Chair: Bert Sise
I am a lifelong Democrat, raised by union member parents in the 50’s/60’s. I spent 30 years in the transportation industry here in the Keys and when I retired, I decided retirement was too boring. I work part-time in accounting, another skill I acquired along the way at Fla Keys Community College. I served as Treasurer of the Democrat party for the last 4 years and have been a precinct captain for the last 5 years. I live in Key West, having moved here in 1978.
Vice Chair: Philip Dodderidge
Phil Dodderidge, originally from the Washington D.C. area, moved to Big Pine Key eight years ago with his wife Linda to enjoy all the Keys has to offer: sunshine, warmth, beautiful water, gorgeous sunsets, fishing, snorkeling, diving, boating and the Keys life-style. Appalled at the 2016 election results, Phil became involved with the Florida Keys Democrats to help Bert Sise organize the Keys Democrats to reverse recent election trends by getting Democrats get elected to office in 2018 and 2020.
Phil is the Precinct 16 Leader as well as the vice-chair of the Florida Keys Democrats. He has been instrumental in helping shape the Keys Democrats platform, messaging and developing canvassing materials for all the Precinct Leaders in the Keys. Additionally, he is the administrator for the Keys Dems Facebook page where they are getting over 2,000 page views a day.
With a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Phil is passionate advocate for STEM education, as well as a quality general arts range of subjects. Phil graduated from Roger Williams University in Bristol RI and subsequently worked for EG&G, a high-tech solutions company, and associated follow-on companies as an engineer and executive for 32 years.
Among his varied assignment, He was the project leader providing programmatic and engineering support that modernized the National Weather Forecast Offices for the NEXRAD radar systems. During that time, the NWS had decided to make all the Keys forecasts out of the Miami office which caused a lot of consternation among Keys residents and businesses that depend on accurate forecasts. Phil’s first trip to the Keys was in support of fact finding to determine the need for a local Keys office. His findings contributed to the Keys having its own forecast office on White Street, in Key West. During this trip he fell in love with the Keys and after visiting frequently be retired here in 2010. Phil has been married to his wife Linda since 1977 and has 2 children, Paul and Helen, who also enjoy the Keys when their busy lives permit.
I took early retirement from New York Telephone Co. in 1998 and moved to Key West. I spent the next 15 years as a PADI Master Scuba Instructor and Licensed Boat Captain. I'm now pretty much fully retired, working some part-time jobs, but putting energy into volunteer work in this great community. I've been a Democrat since I was 14 years old and handed out flyers for Democratic candidates in Albany, NY. As a Union Steward I maintained my party ties, working to get people elected that strongly supported working men and women. It's always been Democrats that seemed to be looking out for the working and middle class so I backed them. Being brought up to believe everyone was equal, I also found support for that ideal within the Democratic Party. While Full Equality hasn't yet been reached, it's Democrats that are the ones that will keep fighting for that goal.
Treasurer: Stan Sabuk
A native of Massachusetts and longtime Boston resident, politics is omnipresent in my life. A Democrat all my life, my convictions lean strongly towards a Kennedy-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. As a first generation American, my commitments favor those who are in a similar demographic group, furthermore, those who are persistent in their struggle to assimilate in today’s society.
My resume reports my livelihood as a developer and licensed Florida general contractor. The 2008/09 recession drew me towards something new and that something was the purchase of Southern Keys Cemetery, MM10, Big Coppitt Key. After spending 15 years in Manatee County, Florida, I relocated to Key West in 2012 when I purchased a cemetery! Being a cemeterian is a wonderful livelihood and has been incredibly fulfilling as a new career. I am a cigar Aficionado. Bourbon and cigars! I also like to cook and love good ethnic foods – with many available right down the road in Key West!
My favorite musician is Bob Dylan…Times They Are A Changin….!
Data Coordinator: Robert S. Gold
Robert S. Gold has been a progressive activist since 2008, when he was accepted into the Obama Organizing Fellowship program. Following extensive training, he accepted an out-of-state summer campaign assignment to enable a deep-red rural county in deep-red Indiana vote for Obama. That fall, he was a full-time volunteer for the Obama campaign in Key West. He was subsequently a full-time volunteer with Florida Keys Democrats and national Democratic campaigns in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. Elsewhere in the Keys, he is a graduate of the City of Key West Ambassador’s Academy and Community Foundation of the Florida Keys‘ Leadership Success Academy, is a member of the boards of directors of Southernmost Homeless Assistance League and Friends of the Key West Library, and was previously a director at FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe). In 2016, Bob was honored by the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys as an Unsung Hero. He also volunteers in support of Old Island Restoration Foundation and Equality Florida.
In nearly three decades of executive-level management consulting, Mr. Gold has advised and enabled the leaders of over one hundred global and national corporations and organizations in such disciplines as strategic planning, business performance improvement, and information technology management. He earned his MBA at NorthwesternUniversity’s Kellogg School of Management.
