Dr. Julie Kessel has been with the St Pete League for 12 years and is the Past President of the League of Women Voters of the St Pete Area, having served in the past on the League state board as well. She is a board certified psychiatrist and completed her specialty training with the National Institute of Mental Health. Her clinical specialization is in evidence based medicine, psychopharmacology, pain management and forensic psychiatry. She is presently a Medical Officer for a major health care insurer where she is responsible for the national Medical, Drug, Prevention and Reimbursement Coverage Policy Program programs. She has worked in public and private sector healthcare, and has direct experience in implementing some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, specifically those that relate to appeal protections, inclusion of age 19-26 year old dependents, elimination of lifetime limits, and expansion of preventive care benefits.
Dr. Kessel has been a lifelong advocate for social justice, women’s rights and expanded healthcare access for all, having engaged in her first legal battle in 1975 as the plaintiff, bringing a Title IX challenge against her school district. In her multi year tenure as President of the St Pete League Area, she presided over tremendous team accomplishments, quadrupling membership, bringing solar co-ops to St Pete, developing the local gun safety program, increasing voter turnout in underserved areas, moving to a widely used online voter guide, modernizing the website, winning the fight to get the first national municipal ordinance to ban superpac and foreign money in local elections, and brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the local organization in grants and gifts, amongst other accomplishments.
Presently, Dr. Kessel is co-founder and co-lead of the Food Politics Action Team in St Pete, a founding member of the St Pete Food Policy Council on behalf of the League, and sits on the board of Creative Clay, a St Pete based art learning environment for people with disabilities. She is an outdoor enthusiast, loves kayaking and paddleboarding, has a bunch of cats and a dog, and is working to create a sustainable homestead in the middle of St Pete.