Rev. Ron Stief Joins People For the American Way As Director of California Regional Office

Longtime activist has deep ties to California and Washington, D.C.

People For the American Way has named Reverend Ron Stief director of its California regional office in Los Angeles. Stief will oversee PFAW’s state and national activities in California and will work closely with PFAW Foundation’s Center for American Values in Public Life.

Ron Stief has more than two decades of national and California political, management, fundraising and media experience. For the past eight years Stief served in Washington, DC as the Director of the Office of Public Life and Social Policy of the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries. Earlier he served as the UCC’s Minister for Labor and Economic Justice in Cleveland, and from 1987-1997 he was the Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Economic Policy in Berkeley. His work has spanned a broad range of issues, including religious freedom, tax fairness, voting rights, workplace justice and equality for gays and lesbians.

“I am excited to be working with our staff to build up the program and the visibility of California People For the American Way,” Stief said. The state’s delegation has gained a high profile in Congress with Rep. Pelosi’s new role as Speaker of The House and more delegates serving as chairs for their committees. “It has given us one more reason to be excited about national politics in California and makes it easier for our progressive voice to be heard in Congress,” said Stief.

One of PFAW main concerns in 2007 will be election reform. On the eve of the 2004 election, Stief was in Las Vegas with PFAW’s election protection training of 300 volunteers, 250 of whom were from California. “Out of the 25,000 Election Protection volunteers PFAW put on the ground for the last Presidential election, many were Californians. This state is extremely important to the national efforts to protect the vote in 2008,” he said.

“We are very excited to have Ron Stief joining us,” said PFAW President Ralph G. Neas. “We have collaborated with Ron for years as a coalition partner, and I have the greatest respect for his knowledge, judgment, and skills, as well as his passion for our ideals. His experience in helping Americans understand the connections between widely shared values and progressive policies will be a huge asset to People For the American Way and its members and activists.”

An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Stief earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Montana and a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Social Ethics from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. Stief has taught at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and the Pacific School of Religion and Starr King School for the Ministry, both in Berkeley.

“I missed working in California when I was in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “The progressive networks in California are very active, skilled and serious about justice. In some ways it’s very true that this state can set trends for the rest of the country and it’s exciting to be more a part of it now that I’m back,” Stief said.

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