Speakers 2023

Rep. Chris Deluzio (PA-17)

Sara Innamorato-Co. Exec. Candidate 

Patrick Sweeney-Court Common Pleas Candidate 

Judge Dan McCaffery-PA Supreme Court Candidate

PA  State Rep. Jessica Benham

Dena Stanley-Founder TransYOUniting

Khalif Ali-New Pennsylvania Project

Jill Beck Superior Court Candidate

Tanisha Long Abolitionist Law Center

Lindsay Powell  Candidate House District 21

PA Senator Lindsey Williams 

Matt Dugan Candidate for Allegh. Co. DA

    Bethany Hallam-Emcee

Judge Daniel McCaffery

Recent Supreme Court decisions highlights the importance of judicial elections. It also shows how important it is to elect candidates that will fight for our rights. One of those candidates, Judge Daniel McCaffery, will speak at the Rally for our Rights on August 17th.

McCaffery is currently the only military veteran on the Pennsylvania Appellate Courts.

Judge McCaffery attended Temple University and

Temple University Law School.

He was an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Where he was assigned to the major trial’s unit, prosecuting over fifty jury trials and a thousand bench trials.

In 2013 McCaffery was elected to the Philadelphia

Court of Common Pleas one of the busiest trial divisions in Pennsylvania. He presided over one hundred jury trials and thousands of bench trials.

In 2019 McCaffery was elected Judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court where he is currently the supervising judge for wiretaps.

McCaffery has been an active member of the serving as a Democratic State Committee member, and a member of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee.

Rep. Jessica Benham 

(District 36)

State Rep. Jessica Benham took office on a platform of fighting for the interests of residents in the 36th Legislative District and solving the critical problems that her constituents face: lack of access to quality health care and to economic opportunity, poor air and water quality, and failing infrastructure. Benham’s background is in advocacy for health care, education and worker’s rights, with experience advocating for legislation on the federal, state and local levels.

Prior to holding public office, Benham was Director of Development for the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy (PCAA), a grassroots self-advocacy project run by Autistic people for Autistic people. She co-founded PCAA after moving back to college, and it remains the only LGBTQ Autistic-led advocacy organization in the Greater Pittsburgh Area.

Through her work with PCAA, Benham has worked to ensure that individuals with disabilities are treated fairly in the legislative process. She has provided feedback and consultation for legislation including the Autism CARES Act on the federal level and health care efforts at the state level. She advocated strongly for Paul’s Law, which states that an individual can’t be deemed ineligible for an organ transplant simply because of a disability and was signed into law in Pennsylvania in 2018.

However, her advocacy efforts are not limited to health care. Benham also has experience fighting for workers’ rights, notably during her time as a graduate worker at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was involved in efforts to organize a union of graduate student workers through the United Steelworkers.

She currently resides in the Southside Slopes with her cat, Ravi.

Khalif Ali 

Director of the New Pennsylvania Project

Khalif Ali is the Director of the New Pennsylvania Project. A Pittsburgh resident with a background in community organizing/engagement and public policy, Khalif has been working closely with community-based organizations, local government, foundations, and individual activists to craft and advance a progressive policy and advocacy agenda. Vulnerable populations are at the center of his work.

Khalif has a Bachelor of Science in Communications. He has also earned his Master of Social Work with a concentration in community organizing/social administration from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Khalif also received a certification in Applied Behavioral Insight from the Harvard Kennedy School.



Sara Innamorato 

Candidate for Allegh. Co. Exec.

Sara is a lifelong resident of Allegheny County. A graduate of North Hills High School she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Business. This work is personal for Sara. As a teenager, she experienced the impact of the opioid epidemic and the housing instability it caused for her family.


First elected to the State House in 2018, Sara led the fight to increase the supply of affordable housing, raise the minimum wage, secure environmental protections, and address the opioid epidemic.


In 2022 Sara’s landmark Whole Home Repairs legislation passed. It provides $125M in critical funding to keep seniors and those facing housing insecurity in their homes while investing in climate resilience and local workforce development.



Sara knows there is a lot to be proud of in Allegheny County, but she also knows we face economic and social challenges. Challenges that require a creative leader not afraid to take risks. Her vision includes creating good jobs, housing for all and safe communities with healthy environments. Sara wants to bridge the gap between generations and make sure all residents have a seat at the table.



Feeling the need to commit her skill set to serving others, she left the private sector to become a nonprofit professional, focusing on issues of vacant land reclamation, food justice, and digital equity. this region.


Sen. Lindsey Williams 

Senator Lindsey M. Williams represents the 38th Senatorial District in Allegheny County, which encompasses the 10th, 11th and 12th Wards of the City of Pittsburgh, the North Hills suburbs, and many of the communities along the Allegheny River Valley.

