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Elizabeth Melson

President, Founding Board Member

A native of Ohio, Elizabeth relocated to Virginia in 2004. She now lives near the beautiful Shenandoah National Park with her husband and daughter. After a windy path, including a few hard knocks, she established herself as a successful businesswoman in sustainable agriculture and became motivated to work on the issues facing her community.

 

Initially, she got involved in local level party politics, but is now a self-labeled rural independent. She values transparency in government and appreciates candidates who can debate civilly about the issues. She believes candidates should earn their constituents' votes without divisive campaign tactics. Ranked Choice Voting appeals to Elizabeth because she feels that "Our right to vote is something precious, our citizens should be empowered to fully express their preferences, and the winning candidate should be required to rise to the top with a true majority." Elizabeth has been working with local representatives to introduce ranked choice voting in the Virginia General Assembly since a conversation with Delegate Nick Freitas at the end of 2016.

 

She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology from Northern Kentucky University and a graduate certificate in Business Administration Essentials from Shenandoah University. She serves on Boards of state-wide organizations related to agriculture and marketing, was appointed to Rappahannock County Board of Social Services in 2021, and is working toward a 200 hour trauma-informed yoga instructor certification.

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Mike Cantwell

Vice President

Mike Cantwell is a 28 year resident of Arlington County, Virginia and an active democracy reform leader.  In 2017, Mike launched the Unite America – Northern Virginia Chapter and was later selected to lead Unite America’s grassroots efforts for the entire East Coast. He organized and hosted dozens of Unite America grassroots events in the DC area and attended the Unite Summit in Denver in August 2018. For the 2018 and 2019 election cycles, Mike actively supported local independent candidates in Maryland and Virginia. Mike is the President of the Yorktown Civic Association and a Board Member for the citizen-led Lee Highway Alliance. Mike is a retired Naval Officer and currently works as a Partner Engagement Officer for the Department of Defense. Mike is a 1987 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He also has a MBA from George Washington University and a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

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Austin Sachs

Treasurer

Austin Sachs is dedicated to working to create more inclusive and prosperous communities and economies. Austin serves as the Director of Protect US, an economic policy organization working on issues in Virginia. He also works in the audit and assurance line for PBMares, LLP, a regional accounting firm. Austin is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University with a B.S. in Accounting and Economics and is currently working towards a M.A. in Applied Economics at George Washington University. He currently resides in Harrisonburg, VA. 

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Donald E. "Don" Scoggins

Board Member

Donald E. Scoggins, “Don” has resided within the Washington, D.C. metro area approximately fifty years and in the Northern Virginia community almost thirty years. Over twenty-five years before retiring he was CEO of small real estate brokerage firm which bought, sold, and managed diverse portfolio of investment properties. He also served commercial and residential real estate roles within Federal government, and urban planning at the local government level.

 

Over twenty-five years ago Don helped establish Frederick Douglass Housing Corporation, multi-unit income assisted housing facility in Washington, D.C. Don is board chair, First Home Alliance, and co-founded Veterans Housing Foundation of Virginia. Other civic and volunteer activities include: Prince William Committee of 100, Mid-County Civic Association, Lake Ridge Occoquan Coles Civic Association, Woodbridge Potomac Communities Civic Association and Dale City Civic Association, Prince William NAACP, former member Prince William County Human Rights Commission, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (life member).

 

Don’s also member of American Legion Post 114 (Manassas), immediate past commander; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1503, member; Bronze Star recipient for meritorious service in Vietnam (housing advisor to the Mayor of Danang) and is U. S. Army Reserves retired officer. American Legion Post 114 (Manassas), immediate past commander; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1503, member. He graduated from Hampton University, B. Architecture and University of Pittsburgh, master’s in Urban and Regional Planning; and attended University of Virginia, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

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Nicholas Cote

Board Member

Nicholas Cote is an activist for a free, prosperous, and inclusive society. He works as Director of Donor Communications for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. He currently serves on the board of directors of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and is a former board member of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia.  Nicholas graduated from Providence College in 2008 with a B.A. in political science and American studies. He lives in Huntington in Fairfax County with his dog Ollie, a beagle mix.

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Scott Burger

Board Member

Scott grew up in Norfolk, went to college in Connecticut, and now lives in Richmond. He and his wife Nina have three dogs and a horse. He has worked in music/radio, as well as corporate IT. He is one of the founders of WRIR and the RVA Environmental Film Festival. Currently he is working with a barter company called TradeBank.com. He has always had an interest in independent politics and is a Green Party member. He has served on numerous neighborhood, City, and nonprofit boards and commissions. 

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Nancy Springer

Board Member

Nancy Springer currently works as a defense contractor in support of a Northern Virginia-based government agency.  Previously, she was a career Marine Corps Officer, commissioned from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1987.  After her Marine Corps retirement in 2017, Nancy settled in Arlington, VA and became active in local civic and service organizations.  Her volunteer work includes Unite America (member), Vice President, Arlington Ridge Civic Association (2d Year); Life Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars; and Past President and Board of Advisors Member, Quantico Area Chapter, U. S. Naval Academy Alumni Association.  She became interested in the centrist movement and governmental reforms at the urging of a friend in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election.  Nancy views ranked choice voting as a pathway to a more representative government and enthusiastically looks forward to its implementation in Virginia local elections.  She has a Master’s degree in National Resourcing Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Webster University.