Dr. Basil Smikle Jr. is a Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Public Policy Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. He also lectures at Columbia University in the School of International and Public Affairs and Teachers College. With over 15 years in higher education and 25 years of a career dedicated to public service, Basil regularly shares insights on electoral politics, governance, and public policy on national media outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg TV. He holds a PhD in Politics and Education and an MPA from Columbia University and received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. Previously, Basil served as the Distinguished Lecturer of Politics and Public Policy at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. He was appointed by former Governor David Paterson to serve as the Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential cycle where he was the “second highest ranking Democrat” in the State. Basil worked closely with elected officials and community leaders to manage electoral and fundraising strategies for the State. He recruited candidates for political office and worked closely with the Democratic National Committee to create grassroots mobilization programs and act as a Party surrogate. Under Basil’s leadership, Democrats flipped county legislatures, and county-wide seats – laying the foundation for returning the State Senate to full Democratic control in 2018 and flipping three Congressional seats. He received awards from the Governor and Comptroller of New York State for his commitment to public service and education equity.