John Hennelly

Before joining the Democracy Partners, John Hennelly served for 4 years as the National Field Director for Politics for the Service Employees International Union. In 2006 Hennelly helped SEIU become the largest PAC in America and win a #1 ranking in political effectiveness by the National Journal. In 2008 he served as senior staff for all coordinated work with campaigns, leading a staff of hundreds and a canvass/GOTV effort of thousands of volunteers nationally. SEIU played a pivotal role in the election of Barack Obama, and Hennelly helped lead the union’s efforts.

Over his 22 years in the workforce Hennelly has become an expert at managing large staffs and programs – developing strong teams with cultures of accountability. From leading Marine platoons at the age of 22 to managing multi-million dollar projects with an experienced national staff.

Hennelly was born and raised in central Illinois. After his service as a platoon commander in the US Marine Corps, he learned the art of politics on the streets of Chicago. He worked on numerous electoral campaigns in Chicago, running insurgent campaigns for progressive candidates against tough ward organizations. He learned how to overcome long odds by building robust field organizations.

Hennelly worked on a citywide effort to reform the Chicago Police Department, working in diverse neighborhoods across the city, and ran elections citywide for the Chicago Public Housing Authority. He supervised Midwest grasstop lobbying operations for a national campaign on the highway authorization bill in 1996, and in 1998 oversaw Jan Schakowsky’s field effort in her successful bid for Congress. In 2000 as a partner at the Strategic Consulting Group, Hennelly led efforts to recruit, train and manage a team of 300 organizers, mobilizing 25,000 volunteers in 15 congressional districts in the general election.

After consulting on numerous statewide, congressional, and local races for six years, Hennelly joined SEIU in 2004. Before becoming National Field Director for Politics, he served as the Florida Director, helping plan and supervise the deployment of 400 lost time members in registration and GOTV activities.

John Hennelly is married to Lori Scott, a non-profit management consultant, and they have two beautiful sons, Ulysses and Jackson, ages 8 and 5. They live in Evanston, Illinois.

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