Our Team

TJ Ellerbeck

Madeline McGill

Ali Vallarta

Salt Lake City, Utah

Drew Cooper

Tara Benally

Bluff, Utah

Dalene Redhorse

Marcy Stephenson

Justice Johnson

Michael Bia

Jarvis Sam

Navajo Nation, Utah

Nate Vosburg

Helper, Utah

Sam Van Wetter

Boulder Town, Utah

Josie Kovash

Kate Lips

Moab, Utah

Our Staff

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

Executive Director

Salt Lake City, Utah

tj@ruralutah.org
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TJ

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.

Drew Cooper

Deputy Director

Bluff, Utah

drew@ruralutah.org
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Drew

Drew came onboard the Rural Utah Project after working on campaigns across the country. A native Iowan, Drew got his start in rural organizing working on political campaigns across Utah. Drew is passionate about economic justice and rural representation.

Tara Benally

Field Director

Bluff, Utah

tara@ruralutah.org
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Tara

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.

Madeline McGill

Communications Director

Salt Lake City, Utah

madeline@ruralutah.org
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Madeline

Before joining the team, Madeline got her start working on political campaigns large and small. As a grassroots campaign consultant at Field First in Boston, she worked with labor unions and candidates for office to advance fights for economic justice. She’s passionate about using digital tools to advance advocacy objectives. In her spare time, you can find Madeline playing fetch with her dog, Melon.

Ali Vallarta

Development Director

Salt Lake City, Utah

ali@ruralutah.org
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Ali

A Florida woman, Ali Vallarta made Utah her home in 2017. She got her start working with film festivals across the country, and since then has spent her career forging partnerships for political candidates, blue-chip brands, NGO’s, and media outlets. When she's not on the phone, you can find Ali wrangling horses and catching trout.

Daylene Redhorse

Field Organizer

Navajo Nation, Utah

daylene@ruralutah.org
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Daylene

Daylene’s job description includes keeping RUP’s staff in check. Prior to joining RUP, Daylene 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 Daylene enjoying sunshine and family.

Nate Vosburg

Field Organizer

Helper, Utah

nate@ruralutah.org
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Nate

An Iowa native, Nate came to RUP after working as an organizer with the Building Trades in NYC. Nate is passionate about economic justice for workers, especially in rural communities, and moving away from industries that are detrimental to the environment, our lands, and working families.

Sam Van Wetter

Field Organizer

Boulder Town, Utah

sam@ruralutah.org
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Sam

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 South-Central Utah and his belief in rural autonomy, food sovereignty, and community resilience. Sam is also a farmer, fiber artist, and outdoorsmyn.

Our Mission

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.

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