Many people born in poverty and hardship have a hard time overcoming it. Joseph Shepard took a difficult childhood to change the trajectory of his life. Born into a military family and raised near San Diego, California, he recalls sleeping in a car, living in several homeless shelters, and struggling to maintain a stable lifestyle. Those experiences, coupled with other hardships, help shape his passion to work towards a more just world for all people, especially the underserved and marginalized. Shepard previously served as the Program Associate of Business Initiatives at the Kansas Leadership Center aiding in the creation of
leadership training and curriculum for multiple companies across the state of Kansas.
Joseph currently serves as the Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life at Newman University. In this role, Shepard is responsible for the development of diversity and community engagement framework. In 2019, Shepard ran a successful campaign for Wichita’s Board of Education advancing past a 4-way race in the primary and going on to boldly challenge an 8-year incumbent in the general. As a first-generation college graduate, Shepard holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in non-profit management and is currently working on his Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership. Shepard is a community advocate who believes in using his voice to advance the common good.
At a young age, Joseph is accomplished. Some of his accomplishments include: 2015 Leadership Kansas Emerging Leader Award, 2016 Community Voice Young Man of Excellence Award, 2018 Wichita
Business Journal 40 under 40 recipient, 2018 Interfaith Ministries Light of Faith Award and the 2020 W-Community of Young Professionals Distinguished Young Professional Award.
Beckie Jenek - Treasurer
Beckie Jenek has 20 years of accounting experience for small businesses, and non-profits in our community, combined with a comprehensive understanding of state campaign finance and ethics laws. Since 2016, she has actively served in a volunteer capacity, for our party, as a precinct committeewoman, delegate to our 4th Congressional District committee, and alternate delegate to our state committee, where she also serves on the Resolutions committee.
An alumna of Emerge America, Beckie has worked behind the scenes on numerous campaigns. She is also a two-time candidate herself (KS State House in 2018 and Wichita City Council in 2019). Her campaign experience means that she understands every year is an election year, in Kansas.
As treasurer, her top priority is to balance the needs of accurate and timely financial reporting, with active fundraising efforts, and developing low-cost solutions to support our candidates, in fulfillment of our mission to help elect Democrats to public office.
Randy Rathbun - Parliamentarian
Randy Rathbun is a well-known local lawyer and a fixture in local Democratic Politics. He has been serving the 4th district and Sedgwick County since the 1980’s. During his time working to elect Democrats, Randy has served as Parliamentarian for SCDP (1984-1990; current), Treasurer for KDP (1990), and Chair of the 4th District (2017-2019). Randy has served as 4th district Chair and/or Coordinator for the Presidential Campaigns of Gary Hart (1984), Joe Biden (1988), Al Gore (1988), and Bill Clinton (1992). He has also proudly served as a DNC delegate (Hart, 1984; Clinton, 1992; Biden, 2020), and as an alternate delegate (Gore, 1988).
Randy has also offered his services directly to local candidates including serving as the Treasurer for E. Lee Kinch’s KS State House campaign in 1986 and serving on the Campaign Committee for Paul Morrison’s Attorney General bid. His commitment to our community spurred him to run for Congress to represent the 4th District in 1996.
Randy’s commitment to serving his community has also earned him many honors, including being appointed the U.S. Attorney for Kansas by Bill Clinton in 1993. He also served on the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (2000-2005) and was the Chairman for the Public Safety BEST Team under Governor Sebelius (2002).
Danielle Johnson - Vice Chair
Danielle Johnson is the co-owner of Inclusive Growth Strategies and the Assistant Director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Wichita State University. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from WSU. She is currently pursuing her master's in Public Administration at WSU's Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs. Danielle Johnson is a conversation catalyst, inclusion and diversity educator, community mobilizer, coach, and certified Emotional Emancipation Circle Facilitator. Danielle has dedicated the last two decades providing I&D programs, training, and facilitated dialogues that enrich the organizations and communities she works with. Danielle provides diverse educational, social, and cultural experiences.
Alongside Danielle's passion for inclusion and diversity, she serves on several Wichita community boards. Danielle is a proud board member for the following organizations; Community Operations Recovery Empowerment Inc (CORE), Wichita Urban Professionals, Rise Up For Youth, Wichita State President’s Diversity Council, WSU College of Health Professions Dean’s Advisory Council, Wichita Branch NAACP, Sedgwick County Democratic Party, African American Faculty and Staff Association, HealthCore Clinic, Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board. Danielle has taken courses with Advance Kansas Class VI, Kansas Leadership Center, Young Professionals of Wichita Leadership Academy and Leadership Wichita.
Danielle and her spouse, Councilmember Brandon Johnson, have three kids Khairi, Aria, and Arin. When they're not busy with family life, they are working to create positive changes and a more inclusive and equitable environment
Lindsay Drees - Secretary
Lindsay Drees currently serves as a Domestic Engineer (aka stay-at-home mom) to her 4 beautiful children. She is a graduate of Wichita State University with both a BS and MS in Biology (emphasis in Environmental Science). Lindsay likes to stay engaged in local political matters, especially surrounding education, which is why she ran for Goddard USD 265 Board of Education in 2017. It was because of her background in science and love for education that she founded March for Science ICT that same year. Her husband, Ben, is a member of IBEW local union 271, and they are both strong advocates for unionized labor.
Lindsay has served the community in many ways including: many years of being a room parent, serving on site-council for her children’s school, volunteering for GLSEN KS, working with a group of “Pool Warriors” to save McAdams Pool, volunteering for campaigns, attending local meetings to speak up for marginalized people, and serving as the Precinct Committee Woman for 413 since 2017. Although she has not had a traditional job since becoming a Mom, Lindsay has found ways to balance home-life with many paid projects and part-time jobs to fill her time and serve the community. She has edited research for scientific journals after it was translated from foreign languages, served as the Birthday Party Coordinator at the Great Plains Nature Center, worked in closed-captioning and transcription, and served as an adjunct Education Professor at Friends University.
In her never-ending pursuit for self-improvement, Lindsay has taught herself many skills including basic graphic and web design. She has also pursued Leadership Training through Kansas Leadership Center. Currently, she is educating her children from home while supporting her spouse as he launches a new business.