About the Team
Gabe Elsner, Director
Gabe Elsner is a public interest advocate based in Washington, D.C. For the past five years, he has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations to elevate the voice of ordinary people in policy debates. Gabe understands that citizens need to stand up for true American values to restore democracy and to overcome the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups.
Prior to joining the Checks & Balances Project, Gabe planned and implemented the first statewide campaign for the California Student Sustainability Coalition to defeat Proposition 23, a California proposition on the 2010 ballot funded by big oil companies. The Power Vote California effort mobilized tens of thousands of voters prior to Election Day around the message that energy companies should not be writing California’s public policy.
Gabe also trained and rallied college students on campuses across the country to have a voice on Capitol Hill. His organizing efforts around Power Shift 2007 and 2009 resulted in the largest citizen lobby days in U.S. history
He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley after writing a thesis on the energy security crisis of the early 1970s. In his free time, Gabe tends a “victory garden” in his front yard, providing a seasonal supply of fresh vegetables for the neighborhood.
Ellynne Bannon, Program Manager
Ellynne Bannon joins the Checks and Balances Project as its western energy and lands program manager. For the past fifteen years, Ellynne has worked inside the halls of Congress and with national and western grassroots groups to improve government efficacy and efficiency. Since graduating from Rutgers University in the late 90’s, her goal has been to empower Americans to effectively engage on the issues they care about.
Prior to joining the Checks and Balances Project team, Ellynne directed innovative field and communication efforts for Colorado Conservation Voters. Before that, she served as a senior Congressional aide to the House Education and Labor Committee and held high level positions with the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) in the West and in Washington, D.C.
Ellynne comes to the Checks and Balances Project to help expand its work holding government and industry accountable for how western resources are used. She knows firsthand the economic benefits outdoor recreation brings to the state, as when she’s not at her desk Ellynne can usually be found on her skis, running or biking outdoors in anyone of Colorado’s many spectacular parks, mountain ranges, canyons, or forests.