Statewide Leadership Team

We believe in fostering strong leadership among our members and are building toward local governance of our regional chapters. The Statewide Leadership Team is responsible for developing and implementing statewide strategy. It is made up of the executive director and volunteer leaders from around the state. While still in development, our goal is to have representation from each regional chapter that is reflective of the diversity of our members and the state.

Justin Vest
Founder & Executive Director

Justin has spent his life in small towns throughout Alabama. He grew up in Alexander City before attending college at the University of Montevallo, and then moving to Tallassee to start a family. Because of his own struggles living in poverty, he pursued a career in social work, earning his master’s degree from the University of Alabama.

After graduation, Justin moved to the DC area to work in social policy. There he began organizing in his Maryland community, winning campaigns to raise the minimum wage, implement paid sick leave, create public funding for local elections, and for police reform. Throughout this time, he developed a statewide network of dozens of grassroots organizers  and hundreds of activists including in long neglected rural areas.

Justin returned home to his small town roots in 2017, founding Hometown Action. He believes small towns should be places where everyone can be accepted and have the opportunity to thrive. He lives in Montevallo with his three chrildren.

KC VickK.C. Vick
Leadership Development Organizer

A daughter of west Alabama, K.C. spent her early life in Tuscaloosa, working retail and eventually attending the University of Alabama’s New College. She discovered her family’s small town roots through an experience tutoring at a middle school near her grandmother’s birthplace in Mount Hermon. Her interests in public education, wellness, and rurality led her to study community health at Indiana University, where she confirmed her commitment to quality of life in flyover regions of the United States.

K.C. returned home to work on civic engagement projects in Montevallo before relocating in 2015 to the capital city for a job with a non-profit healthcare organization serving central and south Alabama. In her professional work, she is dedicated to harm reduction and local innovation toward safer communities for all. She believes in bread and roses; that we all deserve not only the basics of life, but also comfort, joy, and possibility.

In 2017, K.C. became a member of Hometown Action, cutting her organizing teeth in fundraising and canvassing efforts. She helped launch our River Region Chapter and is now developing powerful leaders through our training and leadership development program which centers working class people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, and women. K.C. lives in Montgomery, where she dreams of a rural future and shares her time with an elderly dog, a cat, her niece, and other family.

Kathleen Kirkpatrick
Strategic Initiatives Organizer

Kathleen is a sustainability consultant and advocate with a multi-disciplinary background ranging from environmental policy to nonprofit management. Inspired in part by her architect father's first edition of Ian McHarg's Design With Nature, at an early age she became enthralled with investigating human effects on the environment. In 2012 she returned to her home state of Alabama to advocate for sustainable redevelopment in the wake of the April 2011 storms. Kathleen is a LEED, SITES, and EcoDistricts Accredited Professional, and volunteer leader for several Alabama environmental, community engagement and political organizations.

She joined Hometown Action in 2017, recognizing the organization’s ability to offer a supportive network for comprehensive, sustainable local improvement in Alabama's rural communities. As the Strategic Initiatives Organizer, Kathleen combines strategic thinking, grassroots organizing, and fundraising to develop specialized projects to advance Hometown Action's mission. She was elected in 2018 to represent Elmore County on the State Democratic Executive Committee. Kathleen lives in Wetumpka with her partner.