Lindsey has spent her career fighting for working families. Following her graduation from Duquesne University School of Law, she took a position as the Director of Advocacy at the National Whistleblowers Center, where she worked to promote the passage of bipartisan legislation that protected whistleblowers for reporting waste, fraud, and abuse. However, when Lindsey attempted to form a staff union with her coworkers to protect their rights, she was illegally terminated, she took her case to the National Labor Relations Board and, after two years of litigation, successfully resolved her claim. Following her illegal termination, Lindsey went on to work for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers prior to her election to the state Senate in 2018.

Lindsey was raised in a union household, and her parents stressed hard work and education through both words and actions. Her father Jack was a member of Operating Engineers Local 542 for 40 years. Her mother Nancy worked with a temporary service company when Lindsey and her sister Caitlyn were school-aged and later took a job as an accounts receivable clerk at a local company. When her job was eliminated and relocated to India, Nancy was able to take advantage of education incentives with her unemployment benefits and finished her college degree in May 2014, more than 15 years after starting her education.

As a state Senator, Lindsey’s top priority is serving the constituents of the 38th District through offering one-on-one assistance in her District Office, hosting community events to connect residents with area services, and supporting local organizations and projects. She is also committed to fighting for family-sustaining, union jobs; fully funded education for all students; and access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Pennsylvanians. Lindsey is honored to serve as the Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee for the 2023-2024 legislative session, in addition to serving on the Transportation, Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness, and Game & Fisheries Committees.

Dena Stanley

Dena Stanley is the founder and executive director of TransYOUniting.  She is an activist, a current resident of Etna, and an appointee to Etna's new Commission of Human Relations Board of Directors. She is a prominent social justice warrior amongst the Black Trans Community and is constantly working to better our community's lives here in Pittsburgh.

Patrick Sweeney

Patrick Sweeney has been a Public Defender in Allegheny County for 25 years. Working tirelessly on behalf of indigent clients and appearing in every division of the Court of Common Pleas. Patrick has tried dozens of Jury trials, hundreds of non-jury trials, and he has counseled thousands of clients as a Public Defender, handling everything from shoplifting to homicide on a daily basis. Patrick understands the role of a Public Defender to be to, "Speak for the voiceless and bring justice to the dispossessed." Patrick is now running to be a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to ensure those voices are heard. Court cases must be decided based on the facts and the law, and not based on who has access to more resources or who benefits the most from systemic bias.

Patrick lives on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Alongside his legal career, he is the bargaining unit secretary of the United Steelworkers Local 3403-74, which covers the Public Defenders, assistant district attorneys and crime lab scientists. Patrick is also active in charitable organizations within the community, such as the Elks and his local parish. 


       Jill Beck

Jill Beck has dedicated her career to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice. Now she hopes to serve on the Pennsylvania Superior Court to continue her fight for fairness in our judicial system.

Raised in Pittsburgh, Jill knew from a young age that she wanted to be an advocate for the underserved. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in criminal justice from The George Washington University, she served as a counselor at a residential facility for adjudicated delinquent girls and later as an assistant forensic interviewer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Child Advocacy Center. After graduating with honors, she served as an AmeriCorps Fellow working with adolescents on probation. These experiences fueled her passion for protecting those without a voice and drew her to the practice of law.


After graduating at the top of her class from Duquesne University School of Law, Jill chose to work for the nonprofit organization KidsVoice, where she represented abused and neglected children in court proceedings. Jill’s service at KidsVoice involved not only ensuring that the legal rights of her young clients were protected, but that their basic human needs were met.

Jill represented up to 225 children at a given time before magisterial district judges, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court. KidsVoice honored her for her advocacy in 2008. In 2010, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Allegheny County gave her their Children’s Voice Award.

Jill’s experience advocating for children led her to want to serve from the other side of the bench in Pennsylvania’s appellate courts. She spent 10 years in public service as a law clerk under the Honorable Christine Donohue on the Superior Court and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Jill drafted decisions for criminal, civil, family, juvenile, and orphans’ court cases that were grounded in the law and achieved substantial justice for individuals, families, and businesses across the Commonwealth.

In the fall of 2019 Jill became a civil litigator at Blank Rome, a law firm she selected because of its commitment to providing free legal services to those who cannot afford them. In addition to her busy practice, she continues to help the underserved in Pennsylvania’s legal system.

Jill lives with her husband, two children, and rescue dog in Squirrel Hill. she is an active volunteer in her children’s classrooms and in her community. She also directed Sue’s run4kids, a charity event she founded with her father to honor the life of her mother and to raise money for Pennsylvania teens in the foster care system.

Jill knows firsthand that justice is served only when every person – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or income – has fair and equal access to the courts.


Congressman Chris Deluzio

Congressman Chris Deluzio, a Pittsburgh native and Iraq War veteran represents the 17th district of Pennsylvania. 


He was elected to office in 2022. Even though his tenure

in office has been short, Deluzio has hit the ground running.


