2018 Endorsements


Kathleen Allen

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Georgia – District 7)

Kathleen Allen is running for Congress in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. She is a community leader, homelessness activist, and proud mom, whose career in managed healthcare grounds her support for establishing a single-payer healthcare system. She believes we must invest in our future through public schools, raise the minimum wage, and reduce our unemployment rate by supporting local businesses and reforming our immigration policies. Through her career, Allen developed an appreciation for, and understanding of, the complexity of the healthcare economy and brings to Congress a commitment to honest collaboration and fiscal responsibility on behalf of all Americans. Allen was raised in a secular home and identifies as an atheist.

David Benac

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Michigan – District 6)

David Benac is running for Congress in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. Dr. Benac is a history professor and political activist. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and served on the Platform Committee, where he spoke out in favor of striking the numerous religious references offered for inclusion in the party’s platform. Benac believes firmly in the wall of separation between church and state that is enshrined in the First Amendment. This protects all Americans from religious intolerance and theocracy. He is running for Congress because he “doesn’t believe the Federal Government is working in the best interests of the American people, and we face too many serious challenges today to let this continue.” Benac was raised Catholic, but is now religiously unaffiliated.

Dan Canon

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Indiana – District 9)

Dan Canon is running for Congress in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. He is a civil rights attorney, who has worked on behalf of teachers, union members, inmates, veterans, and immigrants. He was part of the team that successfully litigated for marriage equality in the historic Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges. Having spent his life “providing a voice to the voiceless” in the judicial system, he will be a voice for all in Congress – not just the select few. Canon identifies as agnostic.

Dennis Dinge

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (New Mexico – District 1)

Dennis Dinge is a scientist running for Congress in New Mexico’s First Congressional District. Trained in electrical engineering and physics, he currently works on cutting edge supercomputing technology. Dinge wants to bring his problem solving skills to Washington. He says, “I take three basic steps when solving a problem: see the problem, understand the problem, fix the problem. An unbiased assessment of all facts is necessary for the first two steps. Creativity and testing are necessary for the third. Contrast this with the current situation in Washington, in which the approach to problems is to form an opinion and then cherry pick, or even make up, facts to support that opinion.” Dinge was raised Southern Baptist, but now identifies as agnostic.

Janet Everhard

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Ohio – District 2)

Janet Everhard is running for Congress in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. Dr. Everhard is a retired physician, who “learned to listen compassionately, research and distill complex issues, and make important decisions in stressful situations.” In Congress, she wants to use her skills on issues such as economic and job development, access to affordable quality healthcare, infrastructure repair, environmental protection, and educational/retraining opportunity for all ages Everhard was raised Methodist, but “chose a humanist life by my teenage years.” She respects each person’s choice of spiritual path.

David Gill

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Illinois – District 13)

David Gill is running for Congress in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. “As an Emergency Room doctor,” Gill stated, “I’ve demonstrated that I have tremendous passion for improving the lives of all people. That passion drives my career in medicine, and it’s what motivates me to become a leader in the U.S. House.” Gill’s experience in providing leadership and taking effective action in crisis situations will serve us well in dealing with the Trump Administration. Gill is a longtime member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, Physicians for a National Health Program, and several organizations that promote death with dignity legislation. He is a humanist and a passionate defender of the separation between church and state.

Aaron Godfrey

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Ohio – District 16)

Aaron Godfrey is running for Congress in Ohio’s 16th Congressional District. Aaron is a scientist with a B.A. and M.S. in physics and works at a high-tech aerospace company. Raised in a true working class family, he struggled to raise the money to pay for college – an ongoing struggle, thanks to the burden of student loan debt. Godfrey fears that the American dream of reaching the middle class through education and hard work is being eradicated. To reverse this, he is advocating for reform of the K-12 public school system and access to affordable, quality higher education. He also supports the creation of a public option/Medicare-for-All healthcare system, an end to partisan gerrymandering, and efforts to curb our nation’s contribution to climate change and support of initiatives for sustainable, renewable resources. Godfrey identifies as an atheist.

Kia Hamadanchy

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (California – District 45)

Kia Hamadanchy is running for Congress in California’s 45th Congressional District. Hamadanchy has devoted his career to “fighting for families across this country and to making sure that each and every American – no matter where they are from, who they love, or what religion they practice – is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.” Hamadanchy knows how Washington works having served as a staff member to U.S. Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. He will use his knowledge and skills to promote policy that will “save the America that we love and admire” and to “preserve a livable world for our children and grandchildren.” While a number of his family members consider themselves to be Muslim, Hamadanchy was raised in a secular fashion and does not identify with any particular religion. He strongly believes in each and every American’s right to practice the faith of their choosing.

Mike Hartley

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Indiana – District 5)

Mike Hartley is running for Congress in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District. He is an Army and Iraq War veteran. Having experienced poverty as a child, Hartley is committed to establishing programs and policies that create opportunities for economic security. This includes making health care a right under a Medicare for All program. Hartley does not have a religious affiliation. He says,”As an elected official, my religion will be the Constitution of the United States.”

