, New York , United States
Oct 09, 2008 04:36pm
Black - Very Liberal - Anti-Death Penalty - Government Reform - Health Care Reform - Pro Environment - Pro-Gay Marriage - Protectionist -
|Info||Chris Owens was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Tennessee-born Major Owens and Brooklyn-born Ethel Werfel Owens. He was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science after becoming a New York State champion in both debate and speech. Chris went on to Harvard where he majored in Sociology and was active in cultural and political organizations, including the Glee Club and the Student Assembly, for which he was elected Vice President. |
After 15 years of private and public sector work as well as community organizing, Chris decided it was time to prepare himself for a new level of public service. In 1998, he received a Master of Public Affairs degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Chris has been working with a company specializing in managed health care for lower-income communities - a company he has worked with for nearly 10 years. He is married to Sandra E. Dixon; they have two sons, Elijah and Sampson.
Chris has been a leader in Central Brooklyn since his graduation from Harvard over 20 years ago. In 1991, he received a Community Service Award from the Brooklyn Children's Museum for his multi-racial organizing efforts, including playground improvements, neighborhood patrols, and increasing voter turnout. From 1998 through 2003, Chris was President of the Weeksville Society - an organization dedicated to the preservation of 19th Century houses from Brooklyn's free-Black Weeksville community. Under Chris' leadership team, the organization has made a financial turnaround and is now stabilized and developing Brooklyn's first African-American museum.
As Special Assistant to New York City's Council President from 1989 to 1993, Chris was responsible for African American affairs and race relations as well as transportation issues; he was also the Council President's designated representative to New York City's Voter Assistance Commission. From 1993 to 1999, Chris served on his local community school board where he helped to teach and empower local parents. For his advocacy on behalf of public education and his leadership in the fight for multi-cultural curricula, Chris received the Certificate of Valued Citizenship from People For The American Way (NY) in 1996.
Chris served for seven years on the Political Action Committee of NARAL-NY, protecting a woman's right to choose by educating policy makers and providing political support for pro-choice candidates.
A major theme of Chris Owens' political activities has been to increase the participation of lower-income communities in the political process. In the early 1990s, Chris led the statewide reform wing of the Democratic Party - the NYS New Democratic Coalition - opposing rules that restrict ballot access for minority candidates, and fighting for same-day voter registration and for campaign finance reform including caps on media spending. In 1999, Chris received the Good Guy Award from the Brooklyn Women's Political Caucus for his political work.
Chris was an early supporter of candidates who have changed New York's political landscape - David Dinkins, Ruth Messinger, Deborah Glick (first lesbian elected to the NYS Assembly), Roberto Ramirez (first Latino candidate for Public Advocate), William Thompson (first African-American Comptroller of NYC), U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton � and Brooklyn City Council candidate Letitia James both in 2001 and 2003. Chris brings to all these campaign efforts his years of experience as campaign manager and political advisor to his father, 12-term U.S. Representative Major Owens.