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Dane Waters

Political Director

Dane Waters is political director for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. In this role, Dane is responsible for helping develop and coordinate the political activities for HSLF. This includes all ballot campaigns, congressional and state legislative races, and Congressional lobbying activities.

Dane is also the founder and co-chairman of the Initiative & Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about the initiative and referendum process. Dane is a leading authority on Direct Democracy and has been personally involved in more than forty ballot campaigns both domestically and internationally.

He has provided commentary on Direct Democracy and other governance issues to newspapers, radio and television stations around the world. Dane has participated in several international election observation missions including the 1991 Cambodian Parliamentary Elections, the 2001 Somaliland National Independence Referendum and most recently worked to assess the Nigerian political party system in preparation of their 2011 Presidential Election.

Dane has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad and has written and edited numerous articles and books on the initiative and referendum process, including the Initiative & Referendum Almanac, an extensive history of the initiative and referendum process in the U.S.

Prior to founding the Initiative & Referendum Institute, Dane worked for U.S. Term Limits, a national nonprofit non-partisan advocacy group, as the group’s National Field Director. Dane worked extensively at U.S. Term Limits with the initiative and referendum process at both the city and state level and was responsible for coordinating U.S. Term Limits’s assistance to state term limit groups around the country.

Dane was born in Birmingham, Alabama but moved to Washington, DC in 1988 for what he believed would be a short stint working on the inauguration of President George H.W. Bush. But as fate would have it, he spent the next 18 years in Washington working on several presidential campaigns; state and local candidate elections, serving in numerous political capacities and working with numerous private and non-profit organizations both domestically and internationally. In addition to his academic and political experiences, Dane was also one of the organizers of the memorial service held at Ground Zero in New York City to honor the victims who perished on September 11, 2001.

Dane currently sits on the Advisory Boards of the Initiative & Referendum Institute – Europe and the Initiative & Referendum Institute – Asia.

For journalists seeking interviews with HSLF experts, please contact Heather Sullivan at (301) 458-7778.