The Reclaim New York Center for Government Reform and Accountability is your resource for the information you need to help make our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family. High taxes, government corruption, inefficient bureaucracy, and a poor job climate don’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, or independent: New York throws up the same roadblocks to your ability to live, work, raise a family, and run a business here. That’s why Reclaim is a non-partisan, 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on engaging all New Yorkers in a critical conversation about our future.
Brandon Muir, Executive Director
Brandon Muir is the Executive Director of Reclaim New York. Reclaim is a non-profit organization that empowers New Yorkers through education and civic engagement, to reclaim ownership of their government. Muir joined the organization at its inception in 2014, leading initial policy research and building Reclaim’s core operations. He leveraged a background in management consulting and grassroots-outreach to mold complex policy issues into meaningful messages for citizens. In just three years Reclaim has grown into one of the largest grassroots organizations in New York.
Prior to living in New York, Muir worked for Deloitte Consulting on mission-to-workflow alignment, process-efficiency modeling, and change-implementation efforts at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department. This experience instilled the belief that all actions can be measured – a core tenet to building Reclaim New York. During his time at Deloitte he also developed an independent practice with clients in the tech, retail, and non-profit sectors.
Muir began his career in civic education with the International Republican Institute in Washington, DC and Latin America. He supported and eventually managed voter engagement efforts, institution-building programs, and government transparency initiatives across Central and South America. Fluent in Spanish, he spent extensive time in-country managing daily programmatic activities and staff.
A former collegiate golfer, Brandon is frequently on the streets of Manhattan pursuing his passion for photography.
Tom Basile, Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy
Tom is a powerful voice for the common sense government reform New York needs. He comes to Reclaim with a passion for making government work better for everyone. Tom has worked in every level of government including in a Presidential Administration and experience around the world with Presidents, two Popes, grassroots organizations, and major corporations. An Opinion Contributor to Forbes and Sirius XM Radio host, his insights into both foreign and domestic policy have made him a sought-after lecturer, and contributor, on television and radio. Tom is also a professor at Fordham University and a local elected official in the Hudson Valley.
In 2003 and 2004, Basile served at the request of the White House as a Senior Press Advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. He was awarded the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Medal from the Department of Defense for his work. He is also a former Director of Communications for the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington where he managed the EPA Administrator’s public liaison operation. In 2005, he served as a lead planner for the Department of State of the historic visit of former Presidents Bush and Clinton to the tsunami-ravaged areas of South Asia. In 2008, Tom represented the office of the US Chief of Protocol to the Vatican Delegation during the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to New York. From 2009-2011 he served as Executive Director of the New York State Republican Party. He is also a former Managing Director of Middleberg Communications.
He received his Juris Doctor attending Fordham and Georgetown University Schools of Law and is a member of the New York Bar. Tom sits on the Advisory Board of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Hofstra University. When he’s not helping to Reclaim New York, Tom enjoys camping in the Adirondacks, hiking in the Hudson Valley, boating, watching the Yankees, and attending classic car shows. He is married with three young children.
Doug Kellogg, Communications Director
Doug Kellogg is Communications Director for Reclaim New York. He leads the organization’s efforts to reach out to New Yorkers, online and through the media, by guiding and executing a strategy that advances Reclaim New York’s much needed message of citizen engagement on the big challenges facing New York.
Prior to joining the organization, Doug was Communications Manager for National Taxpayers Union (NTU) in the Washington, D.C. area. There, he oversaw the full range of NTU’s communications, promoting projects and studies across platforms from traditional to social media.
He has also campaigned in New York and New Jersey; as well as worked for Americans for Tax Reform in Washington.
A native New Yorker, Doug grew up in the city and Westchester County, graduating from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Affairs where he majored in history. Having moved away from the state for a period of time due to the burdens that are making New York a difficult place to live, he’s particularly motivated to reverse those trends, and ensure people of all generations can prosper here.
Mike Armstrong, Long Island Regional Director
Mike Armstrong is the Long Island Regional Director for Reclaim New York. He leads the organization’s outreach, education, and grassroots training efforts in the region, equipping Long Islanders with the tools to help them drive reforms to make New York more affordable for our families and businesses.
Prior to joining Reclaim New York, Mike was the National Field Director for the Leadership Institute, a Virginia-based grassroots training organization. From 2010-12 Mike was Regional Field Coordinator for the Institute.
Mike is a graduate of Clarion University and a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and visiting America’s best barbecue joints.
George Phillips, Southern Tier Regional Director
George Phillips, a Binghamton area native, is a Regional Director for Reclaim New York in Upstate New York covering Broome, Tioga, Cortland, Chenango, Delaware, Sullivan, and Otsego Counties.
