Kate Hess Pace
What do you do at HA? I develop our organizing program, work with our staff, develop leadership throughout the region, and raise money. I primarily see my role as unleashing other people to take leadership around the things they care about and to build our power through our membership. I manage both statewide and national partnerships, working on collaborative campaigns in Indiana and across the country.
What do you love about Indiana? So many things! My family goes back in Indiana at least five generations and there is nowhere else in the world I feel more at home. I love the rolling hills and lush green beauty of Southern Indiana, I love the grit and heart of the people. I love working alongside so many people who want to make our state better for everyone.
What did you do before? I was a faith-based organizer in Minnesota with an organization called ISAIAH. I worked on a lot of economic justice campaigns - stopping predatory lending (payday lending, subprime car lending), passed the Homeowners Bill of Rights at the MN state legislators providing homeowners strong protections from the banks, and worked to defeat voter ID on the ballot in 2012. Before that I worked a million different jobs from restaurants, to graphic design, to childcare, to office support.
What do you do at Hoosier Action? As the general coordinator for Project Midterm, I lead trainings, maintain spreadsheets, coach captains, track teams' progress, conduct outreach to candidates and institutional partners, and do whatever else is necessary to transform the politics of the state so that the values and needs of ordinary people are reflected in the halls of power.
What do you love about Indiana? The splendor of its wooded hills and small town courthouse squares, the resilience of its everyday people in the face of relentless attacks from billionaires and mega-corporations, and the depth of its history of working class strength and vitality.
What did you do before? In April of 2017, I moved here from New York City to help get Hoosier Action off the ground. In New York, I worked as an organizer with 1199/SEIU and Working America and a communications associate with the NYS Nurses Association. I also wrote for The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Nation and elsewhere.
What do you do at Hoosier Action? I am currently developing a chapter in Seymour Indiana. The town represents the sort of base we are trying to build: working-class folks who have seen good jobs leave and housing costs rise. I'm also heading up our work on the opioid epidemic. We are developing a campaign that asks our local and state governments and local corporations to pitch in their fair share so that we can stop losing friends and family every day in Indiana.
What do you love about Indiana? I love that Indiana is a nexus of sorts. Not the south but not the midwest completely either. There's a blending of different regions. I love that, in the southern part of the state, where I work, I can often hear people talk with the same accent that my Kentucky grandma spoke with, and I'm reminded of home and my people.
What did you do before?
I spent my twenties working at gas stations, grocery stores, video stores, and every other minimum wage job. Then, at 28, I decided to go to college, and seven years later, I completed my Master's in English. I taught college composition for three years and was substitute teaching when I saw a job posting at Hoosier Action.
What do you do at Hoosier Action? I organize around rural and environmental justice issues. I am currently beginning an effort to build an alliance among family farmers across Southern Indiana that can run campaigns to support rural life and address environmental issues that impact farmers today. I also organize the Food and Farms Coalition which aligns family farmers and SNAP (food stamps) recipients to create a food system that benefits all Hoosiers.
What do you love about Indiana? I love the Hoosier fields, forests, and farmlands. I love how when you drive through the summer countryside, people wave from their cars and porches like neighbors; an act that has been forgotten in so much of our country. I love bluegrass music and the spirit of Indiana's people and culture.
What did you do before? In the summer of 2014, I designed and built a Tiny House out of scrap and reused materials. I moved the house to Indiana last year when I began working as a Garden Intern at Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, a local food pantry and resource center.
What do you do at Hoosier Action? My position at Hoosier Action is Assistant Office Administrator. Within this role, I perform the day-to-day in-house office duties such as record/database upkeep and account reconciliations. In addition, I provide assistance to other Hoosier Action employees as necessary in order to support the continued success of Indiana's residents.
What do you love about Indiana? I love the diversity within Indiana with respect to individualized interests--whether that is city life, rural living, sports activities or artistic ventures--Indiana provides a wealth of choice. I admire its residents' perseverance and collaborative instincts--Hoosiers have that special ability to bounce back regardless of the situation and work with each other towards fair and just resolutions.
What did you do before? After receiving my paralegal degree in the late 1980s, I worked in Indiana's real estate field for 20 years conducting property ownership research and as a commercial/residential property manager. Currently, I am an ethnomusicology doctoral student within IU's Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, with a specialized focus on social activism, diaspora and urban youth culture.