Introducing the James Madison Fellows

January 9, 2014

Eight rising political and entrepreneurial stars nationwide will serve as our inaugural class of James Madison Fellows advancing post-partisanship in their respective careers.

Autumn Carter

Autumn Carter is the Executive Director of California Common Sense, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to making government more transparent and promoting civic engagement in California. The organization’s government financial and governance research has appeared in major media outlets throughout California and the United States. Autumn began working for California Common Sense when it began at Stanford University in 2010. She later earned a B.A. in Political Science with Concentrations in American Politics and Political Theory. She has conducted academic research regarding public opinion survey methodology, and she specializes in public policy analysis and applying public data. She believes that rich context transforms data into information, thereby imbuing data with true value.

Beth Fukumoto

State Representative Beth Fukumoto was first elected in 2012 and is the youngest person to serve as the House Minority Floor Leader. In her first year, Beth participated in a historic bipartisan leadership coalition, which meant both Republicans and Democrats elected the Speaker of the House and held committee leadership positions.
Prior to her election, Beth was the youngest person to serve the Legislature as Director of Research for the House Minority. She is now honored to represent the community in which she grew up, giving her a unique ability to effectively advocate for her constituents. Beth graduated with honors from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a B.A. in American Studies and an M.A. in English from Georgetown University. In September 2013, she was selected by The Daily Beast, a popular political blog, as one of “Nine Women Remaking the Right.”

Tara Maller

Tara Maller is a research fellow in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation. Her current areas of focus include sanctions, diplomacy, intelligence, cybersecurity, terrorism and women in security. Previously, she worked at BrightWire Inc. in New York, where she served as the managing editor and managing director of Operations, Americas. In 2011, she received her Ph.D. in political science at MIT, where her dissertation focused on information collection, diplomacy and sanctions. Tara has published articles in The Washington Quarterly, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and PS: Political Science and Politics. She has also written for,,, Bloomberg View, Al Jazeera America, The Huffington Post, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, Bloomberg West, Bloomberg’s Bottom Line, HuffPost Live and Al Jazeera America. Tara graduated with a B.A. in government from Dartmouth College and received a M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago.

Kesha Ram

Kesha serves Burlington’s Old North End, Hill Section, and University District in the Vermont House of Representatives. At 27 years old, she is currently the youngest legislator serving in Vermont. Kesha serves on the Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over revenue generation for the state. When not in session, Kesha is the Public Engagement Specialist for Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office. She also serves on the boards of the Center for Whole Communities and the University of Vermont. Her work has earned her recognition as a Morris K. Udall Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Harry S. Truman Scholar, and Oxfam Climate Change Ambassador.

Scott Resnick

Scott Resnick is the Pro Tempore of the City of Madison’s Common Council and Chief Operations Officer at Hardin Design & Development. Scott is one of the youngest elected leaders in the country, and during his tenure passed the nation’s second open data ordinance, crafted crowdfunding policy, and created a major initiative to tackle the “digital divide” in Madison. He is currently working on a project called StartingBlock. The goal of this project is to spur innovation within the entrepreneurial community and expose students and members of the community to 21st century technologies such as 3D printers. He is also a founding member of Capital Entrepreneurs, a group of entrepreneurial business leaders in Madison. The group is now comprised of over 200 companies. Scott is working to prepare Madison for the next generation of infrastructure improvements, economic advances and educational challenges.

Alex Torpey

Alex Torpey, sworn in as the youngest Mayor in New Jersey in 2011 in South Orange at age 23, has become a leading voice in the government transparency and technology movement, as well as one of the nation’s foremost nonpartisan advocates for millennial civic leadership. Alex has been profiled in the New York Times and Inc. Magazine among others, and has spoken about these issues at Social Media Week, POLITICO, Columbia University, the National Constitution Center and delivered a keynote at Personal Democracy Forum 2012. Alex’s fiscal leadership and emphasis on economic development and operational efficiencies in South Orange have led to the three consecutive lowest tax increases in 15 years on the town’s $33.5m budget. Alex, a strong advocate for marriage equality, also had the privilege of performing one of the first same-sex marriages in New Jersey this year, opening Town Hall at midnight to perform the ceremony for a local couple. Alex is a partner at Veracity Media, a digital media consulting company, and continues to serve as a volunteer EMT with the South Orange Rescue Squad.

Nick Troiano

Nick Troiano, 24, is co-founder of The Can Kicks Back –– a non-partisan, millennial movement to defeat the national debt and reclaim our American Dream. In the fall of 2013, Nick led a cross-country “Generational Equity Tour” that brought together College Democrat and College Republican groups on over a dozen college campuses for discussions about our country’s fiscal challenges.Originally from Milford, PA, Nick is also a part-time graduate student of American government at Georgetown University. Nick previously served as National Campus Director for Americans Elect, which sought to field a bipartisan ticket for president and vice-president in the 2012 election through the first-ever online nominating convention. Nick serves on the Steering Committee of The Centrist Movement. He is featured in the political coming-of-age documentary, Follow the Leader. In his free time, Nick enjoys photography and is working on a time-lapse project of Washington, DC that has amassed over 115,000 photos since its start in 2009.

Michael Tubbs


Michael Tubbs was elected in 2012 as the youngest city council member in Stockton’s history, earning more than 60 percent of the vote. Tubbs has interned at Google and at the White House and earned a bachelor’s degree with honors and a master’s degree in policy, organization and leadership studies from Stanford University. He is a Truman Scholar and a recipient of the Dinkelspiel Award, the highest award given to undergraduate students at Stanford.  Tubbs is the founder of The Phoenix Scholars and the Summer Success and Leadership Academy at the University of the Pacific and was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as a speaker at TEDx San Joaquin and Tedx Stanford. He has been honored as one of Black Enterprise Top 4 under 40, The Root’s Top 25 under 25, and one of Reader Digest’s 50 things to love about America.

Rep. Sara Jacobs


Be a part of a network of lawmakers committed to governing effectively, passing more representative public policy, and increasing public trust in democracy.