Meet the MOMocrats
Meet The MOMocrats
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Cynematic is a Los Angeles-based writer-filmmaker and 2010 Film Independent Project Involve Fellow whose personal blog is P i l l o w b o o k. Since 2003, she’s alternately vented about politics and told stories about her son there. Past jobs held include drugstore cashier, phone telemarketer, paralegal, graduate teaching assistant, researcher for a tv documentary series, and freelance book reviewer/editor. She was a foot soldier (canon fodder, so to speak?) in the culture wars of the ’90s at UC Berkeley and is a recovering academic who’s published scholarly articles about Asian American popular culture, film, and literature. You may call her Dr. Cynematic.
Not long ago she worked for a progressive media group that uses video, the social web, and true grassroots community organizing to achieve social change. She managed Facebook and Twitter accounts across the media group’s numerous political campaigns. As part of messaging and mobilization, she wordsmithed framing for campaigns and tracked supporter data and campaign performance across the internet with various web analytics tools. In her spare time she tweets haikus on Twitter and was part of an ad hoc team that, in partnership with MOMocrats and other progressive organizations, used the immediacy and speed of that medium to help raise over $1 million for Democratic candidate Rob Miller, the 2010 challenger to Congressman Joe “You lie” Wilson (R-SC).
She’s presented on women/race/gender/technology at BlogHer (’08) and Netroots Nation (’10, ’11), and with her sister MOMocrats, was a credentialed blogger who covered the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
She started an education news and advocacy site with the intention of creating a “MoveOn” for parents who support public schools in a time when corporate profiteers would like to eliminate it altogether. That site, K12NewsNetwork.com (K12NN), was a Circle of Moms Top 25 Political Blog in 2011, and featured a distinctive and powerful map tool to show Californians statewide what would be lost if deep funding cuts to public education occurred (they did); the tool won the site a 2011 BlogHer.com / HTC Innovators Award for creative use of technology in the women’s blogosphere.
She can often be found on the MOMocrats podcast with an interesting K12NN guest and making sense of political news of the week with frequent co-hosts Donna Schwartz Mills and Karoli. She tweets at @cyn3matic.
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Donna Schwartz Mills, a Los Angeles native, is a seasoned writer-producer-blogger experienced in radio, TV and new media, including working with big names in entertainment and politics. Her production credits include The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Weekly Music Magazine, syndicated radio program. She sold two sitcom scripts to production companies, and is one of the best known bloggers in Southern California, due to her blog, SoCalMom, published since 2003.
In 2008, Donna began blogging with the MOMocrats, Democratic moms who blog about politics. She became a regular contributor covering the Democratic National Convention, and she continued on as producer and co-host of their weekly political podcast, MOMocrats MOMochat. The MOMocrats have since been lauded as one of the top women’s political blogs. She also blogs for CBS Los Angeles, Ask Patty, MomsLA and is a member of the Yahoo! MotherBoard.
Donna was among several MOMocrats writers invited to the 2008 Democratic National Convention as a credentialed blogger.
You can find Donna on Twitter as @SoCalMom.
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Karoli is a mom of three newly-registered Democrats in California. She has a lifelong passion for politics and wonky subjects. Her 30+ year career as a third-party pension administrator has given her insight into the reform process, how it works and how it doesn’t, and an ear for wonkery. Karoli worked for CNN Interactive, building one of the first and largest news communities on the web, and then for WebMD, where she built a large and thriving community of health professional bloggers.
These days Karoli is a front-page blogger at Crooks and Liars, vents about politics and life on her personal blog, odd time signatures, and rants on Twitter most days here. After 20 years, Karoli managed to convert her solidly-Republican husband into a left-leaning independent who voted for Barack Obama. Drunk with victory, she’s working to leverage that win to turn her central California coastal county blue in 2012. Her two youngest kids and the family pug will be knocking on doors right beside her.
