Board of Directors & Staff

The 2008/2009 directors of the FFEC Board are listed below. The directors serve 2-year terms and are elected by the FFEC membership at our Annual Meeting.  Please click on a name below to read a brief biography of that person.

Susan R. Pynchon - Founder, Executive Director
Mary K. Garber - Co-founder, Research Director
Elizabeth Camarota - Co-founder, Administrative Director
Sylvia Perkins - Co-founder
     Anita Lapidus - Co-founder
Tanner Andrews, Esq.
Andy Bontempo
Carla Christianson
Susan DuPree
     Susan Hensley
     Lizzie Johnson
     Benjamin Perkins
     James Pillow
     Judy Thompson
     Kim Waddell
     David Wilson

Founder and Executive Director — Susan Pynchon

As founder and Executive Director of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and its research counterpart Florida Fair Elections Center, Susan Pynchon has become a leader in the election integrity movement throughout Florida and the nation. Under her leadership, the organization has grown into a respected entity known for its nonpartisan dedication to fair, transparent, verifiable, accessible, and secure elections. Ms. Pynchon has also forged cooperative relationships with established civil rights organizations to monitor proposed legislation on the state and national level and to lobby for election reform. Her numerous speaking engagements have helped to educate Floridians about the problems with electronic voting, partisan election administration, and other reform issues. Ms. Pynchon was featured in the Emmy-nominated, HBO documentary film, "Hacking Democracy," and has been interviewed several times on CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," by the Wall Street Journal, and other television and print media to discuss election issues. In 2008, Ms. Pynchon was a recipient of the Nelson Poynter Civil Liberties Award from the Florida American Civil Liberties Union for “defending voting rights in Florida,” an award presented annually to the person(s) who did the most to advance civil liberties in Florida in the previous year.

Co-Founder and Research Director — Kitty Garber

A co-founder of Florida Fair Elections Coalition, Kitty Garber brings to the organization more than a decade of experience in the area of minority political issues. As FFEC research director, she collects and analyzes election data, prepares reports and studies on election issues, and assists the executive director and board with other tasks as assigned.She served as Volusia County Coordinator for the Committee for Fair Election’s redistricting initiative and sits on Volusia County’s Election Advisory Board.Before moving to Florida in 2003, Ms. Garber was a writer and editor on national policy issues for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a minority think tank in Washington. Her articles in the Joint Center’s public policy magazine covered such topics as redistricting, election reform, felon disenfranchisement, minority voting rights, and proportional voting. Ms. Garber holds a B.A. in philosophy from Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary and pursued a year of graduate studies at the University of Virginia.

Co-Founder and Administrative Director — Elizabeth S. Camarota

Another of the co-founders of FFEC, Elizabeth S. Camarota, known to all as Beeg, serves as treasurer to the board and on staff as financial director and office manager. From the beginning, she has been responsible for day-to-day administrative tasks.She holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Environ-mental Studies and an M.S. in Economics, both from Baylor University. She is a Certified Environmental Planner by the National Association of Environmental Professions. She worked for fourteen years as an environmental consultant for FPL, U.S. Army Corps, U.S. Navy, City of Miami, and numerous others. She was Senior Financial Analyst for Southeast Bank in Miami for four years. She has been a private financial consultant for twenty-two years.

Co-Founder and Board Member — Sylvia W. Perkins

As a founding member of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Center, Sylvia Perkins has assisted the organization in many capacities. Most recently, she has researched grant opportunities and worked on other fundraising activities. She has also assisted the staff with the editorial preparation of reports and other documents and assisted with administrative duties.

Currently a Scholar in Residence at Stetson University, Sylvia Walsh Perkins has been an adjunct professor and visiting associate professor of philosophy at Stetson since 1989. She has also taught at Clark College and Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She holds an A.B. degree from Oberlin College, a M.A. in Religion from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from Emory University.

She is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles on the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. She has served twice as president of the Søren Kierkegaard Society in North America and is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Kierkegaard Commentary. She is also a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Philosophy of Religion, and the National League of American Pen Women.

