WVYD Leadership Team

Neil Heard, President

Neil is proud to serve as President for the West Virginia Young Democrats. He previously served on the board as Executive Vice President, National Committeeman, and Executive Director. He has been active with the West Virginia Young Democrats since the fall of 2013.

Although Neil is not a native West Virginian, he is a Mountaineer through and through. He came to West Virginia in 2002 when he attended Bethany College and received a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish. Neil continued his schooling at West Virginia University, where he completed his Masters in Educational Leadership.

After finishing his schooling, he chose to stay in his home among the hills and taught high school Spanish. He currently is a representative for AFT-WV and enjoys exploring the mountain state.

 

Joe Jividen, Executive Vice President

Joe resides in Wheeling, where he is an elementary school social studies teacher. He earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Psychology. As a student, Joe served as a representative to the Student Athletic Council. In his senior season he served as a captain of the school’s football program.  Joe earned a Master of Arts in Education at West Liberty University in December of 2014.  His love of politics started as a fifth grader, and his first campaign experience started four years later.

Joe has worked in all levels of campaigns, from presidential to municipal races. When he is not actively campaigning, Joe is active in the community. He organizes a day of service for over 100 students at his school on MLK Day, serves as a volunteer for the Relay for Life, and has raised funds for the  Muscular Dystrophy Association and the YWCA.

 

Justin Click, Vice President of Programming

Born and raised in Morgantown, Justin first become involved in the West Virginia Young Democrats in the spring of his freshman year at WVU. During his junior year he served as WVU Young Democrat’s Parliamentarian and received his chapter’s Young Democrat of the Year award in the spring of 2016. Justin will graduate from WVU in May of 2017 with a degree in Political Science with focus in Comparative Politics, International Relations, and National Security, as well as a minor in History.

Although only 21 years old, Justin has begun to build a strong name for himself in politics in the state of WV. He served as an intern for Planned Parenthood and now serves as a volunteer leader for the organization. He is the former Vice President of WVU Students for Reproductive Justice, the PP Generation Action organization in North Central WV and now serves as the Director of Communications for the North Central WV Young Democrats.

As an openly gay West Virginian, the son of a disabled WV Coal Miner and a Nurse of nearly 30 years, the values of the Democratic Party are personal. As one of the first from his father’s side of the family to receive a 4-year college education, he understands very well the importance of not leaving any West Virginian behind.

 

Sammi Brown, Vice President of Membership

An Eastern Panhandle native, Sammi completed her undergraduate and MBA at Shepherd University while working in Metro DC radio. She broke into the political sector by way of the state's Labor Movement, where she has run successful electoral and legislative campaigns with a specific focus on Working Families.

Since returning to her hometown, Sammi has become the Eastern Panhandle Chapter Vice President as well as the statewide National Committeewoman.

 

Kristen Ross, Vice President of Development

Kristen is currently a law clerk for Kanawha County. She first got involved with West Virginia Young Democrats in 2006 while in high school.  She continued her involvement in college at West Virginia University where she first served as the WVU Young Democrats' Community Service Coordinator, then Vice President, then President. She graduated from WVU Magna Cum Laud with a BA in Political Science in 2011.

In the fall of 2011, Kristen entered WVU College of Law. While at WVU Law, Kristen was the President of the Democratic Law Caucus. She graduated from WVU Law in May of 2014 and was admitted to practice law in West Virginia in October of 2014. 

Formerly the West Virginia Young Democrats' First District Director and Vice President, Kristen has worked on many democratic campaigns, including as a campaign director for the House Legislative Committee in 2014.

Kristen is the 2013 Recipient of the Jennings Randolph "Young Democrat of the Year" Award and previously served as President to the West Virginia Young Democrats.

 

Sam Brown, Vice President of Communications

Born and raised in Jefferson County, Sam is the youngest member of the State Executive Board at 19 years old.

Sam is set to graduate from Shepherd University in May of 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. During his time at Shepherd, he has competed on the Debate and Forensics Team. While on the team, he became the State Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate, and the Novice National Champion in Parliamentary Debate Speaking. Sam also serves as the president of several organizations at Shepherd, such as the Shepherd University Young Democrats, Pre-Law Society, Interfraternity Council, and the Junior Class.

Sam got his start in politics while working as a Field Director for the Stephen Skinner for State Senate campaign in 2016. Since serving in this capacity, he has continued his political activism through working with the Eastern Panhandle Young Democrats and the Coalition for Democracy. His future plans include running for office and continuing his work for the Party.

 

Cassie Hill, Secretary

Cassie lives in Milton, which she thinks is the best town in the world. She currently attends Bridge Valley Community and Technical College, where she is studying to be a Registered Nurse. She previously obtained a degree in Biblical Studies from Appalachian Bible College. 

Cassie is also a Nurse Extern at a community hospital. In her free time, she enjoys long walks with her two cats (Beyonce & Vice Purrsident Biden) and looks forward to working with the 2017-2018 WVYD Executive Board as Secretary.

 

David Crawley, Treasurer

Originally from Liverpool in England, David has lived in West Virginia for most of his life. He currently attends Marshall University, where he is studying Secondary Education.

David is also serving his third term in Marshall University's Student Government Association as Senator for the College of Education. During his time in the senate, he has advocated for LGBT, International, and disabled students.

 

Alisa Clements, National Committeewoman

Alisa currently lives in Morgantown, where she serves as the WV Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. She has worked for Democratic campaigns over the past 9 years, both as WV State Director for Obama for America (2012) and Regional Field Director for the West Virginia Democratic Party for various campaigns.

In addition to working on political campaigns in West Virginia, Alisa has also served as a NextGen Climate Action Campus Organizer, and is the current Campaigns Committee Chair for the Young Democrats of America. She graduated from Waynesburg College in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations.

 

Adam Strider, National Committeeman

A lifelong West Virginian and Jefferson County native, Adam holds a B.A. in Political Science from Marshall University, and a J.D. from the WVU College of Law.  He has been an active West Virginia Young Democrat since 2007, and has since that time worked in varying capacities on numerous Democratic campaigns from the local and municipal, to the statewide, all the way up to a presidential primary. He also served as an intern in the office of Congressman Nick Rahall, and president of his WVYD chapter during his tenure at Marshall.

Following his graduation from law school in 2014, Adam served as a law clerk in the Eastern Panhandle’s 23rd Judicial Circuit, and previously held internships with the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.  He now works as an associate attorney at a Charleston law firm, where he focuses his practice on labor & employment litigation and consulting.  When not lawyering or politicking, Adam spends his time hiking, target shooting, and cheering on his beloved Marshall Thundering Herd.

 

Lacey Connelly, Executive Director

Born and raised in Putnam County, Lacey has worked on campaigns for the past 13 years, working in 6 different states. She returned home to West Virginia 3 years ago while working as the National Training Director for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Last cycle, she left politics on the national level to come home and serve as Finance Director for Doug Reynolds' campaign for Attorney General. She's now proud to serve as the first full-time employee of the West Virginia Young Democrats.

Lacey received her B.A. in Communications, with a focus on Media & Politics, from Northwestern University. She is the 2016 recipient of the Jennings Randolph "Young Democrat of the Year" Award and previously served as Vice President of Communications to the West Virginia Young Democrats.