About Us

Brandon Muir, Executive Director

Brandon Muir is the Executive Director of the Reclaim New York Initiative. Coming to Reclaim with a management consulting and grassroots background, Muir helps mold complex policy issues into meaningful messages for the public. His experience helps ensure Reclaim Initiative takes a creative and engaging approach to advancing the reform New Yorkers need and deserve.

During his time with Deloitte Consulting in Washington, DC he led analytical engagements on mission-to-workflow alignment, process-efficiency modeling, and change-implementation efforts. His belief that all actions can be measured is a core tenet of his approach to building Reclaim New York Initiative. Also while at Deloitte, he developed an independent practice with clients including tech and retail companies, non-profit organizations and individuals.

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 in multiple countries across Central and South America. Fluent in Spanish, he spent extensive time in-country managing daily programmatic activities and staff. This level of interaction pushed him to ask a basic question, “How do we accurately measure an increase in democracy?”

Muir is also deeply engaged in several charitable causes. A former collegiate golfer, he serves on the Board of Directors for the George Washington Athletic National Advisory Council, he founded an athletic mentorship program at GWU, and he is the President Pro Tempore for the State Society of Arizona in Washington, DC. He holds a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University and in his free time he’s likely to be found playing golf or practicing photography on the streets of New York City

Doug Kellogg, Communications Director

Doug Kellogg is Communications Director for the Reclaim New York Initiative. 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, Director of Field Operations

Mike Armstrong is the Director of Field Operations for Reclaim New York Initiative. 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 Initiative, 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 the Reclaim New York Initiative 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.

John Byrne, Central and Northern New York Regional Director

John Byrne has seen how government operates from both sides of the transaction. He grew up in the Southern Tier and started a precision mold company there. As a business owner, Byrne had to comply with myriad state regulations, tackle soaring energy costs and pay several different types of state taxes.

Byrne subsequently moved to the North Country, where a wind power developer was trying to work in secret with town officials and landowners to erect turbines in his hometown. Byrne’s interest in the project – and frustration over the lack of transparency – inspired him to run for town council. He served four years on the Cape Vincent board in Jefferson County, overseeing a complete rewrite of the town’s zoning laws and comprehensive plan.

Byrne received his associate’s degree in applied science from Tompkins Cortland Community College, Dryden and took additional engineering courses at Clarkson University, Potsdam. He served eight years in the NY Army National Guard and US Army Reserves during the Desert Storm Era, receiving an honorable discharge.

Above all, John is proud to be married to his beautiful wife, Tatyana, of 11 years, and has one daughter Marella, who just started her fourth grade classes.

Domenick Cocchiara, Hudson Valley Regional Coordinator

Domenick Cocchiara is the Hudson Valley Regional Coordinator for Reclaim New York Initiative. The Hudson Valley district includes the counties of Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster.

Before joining Reclaim Initiative, Domenick worked for the Orange County government as Deputy Director for the Veterans Service Agency, where he managed outreach operations for the county’s veteran community. Prior to working for Orange County, Domenick worked as a Research Analyst at America Rising on the Presidential Team.

Since 2012, Domenick has been enlisted in the Army National Guard for the state of Maryland. His service has taken him from the heat of Puerto Rico, to the rainy forests of Germany, and to the streets of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. during the 2015 riots and 2017 inauguration respectively. With his military job focused on explosives and mines, Domenick finds the political hand grenades politicians like to throw as nothing to be worried about.

Domenick was born and raised in Orange County prior to attending American University in Washington, D.C. for his undergrad. When he isn’t obsessively reading the news, or binge watching a new TV series on Netflix, Domenick is an avid fly fisherman, hiker, and cook.

Michael Watt, Long Island Regional Coordinator

Michael Watt has made it his personal mission to ensure Long Island’s vitality. The bulk of his career, ranging from creating and developing 516 Magazine and later LongIsland.com to serving as President of the Long Island Partnership to running an entrepreneur incubator, centers around working with small business owners and young professionals to help them meet the challenges associated with establishing roots in the region. The most commonly-expressed detriment to doing so is the tax burden endured by businesses and residents alike.

As Reclaim New York Iniative’s Long Island director, Watt strives to rectify this by getting more Long Islanders involved in the government process at the school board, village, town, county and state levels in order to increase transparency and accountability. There is no greater deterrent to inefficient (at best) or corrupt (at worst) government than active civic participation.

Watt received his master’s degree from Dowling College and his bachelor’s from the University of Scranton. He is an avid cyclist whose greatest cycling achievement occurred on May 2, 2015 when he rode his bike from the Koch / 59th Street Bridge in Manhattan to Orient Point State Park, staying on Route 25A the whole (115.4 miles) time, to highlight the fact that no other part of the country has as many different neighborhoods and vistas as Long Island.

When he’s not working or riding his bike, he lives with his wife Sharon in Babylon Village. They have two sons, Alex, 27, and Max, 23.

Jonathan Wiener, Digital Director

Jonathan Wiener is the Digital Director at the Reclaim New York Initiative. 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.

Nickolaus Anzalone, Program Assistant – Policy

Nickolaus Anzalone is a Program Assistant at Reclaim New York Initiative. 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.

Louis Bertolotti, Operations Coordinator

Louis Bertolotti is the Operations Coordinator at Reclaim New York Initiative. In this role, he is responsible for the organization’s data management, as well as event planning and outreach across the Empire State.

Originally from New Jersey, Louis is a graduate from the University of Notre Dame, and a passionate Mets fan. He has worked in the offices of both Democrat and Republican officials in the Garden State, and has seen firsthand the demands that government faces on a daily basis. He believes that government reform is necessary to take on the challenges of the 21st century, and that the best way to accomplish this reputable goal is to hold public officials accountable.

Louis comes from a large Italian-American family, and is eternally grateful for the opportunities that the New York metro area has given him and those close to him. He is thrilled to be working to constantly improve the region, so that he can one day raise his own children here.

Elliot Mosher, Graphic Designer

Elliot Mosher is the Graphic Designer at Reclaim New York Initiative.

He oversees the creation and design of all marketing collateral, including mailers, handouts, social media, and video.

Elliot is passionate about good design, and has worked in a wide range of creative fields, from print layout design and digital design, to film and animation. In his free time he likes to work on personal projects, including making video games, and watching way too much Netflix.

Alexandria Dinsmore, Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Growing up in sunny southern California, Alexandria never imagined that someday she would be living on the opposite coast. In 2010 she moved to New York to attend The King’s College and get her BA in Media, Culture, and the Arts. She quickly realized that she loved living in such a unique place. Her desire to influence culture and impact people’s lives drove her to stay in New York and work at a diverse set of non-profits. She is happy now to be working with Reclaim Initiative.