Deluzio promised to fight for western Pennsylvania and that is just what he is doing.


Introducing and co-sponsoring bills on everything from railway safety to Veteran’s health to worker protection.

He was on the scene immediately after the disastrous train derailment in Palestine, Ohio. Several communities in his district were affected by the derailment.

he introduced the Railway Safety Act and continues to press Congress to pass it.


Prior to his election, Chris worked as an attorney and protected voting rights and fair elections as the policy director at Pitt Cyber and previously at the Brennan Center for Justice. He also fought alongside fellow Pitt faculty members and the United Steelworkers as a member of the Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee to secure a faculty union at Pitt—the biggest union election in the country in 2021.

Matt Dugan 

Matt Dugan was appointed the Chief Public Defender of the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender in January 2020. He began his career with the Public Defender’s Office in 2007 as a trial attorney. During his time at the public defender’s office, he has been trial manager, Deputy of the Pre-Trial Division and Chief Deputy Director. Matt has spent his career in the Public Defender’s Office and has implemented several transformational projects cementing that office’s leadership role in criminal justice reform in Allegheny County. 

·   Project Reset - Started in 2019 to provide expungements to former clients free of charge. The process for obtaining an expungement is both confusing and expensive. These burdens prevent many from even seeking  expungements a criminal charge is withdrawn or dismissed. Project Reset aids clients with this process saving them nearly $300 in fees. Since 2019, nearly 2,000 motions have been filed. 

·   Preliminary Arraignment Project - Began in 2018 this program requires attorneys from the Pre-Trial Division of the Office of the Public Defender to represent all individuals at their Preliminary Arraignment. Since going into effect, there has been an 18% decrease in jail bookings at the time of arraignment; a 39% decrease in the use of cash bail;

·   Education Advocacy Project - Began in 2021, the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Public Defender expanded its services by implementing the Educational Advocacy Project (EAP). Through this program, the division represented over 100 children before magistrates and closed more than 150 summary cases, where only 8 clients had to pay a fine.


Matt is a graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law and earned his bachelor’s degree from Villanova University. He and his wife, April, and their three sons live in Moon Township. Matt was an elected member of the Moon Area School Board from 2017-2021. He serves on the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee for the state and is an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. 




Bethany Hallam

Bethany Hallam was born and raised in Ross Township in the North Hills of Allegheny County. She graduated from North Hills H.S. and earned a B.A. from Duquesne University. This is Hallam’s first term on Allegheny County Council and her second term on the PA Democratic State Committee. In addition to those positions, Bethany has a full-time position as Director of Operations at a community center and small business service hub in Wilkinsburg.

While playing varsity lacrosse for North Hills H.S. She tore both of her ACL’s. At the time, the overdose epidemic was not as well-known as it is now. She was over prescribed Vicodin, and as a result, became addicted to prescription opioids.  She began her recovery in 2016 and is grateful for the support systems that helped make that possible.

Due to her struggles with addiction, she has spent time in the county jail and lost her driver’s license for ten years. She has seen first-hand the problems in our jail and understands how critical public transit is to so many Allegheny County residents, herself included. Her background brings a unique insight to council, and Bethany feels

Lindsay Powell

Passionate about social justice initiatives and addressing inequality, Lindsay Powell has been a dedicated advocate and community servant for all her life.

She is the Director of Workforce Strategies for InnovatePGH focused on creating employment opportunities for underrepresented technologists in the Pittsburgh tech ecosystem. She previously worked at the City of Pittsburgh overseeing legislation and policy for city departments. During her tenure at the city, some of the programs Lindsay oversaw include the creation of the first citywide digital equity initiative, the expansion of the summer free meal program during the pandemic and the implementation of Avenues of Hope initiative that revitalizes city main streets with small business activation. .

Lindsay also US Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Hakeem Jeffries. She is recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship that took her to Malaysia to teach English in rural high schools.

Lindsay received a Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College in Sociology and a Master of Science in Public Policy Management from Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College where she won the Otto A. Davis Award that recognizes graduate’s commitments to racial and social justice.  Lindsay resides in Lawrenceville with her beloved dog, Willow. 


Tanisha Long 

Tanisha Long (she/her) is the Allegheny County Community Organizer for Abolitionist Law Center (ALC). She holds a BA in English Writing and a minor in Legal Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Before her work with ALC, Tanisha organized the Black Lives Matter Pittsburgh and Southwest PA organization working to fight systemic racial injustice. Since 2008, Tanisha has organized rallies and direct actions centered around climate change, voting rights, and mass incarceration. She is also the founder of RE Visions, a nonprofit committed to creating a more equitable learning environment for students of color. Tanisha believes there is a power at the intersection of art & activism; she hopes to use her passion for storytelling to both center and better the lives of those impacted by our inequitable justice systems.