Mark Ludwig - MDP Rural Caucus Chair

Mark was born and raised in Michigan. His youth was spent assisting his father during the early days of the environmental movement, studying Great Lakes water birds affected by industrial pollution. He settled in Allegan County, founding a small beef farm in Clyde Township in 2005 with his wife Kim. Mark served on the Fennville Public School Board, Clyde Township Planning Commission and currently serves on the Allegan Conservation District Board of Directors. He is also Vice Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Rural Caucus and is an alternate to the MDP State Central Committee. Mark graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Environmental Issues and has a Short Course Degree from UW Madison in Grass Based Dairy.

Jaime Brants - MDP Rural Caucus Chair

Jaime is a rural organizer at heart. As a former union organizer and current political organizer, she realizes the strengths and needs of rural communities that she has worked in. As a graduate of Adler University, she has fully embraced the core tenet of Adlerian Psychology, that the health of the individual depends on the health of the community. She believes in empowering rural communities to increase the health of all rural Michiganders.

Jaime lives in Petoskey with her husband and two dogs and enjoys the natural green spaces that surround her home. She has a MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Adler University and a BA in Organizational Leadership from Arizona State University.

Peggy Raddatz - MDP Rural Caucus Treasurer

I have been on the Executive Board of the Manistee County Democratic Party, in some capacity, for the past 25 years. I no longer serve on the Executive Board, but remain a member of the Leadership Team. In addition, I currently serve as an Officer of the MDP Senior Caucus, the MDP Rural Caucus, the MI Rural PAC, the Rural Michigan Action Alliance, and the Lakeside Club of Manistee County.

I served this last campaign cycle as Treasurer for four State Representative Candidates. I’d like to say here that this State needs to train more people in Campaign Finance so they can
be Treasurers for candidates. Such people are few and far between and we need many more!

My husband and I reside in rural Mason County, but associate ourselves with the City of Manistee in Manistee County. My husband, a retired school superintendent, raises heritage turkeys for his business, Bourbon Red Heritage Farms. I keep the books for the business.

Brian Hoduski - Region 1 Vice Chair

Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Iron Counties

Brian Hoduski is a lifelong Democrat and has been active with the Houghton County Democratic Party since moving there from Grand Marais in 1999. He has served as co-chair of the HCDP since 2006. He learned from boyhood about rural issues helping on his Grandfather’s farm in Menominee County. He trained as a fishery biologist and geographer and has worked in conservation and museum curation since 1986. He enjoys cooking, gardening, hunting, traveling, and his grandkids.

Robert Anderson - Region 2 Vice Chair

Baraga, Marquette, Dickinson and Alger

Robert Anderson is a lifelong Democratic and has been active with the Marquette County Democratic Party for many years. Robert graduated from MSU College of Law and his first law job was serving as an attorney for the US Dept.of Housing and Urban Development in the Carter Administration.

He practices Elder Law and Disability Rights throughout the UP and has taught law courses for MTU and NMU. In 1986 Robert ran for US Congress as a Democratic in the UP and Northern Michigan against an incumbent Republican. Robert and his wife live in Marquette, and enjoy biking, cross country skiing and their grandchildren.

Hunter Evans - Region 3 Co-Chair

Schoolcraft, Delta, Menominee, Luce, Chippewa and Mackinac Counties
Hunter Evans started his political activism at just 16 in Rural Northeast Texas, and has been active ever since. At 20, he was elected to serve as County Chair of the Red River County (TX) Democratic Party, where he advocated for rural healthcare access (Red River County’s hospital closed in 2014), public education, rural LGBTQ+ protections, healthy food access, voting rights, and protections for wetlands and hardwood forests in East Texas. He was re-elected and served several terms as County Chair and as the Texas Young Democrats Rural Caucus Chair before stepping down to move to the Eastern Upper Peninsula in 2023, when he was 24 years old. Hunter is a proud member of the Human Rights Campaign and the NAACP.

Since moving to Michigan, Hunter has canvassed and talked to voters in all 6 counties located within Region 3 for various candidates, and has also canvassed in many other counties across Northern Michigan and the UP.

Jay Gage - Region 3 Co-Chair

Schoolcraft, Delta, Menominee, Luce, Chippewa and Mackinac Counties
Jay is a lifelong Democrat and has been active in Upper Peninsula politics since his start in 2008 on the Obama campaign. Since then he has campaigned for and supported candidates nearly every election cycle from the U.S. Senate down to City Commission. He was previously elected to serve as a Sault Ste Marie City Commissioner and while in college was the President of the Student Association of Michigan, the statewide Student Government association for Michigan's 15 public universities.

He is a fierce advocate for the Upper Peninsula, rural issues, and for small towns across the State of Michigan.

Jenny Johnson - Region 4 Vice Chair

Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Alpena, and Charlevoix

Tim Dowd - Region 5 Vice Chair

Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Antrim, Kalkaska and Benzie Counties

Born in Detroit. Lifelong Michigan Democrat. 50 year member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Treasurer of the Leelanau County Democratic Party. Trail Ambassador for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Lives in Cedar, Mi with wife Kathy, dog(Winnie) and cat(Ozzie). Former trustee of Carpenters local #202 Traverse City. Four children Ryan business agent for the Operating Engineers International, Dr. Sarah Greene MD, anesthesiologist at University of Chicago hospital, Grace Splude, manager Roadside B&G Bloomfield Hills, MI. Hollie Dowd MPH for Deloitte US New York.

