Western Values Project (WVP) announced a new advisory board to help it form winning strategies to protect public lands. Board members come from across the American West and the country, bringing together years of experience in government accountability and conservation advocacy.
“We are proud to welcome this diverse group of advocates for public lands and government accountability,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of Western Values Project. “This team has the skills and experience to help us stand up to the unprecedented challenges posed by the Trump administration to our outdoor way of life.”
The advisory board will provide broad strategic direction and on-the-ground intelligence to WVP’s work to hold accountable government and industry actors that threaten protections for iconic Western landscapes.
Learn more about WVP’s advisory board members:
Kent worked for twenty years as a manager of several environmental health divisions for the City of Albuquerque. He has been appointed by New Mexico Governors from both parties to serve on various boards focused on conservation issues. Starting in 2009, he served a three-year term as a New Mexico State Game Commissioner being appointed by NM Governor Bill Richardson. In 2011, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to Chair the Valles Caldera National Trust Board which he helped transition to a National Park Preserve. Senator Jeff Bingaman appointed him to serve on the U.S. Senate’s Outdoor Resources Review Group. He is a Past President of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and currently serves as the Western Vice Chair of the National Wildlife Federation Board. He worked in several coalitions advocating for the creation of new wilderness areas in New Mexico and for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at the national level.
Pat Smith holds an undergraduate degree in history and political science and a juris doctor degree from the University of Montana. His law practice specialized in Indian law where he represented Indian tribes for 31 years, based out of Montana. In 2013, he was appointed by Montana Governor Steve Bullock to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and also to represent Montana on the Columbia River Treaty’s Sovereign Review Team. He has also served: on the 2010 Montana Redistricting Commission; as a member of the Governing Council for The Wilderness Society; and as Chief Judge of the Appellate Court of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He is an enrolled member of the Assiniboine Tribe on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, where his brother continues to operate a wheat farm established by his family. He and his wife Michelle live near Missoula, Montana.
Kjersten Forseth has over two decades of political and legislative experience in Montana, Colorado and Nevada. She was Chief of Staff for the Colorado Senate Democrats, Political and Legislative Director for the Colorado AFL-CIO, Executive Director of Progress Now Colorado, and most recently Chief Political Strategist with Rocky Mountain Voter Outreach. She has managed and provided consultation to more than 20 campaigns in the West, specializing in field tactics to fight politically motivated recalls, persuasion campaigns on complex ballot issues, and scientifically proven methods to increase voter turnout among low propensity voters. Her campaign background includes work with candidates, ballot issues, independent expenditure committees, union member-to-member canvassing, and non-profit community organizing.
Caroline has over a decade of experience developing, sharpening, and communicating effective messages within the worlds of politics and government. She currently serves as Executive Director of Restore Public Trust, a non-partisan government accountability group. Previously, she worked at Precision Strategies, the strategic consulting firm. Before Precision, Caroline served as the Executive Director of Americans United for Change, an issue advocacy organization, where she collaborated with partner organizations to advance policies like raising the minimum wage and immigration reform. She has additionally served in the Office of Communications and Public Liaison at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), was Deputy Communications Director at the Democratic National Committee, and the press office of Senator Barbara Boxer.
Kyle Herrig is a Director at the New Venture Fund where he oversees research and strategic communications for a number of progressive projects. Kyle co-founded and currently advises several accountability organizations. He also advises Western Values Project, a Montana-based conservation organization, on its congressional and administrative strategies. Kyle helped launch and currently serves on the board of American Oversight, an accountability organization that leverages the power of open records requests and the courts to hold the administration accountable. Previously, he served as an attorney both in the philanthropic sector and in private practice.
Read more about WVP’s team and board on their about us page.