Marty Ryan, President

Marty is a native west-central Iowan. Born in Carroll, he was raised in the small community of Vail, a town founded in 1867 by his great-grandfather, Thomas Ryan. The elder Ryan emigrated from Tipperary County, Ireland, and became a section boss for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad.

Like most Irish-Catholics from western Iowa, Marty spent 12 years in private parochial school. He graduated from Kuemper Catholic High School in Carroll with a thirst for social justice.

He has been a heavy equipment operator, a land surveyor’s assistant, retail and wholesale meat cutter, dislocated worker grant administrator, a union business agent and official. For 30 years, Marty has been a legal assistant who transformed his skills as a former Labor negotiator & organizer (UFCW Locals 440 & 271) into defending constitutional rights of all Iowans as a lobbyist at the Iowa Capitol.

He has received a 1989 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. In 2007 he was honored with the South Central Iowa Federation of Labor’s Political Activist Award, and in 2009 he was presented the Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment Award by the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. In 2012, he was presented with the Iowans Against the Death Penalty’s Governor Harold E. Hughes Award in recognition of his many years of advocacy to prevent reinstatement of the death penalty in Iowa. He continues that advocacy today.

Wendy Wittrock, Treasurer

Wendy has lived in Des Moines Iowa with her daughter for the past 10 years. She has a diverse background in education. She attended Xenon International in Omaha Nebraska and assumed the profession of Master Cosmetologist. After a few years, she graduated from College of Coastal Georgia in Saint Marys, Georgia. She started working for Nationwide Insurance in 2008. Since her employment with Nationwide, she has obtained her Paralegal degree from Kaplan University and a Bachelor of Science in Justice and Human Relations from the University of Iowa. At Nationwide she is currently a Claims Specialist and is also enrolled to start school again to obtain a Criminal Justice Degree.

Wendy is an advocate for human rights. She is involved with several advocacy groups involving prisoner rights and rehabilitation. She is the secretary for Iowa Coalition for Juvenile Justice, president for Iowa C.U.R.E, member of Voices to be Heard, and is actively involved with Friends of Iowa Women Prisoners. In her spare time, she loves to camp and research her family genealogy. She is the leader of her daughter's troop with the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa.

Her favorite quote is “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Lori Baux, Secretary

Lori Baux is principal of a grassroots public affairs and public relations consulting firm based in Ames. A native of Marion County and graduate of Iowa State University, Lori began her professional career working as a political organizer in Iowa. She moved to Washington, D.C., serving in the Carter Administration’s office of Presidential Personnel. Lori continued to be active on the political front, while working in the private sector as a grassroots, strategic communications specialist on a broad range of nonpartisan issues.

After years in Washington, Lori returned home to Iowa, continuing her work as a strategic communications and grassroots consultant. A long-time supporter of abolishing the death penalty, Lori began working with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in 2005 and currently serves as a senior consultant to the organization.

Ivan Webber is a retired lawyer living in West Des Moines.  As a lawyer he represented local governments across Iowa.  in 2022 he was named a sage by dsm magazine, he served in the 1980's as Corporation Counsel for the City of Des Moines, he served on the board of directors and executive council for United Way of Central Iowa, served on the board of directors Iowa Legal Aid and was twice president of the board, he served on the board of directors for Proteus and HISPANICS, and received the International Municipal Attorneys Association award as the outstanding private practitioner representing local governments in the United States and Canada.  Ivan is married, has two children and two grandchildren. 



Bob Mulqueen

A bi-coastal Iowan, whose father's family is from Council Bluffs and whose mother's family is from Dubuque, Mulqueen, somehow, attained a bachelor of arts degree in History from Creighton University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Iowa State University.  He has worn more hats than Bartholomew Cubbins (tip of the hat to Dr. Seuss).  He was an assistant bridge inspector for the Iowa Highway Commission (not yet the DoT), served as a night watchman at a demolition site, was a very junior member of the Capitol Hill staff of U.S. Senator Dick Clark, served as a member of the Democratic Caucus staff of the Iowa Senate, was an in-the-district staff member for U.S. Representative Tom Harkin, was the manager for an unsuccessful Congressional campaign, served as administrative assistant for a high school president, was a research and a teaching assistant as a graduate student, was a development officer for a private school system, served as a lobbyist and a policy specialist for the Iowa State Association of Counties, lobbyist and energy policy staffer for the Iowa Environmental Council, headed the policy staff for Governor Chet Culver, was lobbyist for and policy staffer at the Iowa Office of Energy Independence, acted as a lobbyist for a number of non-profit

organizations, taught courses on state and local government as an adjunct at both Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College, and as a VISTA Leader at the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service.

