Address: 246 East Glenn Avenue, Auburn, AL 36830
Phone: 334-329-7258 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's what they say about themselves:
The conversation/argument regarding campaign finance reform isn’t a new one; in fact, the first of nearly a dozen laws created to define the legality of campaign finance, was devised and passed in 1867—The Naval Appropriations Bill, which would disallow officers and government employees from soliciting contributions from shipyard employees. Since then, every decade has presented its new and improved version of legislation that would expose and make illegal the loopholes that were born of the last ineffective law.
The process of buying and selling votes was so elementary, that during the presidential election of 1872, voters-for-hire were required to use carbon paper to record their vote in order to be paid by their candidate.
Fast forward nearly 150 years and we’re still discussing the same issues—now we simply have more and bigger players and much larger numbers.
In sharp contrast of other do-gooders with a new and improved idea to do things better, this collective group of political junkies is looking to change things from the outside in. In other words, we concede that we may never change those who want to buy political favor (special interests, big corporate bullies and unions), instead, we are hell-bent on changing the manner in which we select and elect politicians whose votes are not for sale.
In a fit of rage/disgust, we’ve devised a plan to equalize the election process—to engage the tax-paying citizens who now are not only disenfranchised but disgusted with the entire political process—including elections, politicians and all things that advance the cause of corruption and lack of transparency within our government. Our intentions are simple—to take back the government of the people from the stronghold of big business and union influence and create a fair and more simplified manner in which to participate in the election process, thus becoming invested and active in a political process that has been bought and sold to special interests.
As with any successful team, each member of Take Back brings to the table a different, though equally impressive background in politics that unifies their desire to change the process in which our country funds campaigns. Collectively, in grass roots efforts, they have knocked on thousands of doors of everyday Americans across this country and asked for their vote in order to meet or beat the polling numbers. They have advised candidates and legislators alike, from how to win an election to crafting local zoning issues to coalition efforts for Presidential campaigns and been elected to office. They've fought against intrusive regulations, raised money to fight opposing money, and more recently, found themselves watching more Americans decide to stay at home on Election Day simply because of a systemic disdain for American politics. But as vast as their personal experiences may be on paper, they all vehemently agree that the system is inherently flawed and needs to be changed in order to reverse the damage that is slowly stealing our Republic.
The oldest of 9 children growing up in a 3 bedroom house in inner city Richmond, VA, John Pudner learned at a young age the importance of timing, negotiating and diplomacy. More importantly, he learned how to live on a shoe-string budget. Those early life lessons helped put him on the national political scene when in the 2014 primaries, he jump-started the campaign of Dave Brat, who would ultimately unseat U.S. Majority Leader Eric Cantor in one of the most unprecedented upsets in political history. Later in the general election of the same year, he would help defeat a 32-year incumbent state senator in Alabama’s general election. He managed campaigns for almost three decades. His now-famous strategy of outsmarting instead of outspending the opposition was born out of a hobby of extrapolating statistical data on sports teams. With an affinity for numbers and grassroots initiatives, John became known as the go-to-guy to help upstart candidates that didn’t have the financial backing needed to play in the political sandbox. During his career, he won 3 out of every 4 races in which he was involved. But through all his successes, John Pudner saw firsthand the influence of money on politics—the manipulation of the system and the loopholes that didn’t favor a transparent election— one in which only select major corporate donors and union bosses were the true winners. With a desire to now recreate the system instead of circumventing it, John Pudner will lead this team of ex-political wonks to help change the very industry in which they once thrived.
Director of Marketing
A highly successful marketing executive who left her small town in south Alabama to catch the world by its tail, Melinda McClendon helped market and advertise some of the largest companies in the world; Domino’s Pizza, Nutri System, Macy’s, and Movie Gallery, Inc., before eating her words and moving back to her hometown 20 years later to marry and raise 4 children. A graduate of Auburn University, McClendon specialized in multi-unit marketing and product launches throughout her career.
The parent of a special needs child and a breast cancer survivor, McClendon quickly became an advocate which, ultimately led to a recent short career in politics. An appointed local City Commissioner and an elected County Commissioner, McClendon saw first-hand the ineffectiveness of many elected officials. She ran for the Alabama Senate to unseat a 4-term Independent Senator who spent two years during her last term in court defending herself against a federal indictment for corruption. Because the incumbent was financed by the state’s powerful teachers union, McClendon was outspent 2-to-1. Trailing by 30 points in the early polls, McClendon lost the election by fewer than 700 votes, but not without leaving her supporters her commitment to help make changes to the unfair political process.
