"The arms race for money that drives our campaigns threatens the concept of one person, one vote."
North Carolina Voters For Clean Elections
Melissa Price Kromm, NC Voters for Clean Elections Coalition Director
Ms. Kromm is the Director of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, North Carolina's leading voice for returning power to citizens and lessening the corrosive influence of special interests in state politics. Kromm serves as lobbyist and leader of the 35+ member coalition, which helped passed North Carolina's "Voter-Owned" public financing for select judicial and Council of State races, as well as the pilot municipal program. Before joining N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, Kromm was part of a successful effort to pass same-day voter registration at early voting sites in North Carolina.
Bob Phillips, President
Mr. Phillips is the executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. His interest in campaign finance reform comes in part from his other work experiences which include television news reporter and press secretary for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. He is a native North Carolinian and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Brent Laurenz, Vice President
Brent Laurenz joined the Center as director of outreach in 2010. Prior to that, he worked in policy and government relations for the Civil War Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields. He received a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech and a master's degree in political management from George Washington University. In addition to his work at the Center, Brent also serves on the Board of Directors for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Triangle and the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission.
Bob Hall, Treasurer
Mr. Hall is the executive director of Democracy NC. He has been working with grassroots groups across North Carolina since 1970, collaborating with them on research projects on economic and social issues. He has served as executive director and research director with the Institute for Southern Studies and was recognized for that work with a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992.
Jeanne Van Divender, Secretary
Ms. Van Divender has over ten years experience as an information consultant. She has worked for several chemical and pharmaceutical companies in New York and North Carolina in their Knowledge Management and Informatics departments. She has been a Key Legislative Contact for AARP for two years. She is also a precinct judge for the Wake County Board of Elections.
Ms. Chapin was an early supporter of campaign finance reform. She was the Co-President of the League of Women Voters of NC, Chair of the Board of Democracy NC and on the Original Board of NCVCE. Presently, she works as the Advocacy Chair of the League of Women Voters of Charlotte, Mecklenburg and State Coach for League of Women Voters.
Ms. McMillan is the Secretary-Treasurer of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO. With her initial election to this position in 2005, she became the first female officer in the history of the organization. She is currently serving her third term as Secretary-Treasurer.
Prior to working for the NC State AFL-CIO, she worked for the national AFL-CIO’s Union Community Fund, as Research Director for the Common Sense Foundation, and as State Policy Analyst for the Rural School & Community Trust.
MaryBe grew up in Hickory, North Carolina. She became involved with union organizing as a student and is passionate about organizing workers in the South. MaryBe frequently speaks to groups around the country about the importance of building a strong labor movement in the South. She is a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 465 in Durham, North Carolina.
Mr. Rowe came to the Justice Center’s predecessor organization, the N.C. Legal Services Resource Center in 1991 and has been with the Justice Center since its inception in 1996. He served as executive director of the Justice Center from 2001 to 2004 and presided over a period of unprecedented organizational growth. Bill is a committed anti-poverty advocate with more than two decades' experience that spans the breadth of the organization's four strategic areas of expertise: litigation, community education, research and direct legislative advocacy. He has served as counsel in class action lawsuits concerning consumer rights, public benefits, and housing law. In addition, Rowe has represented members of the state's low-income communities before the legislature and state agencies on issues related to housing, employment, judicial procedures, and environmental justice. Over the years, he has developed an expertise in landlord-tenant law and a passion for advancing affordable housing policies.
Mr. Schofield Rob Schofield is the Director of Research and Policy Development for NC Policy Watch – a progressive public policy think tank that is a special project of the Justice Center. Rob joined the project in 2006 with more than two decades’ experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer, commentator and trainer.
At Policy Watch, Rob conducts research, authors two weekly online newsletters, writes and edits frequent opinion pieces and blog posts, speaks to various civic groups, appears regularly on TV and radio, and helps build and develop movements for change. From 1992 to 2005, Rob worked as an attorney at the Justice Center – where he helped build the organization from a small Legal Services office into the state’s leading anti-poverty advocacy group. Rob’s career has also included stints with the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and a Washington, DC-based farmworker rights group, the Migrant Legal Action Program.
Rob is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School and received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Kathryn Schwille is a former government editor at The Charlotte Observer, where she supervised election coverage and campaign finance reporting. She has a long-time interest in voting rights, and joined the League of Women Voters to support the lawsuit against restrictive voting laws passed by the General Assembly in 2013. Now a freelance writer and editor, she teaches and mentors writers in Charlotte.