Jim Scherzinger retired as Chief Operations Officer at the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) in March 2016, where he served since 2011. He had also served as Interim Deputy Director for the agency. Jim began his career with DHS in 2006 as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to DHS, Jim served 20 years – 14 years as Director – in the Legislative Revenue Office, a nonpartisan office in the Oregon Legislature that is the staff to the House and Senate Revenue and School Finance Committees.
In 1998 he moved to Portland Public Schools as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed Superintendent in June 2001, before retiring in June 2004. Jim is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon and has served on the ALF board, as well as being a long-time member of the board of directors for Neighborhood House, a nonprofit organization that assists low-income, recent immigrant, and other vulnerable people living in the greater Portland area.
John Horvick is Vice President and Political Director at DHM Research. In his decade with the firm, John has wedded his passion for community based politics with his expertise in opinion research. In his mind, public opinion work serves as a powerful tool for answering the question at the center of any democracy: “What kind of community do you want to live in?” He manages complex projects for the firm, is an experienced focus group moderator, and serves as DHM’s political commentator.
While he has a particular love for and knowledge of Oregon’s political life, John has worked on projects and given presentations across the country. Particular areas of interest include electoral politics, health care, education, land-use planning, natural resource use, energy and utilities, transportation, and taxation.
He regularly presents on issues of community, policy, and governance to public officials and governing bodies, in front of boards of directors, and as a part of regional and national conferences. A proud Minnesotan, John graduated from University of Minnesota in 2000. He has since found a second home in Portland, and has devoted himself to furthering a culture of civic engagement in Oregon. He has served as President of the City Club of Portland, and remains an active member in the organization.
Besides his exploration of the state’s civic and political landscape, John is an avid traveler and runner, and hopes to soon meet his goal of running in all 36 of Oregon’s counties.
Lyn Carson is a former professor in applied politics at the University of Sydney Business School, former professor with the University of Western Sydney, former academic director of the United States Studies Centre, and currently an associate of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance at the University of Canberra.
‘Carson’ was an inaugural director of The newDemocracy Foundation’s board and continues in that role as well as serving currently as newDemocracy’s research director. She initiated the growing international network Democracy R&D and has written handbooks on community engagement and many articles and book chapters on public participation and deliberative democracy, including a book, with Brian Martin, Random Selection in Politics (1999) and co-edited The Australian Citizens’ Parliament & The Future of Deliberative Democracy (2013). She describes herself as a deliberative designer having designed many mini-publics, large and small over the past 30 years.
Awab Al-Rawe was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. He left home as a refugee to Syria due to the war in 2003. Soon after, he moved to Oregon to earn his B.A. in International Studies and his M.S. in Conflict and Dispute Resolution from the University of Oregon. Awab is currently a program analyst- ombudsperson with the Oregon Health Authority where he investigates complaints from the public, advocates on behalf of Oregonians, and works on healthcare system improvement. Previous work experiences include working with the University of Oregon, Department of Human Services as a case manager and policy analyst, and the Eugene Police Department as he was hired as the first non-citizen police officer in Oregon. In his free time, Awab loves to play football (soccer), practice mediation, trade stocks, and write about economic and political issues.
My name is Sammie Claire, I’m a mixed media conceptual Artist and experiential designer moving to New York City this summer. I’m currently a student at the University of Oregon, and will be getting my two undergraduate degrees in Art and Sociology at the end of this term! I am what my friends call an “artivist” – my aim is to move people through my work to recognize their power in reshaping the world, or making an impact on it in a way that matters. I have been an organizer and participant in various social and environmental movements throughout my life, and am excited to expand in that work when I move to Brooklyn!