Madison Cassels, Board Chair
Madison Cassels grew up in Salida, Colorado. She knew that rural, small town life was not for her and decided to pursue college in a completely new environment. She graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Politics and Policy in 2009. While in undergraduate studies, Madison discovered her passion for politics and policy, especially how it impacts individuals’ lives. She interned with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and published a paper on the effects of vice presidential choice on a general election. Directly from Tulane, Madison entered the Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson School of Law. During law school, Madison assisted indigent clients in the Family Law Clinic and saw how policy can be interpreted or misinterpreted by the judicial system. Upon graduation, she understood that people and corporations influencing policy in government was a large problem. She joined several political campaigns from 2012 through 2013, including fighting against recall elections over gun policies.
Political work introduced Madison to the world of organized labor. She realized she shared the same values as labor such as a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s labor; having a voice on the job; empowering working people and their families; health care for all members; and many other social justice issues. When a career opportunity with the Denver Area Labor Federation became available, Madison jumped at the opportunity. She has been with the organization since late 2013, serving as the Community Labor Liaison. In her work, Madison endeavors to help the 60,000 affiliated union members in the Denver Metro Area as well as all working families in several areas of work. First, helping union members and their families when they fall on hard times get access to resources. Second, creating community service projects with labor unions and their members to do good work in the community. Third, promoting union apprenticeship as a great career path for people. And finally, working within different coalitions to bring about change for working people and their families. She is committed to the fight for social justice, especially racial and economic justice. Madison joined the Colorado Peoples Alliance Board in December 2015 in order to support the great work of the new organization.
Hobbies: “When am not kicking ass for the working class, I am a homebody who is an avid fiction reader and enjoys crocheting while watching Netflix.”
Billy Husher, Board Vice Chair
Billy was born in Albuquerque NM, moved to Oklahoma at the age of 2, and moved again to southeast Missouri at the age of 9. Growing up with a single mom who was struggling to make ends meet for her family, Billy quickly learned to adapt to difficult situations and to see the beauty and the grave injustice in the world. He was adopted by his stepfather, Bill Husher Sr., after moving to Missouri at the age of nine. He studied Spanish and Political Science at Southeast Missouri State University and the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija as the first member of his family to go to college. After college Billy joined the struggle for social justice as a union organizer in New Mexico and Colorado. He is now attending the University of Denver Sturm College of law where he is on the executive board of the Immigration, Refugee, and Asylum Coalition. Billy also served on the board of Rights for All People for 3 years and is a founding Board Member of Colorado People’s Alliance.
Hobbies: “I enjoy spending time with my wife and pets, playing soccer, and exploring the outdoors.”
Regan Byrd, Board Treasurer
Regan Byrd is an award-winning community activist and non-profit professional with over 10 years of experience in grassroots and social justice non-profit organizations,
including The Arc of Jefferson County, 9to5 Colorado: National Association of Working Women, and Hunger Free Colorado. Her current posier tion is with The Bell Policy Center, Colorado’s premier public policy research and advocacy organization, working in fundraising, operations, and financial management. She has served as the co-chair of the board of directors for 9to5 Colorado for 5 years. Regan is a former commissioner on the Aurora Humans Rights Commission, and former board member for the youth mentorship non-profit “YESS Institute”. She is a recent graduate of the Transit Alliance’s Citizen Academy, and is currently attending workshops for Democratic women intending to run for office through the “Emerge Colorado” program.
Regan has a deep commitment to social justice, institutional systems change, and collective liberation. She believes this is best done through self-reflexivity, knowledge cultivation, intentional inclusivity, coalition building, and centering marginalized perspectives.
Regan Byrd is an alumni of the University of Denver’s undergraduate program, with dual degrees in Public Policy and Sociology, and minors in Gender and Women’s studies, and English. Regan has been named a “Woman to Watch” by the Denver League of Women Voters, and is the winner of the 2015 Lilly Ledbetter award from 9to5 Colorado.
Hobbies: “I enjoy making fun of bad movies, exploring the Denver dining scene, competitive video gaming, and fawning over new technology.”
Elena Nuñez, Board Secretary
An Arizona native, Elena graduated from Columbia University in 2000 with a degree in Political Science and Gender Studies. In 2011, Elena served on the leadership team for the Boulder referendum calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. She is a former administrative director for CoPIRG and Environment Colorado and the current Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause. Elena is a founding Board Member of Colorado People’s Alliance.