The Texas Democracy Foundation
Parent board of the Texas Observer
In 1994, Ronnie Dugger, founding editor and the publisher of the Texas Observer for 40 years, transferred ownership to the Texas Democracy Foundation, which was established as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization to publish and promote the Observer.
Current board members
ABBY RAPOPORT, President
Carlton Carl, former CEO and Publisher of the Texas Observer, is a native of Houston, longtime resident of Austin, and owner of downtown Martindale, Texas. He is a graduate of Columbia College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He reported for the Houston Chronicle, the New York Times, and other publications. His experience in Texas Democratic politics and state and federal governments includes stints as a Texas gubernatorial press secretary, chief of staff to a Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, director of tax information for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, press secretary to a Texas Member of Congress, campaign manager and/or media consultant in numerous local, state, and federal campaigns. He also worked in non-profit advocacy as vice president of media affairs/policy and strategy for the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America).
Saneta is a co-founder and partner of Ground Works Consulting, where she works on equitable community development and climate justice. Saneta has over a decade of experience working on issues of racial justice, housing, and health, and in conducting various types of community based participatory research. Prior to founding Ground Works Consulting, Saneta deVuono-powell worked at ChangeLab Solutions, a national organization focused on public health law and policy. Saneta received her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and both her law degree and her master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley.
ROBERT R. “BOB” FRUMP
Robert R. Frump is a communications, content, and web marketing expert who has run internal and external communications, public relations, and editorial operations for McGraw-Hill, Knight-Ridder and Merrill Lynch.
He also has led multi-million dollar web development projects and served as liaison between marketing operations and IT. He is Finra series 7, 66 and 24 certified. He has been awarded the George Polk Award, the Gerald Loeb Award and served on a Philadelphia Inquirer task force that won the Pulitzer Prize. He was in charge of display advertising for a Knight Ridder daily newspaper, publisher of Insurance Review magazine, and publisher of S&P Ratings insurance services. He has authored three books.
Reeve Hamilton is currently the director of media relations and communications for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He previously served as The Texas A&M University System’s assistant vice chancellor for marketing & communications. He was a founding reporter and podcast host at The Texas Tribune. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Texas Monthly, Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, and The Texas Observer.
LAURA HERNANDEZ HOLMES
Laura Hernandez Holmes is a political fundraiser and campaign consultant based in Austin, Texas. She’s a native Texan who grew up in El Paso but moved to Austin for college and like many, never left. Laura’s experience represents fourteen years in the campaign, government and philanthropic sectors. She works with candidates, elected officials and nonprofits to build and execute their strategy on finance, community engagement, policy initiatives and more.
In 2019 Laura served as the Texas Finance Director for the Beto O’Rourke presidential campaign. She served as the deputy campaign manager for both of Mayor Steve Adler’s campaigns and worked in his first administration on community engagement and various policy initiatives.
Whether serving as a Legislative Director for State Representatives in the Texas House or running large-scale finance operations for both local and statewide races, Laura has a passion for organizing and engaging the community for leaders and causes she cares about.
Laura graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in political communication studies.
Carrie is a fiction writer, performer, adventurer, and lawyer. Her short stories have appeared in small U.S. presses, and her performances are usually on NYC stages, despite the fact that she lives in LA. Her adventures have taken her to every continent but one, and she knows how to explain that she’s a vegetarian in three languages. She works as an attorney at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, a global litigation firm. In the spare time she makes for herself, she loves to be in nature, hiking or swimming in the ocean, or reading a book with her cat on her lap.
Vincent LoVoi is publisher of This Land Press, LLC, a new media company in Oklahoma that has received national acclaim in just three years. He also serves as managing partner of Mimosa Tree Capital Partners, LLC, an investment firm in Oklahoma focused on socially responsible startups and turnarounds.
This Land Press was called “probably the best for-profit local journalism startup in the country” by the nation’s leading voice on media, the Columbia Journalism Review. This Land, its semi-monthly broadsheet magazine, has been described as “The New Yorker with balls.” This Land Press also operates This Land Films, a film production company that was invited to premiere its first feature-length documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Mr. LoVoi was executive producer of that film. This Land Press also operates This Land Radio, which produces audio programming for podcast and public radio. It earned “best short documentary” at the 2012 Third Coast International Audio Festival for public radio.
