January 10, 2014

Priorities USA Action Announces Key Leadership Appointments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Priorities USA Action today announced appointments to key leadership positions. Buffy Wicks was named Executive Director and Jonathan Mantz will serve as a Senior Advisor for Finance.

“We are pleased to announce these key leadership appointments. Buffy and Jonathan are two of the most respected operatives in the business,” said co-founder and Senior Advisor Sean Sweeney. “Priorities USA Action is proud of the role we played in helping reelect President Obama in 2012. With Buffy and Jonathan leading our team, we look forward to defining a clear choice for the American people in 2016.”

Buffy Wicks

Buffy Wicks is a strategist and expert in political campaigns and issue advocacy. She was most recently a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on public policies affecting women and families. She served as the national director of Operation Vote for the Obama for America campaign—a senior leadership role in the executive management team of President Barack Obama’s re-election effort. As the head of Operation Vote, Wicks spearheaded the campaign’s strategy to communicate with and mobilize core demographic voters, including African Americans, Latinos, young people, and women, producing record turnout among targeted voter segments. She worked collaboratively with her team and fellow senior staff to devise innovative strategies across departments—including field, digital, earned media, paid media, messaging, political, and analytics—to engage the campaign’s base.

Wicks has a long history in grassroots mobilization, political organizing, and civic engagement. She served as the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement for President Obama. In this capacity, she served as the White House liaison for key stakeholders throughout the country in an effort to pass the president’s legislative priorities such as health care reform and financial regulation. In 2009, Wicks was tapped by then-President-elect Obama to lead the Renew America Together effort, a national call to service during the Presidential Inauguration.

She was one of the first people hired by the president’s 2008 campaign and served in a variety of roles, including California field director and Missouri state director. She also helped to develop the national grassroots field strategy for the campaign, which was considered a model of effective organizing.

Wicks previously worked in the labor movement, fighting for better health care and wages for disenfranchised workers, and on Capitol Hill. She is originally from California and graduated with a double major in political science and history from the University of Washington.

Jonathan Mantz

As a Principle of BGR Government Affairs, Jonathan Mantz leads the firm’s Democratic outreach efforts. Over the past two decades, Jonathan has held senior positions to elect Democrats to the White House, Senate, House of Representatives, and Governors. A leading political strategist, Jonathan has raised nearly a half billion dollars over his career with Democratic campaigns.

At BGR, Jonathan works with clients that include Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, non-profits, and research institutions. He leverages his experience and expertise to provide a wide range of services in government relations and public affairs. Jonathan engages in regular advocacy for clients with the U.S. Senate, House, and Administration. As a member of the Finance Committee of the Democratic Governors Association, he works with Democratic Governors and gubernatorial candidates across the country. Jonathan is also a Business Council member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and has a national network of Mayors that he works with on a regular basis.

Additionally, Jonathan provides counsel and executes strategies that create synergies and partnerships that enhance messaging and branding for his clients. Jonathan works with clients to establish Public-Private Partnerships, and advises organizations on the creation and enhancement of Advisory Boards and Boards of Directors. His recommendations improve organizations’ standing within their market space by increasing revenues or fundraising, developing high-level messaging for the media or public events, and exponentially increasing networking and exposure to new communities and constituencies.

Jonathan served as National Finance Director to Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign throughout 2007–2008 and was responsible for creating and implementing fundraising strategies and managing a staff of 60. He led the campaign to raise over $235 million in an 18-month period.

From 2003-2006 Jonathan was a Principal at the premier lobbying/public affairs firm PodestaMattoon, where he implemented outreach strategies and messaging to help clients’ achieve political, policy and communications goals.

Jonathan was the Deputy Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) where he revitalized the DSCC’s fundraising operation and more than doubling what the committee raised in a single year. Jonathan also was Finance Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and worked closely with Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and respective DCCC Chairs Representative Martin Frost, Representative Patrick Kennedy and Representative Nita Lowy, Jonathan was the architect of the Committee’s fundraising program. He is one of the only political strategists to hold senior positions at both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) & Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Born in the suburbs of Philadelphia and a graduate of Ithaca College in New York, Jonathan has two sons Max and Zack. His family resides in Potomac, Maryland and is a member of Har Shalom Synagogue. Additionally, Jonathan serves on the advisory boards of Petra Solar Corporation, Priorities USA, Project Phoenix, and 100k Strong Foundation.


Peter Kauffmann