Derek Kent

Running for: Maryland State House (District 32)

Derek Kent is running for the Maryland House of Delegates. This is Derek’s first run for elected office, but as a veteran and progressive activist he has an extensive history in public service and a strong vision for Maryland’s future. He identifies as a humanist.

Paul Knupp, Jr.

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Iowa – District 3)

Paul Knupp Jr. is running for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. He is the co-founder and past president of the Humanist Society of Iowa. Rev. Dr. Knupp is also a humanist chaplain for the American Humanist Association and an ordained clergy of the United Church of Christ. As a humanist chaplain, he provides his services at the Iowa State Penitentiary and the Ft. Dodge Correctional Facility. Trained in psychology, Knupp says his skills are required in Congress today because “America needs counseling.” Knupp identifies as a humanist.

Bill Leiner

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Pennsylvania – District 15)

Bill Leiner is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District. He is a former Mayor of Coplay, PA and Lehigh County Commissioner. He currently serves on the Coplay Borough Council. Leiner will bring to Congress “the political sensibilities of a successful manager, steelworker, union leader, healthcare leader, community organizer – and a tested problem-solver.” He was raised Catholic, but says that identity is now “dormant.” Leiner is not affiliated with any religion.

Kent Lester

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Texas – District 31)

Kent Lester is running for Congress in Texas’ 31st Congressional District. Lester is a West Point graduate who served 20 years in the Army. Following his military service he became a high school teacher and just recently retired from this career. In his classes he taught his students “how to think, not what to think.” Following the 2016 election, his former students encouraged Lester to run for Congress. Lester’s goal is to “bring the Old-School American Values we believe in back to Capitol Hill. Respect for all, not prejudice against a few. Service to the nation, not shirking one’s duties. Integrity, not double-talk.” Lester was raised in the Episcopal church, but now identifies as agnostic.

Marla Mott-Smith

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Utah – District 4)

Marla Mott-Smith is running for Congress in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. Mott-Smith is a successful small businesswomen and political activist. Her activism includes establishing a nonprofit that advocated for housing and job training for the homeless, and organizing fundraising efforts to support a home for abused women. As the matriarch of a large and diverse family, she very mindful of the need to protect the environment for future generations, expand economic opportunities, and ensure fair and equal treatment for all. She also has a “track record of standing up to bullies,” which is especially needed at this time. Mott-Smith was raised in the Catholic church, but is now religiously unaffiliated.

Carlton E. Smith

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Mississippi – District 1)

Carlton E. Smith is running for Congress in Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District. Smith is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and is currently a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Southern Region Staff. His policy goals include promoting new businesses and new jobs, providing affordable healthcare for all, ensuring quality public education for children and youth, ending the gerrymandering of congressional districts, and replacing the Electoral College with a national popular vote. Smith identifies as a humanist and as a Universalist Christian who draws inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus.

Justin Snider

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Texas – District 6)

Justin Snider is running for Congress in Texas’ 6th Congressional District. Snider is a successful small business owner and a local community organizer. His experience as a Bernie Sanders delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention reinforced the need to promote progressive issues and policies at a local level. Snider’s attention quickly turned to his congressional district, which has been represented by Joe Barton for over thirty-four years, and he decided challenging Barton would be a good place to continue his efforts to bring reform and change to our political system. Snider was raised Christian, but now identifies as humanist.

Seth Vaughn

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (California – District 10)

Seth Vaughn is running for Congress in California’s 10th Congressional District. Vaughn’s “driving goal in Congress will be to restore democracy and get money out of politics.” The vast majority (88%) of Rep. Jeff Denham’s donors don’t live in his district – this was the 6th highest out of the 435 members of Congress in 2016. Vaughn is leading by example and refusing all out-of-district donations, including PAC money. He says, “We need to end our corrupt campaign finance system and start demanding democracy!” Vaughn identifies as atheist/agnostic.

Vivian Viloria-Fisher

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (New York – District 1)

Vivian Viloria-Fisher is running for Congress in New York’s 1st Congressional District. Viloria-Fisher wants to take her thirteen years of legislative experience on the Suffolk County Legislature to Washington so her constituents will have a “representative who truly appreciates the importance of protecting our planet earth, respecting all our neighbors and ensuring that families can count on a safe future: financially and environmentally.” Viloria-Fisher was raised Catholic and embraced a life of “empathy, thoughtfulness, and public service according to the example provided by Jesus, Gandhi, and other great leaders.” She is now a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation.

Tony Zarkades

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (California – District 48)

Tony Zarkades is running for Congress in California’s 48th Congressional District. Zarkades served eight years as an officer in the Marine Corp, and is now an airline pilot. He is running to save the middle class and prove that a good man can get elected to Congress. Zarkades was raised Greek Orthodox, but now considers himself not religious. He stated, “In a way, you could say the Constitution is my religion. My living room displays pictures of the Founding Fathers, Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, much like people might have a picture of the Last Supper or Christ’s crucifixion. You will not find a stronger candidate to advocate for secularism and the rights of non-believers.”