President: Bentonne Snay
Bentonne Snay has worked for Democratic/progressive causes/candidates since joining the 1972 NOW Miami-Dade board of directors. Recent activities before joining the CG Dems Board in 2017 include Women for Obama (2008/2012 elections) and Hillary Clinton (2016). After joining Coral Gables Dems, she became board secretary in 2018 and president in 2019.President/CEO of The Snay Group, Inc., Bentonne has served nonprofit organizations for 35+ years and has BA and MPA degrees from FIU. She excels at award-winning grant proposal development, is an experienced executive grants coach and has broad-based executive and fundraising experience as founding executive director of Communities in Schools of Miami and the Burger King/McLamore Foundation. Bentonne became a Grant Professional Certified (GPC) in 2011 and has written more than 500 proposals yielding nearly $41.5 million in grant awards for 50+ nonprofits. Bentonne is past president and current member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Miami and Grant Professionals Association South Florida. Bentonne is married to Riviera Schools Headmaster Patrick W. Snay, has one daughter serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, NY Special Victims Unit and lives with her husband, two dogs and five cats.
Vice President: Jane Moscowitz
Jane grew up in Texas but moved north after she met Norman in 1967 when they were counselors at a Jewish summer camp in the Catskills. Her first career was as a computer programmer, but later she and Norman went to law school. After they graduated from Harvard Law School in 1977, she became a federal prosecutor first in Washington DC, then Baltimore and finally in Miami, having moved here in 1982. Since 1987, She has been a white-collar criminal defense attorney, although now her focus is electing Democrats. She has been active in poll watching, voter registration, canvassing and phone banking for many years.
Jane and Norman have two daughters and two grandchildren. Ariela is the Director of Communications for the national nonprofit Decriminalize Sex Work. She is the mother of Ilias, 10, a fifth grader at Beth Am’s Rambam School. Anna and her husband Bailey Lindenmaier are medical fellows at Parkland Hospital in Dallas; Anna in Oncology/Hematology and Bailey in Pulmonology. They are the parents of William, who is almost 2 years old.
Treasurer: Julie Samkoff
Julie started her activism in her freshman year of college at a small all women’s college. The health center refused to provide contraceptive care because “our girls don’t do that”. Julie and a few friends lobbied a dean and got permission to found the first women’s center at the school. The Vietnam War and issues of poverty and mental health drew her attention.
Julie earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master of science in social work from the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Her work life included direct work with people in need, program development, fundraising and executive leadership. The primary focus of her work was with people with developmental disabilities and their families.
As she worked with legislators of both parties on issues related to her work, she was unable to work in partisan politics.
At the end of 2015, no longer working for a living, Julie moved to Miami to be closer to her son, daughter-in-law and her grandchildren. When Julie read an article about an office opening for Hillary for America, she suddenly realized that she was now free to work in electoral politics.
Since that time, she has volunteered with Rise Up Florida, The Coral Gables Democratic Club and the Blue Wave Coalition.
When she learned that the Coral Gables Democratic Club was becoming reactivated and reenergized, she started to attend meetings and found the Club meetings well organized, goal oriented and productive. Julie has been increasing active with the Club since 2019 and has continued to lend her expertise and taken on increasing responsibilities with the Club.
Director: Elizabeth Newman
I am a retired lawyer from Washington, DC, where I specialized in security clearance appeals and other employment law cases. I am a graduate of Skidmore College and Georgetown Law School. After a lifetime of campaigning for Democratic candidates in New Hampshire (“Clean for Gene”), Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, I joined the Board of the Coral Gables Dems in order to do everything possible to restore sanity, reason, and compassion to all levels of our government.
I live in the Gables with my husband, John Tillson, a retired Dept of Defense executive. Our daughter, Susannah, lives with her husband and three sons in Bologna, Italy. In my spare time I work as a volunteer mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sing in a baroque chamber choir, Miami Collegium Musicum, and travel frequently to Bologna.
Director: Janet Nostro
Janet is a devoted lifelong Democrat who volunteers in state, local and federal elections. After the 2000 election of George W. Bush, she promised that she would work as hard as possible to make sure that a Democrat be elected to the White House.
Janet was an active volunteer for Hillary Clinton and several other campaigns in 2016. She is a founding member of the progressive grassroots group Rise Up Florida!, a member and past officer of the Coral Gables Area Democrat Club and serves on a Coral Gables community board.
Janet and her husband Lou have lived in Coral Gables for over 30 years. They have three children – all proud Democrats.
Director: Martha Schoolman
Martha is a professor of US literature in the English Department at FIU and a lifelong progressive Democrat. A 1988 graduate of Palmetto High School, Martha returned to the area in 2014 to work at FIU. In politics, she particularly enjoys door-to-door canvassing and plans to canvass in Coral Gables in 2022. Outside of politics, she is active in Jewish Voice for Peace-South Florida and enjoys running and yoga. She lives with her wife and their teenaged daughter who attends Miami-Dade Public Schools.
