PRESS RELEASE from the Nevada Democratic Party
Tuesday, December 12, 2006    
Contact:          Kirsten Searer
(702) 236-1498
Nevada Democratic Party
Hires 2008 Presidential Caucus Team

Former Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Jean Hessburg will serve as Campaign Director

National Communications Team includes Presidential campaign veterans Jamal Simmons, Roger Salazar and Bill Buck

(Las Vegas, NV) – Today, Tom Collins, Chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party announced the hiring of several experienced Iowa Caucus and presidential campaign veterans to advise the Nevada state party for the 2008 Presidential Caucuses.

Jean Hessburg, who served as Executive Director of the Iowa Democratic Party during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles will be the Campaign Director providing overall direction for the Nevada Caucuses. Jayson Sime who served as the Iowa Democratic Party’s Field and Canvass Director in 2004 will join the state party full time to assist her. [more below]

Jamal Simmons and Bill Buck of New Future Communications and Roger Salazar of Acosta Salazar, a full service campaign consulting firm based in Sacramento, California, have been hired to provide national communications counsel. Simmons and Buck have been involved in every presidential campaign cycle since 1992, including serving as the traveling and national press secretaries for retired General Wesley Clark in 2004. Salazar has experience at every level of Democratic politics including serving as national spokesman for U.S. Senator John Edwards’ 2004 primary campaign. [more below]

“We are thrilled that this team is joining our effort,” Chairman Collins said today. “These four national political veterans bring tremendous experience in the presidential campaign arena and from a state with a long history of running caucuses at this level.  In the weeks to come, candidates can look forward to a calendar of upcoming events, debate and public forum schedules and a detailed plan for how the caucuses will work.”

The Nevada Democratic Party will hold the second caucus of the 2008 presidential nominating calendar following Iowa. As the first state in the west to hold an early caucus, presidential candidates will have the opportunity to express their views on important issues affecting all westerners such as education, protecting the environment and natural resources, immigration and sprawl.





Jean Hessburg served as Executive Director of the Iowa Democratic Party during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles. During her tenure, she managed Iowa's 2004 precinct caucuses, which were the most successful in the state's history because of record turnout and a rapid, accurate reporting system. The Iowa Precinct Caucuses, which are held every two years in more than 2,000 locations across the state, attract thousands of reporters from across the nation and the world during presidential elections. During the 2002 election, Hessburg managed the Iowa Democratic Party's successful efforts to re-elect U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, Governor Tom Vilsack and Lt. Governor Sally Pederson, and Congressman Leonard Boswell. This effort included overseeing more than 300 field and administrative staff and a $3.4 million budget.

During the 2004 election, she oversaw the state party's efforts, which included the John Kerry for President Campaign, as well as Congressman Boswell's successful re-election campaign and gains by Democrats in state House and Senate campaigns. She supervised 27 support and 147 field staff during the 2004 campaign. Hessburg has a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa.

Jayson Sime has worked the past three elections cycles in Iowa Democratic campaigns. During the 2006 campaign, he was manager for U.S. Congressman Leonard Boswell’s successful re-election campaign.  His efforts included writing and implementing a comprehensive campaign plan; managing a staff of seven people; and managing a $2 million budget.

In 2004, he served as the Iowa Democratic Party’s Field and Canvass Director.  His duties included hiring, training and managing a staff of five Regional Field Directors, 50 Field Organizers, 20 Team Leaders, and 100 Canvassers.  He also managed GOTV (Get-Out-the-Vote) efforts in 17 counties in Eastern Iowa, which included assisting GOTV directors in planning Election Day efforts in their assigned counties.

During the Iowa precinct caucuses in 2004, he served as the state party’s Caucus Director.  His duties focused on coordinating and organizing 99 county parties across the state to prepare for the caucus.  This included conducting caucus trainings for local county parties, elected officials and presidential campaign staff; overseeing confirmation of caucus locations and precinct captains in 1,993 precincts; designing and setting up the caucus call center to receive incoming results from 1,993 precincts on caucus night; and managing 15 staff and 50 volunteers on caucus night to record and track incoming caucus results.

Jamal Simmons has been a senior aide to several Democratic political candidates, serving most recently as traveling press secretary to former 2004 presidential candidates U.S. Senator Bob Graham and Retired General Wesley K. Clark. He was also communications director for U. S. Senator Max Cleland's reelection campaign.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Simmons managed media relations in 40 states for Vice President Al Gore before spending four weeks in West Palm Beach as a Gore spokesman during the Florida recount effort. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D, MI) and as a political appointee in the Clinton Administration under U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor. Simmons got his start in politics and communications by managing logistics for dozens of national reporters while traveling with President Bill Clinton during his successful 1992 campaign.

Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Simmons received his B.A degree from Morehouse College and his Master of Public Policy degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Roger Salazar served as national spokesman for the 2004 Democratic presidential primary campaign of U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-NC) and was press secretary for California Governor Gray Davis' successful re-election campaign in 2002.

Salazar’s experience as a media spokesperson for other prominent officials such as President Bill Clinton (White House); Vice President Al Gore (White House/Gore 2000); U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman; and U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, along with his work directing media advocacy for the American Cancer Society make him an expert in strategic media communications.

Salazar was recognized as one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics in America" by Hispanic Business Magazine for his work on the Gore campaign in 2000.

Salazar is a graduate of the University of Redlands where he currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees and received a Master's degree from the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

Bill Buck was the National Press Secretary for General Wesley Clark's Presidential campaign. He served as Wes Clark's national spokesperson, joining the campaign in its first days. Prior to that he was Deputy National Press Secretary of the Democratic National Committee where he focused on economic message and rapid response. In 2000, he was the communications director for Al Gore's campaign in Florida, running the earned media effort state-wide. He remained through the recount, working in West Palm and Miami. In 1996 he was the Clinton/Gore press secretary in Memphis, TN.

During the Clinton Administration he served as the Treasury Department's Press Secretary for Domestic Finance. Prior to joining Treasury, Bill was Deputy Communications Director for Commerce Secretary William M. Daley. He also worked under Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor on media campaigns to highlight export promotion.

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Bill began his professional career with Bill Clinton during the 1992 New Hampshire primary, continuing throughout that campaign before moving to Washington, DC to work on the Clinton transition and at the White House.