Open - Region 6 Vice Chair

Missaukee, Otsego, Montmorency and Crawford Counties
This position is currently open. Interested? Contact

Open - Region 7 Vice Chair

Oscoda, Alcona and Iosco Counties
This position is currently open. Interested? Contact

John Helge - Region 8 Vice Chair

Wexford, Mason, Lake, Oceana and Manistee Counties

I am excited to have the opportunity to serve as the new Region 8 Vice Chair of the Michigan Rural Caucus. I am currently the Chair of the Manistee Dems.

I have lived in Manistee County for over 22 years. I recently retired from Nalco Water an Ecolab Company after a 40-year career leading field technical sales teams. During my first ten years in Manistee, I was responsible for our operations in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Then, during my final 12 years, I was responsible for my company’s business relationship with major clients, first in North America and then globally. I had a very fulfilling career focused on water-related challenges and environmental sustainability.

I look forward to hearing from you anytime you have a question or idea to improve our Rural Caucus.

Dixon Dudderar - Region 9 Vice Chair

Muskegon and Kent Counties

Dixon is a retired reporter, editor and photographer, having worked at newspapers in Indiana, Texas, Wisconsin and — for over 22 years -- in Grand Rapids, MI.

He has a BA in Journalism and an MPA in Public & Environmental Policy, both from Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!) His background and experience have nurtured his interest in politics, public affairs, renewable energy and environmental issues, and his desire to see qualified people of integrity installed in public office.

Dixon’s political activity dates back to the George McGovern presidential campaign. He has worked recently for several Michigan legislative candidates, and for both the (Successful!) “VNP” and “Promote The Vote” statewide ballot initiative efforts.

Dixon, 73, and his wife, Julie, cherish time with their four daughters and numerous grandchildren, love to travel, and are former avid Great Lakes and blue water keelboat sailors. They live in Rockford, MI.

Jessie Iliff List - Region 10 Vice Chair

Newayo, Isabella and Mecosta Counties

Jessie Iliff List has been a member of the Mecosta County Democratic Party for the last 15 years. She has also volunteered for Volunteers Not Politicians and actively participated in getting signatures, educating, and promoting the passage of Proposal Two- a proposal to create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Later on, for the 2022 election cycle, she actively campaigned for two other proposals: Proposal Two, the Voting Rights Act, an amendment to change voting procedures to make voting more accessible, and Proposal 3, the Right to Reproductive Freedom.

Elspeth Inglis - Region 11 Vice Chair

Barry, Ionia, Montcalm and Gratiot Counties

Elspeth is retired from her career as a history educator in classrooms and museums where she also focused her work on community collaborations. Designing museum programs and projects brought her in close partnership with marginalized communities in rural and urban areas of Southwest Michigan. Ensuring a public platform in which these communities had opportunities to tell their own stories was one of Elspeth’s most satisfying aspects of her work.

She is a “dyed-in-the-wool” Democrat, a third generation American whose grandparents experienced the hardships of war, genocide and poverty. Without the aid of U.S. government programs afforded her grandparents, and her parents’ hard work, she may not have enjoyed the opportunities for a good education, healthcare and employment that she has been fortunate to have.

Elspeth is committed to working for humanitarian, democratic and Democratic ideals that are grounded in equity and compassion for all people and for good stewardship of the earth.

Michael Fields - Region 12 Vice Chair

Clare, Gladwin, Osceola, Roscommon, Ogemaw and Arenac Counties

Michael retired from Au Gres-Sims Schools after 25 years of service as an elementary teacher. Michael spent 23 years as the local MEA chair at Au Gres and 10 years as a Coordinating Chair of District 12. Currently he is the chair of Gladwin County Democratic Party where he has been living with his wife Cathryn since 2016.

Larry Jackson - Region 13 Vice Chair

Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties

I came to West Michigan by way of Chicago (and my wonderful wife) and have worked in public service most of my adult life. As a military veteran, firefighter and currently the Chair of the Ottawa County Democratic Party. We serve our rural communities which make up about a 3rd of Ottawa County and we need to thrive together. My goal while working on the rural caucus is to better understand the challenges statewide so I can help the communities we serve.

Open - Region 14 Vice Chair

Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch
This position is currently open. Interested? Contact

Kristine Squiers - Region 15 Vice Chair

Calhoun, Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe Counties

Hello my name is Kristine Squiers and I have a Master of Science in Psychology specializing in Industrial Organizational Psychology, a Graduate Certificate in Business Management, and a Graduate Certificate in Diversity Studies. I have lived in rural areas of Michigan much of my life.

I am the mother of an adult son with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder, who is also a member of the MDP. During his childhood I was a single mother working in the construction industry for the flexibility of being self-employed through a contractor. I managed my son’s behavioral disorders, medications, appointments, and school IEP’s. Eventually, I withdrew him from school. I transitioned careers in 2008 back to marketing. I home schooled my son from fifth grade until he
graduated in 2016. He is a great success.