Director: Janet Stearns
A lifelong Democrat and native New Yorker, Janet is a graduate of Yale University and its law school and is now the Dean of Students and Lecturer in Law at the University of Miami Law School. Janet is the past president of the Yale College Democrats, held elected office in New Haven, and has been employed by many Democratic campaigns over the years. She is also the proud mother of twin sons, Justin (a 2020 graduate of Haverford College) and Gabriel (a 2020 graduate of Boston University).
Director: Linda Fernandez
Linda and her husband moved to Coral Gables to be near their son and his family (three grandchildren), spending most of the year in Florida and remaining months in Minnesota, where their daughter and three grandchildren live. Trained as a lawyer and political scientist, Linda spent her career in both the private sector (including 17 years at Eli Lilly and Co. working primarily in international tax compliance) and non-profits (universities, schools - teaching and administration - and community organizations). She is widely traveled and multi-lingual. In her free time, Linda likes music (all kinds - especially classical and world music), reading, writing, cooking, swimming, yoga, qi gong and tai chi.
Director: Matt Jimenez
Matt Jiménez is a double-majoring in Business Technology and Global Business with a minor in Political Science at the University of Miami. He is executive editor and assistant director of public relations of the student-run magazine, Distraction; treasurer of the Young and College Democrats (UDems); and a voter ambassador at Get Out The Vote. Matt also enjoys playing violin and studying languages. While he always had an interest in politics growing up, it lay primarily in European and Caribbean politics, as his family immigrated from Europe to the Caribbean in the 20th century. He first became involved in Florida politics when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, launching a petition -- which amassed 100,000 signatures --- to then-Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez to impose stricter lockdown measures. Later that year, Matt co-organized a student-led protest against the Cuban government in support of the San Isidro Movement. These achievements inspired Matt to increase his engagement in Florida politics. Joining the Coral Gables Democratic Club in March 2023, he is co-chair of the Communications Committee and has joined the Florida Democratic Party Youth Council. In the future, Matt hopes to do everything he can to return his Florida homeland to the free, open-minded society it once was.
Director: Fade Zu Grau
Fäde Zu Grau is a German artist who lives in Coral Gables with his husband of over twenty years. He grew up in repressed East-Germany and escaped at the age of 19 to the free, western part of the country where he embarked on a graphic design career.
In 1998 he presented his artistry to local graphic design companies in South Miami, received an offer as Senior Graphic Artist in a Coral Gables advertising agency and moved to the United States. Zu Grau earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, won graphic design awards from institutions like the Miami Art Museum and the Arts & Business Council of Miami and was features in graphic design literature, like Graphics USA by Madison Press. In 2015, Zu Grau started his own graphics and fashion company.
His new career landed him a spot on the TV fashion competition shows “Project Runway” and “All Stars.” He showed at New York Fashion Week, dressed personalities in pop culture and was featured in American and European magazines like Marie-Claire and Vogue Italia. Locally, he serves on the fashion judging panels for the University of Miami’s Fashion Institute and the Design & Architecture Senior High School.
Knowing first-hand how invaluable democracy is, Fäde Zu Grau joined the Coral Gables Democratic Club in 2022 and applied to serve on the board in 2023. He says “Through my participation I envision helping the Coral Gables Democratic Club to become a widely recognized entity in the community that will have a noticeable influence on Florida politics and, therefore, a positive impact on citizens’ lives.
Director: Monique Selman
As the President and Founder of Albany Homes Construction, Monique Selman makes buildings better.
While she once aspired to be a star in musicals on the West End of London, she realized early on that she can’t act and she can’t dance (even though she still loves to do it at weddings and bar mitzvahs).
However, growing up on building sites with her father, she realized her meticulous attention to details and English sensibilities made her an excellent contractor.
Monique originally immigrated to Miami in 2000 for the weather and direct flights back to London, and immediately earned her contractor’s license and started Albany Homes.
Monique has been an active member of the Coral Gables Chamber since 2015, and in 2018 was named the chamber’s Business Woman of the Year.
As the president of Albany Homes, Monique has custom built multi-million dollar homes, and still remains committed to assuring the same level of quality work goes into $10,000 bathroom remodels.
Her fellow board members know her as the lady that asks all the questions, and it is that same level of dedication to understanding her client’s needs and desires that makes her projects as painless and satisfying as possible.
However, the proudest moment of Monique’s life was not after finishing any big construction project, but the day in 2018 when she earned her American citizenship.
Director: Madeleine Shirley
Madeleine Shirley is a South Florida native who began working on local and national political campaigns in high school and continued her interest in politics when attending college and law school in Washington, D.C. Madeleine returned to South Florida to work as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for nearly three decades. In retirement, Madeleine's volunteer activities include, among other things, registering voters, protecting voters' rights, campaigning, and trying to keep the fascists at bay. She loves all animals (except vermin) but is more selective about people.