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Julie Pippert is a Houston, Texas-based communications strategist who specializes in creative business communication and social media outreach for parenting, political, nonprofit and advocacy groups. Her projects have included award-winning work for the American Red Cross Emergency Social Data Summit, cybersecurity and biotechnology social media management, program management for Blue Star Museums and National Endowment for the Arts, long-term workshops, digital marketing for parenting and baby products, political consulting, and advisory board for American Cancer Society’s More Birthdays and Choose You.
Julie built her skills as a writer and managing editor in the high-tech and publishing industries. Currently, Julie contributes to online epublishing sites, and has a monthly parenting column at Savvy Source. She was a contributing author to Kirtsy Takes a Bow; has been published in several news services, including Chicago Sun Times, Houston Chronicle, and The Guardian. She has spoken at Netroots Nation (’09), Mom 2.0 (’10), Houston social media (’10, ’11), Leveraging Social Media (’11) and Texas Conference for Women (’11) about online branding, the macro-impact of social media, and using social media in business.
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Jaelithe Judy is an internet marketing writer, search engine optimization consultant, semi-pro navelgazer, and happily married mother of one quirky red-headed kid. She has given SEO advice to a variety of people you may have heard of including Cool Mom Picks,Women Count PAC, and the Obama campaign’s Fight the Smears web team. In 2008, she went to the Missouri State Democratic convention as an Obama delegate, and she later served as a volunteer Neighborhood Team Leader for the Obama campaign.
Her political coverage at MOMocrats has been featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,The Huffington Post, and CSPAN’s Election Hub. She was proud to join several fellow MOMocrats as an official credentialed blogger at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Jaelithe studied literary analysis in college, which she has found makes her surprisingly adept at deconstructing bogus media story lines and dissecting poorly constructed political arguments.
Her hobbies include gardening, reading obscure early 20th century Argentinian literature in the original Spanish, quoting Ben Franklin, and obsessively checking the internet for political news. She offers her SEO consulting services at JaeJudy.com, opines on Twitter as @Jaelithe, and writes a personal blog called The State of Discontent.
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Stephanie Himel-Nelson is one of the original MOMocrats and a recovering attorney from Southeast Virginia. She has a serious addiction to politics and adorable shoes. In her nonpartisan life, Stephanie is a founding member of an influential, national nonprofit organization for military families and serves as the group’s Director of Communications. Through her direction, the group has grown to more than 25,000 members and regularly advises national and state leaders on military family issues, including members of Congress, the Department of Defense, the First Lady’s office, and President Obama’s administration. Stephanie also consults for other businesses and nonprofits, with an expertise in online outreach and community development. Most recently, she wrote the handbook on social media for military families, crafting a guide in collaboration with Facebook.
Stephanie is also known in the blogging world as Lawyer Mama. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post, and have been syndicated by the McClatchy group, appearing in papers and web sites across the country. Stephanie regularly moderates The Mil Life on the Washington Post’s website, a live chat about issues facing military families. Her interviews regarding parenting, military families, and politics have appeared on or in countless national news outlets and Stephanie also regularly speaks as an expert on both social media and military families.
Stephanie’s claim to fame last year was having met both the President of the United States and the future King and Queen of England (aka Will and Kate) in the same week. Her sons are still far more impressed with the time she met Elmo. You can find Stephanie on Twitter as @lawyermama.
The lawyer in Stephanie would also like to remind you that the views she expresses on MOMocrats are purely her own and in no way reflect the positions or opinions of any of her clients and/or employers.
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Lee and Paul Reyes-Fournier write the highly provocative and informative CoupleDumb, The Relationship Blog. CoupleDumb is a relationship site that covers everything from marriage to dating to parenting and everything having to do with creating lasting happiness. Lee is a professional psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience and Paul has a degree in Astrophysics and an MBA. They have been happily married for over 23 years and have three kids. You can catch them on their web series ‘Relationship Rehab’ or get their book ‘Dysaffirmation: Because this kind of stupid takes work.