Debra Walker is a lifelong Democrat originally from central Illinois. Currently she is co-chair of the Upper Keys Democrats, a position she agreed to take toward the end of 2017, following the last presidential election. She has lived in Key Largo, Florida, since one week before Hurricane Andrew, with her husband of 36 years, Marshall. They have two children, Mary 31, and Daniel, 19. Walker has been involved in local politics since shortly after her arrival in the Keys. She served four terms (1994-2010) as an elected member of the Monroe County School Board, where she advocated for strong math, science, arts, and second language education. She also coordinated a 2000-2001 campaign, sending coconuts to legislators that read “We’re going nuts without nurses in our schools.” A subsequent county-wide referendum served to fund the nurse-in-every-school program, which continues to the present day. An ardent advocate for science and evolution education, Walker also served on Florida's 2007-2008 Science Standards Revision Committee which brought state science standards from 0 to 16 mentions of “evolution” in the K-12 curriculum.
In addition to politics, Walker is a Registered Professional Archaeologist, specializing in the ancient Maya and pottery analysis. She has undertaken research in Belize (Cerro Maya 1993-1995), Guatemala (Naachtun 2004-2007), and Mexico (Yaxnohcah 2011-present). After earning a Ph.D. (1990) at Southern Methodist University, she taught in Texas and Minnesota as well as at Florida International University. Currently she is a research curator at the Florida Museum, on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, where she curates a large collection she brought to the museum from Cerro Maya, Belize. Her recent edited volume on the topic “Perspectives on the Ancient Maya of Chetumal Bay,” was published in 2016 by the University Press of Florida. She is currently editing a second volume, this time on the earliest pottery making peoples of the lowland Maya region.
Born and raised in Key West, Florida, I have spent most of my life in the Keys. I completed my BA in political economy at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. My first experience in politics was during the 2008 summer as a Field Organizer in charge of eight counties across southwest Washington for Governor Chris Gregoire’s re-election campaign. I then spent a legislative session as a policy intern with State Senator Eric Oemig and the last thing I worked on before leaving Washington was Denny Heck’s Congressional campaign in 2010. This fueled my interest in and understanding of politics, leading me back home to the Keys where I have been able to channel my experience into being a part of the Democratic Party since 2011. As Chair of the Henry Woods Memorial Democratic Club I organized a Democratic Candidate’s Speaker Series over the spring and summer leading up to the 2012 elections. I have also contributed to the local community in a myriad of ways, including serving as a member of the Key West Sustainability Advisory Board, being the Treasurer of the Florida Keys chapter of the ACLU, helping my family to run the oldest local-business in Key West, Fausto’s Food Palace, and pioneering Key West in Solidarity.
Fundraising/Events Chair: Sandy Haas
After 60 plus years of dealing with winters in Cincinnati and other northern locations, I happily re-located to Big Pine Key in 2015, after “trying out” the Keys for several years on vacation. My partner Gary and I feel so fortunate to enjoy the climate, the oceans and the beauty that surrounds us; I am committed to do what I can to help protect it for my children and soon- to- arrive grandchild. I have been a life-long Democrat and was pleased to be part of the initiative that helped deliver Ohio twice in President Obama’s elections. I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and The Ohio State University. I spent over 25 years in a fundraising career with three different organizations, ending with being the Major Gifts Director for the Arthritis Foundation, covering OH, KY, MI, WV and western PA. A favorite area was planning and executing events, an area that gave me the opportunity to host Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; Al Jarreau; Susan Stamburg of NPR; Rory Kennedy and Carrol Spinney…the man inside Big Bird!!
Officer - Middle Keys Precincts Leader: Debbie Hegland
I moved to the Keys (Marathon) in 1973 with my husband Bill, our dog and cat, 2 knives,
2 forks & 2 spoons in a converted milk truck! We were young carefree and adventurous, living the dream! Eventually, we had to jump into the real world and thus, we began raising our family of two wonderful sons… the Keys are truly a fantastic place to raise kids.
In keeping with my sense of adventure, I eventually found my way into a career of travel
and opened my own agency, Sea The World Cruises & Tours, in 1997 with my business
partner. We still consult, plan and sell custom travel packages today.
I am a lifelong Democrat, raised by active Dems in the blue state of Maryland. Growing
up my Dad served in the d. House of Representatives and later managed a successful
campaign to elect Governor Harry Hughes. Needless to say, I was immersed in politics
at an early age. I have always been of the mindset that Democrats are socially liberal
and fiscally conservative. I still feel that ideology remains true within the majority of our
Party and it is one that I wish to help perpetuate.
I became more politically active when the opportunity arose to work in the 2008 and
2012 campaigns for Barack Obama. Canvassing, phone banking, data entry and
whatever job needed to get Obama elected. Then came the 2016 election. The
outcome was devastating and as a result, I founded the Middle Keys Action Network
(MKAN) with other like-minded Marathon women. MKAN is a nonpartisan, activist group
focused on encouraging social, political and environmental awareness and subsequent
action on issues affecting our Keys community, as well as our state and nation.
MKAN led me to the Florida Keys Democrats where I am Middle Keys Co-Chair and a
Precinct Captain in Marathon. I love to go out and talk to our voters, one on one. It is
crucial to help educate the public on our candidates and issues and get them to the
polls. This is the only option we have of reversing the current precarious course of our
country. We must vote out the current controlling party. I am thrilled to be in a position
to help with this goal and especially thrilled to do it with such a great group of local
Florida Keys Democrats! GOTV. Peace.
2018 Florida Keys Democrat Officers