Brandon West

MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy - 2011

Campaign Manager, Voting Rights and Democracy
Center for Popular Democracy
Brandon West

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

I knew I wanted to be connected to local government, local issues, and ways to make government work better, inside and outside of it. I came from an advocacy background, but wanted some hard skills and experience in the issues that faced this City and wanted to plug into its local politics. Now I’m president of a local political club, and working to improve policies at a city and state level. All of this is possible because of the relationships I was able to build in living and working in New York; I couldn’t do it anywhere else.

Describe your current job. 

I’m the campaign manager for Center for Popular Democracy’s national Voting Rights and Democracy program's campaign. This project works to protect and increase access to the ballot and strengthen the political voice of historically disadvantaged communities in the electoral process. So this means I work with state partners and national allies to develop and drive state, local, and national voting rights and democracy campaigns and policy reform for things like voting rights and elections, money in politics, redistricting, and other democracy issues. All this work I try to do through a lens of focusing on building the power for communities that traditionally don’t have it.

What are the advantages of the Wagner alumni network?

The network is incredible. It was more than I could have ever expected. My first day of my current job, it became evident I went to Wagner, and all of these alumni immediately popped out and introduced themselves to me. There is such a strong identity that we all care about what we do, and do it in a compassionate way. I feel Wagner has given me some degree of employment certainty for the rest of my professional life.