MDP Staff

Lavora Barnes

MDP Chair

Lavora is a veteran political strategist and operative with extensive leadership and management experience in public relations, communications, politics and media at the national, state and local levels.

She spent much of the previous decade working in Michigan politics, including serving as the Political and Communications Director for the Michigan House Democratic Caucus and as Michigan State Director for Obama for America in 2012.

Previously, Lavora served in the White House Office of Media Affairs during the Clinton Administration, as Press Secretary for the Clinton-Gore campaign and managed a number of races in Virginia.


Paul Kanan

Communications Director/Press Secretary

Paul Kanan is the Communications Director/Press Secretary for the Michigan Democratic Party. A Michigan native and graduate of the University of Michigan (BA, History/Political Science) and Michigan State University (MA, Public Relations), Paul brings with him a diverse public service and public relations background.

Paul’s career has included time in the Communications Division for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Michigan Department of Human Services, and the Michigan House of Representatives. Before coming to MDP, Paul served as Communications Coordinator for the Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds. Paul also currently serves on the Royal Oak Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and the Royal Oak Library Board.


Jim Johnson

Office Manager

Jim studied at Mott Community College and Lake Superior State University. He spent 23 years with the Michigan Department of Corrections, where he was involved in the union as Chapter President and served as Recording Secretary on the Michigan Corrections Organization State Board. Jim has also been a member of the UAW and organized a non-union shop into the union. He has been involved with politics for over 30 years and has experience working on political campaigns for all levels of government.

Before moving to Lansing, Jim and his wife spent 25 years living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He’s proud to say all of his children are Democrats and stay informed on the major issues both in Michigan and nationally. When Jim isn’t making sure the entire MDP office is running smoothly, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and four-wheeling.

Ryan Covert

Director of Party Affairs

Ryan Covert is the Director of Party Affairs. He began campaigning at the age of 15 years old when his mother had decided to run for city clerk in their hometown.

In 2012, Ryan graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in International Relations. He previously worked as a Field Organizer for OFA and as a Deputy Field Director for a mayoral campaign in Connecticut. He enjoys long walks on the beach but hates Game Theory.


Megan Lizotte

Data & Membership Director

Megan Lizotte is the Data & Membership Director at the Michigan Democratic Party. Megan graduated from Grand Valley State University (Go Lakers!!) with a B.S. in Political Science and minor in Finance.

The statistics classes Megan took in college lead her to the path of using statistics and data in campaigns and politics. Megan began working with the MDP in 2012; she loves working with her fellow Democrats all across Michigan.


Dorothy Johnson

Compliance Manager

Dorothy Johnson is the Compliance Manager for the Michigan Democratic Party. She and her husband Jim recently moved to Lansing after 23 years in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Dorothy has held various offices in county and congressional district party organizations, the most recent being chair of the Chippewa County Democrats and First Congressional District Democrats. Dorothy has a Bachelor’s Degree from Lake Superior State University in Legal Studies with a Criminal Law specialty.


Hayley Alderman

Data Administrator

Hannah King

Deputy Director, Digital Organizing

Bobby Anttila


Mona DeQuis


MoReno Taylor II


Jeff Winston


Kayla Hobson

Communications Assistant