The Maryland Forward Party Board of Directors consist of volunteer members elected in April 2022, or appointed by the Board since that time. These members are committed to the ideals of Forward and hold regular weekly meetings to: review with the National team, interview prospective candidates, plan events / fundraising / communications, and conduct the regular business of the MD Forward Party. The Board will expand in the future to a total of 25 members, prior to obtaining recognized party status. If you would like to be a Board Member, getting involved as a volunteer is a great way to start.
Name: Matt Beyers
Title: Board Member - Chairman
Bio: I live in Frederick and am currently the elected Chair of the Maryland Forward Party. I am a biologist by education, a program manager by profession, and a Scouter by avocation. I have always been interested in politics, but never did anything about it because I felt like it was too hard to get into the major parties (although I volunteered for John Kerry during his presidential campaign). I watched with dismay over the last 20 years as politics became more and more polarized, and less and less was getting done, and I was captivated by the idea of the Forward party being a viable, credible, durable party option. I joined the Maryland team in September 2022 and quickly helped them get through the process of establishing a Board structure and a corporate entity. I strongly believe in servant leadership and feel that Forward’s principles and methodology will truly change for the better the way we do politics in the country.
Name: Brandon Barrett
Title: Board Member - Vice Chairman
Bio: I live in Germantown with my family and work as a Data Analyst for a Clinical Research Organization. Growing up in Southern Virginia and moving to Montgomery County, MD after college, my own beliefs were greatly influenced by different environments over time. Like many, I have also felt the impact of our increased polarization on family dynamics. Through these experiences, I’ve recognized the importance of having unique perspectives, respecting others’ differences, and in finding common ground. I am very concerned that our country will become even more divided under two-party control, which I think perpetuates false binary choices of “Left vs. Right” leading to dangerous division. I am hopeful, though, that a path is being built towards a viable multi-party system as logical reforms are enacted throughout our states to improve primary elections and voting methods. I was immediately drawn to the Forward Party with its focus on supporting innovative reforms and its commitment to grace & tolerance and diverse thinking. I am grateful for the opportunity to help build the Forward Party in Maryland, and for being part of a growing movement dedicated to expanding political voice and helping communities thrive.
Name: John Caves
Title: Board Member
Bio: John Caves is a volunteer, foreign policy professional, and occasional writer who lives in Brunswick, Maryland. He grew up in Germantown in Montgomery County, then lived for several years in New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Alaska while getting his college education and serving as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army. John returned home to Maryland in 2017 and now works at a DC-based nonprofit dedicated to preventing weapons of mass destruction from ending up in the wrong hands. John is a conservative committed to the classically liberal and federalist principles of our Republic’s founding and is open to reforms that can reinforce those principles and do right by citizens. He was politically homeless from 2016 until finding Forward in late 2022, and now is keen to see what the Forward Party can grow into and achieve both in Maryland and nationwide.
Name: Shiv Gupta
Title: Board Member - Treasurer
Bio: I am a Maryland-based entrepreneur and an expert in the data and analytics industry. Like others who have joined Forward, I have been troubled and frustrated by the growing toxic partisanship in America. Like many Americans, I refuse to let party affiliations define my positions on issues and I support great ideas (left, right, or center). As a result, I rarely feel represented at the ballot box and believe that electoral reform is badly needed so that voters can elect representation that better reflects their views. I joined the Maryland Forward board and am currently the treasurer of the Maryland Forward Party because I want to leave my children an America that is Forward thinking, rather than one torn apart by partisan politics.
Name: PJ Benenati
Title: Board Member
Bio: I’ve always believed that life and the choices we make are more complicated than black or white. We live in a world of gray and our individual experiences provide different perspectives, to every person. My values come from my parents, who taught me to listen to others, be thoughtful and kind, and try your best to help make a positive change. I joined the Maryland Forward Party because I believe in a more respectful form of political discourse. I want to see us prioritizing people over party and policies and hope that we can see progressive positive change in our communities and across our nation.
Name: Matt Hines
Title: Board Member - Secretary
Bio: Matt Hines lives in Montgomery County, MD, and is leading the Ballot Access effort for the Maryland Forward Party. He has a background in Business Development & Recreation Management. Growing up in a Republican family and receiving a liberal education, he struggled with the growing divide between the two major parties. In 2022, he worked as the Fundraising Director & Small Business Liaison for a Democratic congressional challenger. After seeing how the party responded to unwanted challengers, he realized both major parties were playing the same game and neither had the answers to the problems facing our country. Motivated by the desire to give Independents a voice in Maryland & helping ease the political tensions between friends and family across the country, he is convinced the Forward Party can become the home for the many who want a bottom up approach to politics. A party where reasonable people are willing to work through differing opinions. A party where major agreements are not lost to unrelated differences.
Name: Michael O'Loughlin
Title: Board Member
Bio: I've always been a tinkerer, wanting to know how things work and what makes them tick. On top of that I've always considered myself politically homeless, and ideas about new incentives in politics drew my interest many years ago. However, I could never find a viable path to get those changes done, let alone find like-minded people that share similar values to myself. I do believe that the Forward Party is different in that they are making the changes at the local level, as well as building a political home for the people that they find along the way. I am very focused on making sure the Maryland Forward Party has a strong foundation to build upon so that it may be able to make the changes that are so desperately needed.
Name: David Brown
Title: Board Member
Bio: I live in Carroll County, MD and currently work on the Maryland Forward Party's web site as a software developer. I also volunteer at MFP events and help out the team in any way else I can. I have never been involved in politics, but the growing divide in the country and the threat to our great democracy has driven me to get involved to make a difference. Over time the political discourse in this country has evolved from one dominated by debates around ideas to one dominated by tribal identity and tribal allegiance. I do believe this country's political divide can be mended and that is why I joined the Maryland Forward Party. I believe voting reforms like Rank Choice Voting can make a difference. I also believe partisan primaries and state legislative district gerrymandering are just power plays and don't have a place in a vibrant democracy.
Name: Brenna Vega
Title: Board Member
Bio: When I was 16, I served as a Congressional Page in the U.S. House of Representatives. I went in expecting to get a firsthand view of the legislative process but left in frustration at the lack of actual dialogue between our nation's leaders. After spending most of my early adult years avoiding politics like the plague, my dad reminded me that if any of this was going to change in my lifetime, I needed to stop complaining and start doing. As an advocate for a universal basic income (UBI) and finding myself politically homeless due to the seismic shift in the Republican Party, I signed up the next day for the Forward Party. I'm a firm believer in the need to modernize our civic mechanisms through open primaries and nonpartisan districting to make sure our government works for the people and not the other way around.
Some of our leads and volunteers in the field.