Mulqueen is married to Tricia Lyman, who is a very patient woman.  


Mary Sand


Mary has lived in Ames since 1972 and Iowa since the age of 6. She and her husband have been active members of Amnesty International Group 40 for over 40 years. Amnesty is an organization opposed to capital punishment in all cases. Mary is a licensed dietitian working in nursing homes since 1988 and has recently taken a job with the US Census Bureau. She taught at Iowa State University for 12 years. Besides her work with the Amnesty group in Ames, she volunteers with the League of Women Voters of Ames & Story County, the County Coordination Committee providing community identification cards to immigrants, and plays with the Onion Creek Band and Cloggers (an all comers group). As a representative of AI Group 40, Mary was one of many others speaking at the Iowa State House in opposition to death penalty reinstatement in 1997.



Bob Brammer, ex officio [representing the Catholic Peace Ministries]


Bram grew up a preacher's kid in Cedar Falls, two blocks from the beautiful Iowa State Teachers College  campus (now UNI)  He did K-12 at the university's Malcolm Price Laboratory School and graduated from State College H.S. in 1967.  


He periodically was taught, Thou shalt not kill.  It ranked as a commandment.


Bram graduated from Earlham College in Indiana ('71), a Quaker (Friends) school that was deeply faithful to the Quaker anti-war tradition of resisting war and living by the conviction that "There is that of God in every one."


Bram had a few more adventures before coming to the Iowa Attorney General's Office in 1978:  screening criminal defendants in NYC Night Court and recommending candidates for a pre-trial diversion, counseling and work program that could earn dismissal of their charges . . . . . . . . taking year 1973 to hitch-hike and bus to Tierra del Fuego (an insistently politicizing journey) . . . . . . . . . coming home to Iowa to be a field organizer in '74 for Steve Rapp for Congress (Charles Grassley won, 50.5% to 49.5%) . . . . . . . . staffing Iowa Senate Dem. Caucus (1975) . . . . . . directing the Washington Office of the National Campaign to Stop the B-1 Bomber ('75-'77) . . . . . . . doing communications for Iowans for Tom Miller for Attorney General (1978). 


Bram worked in the AG's office 1978-2010, and for many years was director of communications, including the Iowa Dept. of Justice (A.G.) leading opposition to restoring the death penalty. 


Bram is married to former Iowa State Rep. Marti Anderson, father to Gabe and Alissa Brammer (spouses Maca Bartolome and Lanon Baccam), and grandfather to Violeta, Nico, and Freya.  He spends most of his volunteer time organizing on war and peace issues.  He lives in Des Moines.


Dennis Steele, ex officio [representing Amnesty International – Iowa]​

Dennis lives in Madrid. He has over twenty years of experience working with children with multiple disabilities. Dennis has been an activist within Amnesty International USA filling various volunteer roles on the local, statewide, regional and national levels. He also has been involved as a volunteer in prison ministry for nearly twenty-five years.

Dennis’ commitment to opposing the death penalty comes from his sense of Catholic social justice teaching and personal relationships with both murder victims and death row inmates.



Dave Leshtz, ex officio [representing The Prairie Progressive]

Dave is a former bartender, teacher, social worker, union organizer, and Congressional staffer with a degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Iowa. He served for eight years on the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (four years as Chair), and is currently on the boards of Community Crisis Services and the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. Dave is the editor of The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter ( He has fond memories of playing a small role in defeating what appeared to be certain reinstatement of the death penalty by the Iowa Legislature in 1995

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