Leo Almeida is a young energetic FCYDems member who has dedicated a large portion of his life advocating for inclusion and participation of underrepresented populations. It wasn’t until February 2009 when this lifelong American was finally able to participate in his own oath of citizenship and officially become an American citizen. The very same day he registered to vote. While an undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University, Leo’s dream of becoming a United States citizen was finally realized.
Growing up in Bellevue, OH, a small town in Erie, Huron, Sandusky, and Seneca counties, he witnessed several classmates turn 18 years old without taking advantage of their right to vote. While in college Leo helped organize voter registration drives during the 2008 election cycle.
Leo was given a chance to continue his dedication to public service through the Legislative Service Commission Fellowship program at the Ohio Legislature, “it was a great opportunity to dive into government and gain invaluable experiences”. While working in the Ohio Senate, Leo worked for Senator Skindell, Minority Leader Cafaro and Minority Leader Kearny. In December 2013, Leo left the legislature to lead the lieutenant governor candidate’s campaign, coordinating movements for Sharen Neuhardt and learning the intricacies of political engagement and fundraising.
After the 2014 election cycle, Leo returned to the Ohio Senate before moving to the Nature Conservancy in Ohio, where he is currently a policy associate. The Nature Conservancy in Ohio is a regional representative of The Nature Conservancy, which promotes clean energy, revitalizing habitats, and preserves land and water through purchase and reconstruction.
Leo also Co-Chairs the revitalized Adelante Democrats of Franklin County, which serves as a voice for the Latino Community and will promote, endorse and support democratic candidates. Adelante was previously a force of political engagement for the Latino community of Central Ohio. Adelante offered a seat at the Democratic table for our Latino community including the creation of a Spanish language sample ballot. The need for continued communication and engagement in the Latino community is an example of the forward vision that Leo has processed since his youth.
Serving on the Board of Trustees of Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) Leo understand the issues that plague new American’s attempts to navigate the immigration system because he has lived it. As a first generation Brazilian American Leo is dedicated to the mission of CRIS, “I have been fortunate enough to live an American dream, and I want that for other people”.
For those like Leo, who dreamed to participate in our political process, not taking advantage of this most basic right is a rejection of our civil duty. September is National Voter Registration Month; it is our duty to make the process easier to understand and to participate within. Registration remains a great predictor of possible voter turnout and participation.
FCYD members, take time this month to register your friends, families, and neighbors. Registering just two more Ohioans can be the difference between a more progressive future, where lifelong Americans, like Leo, can obtain the American dream and help make that dream obtainable for others.