McClendon refuses to sit on the sidelines and watch her vote become invalid.
Director of Major Gifts & Grasstops Recruitment
Phone (334) 329-7258
Cathy Nugent has been a trailblazer in the world of politics for more than 25 years. She played an integral role as a member of the Advance Team for President George H.W. Bush from 1989-1992, responsible for coordinating hotel and motorcade schedules, site prep and press for all domestic and international travel—which is where she mastered the art of resource management so early in her career. As the result of her tenure in the White House, she has built a solid and varied contact list that continues to support the endeavors of her and her clients.
In addition to serving on the Boards of Directors for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series, the Kansas Library System and the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Center, she works tirelessly building grasstops coalitions to educate the public on critical issues for clients in various markets. Of the nearly 1,000 causes she has championed in her career, none pull at her personal heartstrings more than issues that relate to women, minorities and education.
Cathy's entire career has been built on a foundation of bettering her community and her country, however she’s cognizant, and discouraged, that the $2 billion spent on the Obama-Romney election was four times the combined amount spent to re-elect both Presidents Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush. She’s prepared to spin her rolodex to find like-minded friends who, too, want to take back our Republic.
Director of Development
Phone (334) 329-7258
A true Jersey boy, this fundraising phenom sharpened his baby teeth on newly minted silver dollars. During his years at Auburn University, he worked on his first State Senate campaign before leaving campus for the real world. The fundraising techniques he used to secure that race ultimately became known as some of the most prolific in the state. His new-found reputation took him to campaigns and organizations in Oklahoma, North Carolina, Virginia and now back to Alabama. His most recent success story, and perhaps his legacy, is spearheading fundraising efforts for little-known college professor, Dave Brat of Virginia, who went on to unseat House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor in the 2014 primary.
The New Jersey native has developed a strong national network and unmatched strategies that will make a profound impact on the effort to bring true reform to our nation’s questionable election system. Rubino brings a young, though solid, successful track record to the team that will ensure the development for Take Back’s efforts don’t go unnoticed. His incredible work ethic coupled with his inability to accept losing as an option, will advance the cause and help take back what is rightfully ours.
Director of Operations
Phone (334) 329-7258
Don’t let Justin’s unassuming southern accent fool you. This Alabama native has an incredible, innate ability to recruit, organize and motivate a mega-team of disjointed volunteers into a fine-oiled machine. His experience as a YMCA Youth Director developed and honed his communication skills enough to ultimately plan and execute more than 40,000 door knocks and thousands more phone calls for candidates like Alabama State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts and Alabama House Commerce Committee Chair, Jack Williams.
Justin’s departure from the “Y” led him straight into the political arena to direct large grassroots initiatives for campaigns in Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia. He’s proven to be a natural networker and extremely successful grassroots operative for several winning campaigns. Most notably the 2014 general election as he helped unseat a 32 year incumbent Alabama Senate member with a no-name gynecologist candidate who’d never served in office before..
Justin will be an incredible addition to the Take Back team as he orchestrates and manages the day to day operations that will prove to be the oil in this engine.
Phone (334) 329-7258
An avid sports fan, Erin Sweeney left her home state of Virginia to attend Auburn University, much to the chagrin of her family. Not knowing a soul in the deep South, Erin was naturally drawn to her “comfort zone” and began working in marketing and promotions for the university’s very successful Athletic Department. Upon graduation, and with the world at her finger tips, she decided the next best sport, politics, would be her new venue.
Erin ultimately returned to Virginia to work for two of the most tenacious campaigners and best fundraisers, Rob Bell and Barbara Comstock. She spent every waking hour knocking on doors and making phone calls for Comstock’s ultimate Congressional win in Northern Virginia. Through this process, Erin grew to appreciate every hard-earned $25 and $50 contribution that came in from constituents to fuel the fight. She promises to carry that reminder with her as she begins her career with Take Back and joins in the fight to take back our Republic, one small donor check at a time.
Erin’s confident that she made the right decision to forgo a career in Virginia politics in order to work with this winning team.