Staff Bios

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 managed 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 is currently working on her Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University.

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.