To organize in Utah’s rural areas, you have to be there. We’re proud to hire and work with a local organizing team in Utah and on the Navajo Nation who are implementing campaigns for Utah’s future. We’re creating a strategy for long-term political and issue-focused investment in underrepresented areas. Look below to find your local organizer!
Meet the Team
TJ Ellerbeck came to the Rural Utah Project after working in political campaigns over the last decade, including serving as Political Director for the Utah Democratic Party 2015-2017. TJ got his start organizing in rural Utah through the election of Representative Brad King in Carbon County, and has made lifting up the voices of rural voters a priority in his work ever since.
Nicole has spent her career working in agricultural communities across the country and is passionate about the intersection of farming, climate, and culture. When she’s not wrangling RUP's daily operations, you can find Nicole on her mountain bike or exploring Utah’s never-ending scenery.
My background in Urban Ecology fueled my passion for the balance of social, economic, and environmental systems and how we can merge the three most sustainably and equitably—leaving no one behind
Alma uses her background in storytelling and passion for photography to connect people to environmental concerns. She believes in making issues accessible and digestible to the public so that we can all make informed decisions and engage in the political process. Her work at RUP is committed to increasing political engagement across the state!
Organizing since 2017, Kyle has worked on over a dozen progressive campaigns in five states. When he discovered the Rural Utah Project was looking for an Organizing Director in early 2023, Kyle knew his passion for rural organizing and team building would be perfect in facilitating RUP’s mission of empowering underrepresented communities in the Beehive State.
Dalene’s job description includes keeping RUP’s staff in check. Prior to joining RUP, Dalene was a substitute and after school teacher in Bluff, and is passionate about the intersection of Navajo Culture and education. When not finding new ways to identify voters, you can find Dalene enjoying sunshine and family.
With a long history of advocacy on the Navajo Nation, Tara is committed to issues of health care, education, and economic development. With a background in construction and community resilience, Tara brought her enthusiasm and talents to the Utah Navajo Trust Fund before joining the Rural Utah Project.
Sam Van Wetter
Sam found Rural Utah Project through ad on Boulder town's odds-and-ends listserv, Pegboard. His work as an organizer unites his love for the wild landscapes of Southern Utah and his belief in rural autonomy, food sovereignty, and community resilience. Sam is also a farmer, fiber artist, and outdoorsmyn.
The Rural Utah Project seeks to empower underrepresented voters in rural Utah by providing them with tools, training, and knowledge by means of voter registration, education, and issue advocacy on important topics that affect all Utahns.
Help Us Invest in Utah's Future
Sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date on the latest news and work from the Rural Utah Project.