Other projects of Mimosa Tree Capital Partners include technology (law enforcement communications, cultural curation, and helmet safety); food (restaurant group and urban farming); and socially responsible real estate development.
Mr. LoVoi received his BA from Notre Dame in 1978 and his JD from George Washington University in 1986. He worked for an Oklahoma Member of Congress in Washington, D.C., and then practiced law with a Texas-bred law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, eventually heading up the European practice in Brussels. He currently sits on the board of the Oxford American Literary Project, the publisher of Oxford American, and is founding and current chair of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, an economics think tank. He resides in Tulsa with his wife, Beatriz Perez. They have four children.
Heather directs issue advocacy campaigns in a 23 state region for the nation’s leading provider of solar power, SolarCity, co-founded by Elon Musk of Tesla fame. Prior to her tenure at SolarCity, Heather was an Associate Vice President at Environmental Defense Fund, where she oversaw the effort to make sustainable fishing the global norm through efforts in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia. Her teams effectively influenced local and national policies so that both the fishing industry and ocean are once again prosperous.
Heather also spent 6 years as the director of the Texas Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, where she led their legislative efforts and established their first-ever 501c4 and Political Action Committee. In 2007 she and her team were awarded Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s first-ever national award for innovation, creativity and success during a legislative session. Heather has also served as a political, policy and communications consultant for a variety of organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and United Ways of Texas. She led the Texas office of the Children’s Defense Fund, managed political campaigns and worked for two of Texas’ Lieutenant Governors.
Bryan is an Oklahoma native and citizen of the Cherokee Nation now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He grew up in New Orleans and after graduation from Louisiana State University, he moved to Portland, Ore., where he began his journalism career and later founded street roots, a nonprofit newspaper covering issues of concern to the homeless and low-income citizens of Portland.
He returned to Oklahoma to serve as the executive editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, Indian Country’s first Native American newspaper first published in 1828.
Bryan is the associate director and former president of the Native American Journalists Association, where he develops programs that empower Indigenous voices in journalism, and conducts research to better understand the intersection of journalistic freedom and Indigenous rights.
Bryan is nearing completion of his master’s degree in journalism and documentary filmmaking from the University of Arkansas, and recently completed the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University.
Professor Ronald B. Rapoport is John Marshall Professor at The College of William and Mary. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College and his PhD from the University of Michigan. Since 1980 he has been doing research on U.S. party activists funded by a series of grants from the National Science Foundation. His book (with Walt Stone of UC-Davis), Three’s a Crowd: The Dynamic of Third Parties, Ross Perot and Republican Resurgence, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2005. It is based on surveys with national samples of individuals attracted to Ross Perot’s presidential campaigns between 1992 and 2000, as well as interviews with Republican and Reform party leaders. He is on the editorial board of Political Research Quarterly, and previously served on the Political Science Review Panel of the National Science Foundation. He has published more than forty articles and book chapters in the areas of political behavior, political parties and women and politics. Rapoport is the co-editor (with Alan Abramowitz and John McGlennon) of The Life of the Parties. His courses focus on American politics and public opinion and voting, as well as survey research and polling.
PETER RAVELLA, Treasurer
Peter Ravella is the owner of PARC, a coastal-management consulting firm, that offers a broad range of services to public and private sector clients, primarily in Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. PARC advises local governments and private-sector clients on the complex environmental, general legal, financial, and regulatory issues that arise during development and implementation of projects and programs in the coastal zone, most particularly beach restoration projects. Prior to PARC he served as the Director of the Coastal Division of the General Land Office of Texas. He founded and edited the Oregon Insider Environmental Digest, which is still in circulation today. He is an environmental lawyer by trade, and has a passion for all things coastal. He lives with his wife, Genevieve Van Cleve, and son Paul in Austin, Texas. He enjoys talking politics, gardening, and the occasional round of golf.