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Jessica Pieklo aka Hegemommy is an attorney turned writer and professor. Born and raised in the conservative midwest to liberal parents, Jessica learned right away that politics and her personal life would forever be linked when she was encouraged to advocate for social change from almost out of the womb. Now a mother of two, Jessica spends her time writing about corporate accountability, transparency in governance, and all things constitutional law. With a background in complex commercial litigation and corporate fraud Jessica has taken those courtroom skills and applied them to advocating for political spending disclosure laws and equal rights and social justice. Jessica is a featured blogger at www.Care2.com and her own blog Hegemommy, in addition to frequent rants on Twitter: @Hegemommy.
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Mary Davis is a freelance writer and blogger living with her husband and three children near Pittsburgh, PA. She’s been writing online for the past five years. Prior to beginning her freelancing career, Mary worked as a community college academic adviser, where she received the “Outstanding Academic Adviser of the Year” award two years in a row.
Mary is passionate about helping adults reach their educational goals. She admires the dedication of adult students to succeed, often while facing significant obstacles. Mary’s always rooted for the underdog. Her interest in politics began her freshman year in college while taking courses like American National Government and Intro to Women’s Studies.
Being the blue sheep in a family of red ones, Mary has learned to be vocal and articulate about her views. Her top political interests include education, poverty, women’s issues and gay rights.
Mary has written for numerous online publications including Working Mother and Type A Parent. She writes about higher education at her blogs for adult students, Never Too Late For College and The College Mom. You’ll also find her at her personal blog, Everyday Baby Steps.
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Christina Gleason is a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger, although she holds a Master’s degree in Psychology. Her (unprofessional) blog is called Well, in THIS House, formerly known as Cutest Kid Ever. She’s a relatively high-functioning Aspie who also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), depression, and anxiety. She’s a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including World of Warcraft and Scramble with Friends. She hates vegetables. Her favorite wine is a cheap cranberry chablis, and she would prefer a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s over a fancy dinner at a five-star restaurant any day.
A lifelong Democrat, Christina has taken to social media activism like a fish to water, much to the chagrin of several of her Facebook friends. Although she finds herself caring about almost any political or social injustice, she is most passionate in her advocacy about health care, women’s issues, and working families. She has appeared on Anderson Live to talk about the stigma faced by moms with mental illness, and reactions to the show only prove that we have a long way to go in that area. The best way to get in touch with Christina is via Twitter @WELLinTHIShouse, but be warned that she tends to be a bit of an oversharer.
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Melissa works on health care access and prevention policy, when she’s not busy mothering her young daughter. She started her political career in high school, lobbying for the passage of the the Safe Schools Act. After 10 years in and around the Beltway with various women-focused health and policy groups, and a short stint in the private sector, she’s now one of those public sector employees the right routinely vilifies.
Melissa has served as an invited speaker for the Young Democrats Women’s Caucus, the Maryland Leadership Institute, hosted the inaugural chat at TheMotherhood.com, and run more Advocacy 101 workshops than she cares to count. Her favorite food group is coffee.
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Meghan Harvey was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, by a Democrat mom and Republican dad (who eventually converted). Meghan’s crusade to make the world a better place began in the 3rd grade when she wrote her first of many letters to politicians, expressing concern over the environmental implications of developments ruining the foothills surrounding her hometown. Then California Senator Bill Lockyer responded to each and every letterMeghan would go on to write during his years as Senator, inspiring her to remain politically active as an adult.
Meghan is currently the New Media Producer for WomenCount, a non profit organization where she maintains their new media efforts and host their weekly podcast, WomenCount Radio, where she interviews female politicians. She also does new media and online community management for local small businesses as well as for a congressional campaign in a 2009 special election. She is also a weekly columnist for the online magazine, Politics Unlocked and has her own blog, Meg’s Idle Chatter You can find Meghan on Twitter at @meghan1018.
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Shannon Drury blogs about feminist family values at www.theradicalhousewife.com and gushes about her love for Jersey Shore on Twitter: @radicalhw.She writes regularly for the Minnesota Women’s Press and Minnesota Radio News, with additional work appearing in Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, Hip Mama, and Skirt! magazines. In 2011, she was elected to her fifth term as President of Minnesota NOW (National Organization for Women), the first at-home mom to hold the position.