I am a small business owner, a self-employed digital marketing and social media expert, contracted out to a global company that serves healthcare providers. I have worked with a variety of industries over the years and have familiarity with industrial and agricultural markets as well as healthcare.

I have created a Certified Wildlife Habitat in my yard which provides food, water and shelter for wildlife. My entire half acre yard is in a small subdivision inspiring the neighborhood. This also includes a Monarch Way Station and a variety of blue bird houses.

I am a member of these organizations:

Michigan Alliance of Environmental and Outdoor Education
Michigan Audubon
Michigan Sierra Club
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Arbor Day Foundation
National Wildlife Federation

Karl Sime - Region 16 Vice Chair

Eaton, Ingham, Livingston, Clinton and Shiawassee Counties
I was born in Sacramento, CA in 1960 and was raised there and Berkely in pre-school, Germany in elementary school, Switzerland in high school. My parents are university professors, both experts in physical chemistry and x-ray crystallography. Both parents were highly active in the democratic party and as a child I helped them with campaigns for Humphery, Eagleton, Shriver, Chisolm, Feinstein, and the list goes on.

I was raised in the Jewish faith and had my Bar-Mitzvah when I turned 13. One of my gifts was a book by Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring”. Even as a youth, this book greatly moved me and generated a deep interest in preserving nature and the environment.

I later receive a BS in Mechanical Engineering from CSU, Sacramento and MS in Automotive Systems Engineering from Purdue. My first engineering job fresh out of college was for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) where we wrote mobile source emissions regulations including OBD II (I wrote the first draft), LEV, and ZEV (EV) emission standards and test procedures for both gas and diesel- powered vehicles.

I was then hired by GM and worked on compliance to the regulations we actually wrote for tailpipe emissions standards. The full circle for the ZEV emissions came around 2003 when I joined a very small group of GM engineers to begin pioneering the first production electric vehicles.

I had been working with developing software and hardware for electric vehicle propulsion systems ever since. After retiring from GM I worked as an electrification consultant for Mercedes Benz, and presently work for American Axle Manufacturing Advanced Technology Development group on providing OEM electric axles to GM, Mercedez Benz, Tesla, and many other automotive manufacturers around the world.

My hobbies and interests include everything there is to do about nature and the outdoors and more recently, deep interest in politics, democracy, and elections. Have been a member of Ingham County Democratic Party and serve as chair for our organizing committee. For the past 8 months have been organizing a series of democratic rural outreach events and have discovered there is a very strong interest from Democrats living in these areas. These Democrats have been often overlooked by folks
living in the cities and now we can no longer afford to neglect this vast pool of resources.

Open - Region 17 Vice Chair

Genesee, Saginaw, Midland, and Bay Counties
This position is currently open. Interested? Contact

Joe Gutowski - Region 18 Vice Chair

St. Clair, Lapeer, Sanilac, Tuscola and HuronCounties

Joe Gutowski is 68 years old and has spent the last 23 years of his life living in Hadley Township in Lapeer County. He was born and raised in Livonia, Michigan, at the age of 16
he began serving an electrical apprenticeship, as did his father and his grandfather. He and his wife of 43 years moved to Los Angeles shortly after marrying in 1980, and they
returned to Michigan in 2000 so Joe could take a senior management position with the worldwide corporation where he worked the last 34 years of his career, he retired in 2019.

While attending Wayne State University, Joe interned between 1974 and 1976 as a legislative agent for Common Cause, and after Common Cause announced a pioneering effort on November 5th, 1975, to introduce more truth and honesty into political campaigning by setting a code of standards for presidential candidates, he was assigned to travel with presidential candidate Morris Udall to his campaign activities to monitor his campaign’s compliance in the 1976 Presidential Election.

Since retiring, Joe has spent a great deal of time advocating for his neighbors in disputes with utilities, he has brought and continues to bring high-speed internet to the residents of Lapeer County, and personally provides aid to elderly members of his community.

Joe decided to join the Michigan Democratic Party Rural Caucus to provide assistance where needed to the many rural Democratic Party officials who work tirelessly every day
to bring meaningful change to the residents of rural Michigan.

Brian Jaye- Region 19 Vice Chair

Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties

Mr. Jaye has been actively working on Statewide Democratic Campaigns since 2004. Finally Mr. Jaye served as a Judicial Intern (unpaid law clerk) to the former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, a very prestigious position to attain. Mr. Jaye also worked on several high level political campaigns including David Leyton for Attorney General, Gary Peters for US Congress, and Debbie Stabenow for U.S. Senate.

In 2020, Mr. Jaye worked on the United States Presidential Campaign of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, got elected as a Democratic Delegate in his county, and was elected to the executive committee of the Oakland County Democratic Party. He attempted a Statewide Nomination with the Michigan Democratic Party for the State Board of Education. He was also the Democratic Nominee for United States Congress in Michigan's 9th Congressional District in 2022 against Lisa McClain.