Co-Founder and Board Member — Anita Lapidus

As co-founder of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Center, Anita Lapidus has advised the organizations on legal and legislative issues since their inception. Her opinion on the Volusia County Council’s options during the debate on the purchase of disabled accessible equipment was ultimately vindicated by the courts, while contrary advice and threats from attorneys for the state of Florida, the vendor, and a national disabilities group were repudiated.After the vendor delivered uncertified voting equipment to Volusia and other counties, she drafted a complaint to Florida attorney general objecting to the state’s acquiescence in the unlawful activity. She is also working on a lawsuit against the state for its failure to meet its obligations to provide secure elections. In 2006 she worked with several state senators to draft a comprehensive paper trail bill.Along with Pynchon and Garber, she has lobbied the legislature and worked with established civil rights organizations to devise cooperative strategies for election reform. She holds a Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she was an associate editor of the law review and an LLM from Columbia Law School where she was a teaching fellow.

Before coming to Florida, she was Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Social Services of the City of New York where she was in charge of appeals and complex litigation in addition to developing and commenting on legislation.

Board Member—Tanner Andrews, Esq.

Tanner Andrews, a DeLand attorney, specializes in obtaining public records under Florida’s Sunshine laws. In 2006, he brought a successful lawsuit on behalf of the Deland-Deltona Beacon newspaper against the Volusia County supervisor of elections and her failure to produce public records in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost.


Andrews was born in Pensacola and has lived in the DeLand area since 1984. He has been involved in civic affairs for most of that time. Andrews attended undergraduate school at the University of Delaware, where, following a freshman honors year at the Dover campus, he obtained his BA in Computer Science at the main campus in Newark. Following his graduation from college, Andrews worked in the computing industry for about twenty years. 

 

In 2003,Andrews returned to school, graduating with honors in 2005 from Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport (St. Petersburg), Florida. He is now licensed to practice law in Florida.  

Board Member -- Andrew (Andy) Bontempo was a member of the IBEW union for 25 years and continues to work closely with the local unions on issues important to them. He is a longtime supporter of the Florida Fair Elections Coalition and was active in fighting against touchscreen voting machines in Volusia County .  He has served as President of a political club and has assisted with several political campaigns.  Andy was recently widowed, sadly losing his beloved wife Delores after 52 years of marriage.  He lives in Daytona Beach and is the proud father of five children.


Board Member -- Carla Christianson
is active in her community.  She is a member of Florida Fair Elections Coalition, the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, the Sierra Club, and the ACLU.  She is a past board member of the Palm Coast Yacht Club, the Daytona Power Squadron, and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Ormond Beach.  Carla has a degree in interior design from the College of DuPage and had her own design firm in Naperville , Illinois .  She and her husband Jim lived in Illinois for thirty five years before they retired to live aboard a power boat and cruise the Great Lakes for several years.  They moved to Florida ten years ago and have three grown sons who live out of the area.

 

Board Member -- Susan Park DuPree has lived in DeLand for over 40 years and has been actively involved in her community. She owned a real estate brokerage for many years, during which time she also was a member of the Board of Directors of The House Next Door, including a term as President, the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, and she was actively involved with the VIPS program through Volusia County Schools. Susan is a 1974 graduate of UCF. Together with her husband, John, Susan has been involved with many community activities over the 30 years of their marriage. They have both served on church boards, in activist groups, and, most recently, with the West Volusia Obama Campaign, where Susan served as a Team Leader. Susan and John have three grown children. Susan is one of five founding members of One Nation Volusia, a non-partisan citizen activist group which provides information and support for local grass roots efforts in the areas of public education, clean energy, healthcare, and voter education.

Board Member -- Susan M. Hensley is originally from Woonsocket , Rhode Island and attended Rhode Island College where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology.  Upon graduating, she worked in the healthcare industry as a medical technologist before moving on to research assistant at Brown University and subsequently to a position as Blood Bank Supervisor at Guam Memorial Hospital . Following her husband to Texas , she became a real estate agent and was named 1982 Venture Homes Salesperson of the Year.  She became heavily involved in volunteer work at each Air Force base and has given her time as a financial counselor with Air Force Family Services, served on several Air Force OWC charitable and scholarship committees, and in 1997 earned an Air Force Volunteer Award for her contributions at a humanitarian flood shelter.  In 2002, her family relocated to DeLand , FL , where she worked as the Regulatory Compliance Manager at Regional Airline Academy and later held the same position at Angley College . She also became a certified yoga teacher and taught at the YMCA and Blue Sky Yoga Studio.  She has been politically active in Volusia County and participated in the 2009 Feeding America Hunger Study.  She is currently a facilitator with One Nation Volusia, a non-partisan grassroots organization.  She is married to Colonel David R. Hensley, USAF (retired) and has two grown children, Lauren and Tyler.