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Grace is a writer, academic, and black queer feminist. She blogs about recovering from growing up in white fundamentalist Christian churches, and race, gender, and sexuality issues in fundamentalist Christianity at Are Women Human? and can be found on Twitter as @graceishuman.
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The women who started it all in a California coffee shop.
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MOMocrats Founder Glennia Campbell is the writer behind the family travel blog, The Silent I. She found her way to Democratic politics under the tutelage of the late Rev. Dr. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Cora Weiss, and other anti-war activists and leaders in the anti-nuclear campaigns of the 1980′s. She co-founded MOMocrats with Beth Blecherman and Stefania Pomponi Butler out of a desire to include the voices of progressive women, particularly mothers, in the political dialogue of the 2008 campaign. Since then, she has been an invited speaker atBlogHer, Netroots Nation, and Mom 2.0, and published print articles in KoreAm Journal.
Professionally, Glennia is a lawyer and lifelong volunteer. She has been a poverty lawyer in the South Bronx, a crisis counselor for a domestic violence shelter in Texas, President of a 3,000 member non-profit parent’s organization in California, and has worked in support of high-tech and medical research throughout her professional career. She has traveled with her husband and young son to over 25 countries and lived to blog about it. She is also a contributing writer to Kimchi Mamas.
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MOMocrats Founding Editor Stefania Pomponi Butleris a writer and blog editor/producer who is known for her irreverent and delicious personal blog, CityMama. Her childhood was spent running around the Hawaii State Capitol building where her mom worked for a state representative. She also spent many punishing hours of her childhood standing on street corners holding campaign signs and waving at cars because her mother is a mean, mean politically-obsessed lady. At age 24, after serving one term as a commissioner, she became the youngest ever Chair of the Arts Commission for the city in which she lived.
Trivia time! Stefania was born in the same hospital and went to the same school as Barack Obama. Even though she is mixed-race like Barack and a woman like Hillary, she voted for a white guy—John Edwards—for president in the California primary (abstentee) because she supported his healthcare, poverty, and nuclear initiatives, and she wholeheartedly agreed with his ideas on how the U.S. should restore its reputation and re-engage with the world. She doesn’t, however, agree with his lying, cheating ways. (What an a-hole, he turned out to be, huh?)
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MOMocrats Technical Editor/Founder Beth ‘s (or TechMama) first involvement in politics was volunteering at a California State Democratic convention many years ago just after she graduated from college. After that she followed politics closely from behind the scenes.
Beth was initially inspired to start getting involved in politics again by Elizabeth Edward’s courage and ability to stand up for what she believes. Coming from the technical perspective, she thought blogging would be the best way to make a positive impact on the American political conversation. Though Beth is no longer formally involved with MOMocrats.com, we all appreciate her early tech guru guidance in setting up the site.
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These former MOMocrats members contributed a great deal of energy and intelligence to the site before moving on to focus on other projects. Many of them still occasionally contribute advice and research to MOMocrats.
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Joanne Bamberger is a writer, political analyst and recovering attorney living in the shadow of the nation’s capital. Joanne is the founder and author of the political blog, PunditMom. A former op-ed columnist for The Washington Examiner and AOL’s Politics Daily, Joanne is an authority on women and mothers in politics and new media. Joanne has been a Democrat and a political junkie since her high school days and proudly admits that the highlight of her senior year wasn’t the prom, but the mock presidential convention at the local college.
Joanne is the author and editor of the Amazon best-selling book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (Bright Sky Press, 2011), which features many of the MOMocrats. She was named by Working Mother Magazine as one of its 2011 Most Powerful Moms in Social Media and was nominated for the 2011 Social Media Award by the Women’s Media Center.
In addition to writing with all these fabulous MOMocrats, Joanne is the founder of online magazine The Broad Side, is a political contributor and editor for 2012 at iVillage, and is a columnist at Babble Voices. Her political commentary has appeared on many news outlets including CNN, Fox News, BBC Radio and NPR.
Joanne speaks frequently at conferences and to private groups about the growing influence of women and mothers in politics and social media. She has presented and participated in panels at Netroots Nation, the Feminist Majority Foundation, BlogHer, Activism, Media & Policy Summit, and more.
