Staff and Board

Staff
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Alisa Kaplan
Executive Director

Alisa joined Reform for Illinois in 2018, drawn to the organization’s long history of fighting for campaign finance reform and against systemic corruption. As Executive Director, she leads RFI’s policy development, advocacy, and educational initiatives and oversees operations.

A Yale graduate with a J.D. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University, Alisa brings expertise in law and the political process and a background in community organizing, grassroots activism, and nonprofit administration. She has been a Faculty Lecturer in Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, and Law and Politics at Northwestern, and is co-president of the Board of Open Communities, a Chicago-area civil rights and housing justice organization. In her role at RFI, Alisa feels fortunate to be able to spend every day fighting for a more ethical and equitable Illinois government that works not just for the wealthy and well-connected, but for everyone.

Contact Alisa with media or other inquiries at 312-436-1274 or alisa@reformforillinois.org.

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Kiley Marron
Policy Analyst

Kiley is a lifelong Chicagoan who brings a background in political organizing, research, and advocacy to Reform for Illinois. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in Political Science and Latin American & Latinx Studies. Before joining RFI, Kiley was a Policy & Program Fellow at the Committee of Seventy, a good government organization based in Philadelphia that focuses on ethics, transparency, and election reform in Pennsylvania.

Kiley is especially passionate about engaging Illinoisans in state and local government, as well as efforts to make our political system more ethical, equitable, and accountable to the people. As RFI’s Policy Analyst, she focuses on conducting the research necessary to craft good policy.

Board of Directors
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David Melton
President of the Board

David Melton joined the RFI Board in 2013, and has served as an Interim Executive Director and Senior Advisor to the organization. Previously, he was an attorney in private practice, most recently with Mayer Brown and Foley & Lardner, with extensive experience in intellectual property matters. Melton was part of the pro bono team of attorneys that sued the State of Illinois to compel compliance with federal statutes requiring “Motor Voter” registration. A former Board member (including a term as Board President) of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, Melton has devoted significant time and expertise to improving judicial selection and protecting civil liberties.

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Jaylin D. McClinton
Vice President of the Board

Jaylin D. McClinton served as the Obama Foundation’s first-ever local Community Organizer and as District Manager for then-Illinois State Representative Juliana Stratton, now Illinois Lieutenant Governor. He is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences and current law student at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Jaylin is passionate about reforming the American criminal legal system, good government, voting rights, and equity in education and has dedicated his professional career to law, litigation, public policy, and public service.

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Benjamin I. Page
Director

Ben has taught political science at Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and other institutions. His recent book with Martin Gilens, Democracy in America?, explores proposals to reform campaign finance; enhance citizen participation; and give citizens equal voices in elections and legislative processes. His other books include Billionaires and Stealth Politics; The Rational Public; Who Deliberates?; and What Government Can Do about Poverty and Inequality.

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David Orr
Director

As Cook County Clerk, David Orr served as the chief election authority in one of the largest election jurisdictions in the country and has found innovative ways to reform how government works.

David has been a reformer in a town known for insider deals and corruption. He beat the machine to become County Clerk in 1990 and was instrumental in remaking election law in Illinois. David served as Alderman from Chicago’s 49th ward from 1979-1990. As Vice Mayor under Mayor Harold Washington, he served briefly as Mayor after Washington’s unfortunate passing in 1987.

David currently serves as Director of the Good Government Illinois PAC, whose mission is to recruit, train and endorse quality candidates who are dedicated to good government while facilitating collaborations that connect candidates and elected officials to government innovations from around the country. He also serves as a Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. He lives in Rogers Park, travels extensively and is a frequent guest on talk shows. He is married to Kim Bobo and has 4 adult children.

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Dana Pownall
Treasurer of the Board

Dana Pownall received her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2014. During her studies, Dana focused on public interest law, access to justice issues, legislative advocacy, and civic engagement within the law school community. She served as Vice President and President of her law school’s student chapter of the American Constitution Society, and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the lawyers chapter of ACS. Prior to receiving her degree, Dana worked extensively in marketing and fundraising in both the private and public sector.

Trish Oberweis
Trish Oberweis
Secretary of the Board

Trish Oberweis earned her Doctorate from the interdisciplinary School of Justice Studies at Arizona State University. She has been professor of criminal justice studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville since 2002, but has also taught in Political Science, Public Administration, Philosophy, Women’s Studies and Human Development. Her academic interests center mainly on drug policy, the prevention of and response to sexual violence, and the way that people’s everyday understanding of law shapes their interactions with legal institutions and the people who work in them. She is committed to government that is transparent, ethical and open to everyone. In that spirit, she joined the Board of Reform for Illinois in 2020.

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Carl Johnson
Director

Carl Johnson is an associate at the litigation boutique, Novack and Macey LLP. He earned his undergraduate degree in Sociology from Yale University and his J.D. from Columbia University. In the 2016 election cycle, Carl was a Deputy Voter Protection Director in Wisconsin, and in the fall of 2014, he was a Legal Research Fellow at ICPR.

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Hon. Karen McConnaughay
Director

Karen began her career in public service as a Kane County Board of Commissioner in 1992 and became Chairman in 2004. On the Board, she served on the Executive, Transportation, and Community Development Committees. In 2012, she took office as an Illinois state senator for the 33rd District, where she focused on issues like education, appropriations, and pension investments. Following her retirement from the Senate in 2018, Karen became national government affairs advisor for the Boys and Girls Club in America. Karen joined the Reform for Illinois board in December 2018.

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Oren Jacobson
Director

Oren Jacobson currently works as a multi-sector consultant helping to develop effective strategies for businesses and nonprofits across the country. He holds an MBA and is currently working on his Master’s in Economics and Policy Analysis at DePaul University.

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