George obtained degrees from Villanova University and the University of Notre Dame before serving as an aide to Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey handling foreign affairs, business, banking, trade, social security, senior issues, and immigration.
George has had a successful career as an educator, teaching a wide range of courses on the high school and community college level that have included American History, Government, Public Policy, Effective Speaking, Modern Legal Issues, Economics and Psychology. George has taught in inner city public schools and a maximum security youth detention facility and served as Dean of Students at Seton Catholic Central High School, his alma mater, in Binghamton, New York.
He has a passion for policy issues and has done work as an economic policy advisor for the Jack Kemp Foundation, working on tax, monetary, poverty, energy, and health care reform projects.
George and his wife Diana are the proud parents of three rough and tumble boys — George, Michael, and Martin. Their favorite activities include a vigorous youth soccer schedule and going to area lakes and parks in the summer.
Jonathan Wiener, Digital Director
Jonathan Wiener is the Digital Director at Reclaim New York. He leads the effort to expand the organization’s online presence by amplifying its digital megaphone. Jonathan is passionate about utilizing metric driven insights to foster a cohesive content and digital strategy.
Jonathan comes from a background in social media, audience acquisition, and new media based publishing. Prior to working at Reclaim, Jonathan was a Digital Platform Manager for the video distribution platform Inform Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Inform, he began working as a freelance Digital Consultant.
Jonathan has also worked as a writer/producer/editor for a mobile news start-up called Nubbit, and as a Digital Coordinator for the Boston chapter of the grassroots advocacy organization J Street.
Born in Atlanta, Jonathan received his Master’s degree in Journalism with a concentration in Digital Media from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He received his B.A. from Tufts University with a degree in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys camping, live music, and experiencing perpetual disappointment/anger while rooting for Atlanta sports.
Candice DiLavore, Program Manager– Policy
Candice DiLavore is the Program Manager for the Transparency Project. She has led Reclaim New York’s initiative to secure spending records from local governments across the state using the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Before taking on the Transparency Project, she worked on Reclaim’s first Affordability Crisis Report, calculating the total tax burden and Wake-Up Costs for families across Long Island. Born and raised on Long Island, the issues of transparency and affordability are not only interesting, but personal.
Candice previously worked on the Values & Capitalism project at the American Enterprise Institute and was a research assistant for an author at Figlo Press. Outside of the policy world, she writes book reviews for TheWriteTeacher(s). She enjoys reading about and discussing the influence of government subsidies on the integrity of post-secondary education. In her free time, she consumes copious amounts of literature and attends theatre whenever she can.
Nate Soule, Operations Coordinator
Nate Soule is Reclaim’s Operations Coordinator, focused on ensuring the quality of internal and external operations. He is passionate about a number of issues including job creation and education statewide, so that all New Yorkers can be given the same opportunities to learn, grow, and succeed.
Nate was born in Switzerland and lived there before moving to Westchester County during his middle school years. He attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he graduated with a BA in Government. Prior to Reclaim, he worked on Rob Astorino’s campaign for Governor of New York. An avid fan of both types of football, Nate is a fan of Manchester United and the New England Patriots. He also enjoys baseball, basketball, and is a big John Grisham fan.
Nickolaus Anzalone, Program Assistant – Policy
Nickolaus Anzalone is a Program Assistant at Reclaim New York. He is currently spearheading research on the total tax burden and “Wake-Up costs” of New York’s various regions and localities. In addition to this, he is working to address other pertinent topics, like the state’s economic development programs, through the context of Affordability.
Nickolaus started his career at Brandeis University as a Research Assistant for the author of Making Policy, Building Coalitions: The Politics of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Presidencies. After moving to New York in 2012, he worked for three years in fixed income and client services while studying at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. As soon as he could, Nickolaus made the leap back to the policy realm as an Intern for the Citizens Budget Commission where he became particularly interested in tax policy and budgetary issues.
As a New Hampshire native, Nickolaus has a strong sense of civic duty and seeks to bring common sense reforms to New York. Nickolaus is a music obsessive interested in running, history, and all things Icelandic.
Reclaim New York is currently hiring. If you’re passionate about making sure government works for all New Yorkers, and want to join a growing grassroots organization poised to help make that happen, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for smart, engaged candidates to fill the following positions:
The Reclaim New York Center for Government Reform & Accountability was founded in September 2013.
Reclaim New York is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)3 organization that empowers citizens, through education and civic engagement, to make New York a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
Board of Directors
Chairman, Director, and Treasurer Rebekah Mercer
Secretary, and Director, Jennifer Mercer
Director, Leonard Leo
Director, Brandon Muir