About Us

Our Story

Executive Team

Benjamin Burstein

Benjamin Burstein

President

Benjamin Burstein is a senior at Miami Beach Senior High School in Miami Beach, Florida. He created the Unified Democracy PAC to increase civic involvement in America’s largely disengaged constituency. When not managing the PAC, he chairs a local business association in Miami Beach, Florida and leads his city’s youth commission.

Victoria Bevard

Victoria Bevard

Executive Vice President

Victoria Bevard is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. She joined in 2016 to facilitate the PAC’s national transition. In her free time, she captains her school’s Congressional Debate team.

Narrelle Gilchrist

Narrelle Gilchrist

Director of Communications

Narrelle Gilchrist is a freshman at the University of Florida majoring in political science. She joined Unified Democracy in 2015 because she recognizes the crisis of an electorate that has become apathetic and uninformed. Narrelle spends her free time singing in a choir, competing in debate, and writing her science fiction series, The Ruhige.

Dany Matar

Dany Matar

Director of State Operations

Dany Matar is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. He joined in 2016 to facilitate coordination and communication between all states to help with the PAC's national expansion. In his free time, he participates in his school’s Congressional Debate team, writes music, and plays the saxophone.

Manu Onteeru

Manu Onteeru

Director of Public Relations

Manu Onteeru is a current sophomore at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia. He joined Unified Democracy in 2017 to help expand the PAC's national image. Manu has multiple interests, ranging from public policy to biology and medicine. In his free time, he writes as a youth reporter for Scholastic News. He’s also the serving co-caption of his school’s Congressional Debate team and an active member of its Biology Society.

Tris Wilson

Tris Wilson

Director of Information Technology

Tris Wilson is a junior at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. They joined in 2016 to establish the organization’s back-end technology infrastructure. In their free time, they work on programming projects, play the piano, and write music.

IT Team

Tris Wilson

Tris Wilson

Director of Information Technology

Tris Wilson is a freshman at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. They joined in 2016 to establish the organization’s back-end technology infrastructure. In their free time, they work on programming projects, play the piano, and write music.

Adam 'Zeal' An

Adam "Zeal" An

Director of Web Development

Adam An attends the College of William and Mary, unless it's 2020 and he forgot to update his bio. See http://theycallmezeal.me for the most recent updates about him. Notice how he wrote "most recent updates" as if anything interesting happens to him.

Omkar Kulkarni

Omkar Kulkarni

Director of Web Systems

Omkar Kulkarni is a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. He joined in 2016 to help with web development. In his free time, he plays soccer and spends too many hours playing Pokemon Go.

Sharon Liu

Sharon Liu

Director of Graphic Design

Sharon Liu is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. She joined Unified Democracy to help spread the word about the organization's cause in a visually compelling way. Sharon enjoys the visual arts, coding, and participates in Congressional Debate in her free time.

Evan Shi

Evan Shi

Director of Web Development

Evan Shi is a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. He joined in 2016 to help with web development. In his free time, he plays soccer and is a lecturer for his school's computer security team.

Literature Team

Narrelle Gilchrist

Narrelle Gilchrist

Director of Communications

Narrelle Gilchrist is a freshman at the University of Florida majoring in political science. She joined Unified Democracy in 2015 because she recognizes the crisis of an electorate that has become apathetic and uninformed. Narrelle spends her free time singing in a choir, competing in debate, and writing her science fiction series, The Ruhige.

Jack Fitzgerald

Jack Fitzgerald

Deputy Director of Communications

Jack is a senior at Pine View School in Osprey, Florida. He joined in July 2016 to assist in developing the Unified Democracy platform and expand the PAC's presence nationwide. In his free time, he serves as a research intern and attorney for Teen Court of Sarasota County, Inc., and Vice President of his debate team.

Tyler Hess

Tyler Hess

Director of Literature

Tyler Hess is a senior at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Virginia. He joined Unified Democracy in 2016 to add to the PAC's literature content. In his spare time, he captains his school's Speech team and is currently the state Parliamentarian of Virginia FBLA.

ERA Councils: The Three Pillars of an Engaged Constituency

Education: The Council to Foster Political Awareness

The Education Council spearheads our efforts to promote civic education. It oversees projects to keep citizens informed about local, state, and national elections and the issues at stake. The Education Council also advises our PAC members on the best ways to raise public awareness of our PAC’s mission and platform goals. The work of this council is paramount to building and maintaining an informed constituency.

Representation: The Council to Expand Representation in Government

The Representation Council works to bolster the voices of average Americans in government. Too often, politicians lose their accountability to their constituents, believing that their jobs and popularity are secure. This profound lack of political concern leads them to disregard the views of their constituency, silencing the voice of average Americans in policy decisions. The Representation Council works to reverse that trend by making every vote count so that politicians are held accountable; it seeks out opportunities to expand the American people’s voice in politics.

Action: The Council to Implement Legislative Strategies

The Action Council pioneers strategies to advance legislation that will meaningfully remove obstacles to political involvement. This council focuses primarily on fostering new avenues to advocate for our platform goals at the local, state, and federal levels. The success of that advocacy will have far-reaching effects for political representation and participation in our country.

Our Story

The Unified Democracy Political Action Committee was founded by Benjamin Burstein in February 2015 to encourage increased civic involvement in his home city of Miami Beach, Florida. Originally by the name Teens for Teens, the Unified Democracy PAC played a significant role in helping increase political participation among students in South Florida.

After a year of working with candidates in South Florida, the potential to spread the message of creating a better democracy was working. Voter turnout among young people was increasing, voter registration numbers were at all time highs, and the Unified Democracy PAC quickly became one of the largest political organizations in the country with 105 volunteers contributing over 8,000 hours of their time to candidates supported by the PAC.

The Unified Democracy PAC helped increase voter turnout in numerous local elections:

  • November 2015 city of Miami election
  • November 2015 city of Miami Beach election
  • November 2015 city of Hialeah election
  • January 2016 Florida City election
  • February 2016 city of South Miami election
  • March 2016 city of Miami Beach special election
  • March 2016 city of Miami referendum

In early 2016, the Unified Democracy PAC began its transition to become a national organization. We now have 17 state affiliates under the organization with more than one hundred students working for the PAC.

Press

NPR, Wilson Sayre

"Debate Run by the Unified Democracy PAC Highlights Florida Senate District"

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August 1st Press Release

“We’re setting the scene for a new political landscape – one where everyone has a voice in American politics”

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Miami Herald, Joey Flechas

“[Benjamin Burstein, 17, a rising Beach High senior], wants Miami Beach youths to get involved at City Hall.”

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Fusion, Daniel Rivero

“I can’t vote, and I can’t give monetary political contributions to change the status quo, so of course it’s logical to start a political action committee,” Burstein reasoned.

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NPR, Wilson Sayre

Through working with students Unified Democracy has contributed over 8,000 hours of service to local offices of area politicians.

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