2019 Endorsements


Stephen Burd

Running for: New Jersey General Assembly (District 28)

Stephen Burd is running for New Jersey’s General Assembly in District 28. As an English teacher for six years and a professional school counselor for the past seven years, Burd has dedicated his entire career to public education. He grew up in a proud union household and is a member of national and local teachers’ unions. Burd believes in strengthening workers’ and individuals’ rights and providing access for all people to attend community college, public university, or learn a trade for free. He also believes in fighting for clean drinking water and renewable energy. The New Jersey Democratic primary is on June 4th. Burd is religiously unaffiliated.

Jeanne Casteen

Running for: Maricopa County (AZ) Superintendent of Public Instruction

Jeanne Casteen is running for Maricopa County (AZ) Superintendent of Public Instruction. She has been a teacher for over 10 years and a member of the Creighton (AZ) School Board since 2012. Casteen currently serves as the school board president. With this background she is eager to take the next step to ensure that students, parents, and the community are best-served by the education system in Maricopa County. Casteen says, “This means encompassing the whole child in education, equity for students across zip codes, and respect and dignity for the adults making their education possible.” The election will be held in 2020. Casteen is an atheist.

Mark Friedenberg

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (Pennsylvania 12)

Marc Friedenberg is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District (this is a special election being held on May 21 due to the resignation of the Republican incumbent Tom Marino). Friedenberg is an instructor of cybersecurity and cyberlaw at Penn State and a lawyer who sued the Wall Street banks responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. He is running to “bring high-paying jobs, modern infrastructure, and honest representation back to Pennsylvania’s 12th District.” His policy priorities include: guaranteeing healthcare for every American and protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, bringing good-paying jobs and high-speed internet to the district, protecting the environment by fighting climate change and supporting local farmers, and protecting Medicare and Social Security. Friedenberg is culturally Jewish and is an ally of the secular community.

Karl Frisch

Running for: Fairfax County (VA) School Board (Providence District)

Karl Frisch is running for the Fairfax County (VA) School Board – Providence District. As the executive director of Allied Progress, a consumer watchdog organization, Frisch developed creative and effective campaigns to stand up to powerful corporate interests and their political allies in Washington. He previously worked for a host of Democratic party committees and progressive advocacy organizations and has helped elect Democratic mayors, state legislators, members of Congress, governors, and senators. Now he is running for his first elected office to “a bold progressive voice…fighting for equity, equality, environmental sustainability, strong fiscal stewardship, and educational excellence for all students regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, income, or the zip code they call home.” If elected, Frisch will be the first openly LGBTQ local elected official in Fairfax County. He is agnostic.

Roger Quesada and Mahmoud Mahmoud

Running for: New Jersey State Assembly (District 32)

Roger Quesada and Mahmoud Mahmoud are running a joint campaign for two seats on the New Jersey State Assembly in District 32. Their campaign is working to embolden voters to transform their government so collective action can be taken on important issues such as the social and racial justice and the environment. Quesada and Mahmoud “care deeply about the environment and understand the crisis we’re facing due to policy inaction in dealing with the impending climate catastrophe. We care deeply about the RIGHT to healthcare for every member of our society. We care about social inequity, oppressive and separative policies and the deeply rooted issue of economic opportunities.” Their goal is to focus on intersectionality among different groups whether religious or secular. The New Jersey Democratic primary is on June 4. Mahmoud is Muslim and Quesada is religiously unaffiliated.

Ashton P. Woods

Running for: Houston (TX) City Council (At-Large 5)

Ashton P. Woods is running for the Houston (TX) City Council – At-Large 5. A community activist since the age of 15, Ashton has been a strong advocate in Houston for the LGBTQIA, homeless, and immigrant communities. He has also fought to end rape and sexual assault, violence against people of color, and unjust criminal punishment. His campaign “is about bringing people together to create comprehensive solutions to build a better Houston for all of us.” Ashton’s policy priorities include: increased investment in healthcare services including provisions for mental health treatment as well as HIV and other stigmatized conditions, refocusing investment in programs that improve and uplift rather than criminalize members of our community, and advancing economic programs to increase employment opportunities and ensure livable wages. He is the co-founder and lead organizer for Black Lives Matter Houston, a member of the Houston Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Board, and co-chair of the Black Humanist Alliance an adjunct organization of the American Humanist Association. Ashton identifies as a humanist and atheist.

Andrew Zwicker

Running for: New Jersey General Assembly (District 16)

Andrew Zwicker is a scientist, legislator, and atheist, seeking re-election the New Jersey General Assembly in District 16. Assemblyman Zwicker is the far too rare scientist-legislator. He is a physicist and Head of Science Education at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. His victory in 2015 was the biggest upset in New Jersey when he won by less than 100 votes. His re-election win in 2017 was more comfortable, but still close and this year he has one of the most competitive races in NJ. As a scientist, Andrew promotes public policy using evidence-based decision making, not ideology, and is focused on rebuilding the state’s infrastructure and economy, protecting the environment, and protecting our democracy.