Jan Soifer, Chairwoman
Jan Soifer is a Democratic activist, community leader, successful lawyer, wife, and mother of two college graduates. She is the first woman to be elected TCDP Chair in more than three decades.
Jan believes that, working together, we can register tens of thousands of potential new voters, recruit strong Democratic candidates for every position on the ballot, raise the funds necessary to run strong coordinated campaigns, persuade voters in all parts of the county to turn out to elect Democrats, and help Turn Texas Blue.
Since moving to Austin to start U.T. Law School in 1979, Jan has regularly voted in Democratic primaries and attended precinct conventions, and has volunteered for the local, state, and national Democratic parties and for numerous Democratic candidates, block-walking, phone-banking, organizing, registering voters, fund-raising, and advising candidates. She is a long-time Finance Council member of the TCDP, a Sustaining Member of the Texas Democratic Party, and a donor to many Democratic candidates, organizations, and causes.
She has served as Vice President of Capital Area Democratic Women, President of North by Northwest Democrats, and as a Precinct Chair. She worked on the Democratic Voter Protection Legal Teams in 2004 in New Mexico and in 2008 and 2012 in Ohio, and was an Obama precinct captain and a delegate and legal team member for the 2008 state convention. For her Democratic service, she was named a “Champion” by the Capital Area Democratic Women in 2008 and received the 2007 “Belief in Action Award” from the National Council of Jewish Women.
Jan was selected to receive the 1995 J. Chrys Dougherty Award from Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas for exemplary dedication and commitment to the principle of access to justice for all people regardless of income. She has also served on numerous charitable boards, and is a graduate of Leadership Austin (1993) and Leadership Texas (1998).
A former President of the Austin Bar Association and the Austin Young Lawyers Association, and a former Director of the State Bar of Texas, Jan has been honored with the Austin Young Lawyers Association’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus Award, the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association’s 1995 Outstanding Achievement Award, the YWCA of Austin’s 1993 Outstanding Achievement Award in Business/Professions, and the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer in Texas in 1991.
Jan and her husband of almost 30 years, Pat O’Connell, are partners in O’Connell & Soifer LLP, an Austin-based boutique law firm with four lawyers. The firm exclusively represents whistleblowers in qui tam litigation and whistleblower claims, combatting fraud against the government through civil litigation.
Democratic politics is a family pursuit; Pat, Brad (27) and Ally (22) are also stalwart Democrats.
Vincent Harding, Secretary
Vincent Harding is a community servant who is passionate about improving the lives of others. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and is a local attorney in Travis County. Vincent was born in Houston and became the first member of his family to graduate from college when he graduated from the University of Houston. Upon moving to Travis County for law school, Vincent immediately got involved in serving the homeless community and volunteered with ‘Feed My People’ and with Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
This inspired Vincent to increase his political involvement because Democrats have championed the cause for the least of these, those who have been forgotten, and fought against inequality. Vincent immediately got involved in democratic politics by volunteering on several campaigns on the local, state, and national levels and has phone banked, block walked, entered data, organized, donated, and registered voters. He is a Sustaining Member of the Travis County Democratic Party and the Texas Democratic Party.
During the 82nd Legislative Session, Vincent had the privilege of interning for Senator Kirk Watson. During his time in law school, Vincent interned for the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender’s Office, studied at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and participated in a legislative lawyering clinic where he had the opportunity to draft bill amendments that were offered on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.
During the 2012 campaign, Vincent volunteered with the coordinated campaign, Obama For America, and coordinated the Black Austin Democrats 2012 Election Outreach Campaign. He also had the honor of serving as a 2012 National Delegate to the Democratic National Convention and traveled to the White House for a working meeting on the fiscal cliff.
Vincent is married to his law school sweetheart, Meagan, who has also worked for Democratic State Representatives in the Texas Legislature and is an attorney in town. Vincent has been a volunteer for the African American Mens and Boys Harvest Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters. When Ann Richards was elected Governor of Texas, a significant portion of her victory came from Travis County. When Texas elects another Democratic Governor of Texas, I know Travis County will help lead the way!
JD Gins, Executive Director
JD moved to Austin in 2000 to attend the University of Texas, and he graduated from UT in 2005 with a B.A. in History and Government.
Following graduation, JD began his career as a community organizer. Based in Texas, he traveled around the county organizing communities in the housing projects of New York City, East Oakland and the 9th Ward in New Orleans.
In 2008, when the Obama campaign came to town, JD walked into the newly opened East Austin office and went to work. By the time of the 2008 general election, JD was the Texas Field Director for the Obama campaign.
In 2009, JD managed Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s campaign; he also ran the Mayor’s 2012 re-election campaign. JD also served as the Field Director and Deputy Campaign Manager for the Bill While for Governor campaign. He has also served as a political consultant, developing and managing media relations, messaging, and communications plans, and developing field, fundraising, and staffing protocols.
JD strongly believes we can turn Texas blue, and he knows that a strong Travis County Democratic Party is one of the keys of making that dream a reality.
Cindy Flint, Director of Operations
Cindy Flint is not a native Texan, but since arriving here in 2007, she has learned more about local music and politics than most natives. She hopped on the bandwagon for Texans for Obama and the Travis County Democratic Party, and things have not been the same since. As you can tell from her accent, Cindy comes from the Chicago area and attended Lake Forest College and Northwestern University. Her diverse career includes stints as a broker at the Chicago Board of Trade (gold and silver in the late ’70s), event planning and production (including the Chicago Blues Festival in the ’80s), an interior design and space planner in California and real estate saleswoman in Georgia and Florida. The proud mother of two children and one dog,
Since moving to Austin Cindy has volunteered with many progressive organizations and served as the Director of the Travis County Democratic Primary in 2010, a Legislative Organizer with Texas AFT in 2011, and Director of the Primary and Convention for the Texas Democratic Party in 2012. Cindy is happy to be back at the Travis County Democratic Party helping turn Texas Blue!
Joe Deshotel, Communications Director
A combination of live music, politics and natural beauty brought Joe to Austin in 2010, but he has been immersed in Democratic politics all his life. He served as Executive Director for Jefferson County during the 2006 midterm and the 2008 Presidential elections. He has worked 3 legislative sessions and 3 winning citywide campaigns in Austin — including Political Director for Mayor Lee Leffingwell. Joe thinks this is the most exciting time in decades to be a Democrat in Texas and with new technology and a renewed energy, Travis County can lead the way for party organizations across the state to turn Texas blue.