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Spring 2009 Resident Fellow

Teresa Vilmain is one of the nation’s top political organizers and consultants.  She has directed election campaigns and transition efforts for public officials at every level, implemented strategic planning for numerous non-profit organizations and has a lifelong commitment to strengthening the political voice of women and other progressive constituencies. 

Currently, Vilmain is serving as a consultant to Be The Change Inc. and its first national grassroots effort ServiceNation.  She is working with a coalition of 114 organizations to mobilize a grassroots movement that will inspire America’s leaders to expand voluntary community and national service opportunities, target America’s greatest societal challenges with proven service strategies, and promote voluntary service as a core ideal in our democracy.

In 2007, she was the senior consultant to the Vilsack for President national campaign and then was the Iowa State Director for Hillary Clinton for President.  In the 2004 presidential cycle she served as the General Election Strategist for the Democratic National Committee.
A native Iowan, Vilmain was general consultant to the Vilsack for Governor campaign in 1998, helping elect the first Democrat to that office in 30 years, and served in the same capacity in his successful reelection effort in 2002.  Vilmain got her start in politics working on the presidential campaign of Senator Edward Kennedy in 1980.  In the 1988 presidential campaign, Vilmain was Iowa Director for Gary Hart and, following Hart’s departure from the race; she was the State Director for Michael Dukakis.  In 1984, she worked as deputy campaign manager for Tom Harkin’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in Iowa.

In her new home state of Wisconsin, Vilmain was consultant to Jim Doyle’s successful Governor’s race in 2002 and Herb Kohl’s successful U.S. Senate races in 1988 and 1994.  She served as State Director for the “Clinton/Gore ‘96” and “Gore/Lieberman 2000” fall presidential campaigns. She is past national political director for “The White House Project”, an organization working to create a new political climate where women can successfully campaign for the U.S. presidency and other key national leadership positions.

She previously was employed as general consultant to the Human Rights Campaign’s “Out Vote ‘96” project.  “Out Vote ‘96” was the organization’s first national political convention to focus on teaching constituency and campaign organizing skills.  In 1995, Vilmain was employed by Price-Waterhouse to work on the HUD Empowerment Zone project.  Vilmain served as campaign consultant for Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s presidential campaign in Brazil.  Previously she served as campaign manager in the primary for the Kathleen Brown for the Governor campaign in California. 

In 1993, Vilmain was Political Director for EMILY’s List in Washington, DC.  She was the campaign manager for the Ferraro for U.S. Senate campaign from 1991 to 1992 in New York.  From 1989 to 1990 she served as Director of Training for the Democratic National Committee.  During this time, Vilmain also assisted U.S. Senate races in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Oregon as a member of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s Strategic Task Force Team.

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