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Henry Fernandez

Senior Fellow

Expertise: State and municipal policy, elections, civil rights, immigration

Henry Fernandez is a Senior Fellow at American Progress focusing on state and municipal policy, with a specific interest in how these impact the civil rights and economic opportunities for Americans.

He is CEO of Fernandez Advisors, LLC, a strategic and management consulting firm counseling nonprofits, businesses, grassroots movements, foundations, and government agencies. Fernandez was the founding executive director of LEAP, a nationally recognized child development program serving low-income youth, primarily public-housing residents, in Connecticut. Fernandez served on the Obama transition team based at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where he concentrated on the affordable housing, homelessness, and community development portfolios.

Fernandez has worked broadly in local government, including as economic development administrator for New Haven, Connecticut, where he oversaw the city’s seven development departments as well as the Port Authority, Development Commission, and Redevelopment Agency.

He has managed and helped lead local and state electoral campaigns in Connecticut and Massachusetts, from city council to governor’s races. He has developed large-scale voter registration programs in the United States and advised election monitoring groups in East Africa.

He has been interviewed by a diverse set of media ranging from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal, to Variety, Black Enterprise, and “Good Morning America,” as well as local print, television, and radio news.

Fernandez graduated from Yale Law School and Harvard College. He taught high school in Zimbabwe, worked for a rural organizing group in Mississippi, and was the Stupski fellow at Yale Law School. He has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the National Commission on Civic Renewal; the Center for Community Change; the Connecticut Commission on Arts, Culture, and Tourism; and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He currently serves as the chair of both America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund in Washington, D.C., and is a board member of the National Hispanic Media Coalition in Los Angeles as well as Junta For Progressive Action in New Haven, Connecticut.

Fernandez lives with his wife Kica Matos and their son in New Haven, Connecticut.