Who We Are
Progress Texas is a non-profit media organization promoting progressive messages and actions. We’re passionate about media, politics, and inclusive public policy, and aim to increase civic engagement among Millennial and Gen X audiences, roughly those aged 25-49.
What We Do
We create media supporting progressive change and diverse voices in our state. We specialize in message development, online campaigns, creative content, and media amplification for the progressive movement. And since 2010 we’ve shaped thousands of stories online, in newsfeeds, on TV, and in your local newspaper. We also conduct research and training via the Progress Texas Institute.
Subscribe for persuasive messaging, updates on elections, stories from the legislative session, and more. While campaigns come and go, we’re the permanent home for progressive media and action in our state – let’s build a stronger Texas together!
Ed Espinoza is Executive Director at Progress Texas where he leads a team that focuses on message development and media amplification for progressive issues. He also leads the organization’s work on public opinion polling, and provides political analysis for local and national news broadcasts.
His background includes work on more than 50 political campaigns, including five presidential efforts, and serving as Western States Director at the Democratic National Committee. He has also worked in public relations providing communications strategy for national brands. Ed is originally from Long Beach, California and went to UCLA and the London School of Economics.
Fun facts about Ed:
- Was one of the youngest Superdelegates for Barack Obama in 2008.
- Served on the PR team that launched Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. in the U.S.
- Currently trying to hike as many trails as possible in Austin
Managing Director Sarah Gutierrez joined the organization in 2013 and serves as part of our executive team, overseeing operations, budget, finance, compliance, and human resources. Coming from the political operations and campaign finance world, she worked at the Texas Democratic Party for 6 years as Deputy Comptroller and then as Comptroller. She then went on to work in campaign finance reporting and operations for political committees and candidates.
Sarah grew up in Colleyville, Texas and graduated from Texas Christian University. She and her husband Anthony live in south Austin with their son Griffin.
Fun facts about Sarah:
- Outside of work: She is an active member of the Junior League of Austin and loves Pilates
- First political job: Martin Frost for Congress, 2002
- Guilty pleasure: watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette
Senior Strategist Glenn W. Smith has been with Progress Texas from the beginning. He focuses on media and message development across major policy areas. Glenn, a former colleague of George Lakoff at Lakoff’s political framing institute in Berkeley, is expert in all facets of strategic communications.
Glenn, an author and former political writer for the Houston Chronicle and Houston Post, has worked in and around politics for 40 years. He helped manage Gov. Ann Richards’ successful campaign in 1990. Since then, Glenn has worked in a variety of political and public affairs campaigns across Texas and the nation. Unable to give up journalism altogether, he writes a regular column for the Austin American-Statesman.
Digital Strategist Saatvik Ahluwalia keeps pace with the rapidly changing world of digital marketing. In doing so, he ensures that Progress Texas is able to use cutting edge tools and strategy to spread progressive values and actions across Texas.
At Progress Texas, Saatvik manages digital platforms and tools including multiple websites and email programs. He runs social ad campaigns to amplify digital organizing efforts, and analyzes data from digital sources to better understand audiences, the effectiveness of campaigns, and how to create and deliver stronger content.
Saatvik moved from Philadelphia where he was on the board of ProgressNow affiliate Keystone Progress. He has won a Platinum MarCom Award, been profiled in the Boston Globe, and competed in multiple Bollywood dance championships.
Fun facts about Saatvik:
- Hometown: Birthplace of America - Lexington, MA
- Can you make life easier? Yes, turn off your phone’s social media notifications!
- Dream dog: Bernese. Mountain. Dog
Communications Manager Wesley Story started at Progress Texas in February 2018 as an intern and has since become the organization’s Communications Associate. His role focuses primarily on content creation, research, and our voting rights coalition work. He is also the current intern manager and has taken on the organization’s graphic design work.
Wesley has worked on various projects, including Progress Texas’ Humans Against Ted Cruz campaign, the 2019 fight against the Secretary of State’s voter purge, and the organization’s ongoing media and bill tracking.
Wesley graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in journalism and public relations. When he’s not working, Wesley can be found listening to Supreme Court oral arguments, catching up on the news, or exploring Austin.
Fun facts about Wesley:
- Hometown: Irving, TX
- Most interesting former job: Resident Assistant at UT (DM for some wild stories)
- Favorite fashion trend: He loves a good turtleneck
Communications Director Tara Pohlmeyer joined Progress Texas in 2018, where her work focuses on media relations, content creation, and social media management to help promote progressive values.
She has worked on media and messaging campaigns like the fight against Texas’ 2019 voter suppression bill, gone up against conservative extremists on live TV, and amplified the stories of Texas’ abortion access community. In this work, she has been quoted for stories in the New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, and more.
Tara grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, and is an active alumna of New Leaders Council - Austin. When she’s not online, she can be found tending to her garden, going on walks, or at a live show.
Fun facts about Tara:
- Hometown: Lyford, TX
- Most interesting former job: Station manager at my college radio station
- Earliest political aspiration: Wanting to be the first woman president in 1st grade
Election Contributor Abby Springs reports on the Senate race and other important elections-related news impacting Texans.
She is currently a sophomore double majoring in government and political communication at the University of Texas at Austin. She works in the opinion department for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and has helped boost youth voter turnout as a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. In the future, she hopes to work in communications for progressive political campaigns.
Abby grew up in East Dallas and can usually be found listening to her favorite podcast or working on her latest embroidery project.
Fun facts about Abby:
First political vote: Beto for Senate
Favorite TV show: The Great British Bake-Off
Dream dog: A beagle named Bagel
Advocacy Manager Diana leads issue management efforts at Progress Texas with a focus on abortion rights and voting rights work. She not only represents the organization in coalitions, but also provides communications counsel and message development to amplify progressive voices in the media. With a background in teaching and immigration legal work, she started working in politics as a congressional staffer for Representative Lloyd Doggett.
Diana serves on various boards including the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin, Austin Tejano Democrats, and The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. She also Co-Founded La Politica, a group focused on increasing civic engagement among Latinas in Austin.
Fun facts about Diana:
- Hometown: Kyle, TX (Pie Capital of Texas)
- Favorite Pie: Pumpkin
- Least Favorite Pie: Rhubarb
Board of Directors
- Blaine Wesner
- David Glassco
- Jeff Mankoff
Progress Texas Institute
- Kathleen Thompson
- Alex Andrade
- Amber Davis
- Joe Hamill
- Dick Lavine
- Christina Oliver
- Jana Sanchez
- Jason Smith
- Charles Zeller