SARAH CARRANZA (FOX)
MARTI GOULD CUMMINGS
2024 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
ELECTED JANUARY 4TH, 2024
Christine Gorman was first elected president of Hell’s Kitchen Democrats at the beginning of 2022. She is proud of everything the club has achieved in the past year, thanks to a committed board and active membership. Among the highlights: the elections of a new district leader (female), all three of our endorsed candidates for NYS Supreme court as well as all our candidates for political office on the state and local level. We have also had a lot of fun petitioning, writing postcards and raising money for our get-out-the-vote efforts in the new year. Goals for 2024 include defending our democracy (particularly on the federal level), promoting public awareness of the club throughout the community and increasing club diversity. A resident of Hell’s Kitchen for more than 30 years, Christine lives with her spouse Lisa and their dog Chester.
LESLIE BOGHOSIAN MURPHY
There is nothing more politically fulfilling than success working towards a common goal. I believe in the work Hell’s Kitchen Democrats does to promote community engagement supporting Democratic principals and ideals. I am an 19-year resident of Hell’s Kitchen committed to helping my community as a part of my Block Association, HKNC (Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Coalition), Community Board 4 and member of HK Dems. Over 65% of registered voters in our area are Democrats and now is a wonderful opportunity to further activate that large base in the hopes to promote even greater voter participation and general awareness of Democratic community initiatives. I hope to help strengthen membership, expand political and community opportunities and continue supporting our local, state and national Democratic officials. Our club has educated and engaged members and I hope to be a part of HK Dem’s trajectory upward promoting ourselves as not just an informational and political resource but a community resource, as well.Everyone in our club and all our views, within the spectrum of democratic principles, deserve respect and I commit to promote fairness and transparency at the executive level. I look forward to continuing in the role of Vice President of Hell’s Kitchen Democrats.
Director of Communications
A life-long resident of Hell’s Kitchen, Aleta has been serving her community since she was a kid working beside her mother with a group of neighbors created the Manhattan Plaza AIDS Project. She became politically active in her teen years, campaigning for local and presidential candidates, as well as working with NARAL as a lobbyist for a woman’s right to choose and worked with organizations opposing the Gulf War. Beyond our shores, her community service extended to the mountains of Costa Rica, where she traveled with other volunteers to help build septic systems and assist after the devastation of hurricane Cesar. She returned to local community service in 2016, initially being elected Secretary of the Manhattan Plaza Tenants Association. The following year she put a slate together and was elected President. She and her team continue to be unanimously re-elected for the 7th year in service to the 3500 tenant body. Aleta was a founding member of the HKDems initially serving as their director of membership, then as their events coordinator, followed by vice president and ultimately was elected President of their board. After taking a break from the board but continuing as a member, Aleta is excited to rejoin in the role of Communications Director. As a lifeLong resident of Hell’s Kitchen now raising her son here in the community she loves, Aleta is thrilled to be a part of such a valuable instrument for change with the Hells Kitchen Democrats.
HEATHER TRUE LaVALLE
Director of Membership and Outreach
I’m in my third year as director of Membership and Outreach, working with a wonderful committee. Our two goals for the upcoming political year are to outreach & to fully engage members with our political volunteering opportunities to ensure Democrats win. I believe also we have a responsibility to ensure our club is representative of HK. As a 35 year HK resident with past work in LGBTQ, trans youth, literacy & mental health, I have supported progressive values by winning two elections as a judicial alternate. I also extensively volunteer for nearly all club activity, including campaigning. I live in a 1883 walk up with my cat, Pancake Meow Meow.
Director of Programming and Events
I have served in multiple leadership capacities for the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats since its founding in 2016. Through my experience as a club leader, I understand the level of work and commitment that is required to the club and democratic causes in order to be an effective Director of Special Events. The world of politics is one in which I comfortably operate in my current professional life working as a staffer for an elected offi cial. I am eager to ensure the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats continue to produce high quality events that help advance the club’s political priorities and represent our brand as a home for westside progressives.
