To meet other Bold states and founder Jane Kleeb, visit the Bold Alliance.


Keith Merkel, 80 Feet Is Enough! / Wisconsin Easement Action Team: Keith Merkel and his wife purchased their home near Marshfield, WI in 1996 and have experienced two previous Enbridge pipeline expansions on their property. Keith is greatly concerned about the negative effects of Enbridge’s plans to acquire easements for a new tarsands pipeline -- a further loss of property rights and reduced property values, as well as safety issues. Keith has been actively involved in Pipeline Fighting since late 2015 and is a founding member of both 80 Feet Is Enough!, and the Wisconsin Easement Action Team (WEAT), where he is involved with working to revise Wisconsin's current eminent domain statutes, and educating and organizing landowners. A native of Marshfield, Keith has been an at-home dad for the past eight years and is an avid outdoorsman with special interests in birds and native habitats preservation/restoration.

Jane Kleeb, Founder: Jane believes politics matter. She was a reporter for MTV, frequent guest on FOX and MSNBC and key advisor for “Thin” a documentary on eating disorders. Jane led a statewide organizing campaign on health care reform, served as the national executive director of the Young Democrats of America, the foundation director for Renfrew a mental health facility and headed up an AmeriCorps program. Jane has a "thing" for training manuals, flip charts and icebreakers. She lives in a small rural town, Hastings, with her husband Scott, an energy entrepreneur.  On the weekends you can see plenty of instagram pics of cooking, shooting a bow and her three daughters running around outside. Email Jane: Follow @janekleeb.

Mark Hefflinger, Digital & Communications Director: Mark was born and raised in Omaha, and received a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from Boston College. He has worked as a journalist in California, covering the digital media industry, music and LGBT issues, and more recently has been an online organizer for progressive causes. Mark worked on the No on Proposition 8 campaign in California in 2008, and afterwards with organizations including the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center on voter outreach on marriage equality. In 2012, Mark was the New Media Director on CREDO SuperPAC’s successful Congressional campaign that ousted a 30-year conservative, climate change-denying Congressman in Northern California. Email Mark:

Tom Genung, Regional Pipeline Fighter: Tom Genung and his wife Cathie have been a fixture at Bold Nebraska's events since the founding of the organization in 2009. Tom served as chairman of the Nebraska Easement Action Team, the collective of Nebraska farmers and ranchers who refused to sell their land to TransCanada for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Tom is a Regional Pipeline Fighter for Bold Nebraska, continuing to organize landowners and advocates to get engaged and stop the pipeline.

Ben Gotschall, Energy & Local Food Director: Ben was born and raised on a cattle ranch in the Sandhills of southwest Holt County, Nebraska.  Although most of his occupations have been agricultural, he has also published a full-length book of poetry and taught college English.  He continues to maintain a connection to the Sandhills, running his own cattle business and helping his family manage the ranch, while finding the time to write, play music, and work on behalf of farmers and ranchers with the Nebraska Farmers Union and other organizations.

Jason Valandra, Bold Organizer: A proud Nebraskan and longtime supporter of Bold, Jason is thrilled to be part of the Bold team and has enjoyed working on projects such as the “Give Keystone XL the Boot” march and the ongoing Solar XL clean energy projects. Jason has over 20 years of professional event planning, sales and fundraising experience, and is passionate about volunteering regularly in his community to support local nonprofits and progressive causes in his hometown of Omaha, NE. A lifelong Democrat, he also serves as the Douglas County Democratic Central Committee Diversity Representative and the Nebraska Democratic Party Native Caucus Vice-Chair, working to bolster progressive politics, especially for Native communities. In his spare time, Jason can be found renovating his 1950s era North Omaha home, cooking with his wife, playing online video games, or discussing politics over coffee with friends. Jason is looking forward to the expansion of clean energy efforts, and will continue to advocate for growing the good life in Nebraska.

Justin Kemerling, Designer: As a community-minded designer and activist, consider Justin an extremely interested party in how America exists in the world, what it means to be a global citizen today and how to make change beautiful. For more: JKDC.

Hannah Adams, Deputy Director (Bold Alliance): Hannah is a native of Austin, Texas and got her start organizing in college through canvassing for the Working Families Party, organizing school support staff workers for the Service Employees International Union in New Orleans, and coordinating the get out the vote operations in Middletown, Connecticut for Chris Murphy’s 2012 campaign for U.S. Senate.  After graduating, she joined Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing, where she ran campaigns for groups such as Food & Water Watch and the Sierra Club. She became an Assistant Organizing Director with Change Corps and managed organizers across the country working on campaigns for Everytown for Gun Safety, the National Education Association, and Fight for $15. Hannah attended Wesleyan University, where she studied Government and Latin American Studies.