Staff Bios

Mark Glaze

Mark Glaze serves as Executive Director of the Voter Participation Center. A seasoned strategist in public affairs, advocacy and politics, he has run successful national and state issue campaigns, using all the tools of modern advocacy, to improve public policy on some of the toughest issues we face, against some of the toughest special interests.

Prior to joining VPC in August 2015, Mark served as executive director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, now called Everytown for Gun Safety, a bipartisan group co-founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. During his tenure, the group became the largest gun safety organization in America and a “leading counterweight to the NRA,” according to Reuters. Previously, Mark was a principal at The Raben Group, a Washington public policy firm, where his clients included some of the largest nonprofits in America, including the Human Rights Campaign and Amnesty International.

Mark is an honors graduate of the George Washington University Law School and The Colorado College, where he was a Truman Foundation Scholar. He also served as an advisor to the Commission on Federal Election Reform led by Former President Jimmy Carter and Former Secretary of State James Baker.

Gail Leftwich Kitch

Gail Leftwich Kitch serves as Executive Vice President, Communication and Finance for The Voter Participation Center. She brings years of experience, both as a practicing lawyer and as a successful manager and board member of non-profit organizations active in civic engagement. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of By the People, an initiative founded by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions that uses public television to encourage and support informed non-contentious citizen dialogue around policy issues. Mrs. Kitch was President of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the national membership organization of the state affiliates of the National Endowment for the Humanities, following service as Director of Cambridge Forum, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a former chair of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, and was a Radcliffe College Public Policy Fellow in the late 90s. Among other activities, Gail currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Conference on Citizenship. She has a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Crystal King

Crystal King serves as the Executive Vice President of Analytics, Outreach, and Program at the Voter Participation Center, bringing with her more than 20 years of experience in issue advocacy and campaign work. King has worked on campaigns from the presidential to the local level, working on her first campaign while still in college. She has worked with or consulted for non-profit organizations on issues from the environment to women’s rights. She also has extensive experience working on Capitol Hill, including having served as Chief of Staff in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. King is a native of Dayton, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio University with a B.S. in Communications. She lives in D.C. with her husband, David, rescue cat, Nugget (named for her favorite hometown breakfast spot), and rescue dog, Trusty (named for where she and her husband had their first date).

Angela Ruslander

Angela Ruslander is the Program Director at The Voter Participation Center, where she oversees VPC’s voter registration, vote-by-mail, and Get out the Vote programs.  She brings with her nearly 15 years of experience in issue advocacy, grassroots organization and campaign management. Her interest in campaigns began in her hometown of Buffalo, NY, and enabled her to work on races in Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, and Arkansas.  She has successfully helped manage campaigns for U.S. Senate and House candidates, and has experience working on Capitol Hill.  She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the State University of New York and a Masters of Public Administration from Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Pete Backof

Pete Backof is VPC’s Director of Analytics and is responsible for experiments, modeling, and data. He uses the latest academic research and data-analysis techniques to identify unregistered members of the RAE and the best ways to engage them. Previously Pete worked in data analysis and research with a variety of non-profits and political campaigns. He graduated from Dickinson College and has an MA in social science from the University of Chicago.

Taylor Williams

Taylor Williams is Associate Program Director at The Voter Participation Center, where he helps lead the organization’s voter registration, vote-by-mail, Get out the Vote, and advocacy programs. He brings a host of campaign experience, including work on a presidential campaign in New Hampshire, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Dakota. In 2010, he was active in a Senate race in Illinois and state house races in North Carolina. Prior to VPC, Taylor studied political data and targeting at the New Organizing Institute and interned at the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. He holds a B.A. in Public Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Will Yates

Will Yates is a Data Analyst at VPC, where he prepares data for mailings and evaluates experiments. In a past life he was a Detroit-based rock musician, and continues to write and record music solo and with bands when he has the time. He graduated with high distinction from the University of Michigan, and he holds a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Michelle Finkle

Michelle Finkle is a Data Analyst at The Voter Participation Center.  Previously, she worked on a variety of political campaigns at the state and federal level.  She has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, where she studied Political Science and Business.

LaNita King

LaNita King serves as the Executive Assistant to the President and the Executive Director of the Voter Participation Center. A native of California, LaNita has worked with other millennials on campaigns and Get Out the Vote efforts throughout the state. Upon moving to Washington, D.C., she interned at The Bonner Group fundraising firm, and eventually found her home at VPC. She holds a B.A. in Communications from California State University, Northridge.