Director of Political Affairs
I am a long time Hell’s Kitchen resident who, along with my wife, Karen Ross, raised two daughters on West 48th Street. I was a founding member of the West 47th/48th Streets Block Association and remain active in that organization. After working in the community housing field (including five years at Housing Conservation Coordinators), I became an attorney and founded a law firm that continues to operate, specializing in condominium law and commercial transactional work. If elected, I look forward to working with HK Dems leadership to increase both our membership and the number of HK residents voting. This will provide our neighborhood with greater political strength which will allow us to create a safer, more secure and livable Hell’s Kitchen.
Barbara Knecht, R.A. is an architect who has been committed to making our built and social environments work for all people. She has been a resident of Hell’s Kitchen for 35 years, and is a member of the West 55th St Block Association and the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Coalition (HKNC). When she moved to the neighborhood, she worked for the City of New York managing the development and design of several thousand units of housing and public space. She continued that work in the not-for-profi t sector until 2004 when she became co-director of IHP Cities in the 21st Century, a multi-disciplinary program for university students studying “people, planning and politics” in cities across the world. Since 2012, Ms. Knecht has been immersed in the introduction of urban farming into cities. Ms. Knecht received her architecture degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University, and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.
Catherine “Cat” Lafferty is a community leader who has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for over 23 years. In June of 2022, Cat was elected as an Alternate Delegate to the Manhattan Democratic Judicial Convention and helped to see three women, including an HK native, get elected to the NY State Supreme Court for Manhattan. Cat is an avid community organizer and gardener, and has served on the Steering Committee of the Clinton Community Garden for the past fi ve years. Cat is a member of the W. 47th/W. 48th Streets Block Association and a volunteer gardener in HK Park. She has served as a Participatory Budget delegate since 2019, helping to raise awareness of areas in NYC Parks that would benefi t from City Council discretionary funding. In 2020, Cat pioneered the median-planting initiatives along 9th Avenue and in neglected tree beds on side streets in Hell’s Kitchen and in the West Village as part of Erik Bottcher’s Community Cleanups. Cat studied international relations and French as an undergraduate at American University in Washington, D.C. As a graduate student in applied cultural anthropology, Cat helped found the Lavender Languages and Linguistics conference, and was the faculty advisor for the Polyester Liberation Organization, an LGBTQ+ fashion performance group. Cat later did graduate work in the History of Decorative Arts and Design at Parsons. Cat worked in Business Development and Global Consumer Products Operations at Nickelodeon/MTV Networks for several years.
It has been my honor to serve as Recording Secretary since 2022 and I am looking forward to continuing in 2024. I’m grateful to be part of HK Dems, participating in meaningful activities that make Hell’s Kitchen, New York, and our country a better place to live. My fellow Executive Committee members, as well as many other members of the Club, have been an inspiration to me, as well as wonderful friends. I moved to Hell’s Kitchen 10 years ago, living in Gotham West, and have been happy to call this neighborhood home. I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised in the outer boroughs, attended the old High School of Music and Art uptown, and SUNY Binghamton, where I got a degree in English and Theater. I subsequently became a NYC Public HS English Teacher and staff developer. Now retired, I also stay very active as a member of TNYA (NYC’s LGBT and allies masters swim team), and participate in various forms of political, cultural and charitable volunteer opportunities.
Member at Large
Stephanie has been an active member of the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats since 2017 and has enjoyed working on the various HK Dems committees. Most recently she served as the Director of Events & Programming and is looking forward to continuing her work while serving as an At-Large member on the Executive Committee. Stephanie is an architect and lives on 49th street with her husband Sean and two cats.
Member at Large
Elizabeth Keefe was born in the Midwest but has lived in the Hell’s Kitchen community for over 30 years. She was previously political director of the Club in 2020 and 2022. In another life chapter before becoming involved with HK DEMS, she appear ed in national television commercials, and in numerous theatre productions around the country and in NYC. For 25 years she was Executive Director of American Globe Theatre where she developed and honed her organizing chops and interpersonal skills. She is committed to progressive issues both locally and federally. Although there are many, her primary passions are advocating for women’s reproductive rights, the environment and strengthening the election process. She is extremely proud to call this neighborhood home and is v ery invested in seeing that it remains a vibrant, diverse and safe neighborhood. She considers her positive, problem-solving attitude a chief requisite for the Member At Large position. Education: MFA from FSU, Asolo Conservatory.