Her daughter, “PunditGirl,” is quite proud of the “This is What Feminism Looks Like” t-Shirt she wears to school and is sure she’ll make an excellent president someday! You can also find Joanne on Twitter @punditmom.
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Kady is a lawyer and a blogger at Wonkess. She has two daughters who are both the reason for and bane of her existence. Kady first got involved in politics at the tender age of 17, when she quit school for a semester to be the student campaign manager of a local Democrat’s successful bid to unseat a multi-term Supervior. She then spent the summer before college working as an intern at her Congressman’s office in Washington D.C. In college, Kady majored in environmental policy and spent all her free time pressuring her school to improve their recycling and purchasing policies. But then her heart was broken when two of her most cherished political mentors became embroiled in career-ending scandals.
So she fled the cause and spent the next 15 years drifting aimlessly around the world. During that time, Kady worked for Evil Corporation, went to law school in Evil State and is now working for Evil Law Firm (the true axis of evil). Along the way, she picked up an addiction to all things economic and financial. And a new cry to arms: exposing the financial shenanigans that happen in this country and reforming the financial sector.
Debbie grew up in an evangelical Christian household in Portland, Oregon, and fled from the religious net in her early twenties. Later, in November of 1999, after ceasing to be apathetic, she voted for Al Gore. Saving local papers in days after the election aided in healing her heartbroken reaction to its results.
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Sheila Bernus Dowd is known online as Xiaolinmama, where she blogs about the foibles of living in and raising a family in Silicon Valley. Sheila is also a contributing writer at Silicon Valley Moms Blog and Moms Of Hue. Sheila has worked as an advocate for youth for over a decade in Silicon Valley, from counseling young adults as they started public sector careers to serving on local non profit board of directors to co-leading a county-wide effort to engage all adults in Santa Clara County to support youth and youth programming. Since becoming a mom with “real issues”, she has been involved with local politics including, managing local campaigns. While not all of her candidates have been successful, her kids have enjoyed many free ice cream cones for being willing to be photographed in candidate campaign literature.
She is one of the Founders of Clever Girls Collective, a social media consulting agency connecting brands with influential budget wielding women. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies to start ups. She also works with local nonprofits to providing fundraising and social media strategy consulting.
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A graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a background in journalism, she blogs about the media and politics on Modern English, labor and work on Working Life (http://workinglife.org) and is one of the blogging moms of MOMocrats. She recently founded Green Parent Chicago, the online destination for eco-minded families in the city and near suburbs.
She lives with her husband and two children in Oak Park, Illinois
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Jen, author of the blog One Plus Two, has been working with homeless and at-risk families, adults and youth since 1997. She spent most of her life working in the non-profit sector and champions equality of class, gender, and race and the alleviation of human suffering. In her spare time she chases her kid around and backpacks through distant parts of the world. It’s a big world – and Jen believes we should see as much of it as we can. In early 2009, Jen left the United States to pursue an experiment in sustainable living in rural Belize. Jen blogs about global poverty and homelessness, sustainable living, keeping one step ahead of her child, and adjusting to her new life in the jungles of Central America.
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Joan Garry is a nationally recognized gay rights activist and thought it was a very hard job until she decided to step down from her role as the executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to be a stay-at-home mom. Advocating for ‘the gays” may have been easier.
She and her partner Eileen Opatut live behind a white picket fence (for real) in the New Jersey suburbs.. Joan and Eileen have been together for 25 years and have three kids, Sarah (17), and twins Ben and Kit (12).
During her tenure at GLAAD, Joan persuaded the New York Times to include gay and lesbian couples on its wedding pages, she created a national debate about the homophobic words of radio host, Laura Schlessinger and even debated Jerry Falwell about whether Tinky Winky was gay.
She is also the first woman in the state of New Jersey to legally adopt her partner’s biological children and the first and only female singing member of the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus.
Joan is currently a featured blogger on The Huffington Post, writes a regular column for The Washington Blade that is syndicated to gay papers nationwide. She is also the co-author of www.whosthegrownup.com, a blog she writes with and about her three kids.
