Paul Friedman is the founder and Executive Director of Safer Country, a gun violence prevention non-profit focused on keeping guns out of unsafe hands. He is inspired by the memory of his great aunt, Elizabeth Shulkin, who was shot and killed at her hotel on a vacation in Florida on December 1, 1981.
Of note, one of Elizabeth’s brothers, and Paul’s great uncle, the Hon. Sam Friedman, was the subject of the 2017 movie, Marshall, about Sam’s successful criminal defense of Joseph Spell in 1940-41, which had a young Thurgood Marshall’s assistance. A Black man, Mr. Spell was falsely accused of attempted murder and rape of the married white woman who employed him in Greenwich, Connecticut. The movie was produced by Sam’s daughter, Lauren.
Prior to Safer Country, Paul served as Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Victims (VTV) Family Outreach Foundation, during which time he worked with the City of Alexandria and Virginia Tech’s local graduate schools to create a tree grove in Chinquapin Park to honor the victims and survivors of the April 16, 2007 massacre.
Paul graduated with a B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University and a J.D. from New York Law School. In 1987, Paul moved to Washington, DC, worked on Capitol Hill. In 1988, he was a Field Organizer in Iowa for Paul Simon for President (where he had the privilege of informing Sen. Simon that he had received the Des Moines Register endorsement for the Democratic nomination) and an Advance Man for the Dukakis/Bentsen campaign.
In 1990, he was elected Chair of the Ward 6 Democrats and became the PAC Director for Environmental Action, where he wrote that year’s Dirty Dozen. On August 25, 1991, Paul married his lovely wife, Lori, moved to Alexandria. In 1992, Paul successfully managed a state representative campaign in Orlando, Florida and, later, a City Council race in Alexandria.
Paul went on to work as a liaison to the Legal and Financial Community in the DMV for the Development Corporation for Israel and the Director of Development for Save A Child’s Heart, Neediest Kids and Every Child Matters. In 2015, prior to joining VTV, Paul served as Mark Levine’s political consultant in his victorious effort to run for Delegate in Virginia’s 45th District.
In mid-2020, Paul was elected to serve as the Alternate Delegate from Virginia’s 8th Congressional District for Joe Biden for President to the Democratic National Convention, which would have been held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but for the covid crisis.
In January of 2022, Paul began serving as the elected Vice President of Alexandria’s West End Business Association.