Party Adds Secrest, Three Tennesseans for 2014 Campaigns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron today named Alan Secrest, a top national Democratic strategist and pollster with Tennessee ties, as the Party’s new Executive Director and Research Director beginning January 2014.

Three local professionals — Mark Epps, Nikki Holland and Heather Meshell — will also join the Party as staff this month.

“I am thrilled to welcome Alan, Mark, Nikki and Heather to the Tennessee Democratic Party,” Herron said. “With Alan’s coast-to-coast experience developing strategic and tactical plans for political clients and advocacy groups, his leadership will help maximize Democratic opportunities both in the near and long term.”

Secrest, with 30 years experience advising Democratic candidates in high-profile races, has helped elect more than 450 members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. John Lewis and former Tennessee Congressmen Lincoln Davis and Bart Gordon, and hundreds more state and local office holders, such as former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell.

“There is no shortage of Democratic talent, passion and commitment in Tennessee,” Secrest said. “I will do my best to harness and unify the amazing resources in service to Democratic wins throughout the state.”

Purcell, Davis and Gordon applauded Secrest’s strategic abilities:

Bill Purcell: “Alan is smart and insightful and understands the issues that matter most to people. He has the ability to help this party find its way in these critical times.”

Lincoln Davis: “Alan Secrest is a solid professional who knows politics as well as anyone in America. He’s a good hire.”

Bart Gordon: “Alan did my polling and provided important strategic advice during some of my toughest re-election campaigns.”

Bob Tuke, a former TNDP chairman, led the search committee for the new executive director.

“Alan is a highly respected and well known political consultant, pollster and writer, and he has a history of winning tough elections in sometimes unfriendly territory,” Tuke said. “Alan is a great fit for Tennessee and his experience is exactly what Democratic candidates need to replace the Republican majority in Congress and the General Assembly.”

A brief summary of each new employee is included below:

–Alan Secrest, Executive Director and Director of Research. Secrest has more than 30 years professional experience in polling and political strategy. He has helped win elections for more than 450 Democratic members of the U.S. Congress, including former U.S. Reps. Bart Gordon and Lincoln Davis, and hundreds more state and local office holders, including governors and Nashville’s former mayor, Bill Purcell.

–Nikki Holland, Deputy Finance Director. Holland comes to the TNDP from WDKN 101.5 The One, where she worked as Director of Sales and Promotions and also managed the station’s social media. Holland worked previously as a producer at Fox 17 and directed Titans All Access, the official show of the Tennessee Titans.

–Mark Epps, Deputy Finance Director. Epps, a graduate of Tennessee State University, comes to the TNDP from the Mid Cumberland Human Resources Agency, where he worked as a youth case manager. Epps has interned with the Economic Council on Women and the Tennessee General Assembly. He expects to earn his Masters in Civic Leadership from Lipscomb University in December.

–Heather Meshell, Office Manager. Meshell comes to the TNDP from Brantley Security Services, where she managed more than 250 event employees for major downtown venues like the Music City Center, the Nashville Convention Center and Nashville Municipal Auditorium. She has a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.



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