Progressive States Network Announces New Interim Executive Director

CONTACT: Austin Guest, (212) 680-3116 ext. 110,


New York — The national policy and advocacy group Progressive States Network announced today that its longtime Policy Director Nathan Newman will take over as the organization's Interim Executive Director. He will replace outgoing Executive Director and PSN Co-Founder Joel Barkin, who will become Deputy Secretary of State for Public Affairs in the office of New York Secretary of State Lorraine A. Cortes-Vazquez.

As a Yale-trained lawyer with a PhD in Sociology from UC Berkeley and a seasoned record in the social justice movement, Newman will bring to bear a formidable expertise in a broad range of policy issues combined with a shrewd instinct for leveraging that expertise into political practice.

According to Barkin, "Nathan has been an integral part of the organization's success and has earned the respect of state legislators and advocates from across the country. He is one of those rare minds who can almost instantly understand what's going on in any given policy debate. But what really sets him apart is his instinctive grasp of how to use state policy as a tool for building a bold, values-based narrative that can unite people behind the progressive cause."

One of the first figures to join the staff at PSN after its inception in early 2005, Newman has long been a driving force behind the organization's vision of uniting state legislators and advocates in a national progressive front.

In a joint statement, PSN Co-Chairs Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-TX) and David Sirota said, "Since our founding, Joel and the stellar staff and network he has helped build around him have charted a course of bold leadership and incisive vision. We started this organization amidst bleak times in the hope that with concerted bottom-up effort, we could build a progressive infrastructure capable of turning this country around. Now, with our membership surging and Nathan stepping into this new role, we are poised to make good on that founding hope."

Said Newman, "It is truly an honor to be chosen to take the helm of such an inspiring movement, and I look forward to the years to come in which this country's progressive state legislators and advocates will move that much closer to the promise of true national leadership that has always been the core of this organization's mission."

PSN’s Board of Directors will vote on whether to make Newman’s interim status permanent at the opening of PSN’s first annual Legislative Leadership Retreat in Las Vegas next Monday. Hosted in conjunction with the 2008 gathering of the Economic Policy Institute’s Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), the 3-day summit will bring together over fifty key legislators from across the country to share best practices, chart strategy for the upcoming legislative session, and interact with the country's top state-level progressive policy advocates attending the EARN conference.