Ben Hardin and Marina Faz-Huppert will lead this effort to modernize the state party
CHICAGO – Today, the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) announced two hires to lead the state party’s next chapter and implement the vision of Chair Lisa Hernandez and the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) to build a modern, effective party that is a resource for all Democrats for years to come. Ben Hardin will serve as executive director and Marina Faz-Huppert will serve as deputy director. Consultant Kiera S. Ellis will remain as senior advisor.
“Ben started with DPI overseeing the coordinated campaign then stepped in to lead the party to one of our most successful midterm election performances in recent history,” DPI Chair Lisa Hernandez said. “We worked closely to build a robust operation in just a few short months before the election. There is immense momentum at DPI and I am excited for all that he will do on a permanent basis as we work to ensure DPI is a resource for every Democrat across the state.”
Under Ben’s direction as interim executive director, the Democratic Party of Illinois invested nearly seven-figures in mail to support Illinois Supreme Court races, resulting in the expansion of the Democratic majority on our state’s highest court. Fourteen of Illinois’ 17 Congressional seats are now held by Democrats. Voters elected the entire Democratic slate of statewide officers. Illinois Democrats defended our supermajority in the Illinois Senate and expanded our supermajority in the Illinois House of Representatives to 78 Democratic members – the most in history.
Ben will manage day-to-day operations, create an organizational structure for DPI and a long-term strategic plan that will emphasize organizing and outreach, local and regional stakeholder coordination, data modernization, robust year-around party communications efforts and grassroots and high-dollar fundraising. Prior to joining the state party, Ben was the chief of staff to former Congresswoman Marie Newman.
“Marina Faz-Huppert will lead on strengthening our relationships with stakeholders across Illinois, working with DSCC members, county chairs, constituency organizations and labor unions. She will ensure DPI has a presence in every corner of our state,” DPI Chair Lisa Hernandez said. “Marina’s decades of experience will be invaluable to developing our year round organizing program to invest in and grow our base. I am grateful to have Marina leading our outreach efforts and her wealth of knowledge on the team. Collaboration, coordination and the inclusion of all party stakeholders is the foundation for our success.”
Marina has previously served as director of fair labor standards at the Illinois Department of Labor, Chicago director for U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and political director for Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
In addition to investing in talent by building a strong senior team to implement the party building directive, DPI will have an unprecedented six regional organizers on the ground in 2023. The permanent organizing program will work on voter registration, local stakeholder engagement, grassroots organizing and voter contact for continuous engagement with the electorate.
Chair Hernandez and the DSCC are committed to realizing its vision of an inclusive, fully-operational state party that remains active year round and leads to the election of more Democrats across the state for years to come.