Board Member -- Lizzie Johnson

is an Assistant Supervising Helpline Attorney with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and a 2009-2010 Florida Bar Foundation Leadership Development Institute Fellow. Ms. Johnson has been with CLSMF for four and a half years working in various areas serving low income clients with foreclosure, bankruptcy, debtor harassment, schemes to defraud, consumer and landlord/tenant disputes. She also assists in the overall supervision of a twelve county legal helpline providing intake, advice, and brief services in civil law matters. Formerly, Ms. Johnson was an Assistant State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit representing the State of Florida in felony and misdemeanor cases. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of Central Florida and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida . She is licensed to practice law in the U. S. Middle District of Florida, U.S. Middle District Florida Bankruptcy Court, U. S. Tax Court, and the State of Florida .

Board Member -- Benjamin Perkins was born and raised in Charleston , West Virginia . He spent many years as an active member of the United Auto Workers Union, helping to organize the FMC Tank Plant in South Charleston and serving as an officer of the UAW local. In 1969, Ben was selected to serve on the staff of the international union in Detroit , MI by then President Walter Reuther. For the next 30 years, Ben served the International Union in key positions, including Director of the Civil Rights Department and Director of the Organizing Department. His responsibilities included negotiating with companies under contract with the union, representing workers who were denied unemployment compensation, and preparing workers for apprenticeship programs. Ben retired to Deltona , Florida in 1998 with his wife Sandra.

Board Member -- James (Jim) Pillow has been employed by United Parcel Service for over 25 years and has served as the Political Coordinator for the Florida Teamsters Union (Local 385) for five years. In this role, he advocates for issues important to working men and women to Florida legislators, making numerous trips to Tallahassee during the legislative session. Jim has been active in the Boy Scouts of America for over 30 years, is a Bishop at the Church of Latter Day Saints , and has been a member of Florida Fair Elections Coalition for several years. Jim and his wife, Karen, live in Holly Hill and have lived in Volusia County since 1970. They have 6 children and 6 grandchildren. 

Board Member—Judy Thompson  

 Ms. Thompson received her BA from Vanderbilt University and graduated summa cum laude from Cumberland School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor for the Cumberland Law Review.  

After practicing law for several years, she returned to her family's business, Thompson Tractor Co., Inc., a Caterpillar Tractor dealer for north Alabama, as Vice President and General Counsel. Upon her father's retirement, Ms. Thompson was approved by Caterpillar as President and CEO of the business. Several years later she left the tractor business to assume the Presidency of the Birmingham Turf Club, a thoroughbred racing facility.  

During this period, Ms. Thompson served as a member of the board of directors of a number of community institutions, including being a founding board member of Leadership Birmingham. She has also been President of the Alabama Symphony and President of the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board and has served on the national board of directors of the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews).  

In 2004, Ms. Thompson moved to the DeLand area, where she is a partner in The Dressage Center, Inc., DeLeon Springs, and serves as Treasurer and Trustee of the Museum of Florida Art.  She also serves as Treasurer and Trustee of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York City.

Board Member -- Kim Waddell

has been active in politics and political campaigns for several years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from UCF, took graduate courses at Stetson University , and has been employed in the financial industry for 10 years. Kim is the mother of two daughters and has lived in Volusia County since 1986.

Board Member -- David Wilson has had a long and distinguished career as a union lawyer for United Steel Workers of America (18 years) and production worker for Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Maryland (29 years). He represented 40,000 union members in Maryland , Virginia , West Virginia , and Kentucky in district and national policy decision making, budget management, contract negotiations, import policies, workman’s compensation, unemployment, job training, relocation, healthcare, and environmental issues. Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Wilson founded the first retirees program for steelworkers in his district; was instrumental in the formation of the Steelworkers Credit Union; initiated, organized, and directed an in-depth study of industrial disease in steelworkers; established the first Women’s Advisory Committee in the steel industry to oversee on-the-job discrimination against women; and coordinated the activities of and lectured to medical students at Johns Hopkins University doing in-depth studies of the effects of noise, heat, and chemicals on exposed steelworkers. A native of England , Mr. Wilson became a naturalized American citizen in 1961. He holds a B.A. degree from Eastern College and a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Baltimore . Now retired, he recently served as president and campaign coordinator for the Democratic Club of Northwest Volusia County, Florida. The father of five grown children, David lives in Astor with his wife Dee. 

 

 

 


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