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New York City Campaign Finance Board Announces Members of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee

May 11, 2011

The Campaign Finance Board today announced four of the appointed members to serve on the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC). The VAAC will advise the CFB on its voter engagement mandates, including voter registration and participation outreach activities.

As mandated by the New York City Charter, the VAAC is composed of nine members: two are appointed by the mayor, two by the speaker of the City Council, one by the Comptroller, one by the borough presidents acting together, and a chairman, by the mayor after consultation with the speaker. The public advocate and executive director of the board of elections (or, in his or her absence, the deputy executive director) serve as ex-officio members.

The first public hearing of VAAC is tentatively scheduled for June 22, 2011. Details will be available in the coming weeks.

Archived video of today’s announcement will be available at

Art Chang founded Tipping Point Partners in 2005 to bring together experienced entrepreneurs and investors from both coasts to the benefit of the New York City technology startup community. Tipping Point typically incubates and builds fledgling Internet companies from concept to commercialization in mobile, media, and enterprise applications. Mr. Chang previously worked as an investment banker and venture capital professional and has been an entrepreneur in a dozen start-ups over the past 25 years. His civic experience includes positions at the New York City Corporation Counsel’s Office and at Empire State Development. Mr. Chang has served on non-profit boards at Safe Horizon and the Brooklyn Public Library and is an advisor to the Catherine B. Reynolds Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship at New York University. He began his career in architecture, which ended with the architect I.M. Pei. He received his M.B.A from New York University and his B.A. from Yale. Mr. Chang also serves as member of the NYC Campaign Finance Board. He was appointed as Chair of VAAC by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in consultation with the Speaker of the City Council Christine C. Quinn. He will serve a five year term.

John Avlon is senior political columnist for Newsweek and the Daily Beast as well as a CNN contributor. He is the author of “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America” as well as “Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics.” Previously, he was a columnist and associate editor for the New York Sun and the youngest and longest-serving speechwriter in Mayor Giuliani’s City Hall. He was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He will serve a two year term.

Anthony Perez Cassino is an attorney at the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, where he has overseen the firm’s pro bono activities for the past decade. Previously, he served as the Director of Pro Bono Services for the New York State Bar Association and as an aide and counsel to a New York State Assemblyman. He is a former City Council candidate who served as a member of the 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission; Chairman of Bronx Community Board 8 from 2004-2008; and Board Chairman of the Riverdale Nursery School & Family Center. Anthony is the Board Chair and one of the founding members of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. He lives in the Bronx with his wife and two children. He was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He will serve a four year term.

Jane Kalmus has served the City of New York since 1961 when she worked as Director of Communications for Mayor Robert F. Wagner. In 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy appointed Ms. Kalmus as the Chief Advisor to Richard Hatcher, the first African American Mayor of Gary, Indiana. In this capacity, she travelled to Indiana several times to advise the Mayor and his staff on the formation and implementation of policies and programs of his administration. Ms. Kalmus was also a member of the Citizens Committee for New York City, a nonprofit group created by Senator Jacob Javitz to ameliorate the fiscal crisis of 1975. In 1984, Ms. Kalmus founded the National Nonpartisan Voter Registration Campaign (NNPVRC), a nonprofit organization that helped establish a 24/7 telephone helpline (212-VOTE-NYC) at the Board of Elections for New Yorkers. As President of NNPVRC, she is an active supporter and participant in the work of the Citywide Coalition for Voter Participation and Fair Elections, a major project of New York City’s good government groups devoted to enhancing voter participation citywide. In 1989, Ms. Kalmus was appointed by the New York City Council as the Manhattan representative on the Voter Assistance Commission (VAC) on which she served as Vice Chair from 1990 until 2010. Ms. Kalmus is also a fellow of the Culinary Institute of America, a Board Member on the Sutton Area Community (SAC), an organization for which she served as president for three years, and a Board member of the New York Youth Symphony. She was appointed by Speaker of the City Council Christine C. Quinn. She will serve a three year term.