Mark Breland

DIRECTOR

Mark is Founder and Director of Educate Young Voters. He studied acting at Columbia College Chicago and The Second City. Breland has done acting work for Pepsi and the movie Barbershop. Breland studied Hip Hop Dance at both Hubbard Street Dance and Visceral Dance Center. His music as a former professional DJ has accumulated thousands of plays on social media. At Chicago’s Wright Foundation: For the Realization of Human Potential, Breland completed a year of Social and Emotional Learning. Prior to the EKRA Law, Breland founded a lab service, pharmacogenetics medical sales company, named Evolved Genomics. He has since founded an Illinois Commerce Commission certified, Retail Electric Energy Brokerage, with a focus on Renewable Energy. In his network, Breland is connected with artists that have worked with Grammy Award Winners, and have thousands of social media followers. As the child of a retired High School Principal, he is particularly inspired by the value of education.

Communications Advisor

Zara Cooney is an accomplished professional with a background in the realm politics, digital marketing, and social media. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Public Relations at the Grady School of Journalism. Her journey began, working in Public Relations for the Colorado State House of Representatives and Senate. There she worked on a range of bills that helped shape the state’s policies. Over her career, Cooney has held positions as Public Relations Manager and Marketing/Social Media Director for companies such as Artwork Archive and Live World Holdings. Zara transitioned back into government, where she worked for the Colorado Secretary of States Business Intelligence Center, as Head of Communications. Cooney has recently started her own company, Zara Cooney Creative. 

Media Manager

Joe is a creative content producer that has served local and national brands to produce entertaining and creative video content. Martinez has a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Illinois University, with a concentration in Cinema and Photography. He has over a decade of experience producing, directing, and editing video content and commercials. With the team at Fig Media Inc, he has had the distinct pleasure of producing video commercials for companies and organizations like BMW, HGTV, Adler Planetarium, and the Sundance Film Festival. 

Joseph Valliquette

Outreach Strategist

Joseph Valliquette is a 2023 graduate of Political Science and Government at Depaul University. He served as President of the Depaul Campus Democrats, where he was involved community engagement. Joseph has worked as Campaign Staff for current State Representative, Terra Costa Howard, of the 48th District. He has also worked as Campaign Advisor for Steven Mclellan for Chicago 43rd Ward Alderman. Valliquette currently is Fundraising Director at Young Democrat’s of Illinois. He also works as Fellowship Coordinator at Men4Choice where he has lead organizing efforts in Illinois, and regionally, to promote pro-choice candidates. 

Mathieu Enrico Ricky Plumlee

Mathieu Enrico 'Ricky' Plumlee

Outreach Strategist

Ricky Plumlee is a 2024 graduate of Elmhurst University where he earned a Bachelor’s in History. His journey in civics began as an Honorary Page, on the House Floor of the Illinois General Assembly, his senior year of high school. The following year Plumlee became a paid intern for Illinois State Representative Terra Costa Howards District, where he developed skills in field organizing. Since 2019, Ricky has worked on eight campaigns for five different Democratic candidates. In addition to campaigns, Plumlee participated in a pro-choice fellowship program at Men4Choice. Most recently, Ricky joined the Young Democrats of Illinois as Co-Director of their campus based Get Out The Vote Program. He helped to bring a College Democrats Chapter to his Alma Mater.