.D. and MCP in City and Regional Planning from the University of California-Berkeley, and a BA with Honors in Political Science from Stanford University. He also attended the London School of Economics.

Dr. Weiss is a US Army veteran and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Advisor

Mike Curry

Dr. Michael Curry has lived and worked in Sussex County since 2002. For a decade, he worked in the Cape Henlopen School District as an English Teacher where he was awarded the Teacher of the Year for Cape Henlopen High School in 2007. Now he serves as a Program Chair in Wilmington University’s Teacher Preparation program and is the Chair of Undergraduate and Graduate Secondary Education. He is a graduate of Leadership Delaware and was awarded Delaware Business Times 40 Dynamic Leaders Under 40 in 2017. As a proud parent of three amazing kids in the Cape District, Michael has coached both baseball and softball in Lewes Little League and serves as a board member on the Cape Henlopen Education Foundation.

Jane Gruenebaum

Jane retired to Rehoboth Beach after a 45-year career that spanned academia, non-profit advocacy, political work and ultimately executive search for non-profit institutions. Jane holds a BA from Earlham College, a MSc from The London School of Economics and a PhD in Political Science from Columbia. She is a life-long democrat and has worked professionally for democratic candidates and office holders as well as progressive policy non-profits. In addition to her current political work, she is involved in several other local volunteer activities including the Delaware Humane Association, Literary Education Assistance Pups, and the Rehoboth Film Society.

Dr Joseph A. Pika

Dr. Joseph Pika was a political science faculty member and college administrator at the University of Delaware for 34 years with specialties in American politics and the U.S. presidency. He served for nearly eight years on the Delaware State Board of Education, including four+ years as president, and earlier served as executive director of the Minner Commission. More recently, he was a member of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and now serves on the state’s Merit Employee Relations Board. Now residing with his wife, Mary, in Lewes, he has engaged on issues surrounding unplanned development and hopes to help rejuvenate the county’s Democratic party.

Policy/Communications Advisor

Communications Advisor
Kathy Do

Kathleen Meehan Do is a communications specialist and speechwriter who has served in the administrations of New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, as well as other elected officials and college presidents. She was an elected member of the Unionville-Chadds Ford (PA) School Board, the first Democrat elected from her region in the history of the school district. Kathy has worked on numerous campaigns from the school board level through the presidency, and virtually everything in between. She was on the National Field Staff of Ted Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign and also worked on the presidential campaigns of Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden. She and her husband, Hai, who serves as a Bureau Chief for the Voice of America, moved to Lewes in 2018.

ADVISOR

You – The Voters and Constituents of the 6th Senate District and beyond. Your input helps shape our experience. When I go door knocking and you share your experiences, your hopes, your dreams – that matters. I have enjoyed hearing your stories and your desires of having a great community that grows together. We understand that we are all in this together. This is about all of us! Please keep sharing.

Additional Advisors: As the campaign progresses, and more people jump on board, we will be adding more people to our team on this page and elsewhere.