For the past decade, Owen Poindexter has been fighting to elect Democrats, create a fairer campaign finance system, end the racist War on Drugs and provide everyone with a universal basic income. After helping President Obama edge out a razor thin victory in North Carolina in 2008, he moved to Berkeley where he worked as a writer and researcher at MapLight, a nonprofit focused on the undue influence of rich people and corporations on our political system. After getting an advanced degree in writing at Oakland’s Mills College, he worked as a journalist and blogger, exposing the destructive drug war, systemic corruption in our political process and the hypocrisy of the Republican Party.
It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with the East Bay. The diverse, creative culture, natural beauty, and long history of leading the charge on progressive policies make it one of the best places on Earth. He and his wife decided it was the perfect place to start a family. He helped create community by starting a biweekly potluck, open to all, that has been running seven years and continues to this day.
Along the way, he became interested in the concept of the universal basic income—a simple and powerful proposal to end abject poverty, spur entrepreneurship and stimulate the economy. He joined a community of advocates for this groundbreaking idea, and eventually launched the Basic Income Podcast, where he and his co-host interview leaders in the movement, such as MacArthur Fellow Ai-Jen Poo, former SEIU President Andy Stern, California Senator Bob Wieckowski and Professor Dorian Warren who wrote the basic income provision of the Movement for Black Lives platform.
After the catastrophic election of Donald Trump, Owen joined Swing Left, an organization devoted to helping the Democrats win the House of Representatives in 2018. Over six months, he coordinated research for18 swing districts in the Western U.S.
With the birth of his son Leo, Owen grew increasingly impatient with how politics halfway treats the symptoms of our issues while barely touching the causes. California’s efforts on climate change, housing and creating a real social safety net are helpful, but always allow root causes to persist. This inspired him to become more than an advocate and run for office. Because the solutions can be both big enough to match the size of our problems and completely practical.
He lives in Berkeley with his wife and son, who turns two on Christmas Eve. Come say hi if you see us at the playground.
Get to know Owen
-Baseball (Go A's!)
Very incomplete list of favorite books
-Raising the Floor, Andy Stern
-Debt, David Graeber
-Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
-The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
-Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon
-Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
-Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges
Favorite East Bay Spots
-Oakland Museum on Friday nights
-The Starry Plough in Berkeley
-Wildcat Canyon in Tilden Park (after a stop at Little Farm so Leo can feed the cows)