Senior Political Director
Joe Maxwell is political director for The Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Maxwell grew up on a family farm in the small town of Rush Hill, Missouri. As a fourth generation farm boy, he learned from his grandfather and father the value of being a good steward of the land and the animals he raised. Today Maxwell and his twin brother, Steve, carry on these values on the same family farm.
During the 1980’s “Farm Crisis”—when industrial agriculture made its first big push in the U.S.— Maxwell realized that doing the right thing took more than just being a good farmer with good values. He would also have to engage the political process both at the capitols and in the field with grassroots advocacy.
Maxwell began as a field coordinator in campaigns throughout the 80s. By the 90s, he was a leading campaign coordinator for both candidates and advocacy organizations. During this time he worked a field coordinator for Congressman Dick Gephardt. And he served as Vice-Chair of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee as well as the Majority Caucus Chair in the state of Missouri. All together, Maxwell’s helped organize and run hundreds of campaigns.
In the 90s, Maxwell put his organizing and communication skills to the test in a race that everyone said he could not win. He did win, and he became a Missouri State Representative. And in 2000, when other rural candidates were struggling in Missouri, Maxwell won the office of Lt. Governor.
During his time as an elected official, Maxwell passed a number of bills to support value-added agriculture projects and programs for family farmers. He also worked against large-scale industrialized farms, which he sees as harmful to the rural economy, the environment, and the animals.
After leaving office in 2005, Maxwell continued to fight for the values he learned at a young age on his family’s farm. He represented many organizations that also promoted good stewardship in rural and agricultural communities. He helped them develop winning grassroots and communications strategies push their policy agendas forward.
Most recently, Joe served as the V.P. of Outreach and Engagement for the Humane Society of the United States helping to build out key volunteers within the states, including The HSUS Agriculture Councils.
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