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Sarah Granger was born to Republican parents in a Republican town in a Republican state that now has a Democratic woman governor. Sarah’s dad’s childhood buddy, “Hartpence,” later became U.S. Senator Gary Hart. Her mom was managing political fundraisers while Sarah was in utero, and their house was down the block from the author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?.
Sarah is currently the Director of New Media for WomenCount and she won a New Media Award from the California Democratic Party in 2009. She is also a graduate of the Emerge California women’s political leadership program where she now trains prospective Democratic candidates on using new media in campaigns. She speaks often at conferences on the intersection of new media and politics including South by Southwest, BlogHer, Netroots Nation, 140 Twitter, and U.S. Policies on the Information Society.
In addition to MOMocrats, Sarah blogs at The Huffington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle at SFGate.com, and techPresident. In this capacity, she has covered the Democratic National Convention, Inauguration and the White House. She has served on city, state and national policies commissions and committees and she has edited several books on cybersecurity and gov 2.0. A guest on Good Morning America and ABC News, Sarah has been quoted or mentioned by a wide range of media outlets from Daily Kos to The New York Times.
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She’s had a successful career as a creative director in the Prada-mandatory world of advertising, has helped found a grassroots organization that assists Bosnian refugee children, writes some parenting columns here and there, and is the co-author of Booty Food(Bloomsbury USA), a humorous relationship guide and cookbook.
Liz is equally at home in the boutiques of Fifth Avenue and the aisles of Target, but can most often be spotted around her Brooklyn neighborhood with the love of her life and their two daughters, trying to coax their stubborn English Bulldog across the street.
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Kristen Chase took the plunge into motherhood via a surprise pregnancy and is now knee deep with a three year old daughter, one year old son, and one more on the way. In her former life she was a published textbook author, musician, and college professor all of which she’s traded for a satisfying new position as military wife and stay-at-home-parent. Kristen is the author of the widely popular weblog Motherhood Uncensored, and writes Mominatrix, a featured column at The Imperfect Parent. Additionally, she is co-founder of Cool Mom Picks, a cheeky product and service review blog for discerning moms, as well as Parent Bloggers Network, a blog marketing agency connecting bloggers with products and services. She recently moved to Atlanta after a year-long stint with her in-laws.
The only politics Kristen enjoyed was on various sub-committees at her former university position, but since entering parenthood and watching several of her friend’s spouses (including possibly her own) head out for long deployments, she’s decided that she needs to take a bit more of an active approach in the political climate on the United States. She’s not a registered anything just yet, but she’s 100% certain she looks way better in donkey than elephant anything.
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Erin Kotecki Vest spent ten years as an award-winning broadcast journalist in Los Angeles, Orlando and Detroit. Erin now serves as Producer of Special Projects and Political Director for BlogHer.com, and is proud to have interviewed Barack Obama on BlogHer’s behalf.
Erin has spoken at SXSW and Blog World Expo, and was nominated for the 2010 Bloggies award for Best Weblog About Politcs.
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Bitsy Parker is the blogger behind Value wIT, a hilarious look at what she calls “societal berzerkism.” Value wIT was selected as a Typepad Featured Blog soon after its launch. According to Typepad, “Bitsy Parker is not your average mommy blogger…typical mommy blog traits are secondary to the style, sass, and smarts of the writing on Value wIT. Bitsy Parker challenges society’s common thought, endorses good values, all the while making us laugh from an uncommon lens of a woman’s every day life in Austin, Texas. Parker admittedly uses her blog as some kind of therapy or venting machine so that she doesn’t wear down so many of her friends’ patience, but instead we find it therapy of our own. Turn to categories Societal Berzerkism and Motherdumb first. In the meantime we’ll ask Bitsy if she could please add a warning label to her blog; reading Bitsy Parker leads to laughing out loud, gut aches, and the possibility of falling off your chair.”
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Alisyn Cobb shares what has to be the smallest house in Silicon Valley with her husband, two adorable daughters, and a whole lot of books and magazines. She has written about parenting and politcs at The Salad Days and Babble.com. She is proud to be a MOMocrat.
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