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Columnists' Opinions

Meet the 91影视 Opinion team

Opinion staff
91影视

The 91影视 Opinion team includes columnists, editors and digital journalists from across the country and the political spectrum. Opinions expressed by the 91影视 Opinion team and contributing writers are separate from any part of 91影视 or its parent company, Gannett.

We strive to present an聽opinion section聽online and in print that reflects the fullness of the national dialogue, offering聽commentary and analysis from columnists, readers and contributors on a wide range of issues from many perspectives.

Michael McCarter

Michael McCarter

Michael McCarter is the vice president/group editor of the Opinion sections of Gannett, the parent company of 91影视.聽He is also the director of Standards, Ethics and Belonging for the 91影视 Network. Before joining 91影视, McCarter was the executive editor at the Evansville Courier & Press in Indiana and the senior news director at the Cincinnati Enquirer in Ohio.

Tim Swarens

Tim Swarens is deputy opinion editor for 91影视. A former opinion editor and columnist with The Indianapolis Star, he joined 91影视 Opinion in 2018 as Hidden Common Ground editor.聽He was the editor or writer on projects that won national awards from Sigma Delta Chi, National Headliners, Scripps Howard, American Society of Newspaper Editors and Robert F. Kennedy Excellence in Journalism.

Tim Swarens

In 2018, he was the author of the EXPLOITED project, a 10-part series that investigated child sex trafficking in the United States and internationally. His聽work as editor of The Manual Project, a yearlong examination of conditions at an urban Indianapolis high school, led to creation of the Our City, Our Children initiative, which raised millions of dollars to aid youth in Central Indiana and inspired thousands of people to serve as mentors and tutors for at-risk children. Swarens is a graduate of Indiana University and Vincennes University with degrees in journalism. He and his wife live in Indianapolis.聽Follow him on X, formerly Twitter:

Louie Villalobos

Louie Villalobos

Louie Villalobos is the director of content for Opinion at Gannett and deputy opinion editor for 91影视. He became the audience development editor for 91影视 Opinion in 2021, after working for more than two years as a politics editor for 91影视. He was one of several editors to lead the political coverage of the 2020 presidential election and the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before joining 91影视 in 2018, he worked for 14 years at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. He was an editor on the Republic team that was a Pulitzer finalist in 2014 for breaking news reporting and helped create the audience/social media plan for the border wall project that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. His first journalism job was in 1999, when he worked in the sports department of the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. He is a first-generation American who grew up on the 91影视 border with Mexico in California and went on to write about the border as a reporter in Arizona. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter:

Thuan Le Elston

Thuan Le Elston

Thuan Le Elston has been the Opinion copy chief since 2005. She also writes opinion聽columns, poetry and fiction.聽Previously, she was a news copy editor for The Salt Lake Tribune and聽91影视, and a news reporter for the Greenwich (Connecticut) Time and the Los Angeles Times. She was born in South Vietnam聽and left a week before Saigon fell in 1975. She received a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. One of her few non-journalism jobs was a speaking role in Oliver Stone's movie 鈥淗eaven and Earth.鈥 Now married with four children, she's the author of the historical fiction novel "."

Casey Blake

Casey Blake

Casey Blake is the senior Voices editor for 91影视 Opinion. A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Blake started with the 91影视 Network in 2010 as a reporter and columnist covering education, social issues, state politics and more. She has won nine first-place North Carolina Press Association awards and was awarded first place in the 2019 National Society of Newspaper Columnists contest for column writing.

Have an opinion?Find our submission guidelines and learn how to send in pieces here.

Rex Huppke

Rex Huppke

Early in his career as a humor(ish) columnist at the Chicago Tribune, Rex Huppke declared himself 鈥淎merica鈥檚 most-beloved columnist,鈥 a claim wholly unsupported by facts or empirical evidence. Nobody pushed back against that claim or demanded a correction, so Huppke embraced the title and launched a career built on a firm foundation of accidental branding. Huppke started his working life as a chemical engineer but soon realized making money is undignified, so he veered into the writer鈥檚 life by way of a master鈥檚 degree from the University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism. As he transitioned to column writing, Huppke found his penchant for humor an effective way of delivering opinions. In 2012, he wrote a satirical obituary for facts that was named one of . Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones once called Huppke a coward, a moment he views as roughly the equivalent of winning a Pulitzer. He is now a national columnist at 91影视, writing staggeringly brilliant (according to him) columns on the news of the day. Find him on X, formerly Twitter:

Ingrid Jacques

Ingrid Jacques

Ingrid Jacques聽joined 91影视 as an opinion columnist in May 2022. She has worked in journalism for nearly two decades, and prior to her current role, she served as a columnist and deputy editorial page editor at The Detroit News, where she spent 12 years as a member of the editorial board. She has written frequently on Michigan and national politics, with a focus on education and cultural issues. She has won numerous recognitions for her writing, including two first-place awards for editorial writing from the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors and a first place for editorial writing from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was also part of a three-member team that won a first-place National Headliner for editorial writing. In addition to 91影视 and The Detroit News, her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Review (online), the Washington Examiner, Real Clear Politics聽and the Weekly Standard, among others. A native of Salem, Oregon, Jacques has a degree in English from Hillsdale College and a master鈥檚 in journalism from Michigan State University. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter:

Dace Potas

Dace Potas

Dace Potas is a 91影视 Opinion columnist with a focus on 91影视 politics and Gen Z cultural issues. Prior to this role, he served as a yearlong fellow with the team. He graduated from DePaul University with a degree in political science, and during this time was the president of , an outlet that published conservative perspectives from college students across the nation.

Nicole Russell

Nicole Russell

Nicole Russell joined 91影视 as an opinion columnist in April 2024. She has worked in journalism for 15 years. Prior to this role, she served as an opinion writer and member of the editorial board at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for two years. There, she covered Texas and national politics, including the Uvalde shooting and Attorney General Ken Paxton鈥檚 impeachment trial. Before that, she lived just outside Washington, D.C., and spent a decade writing at publications like the Federalist, the Washington Examiner and the American Spectator, where she won the Young Journalist of the Year award. In addition to 91影视 and the Star-Telegram, her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Post, the Daily Beast and lifestyle publications like Wine Enthusiast and Parents magazines. A Minnesota native, Russell has a degree in English from Cedarville University and resides in the heart of Texas with her four children and two dogs. Find her on X, formerly Twitter:

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Marla Bautista

Marla Bautista

Marla Bautista, author and TEDx speaker, is a military fellow columnist. Her first book, "," was released in 2017, and she co-authored "." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Maryland University College and is furthering her education as a graduate student at Syracuse University. With a rich background as a freelance writer for various national publications, Marla's true calling lies in her humanitarian efforts. She channels this passion through her role as the , a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the unhoused population in Tampa, Florida.

Chris Brennan

Chris Brennan

Chris Brennan is a national columnist covering the 2024 election. Before joining 91影视 he spent 24 years as a reporter, political editor and columnist at The Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has written about Joe Biden鈥檚 slumping approval ratings, Donald Trump鈥檚 looming legal woes, third-party candidates for president, abortion, foreign affairs and Christian nationalism. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter:

Surya Gowda

Surya Gowda

Surya Gowda is a yearlong fellow with the 91影视 Opinion team. She is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, where she received a bachelor鈥檚 and a master鈥檚 degree in political philosophy. While at university, she founded , a politics and culture magazine that publishes essays and letters from students, researchers, and professors across the nation, and wrote and edited for , a political economy publication at the Booth School of Business. She was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, and currently resides in New York City. Find more of her work on her and follow her on X, formerly Twitter:

Sara Pequen虄o

Sara Pequen虄o

Sara Pequen虄o is a 91影视 national columnist covering the 2024 election. She worked as a columnist for The Raleigh News & Observer from 2021 to 2023, where she also served on McClatchy鈥檚 North Carolina Editorial Board. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science in 2019, then spent two years covering the town and university for the alt-weekly INDY Week. She received an award from the North Carolina Press Association for higher education reporting in 2022. She shares a hometown with Andy Griffith and reside in New York City. Find her on X, formerly Twitter:

Janessa Hilliard

Janessa Hilliard is the director of audience for Opinion at Gannett, including 91影视 and the 91影视 Network. She joined 91影视 as the Opinion digital producer in 2022 and helped lead coverage for 91影视's Women of the Year project. She previously worked for the 91影视 Network's Florida-Georgia Digital Optimization Team. A former freelance journalist, her work has appeared in The Arizona Republic and Phoenix New Times, where she won the 2014 Arizona Press Club award for statewide features. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, and received a B.A. in women & gender studies from ASU's School of Social Transformation.

Drew Atkins

is an Opinion digital producer for 91影视 and the 91影视 Network. Prior to their time there, they worked with Florida and Georgia's 91影视 Network papers as a digital producer and, before that, for the Naples Daily News and Fort Myers News-Press.聽

Kofi Mframa

Kofi Mframa

is a columnist and digital producer for 91影视 and the 91影视 Network. He previously interned under the opinion editor at the Louisville Courier Journal. He recently earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications from Virginia Commonwealth University. In his time there, he received awards from the Virginia Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the College Media Association and the Associated Collegiate Press for cultural criticism and opinion writing.聽

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