Member at Large
Dan is an operations executive in the retail industry, and a long-time activist for LGBTQ+ Equality and Animal Welfare. He studied Political Science at Northeastern University in Boston, becoming involved early on in the fight for Marriage Equality in Massachusetts. He has actively campaigned for every Democratic Presidential Candidate since 2000 and was a former Delegate to the Colorado State Democratic Party. Dan and his rescue dog “Muppet” are proud HK residents.
Member at Large
A long term member of HK Dems, Chris LeBron can be seen volunteering at various events throughout the community from street cleanups to block association parties. Chris spearheaded the City’s first fundraiser for the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico after Hurricane Ian struck, raising over $40,000 for essential goods to be provided for storm victims. When Chris is not volunteering in Hell’s Kitchen; organizing on matters such as redistricting, he works full-time as a Director of Public Affairs for a top 50 progressive consulting group. Chris previously worked full-time in the New York City Council as the Director of Policy and Communications for the former-chair of Public Housing and worked with New York’s US Senators on gun control legislation. A public school alumni Chris attended CUNY Hunter College and Saint Louis University with a focus in Literature and Economics. He is looking forward to helping the club anyway possible to ensure HK Dem candidates are elected in 2023 and preparing volunteers for actions in the 2024 Presidential Election.
Member at Large
Ruby Rims Is not just another old Drag Queen. He has served on the Board of Directors of The Manhattan Plaza AIDS Project as well as The Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC) and Judson Memorial Church. He is the founder of Teddy Cares and Ruby Rims and Friends do the Can Can. Raising thousands of dollars for organizations in New York, he has distributed over ten thousand teddy bears throughout hospitals in Manhattan. He received the MAC Lifetime Achievement Award Entertainer. He was the first Drag Queen to be named New York 1’s New Yorker of the Week. He has been seen on the Phil Donahue Show and has performed all around the world. Ruby joined HKDems to reunite his love for politics.
Member at Large
Born and raised in the diverse landscape of New York, Shashank brings a unique perspective to advocacy and politics, shaped by his extensive experience, culturally rich background, and unwavering commitment to his community. Shashank’s involvement in Manhattan extends to his active participation as Secretary of the Manhattan Young Democrats and as College and University Liaison where he worked diligently to engage young people in NYC. Additionally, Shashank is the Political Director for the College Democrats of New York where he has been focusing on empowering students on campuses across NY for the 2024 election. Whether it be working at the Office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, or on the Policy Advocacy team for the Asian American Federation, Shashank’s commitment to the people of his community is unwavering. Shashank possess knowledge of almost every seat of the table in local advocacy, previously working at Rep. Dan Goldman’s Office, Assemblymember Alex Bores’ campaign, and many other roles. Shashank also was the Hell’s Kitchen/Chelsea Organizer for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in 2022, allowing him to engage the west side and get out the vote effectively while learning key information on the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. When not in school or working, Shashank works to uplift the young Indian American community as the Founder and Executive Director of Telugu Youth of America (TYA). As Member-at-Large, Shashank aims propel the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats towards continued success. Hoping to focus neighborhood engagement on local issues and the 2024 election while inspiring young Hell’s Kitchen residents to be involved in the community, Shashank has high hopes for the club’sfuture and would appreciate your support.”
MARTI GOULD CUMMINGS
Marti is a current board member of Community Board 9 as well as a member of the Mayor's Advisory Council on Nightlife. As a drag artist they are known for their political activism, concert tours, talk show, and television appearances. Marti has used their drag as a force to engage people to become active in politics. martigcummings.com
CLUB-ENDORSED DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFICIALS
Male District Leader, Assembly District 75 - Part B
Paul is a lifelong Democrat and long-time activist who has been fighting for progressive causes for most of his adult life. He has worked in over 20 states on Democratic campaigns from Dukakis for President to Corey Johnson for City Council. Besides being District Leader, he serves on Manhattan’s Community Board 4, organizes with Gays Against Guns, fundraises for MS Society, and is one of the earliest members of Hell’s Kitchen Democrats. Paul believes that the Democratic Party can and should be more representative of our neighborhood so will work to ensure voices from Hell’s Kitchen are heard by our local elected officials and at the Party.
Female District Leader, Assembly District 75 - Part B
Bio to come.