Democratic National Committee: There will be some changes made

| Dec 5, 2016
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On December 2-3, 2016 in Denver CO, the Democratic National Committee’s Association of State Chairs (ASDC) held its Post-Election Meeting. Coinciding with that gathering, the DNC Executive Committee and Rules and Bylaws Committee met to conduct party business and establish the rules of procedure that will govern the upcoming election of the new Chair and slate of Party officers. The election will take place at the full DNC meeting in Atlanta, GA, which will run from February 23rd- 26th, 2017.

Babs with Jason Babs and Grace Bel A.

Babs with Jason and Grace Bel A.

On Friday, December 2, 2016, the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC) hosted a “Future of the Party Forum” featuring candidates running to be the next DNC Chair as well as candidates for officers of the DNC. The forum was moderated by host Colorado Democratic Party Chair Rick Palacio.

The following candidates presented in the forum:

Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and President of the ASDC

Howard Dean, Former DNC Chair and Former Governor of Vermont

Keith Ellison, Congressman from Minnesota’s 5th District

Jamie Harrison, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party

But one who was considered a front-runner, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, on Friday withdrew his name from the hat:

“I am not going to be a candidate for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship,” he said in a video message.

The other three candidates — all delivered variations on the same message: The DNC has to adapt to survive.

“We need to get our own house in order,” said Buckley. “We need radical change.”

All three candidates endorsed a “50-state strategy” in which the national party would do more to support races up and down the ballot and support the party infrastructure in every state. And they agreed that the party needs to do more to build a deeper bench of political talent — meaning candidates as well as campaign operatives and grassroots activists.

But there were differences, too.

Ellison, a favorite of the party’s progressive wing, stressed the need to beef up the Democratic grassroots voter turnout apparatus. He said Democrats need to “shut up and listen to folks, not just tell them what’s going to happen.”

The party’s next chairman is scheduled to be picked in February by DNC members from across the country. The new chairman will succeed interim chairwoman Donna Brazile, the senior Vice Chair who stepped in after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., resigned in July. Brazile has since come under fire for leaking CNN debate questions to Hillary Clinton.

Those controversies served as an ever-present backdrop at Friday’s forum.

Buckley, for one, spoke at length about the need to rebuild trust. He laid out a series of reforms designed to give the executive committee more control over spending and the presidential debate schedule, which was widely criticized for picking dates that seemingly guaranteed low viewership.

“Maybe if the executive committee of the DNC had a role in that we would say maybe this isn’t the right thing to do,” Buckley said.

I certainly agree with that statement! You’ve got good candidates, a good message, show them off, dominate the news!

In a letter to DNC members Ray Buckley said:

“Make no mistake, if I am elected chair there will be radical reform of how the DNC operates. You and every member of the DNC will be called on to fully participate in the governance of our party. The DNC will be a team effort unlike what we have seen for many years.  Every voice should be respected, every face reflected in the Democratic Party. The party cannot just be about winning the White House. We have thousands of other races, including state, county and local races, that we need to win as well.”

Harrison, meanwhile, pointedly questioned the DNC’s strategy in prior elections, saying it was too focused on the presidential race.

“This needs to be the very last election cycle where the presidential candidate takes over the DNC, “…When we ignore red states, we are in essence saying ‘Republicans, you take those U.S. senators, and you take all those Congress members.’ ”

Dean was a late scratch from the forum, but spoke first via a video message in which he pledged to support the eventual chair, and made a call for unity, a common theme on the day:

“We cannot allow this to be a proxy fight between Bernie Sanders’ people and Hillary Clinton’s people,” said Dean.

But even as he withdrew his own name from the hat, Dean made a powerful point based on his own experience stressing that being DNC chair is “a full-time job.” The implicit criticism: a U.S. Congressman, in this case Ellison, doesn’t have time to do it properly.

I have to agree with Dean 100%!

In response to an audience question on the subject, Ellison said he hadn’t decided whether he would resign his Congressional seat, but if chosen, the DNC would be his “first priority.”

Besides the Chair, all officers of the DNC are up for election.

Interim Chair and former Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation Donna Brazile will not run for her old office.

Vice Chair R.T. Rybeck, former Mayor of Minneapolis stated that he will not run again.

NY Congresswoman and Stonewall favorite Grace Meng who replaced Vice Chair Tulsi Gabbard this summer was very enthusiastic and was actively recruiting votes.

Vice Chair Maria Elena Durazo was unable to attend because of personal family reasons.

Long time Treasurer Andy Tobias was still on his usual A game and ready and willing to run again!

Secretary Stephanie Rawlings-Blake indicated that her term as Mayor of Baltimore was ending soon and that she wanted to run again and would now be able to spend more time at the DNC. To my mind It was very clear during the last 4 years that the office of DNC Secretary demanded a full time person.

DNC Finance Chair Henry Munoz completed his first term, learned much, did very well and was enthusiastically ready to do more and do it better.

Louisiana Democratic Chair and Credentials Committee Co-Chair Karen Carter Peterson cast her hat for Vice Chair for Voter Registration and Participation.

NYS Assemblyman Michael Blake announced that he was running for Vice Chair.

There was a strong rumor that Colorado State Chair Rick Palacio was running for Vice Chair.

For others there were whispers, but more to come.

The DNC announced  the following schedule of regional forums that will feature the candidates for Chair and the other officer positions. All Regional Forums will be open to the public and streamed live. The forums will be held on:

  • January 13-14th in Phoenix, AZ
  • January 27th- 28th in Houston, TX
  • February 3rd-4th in Detroit, MI
  • February 10th-11th in Baltimore, MD

At the meeting, DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile addressed the Executive Committee about the path forward for the Democratic Party following the 2016 election. Chair Brazile made clear that despite the disappointing election results, there are better days ahead for the Democratic Party. We will continue to fight for the values and ideals that we cherish, defend the legacy and accomplishments of President Barack Obama, and hold Donald Trump accountable at every turn.

Catherine Cortez Masto

Catherine Cortez Masto

Catherine Cortez Masto, Senator-elect from Nevada and the first ever Latina elected to the Senate, gave a powerful keynote address to party officials at the Executive Committee Meeting.

There was a polling report from Cornell Belcher, and a presentation regarding cybersecurity and the illegal hacking of Democratic Party officials and files by what is generally acknowledged as Russian military agencies. In a year when It appeared that the FBI was more concerned about a former congressman’s emails than Russia interfering in our free election process and a Presidential candidate who exclaimed only praise for the Russian leader, I would say that all Americans should be uneasy!

The Executive Committee also passed a series of resolutions, highlighting the accomplishments of the Obama Administration, acknowledging the contributions Hillary Clinton has made to our country and to the Democratic Party, holding Donald Trump accountable and calling on him to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, supporting recounts and post-election audits and expressing solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fighting to preserve their water supply and lands.

LGBT people should clearly understand that the DNC is fully inclusive in its Charter and By-laws

Regarding LGBT issues, What I can say about the individuals who I know personally:

Ray Buckley would be the first “openly” gay Chair of a major political party, he is also a recipient of the 2016 Jane Fee award given by the DNC Transgender Delegates.

Andy Tobias and Henry Munoz are openly gay and great allies of the trans community. Andy has become a consistent supporter of the Transgender Legal Defense Fund (TLDEF).

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake takes pride as a great ally of the LGBT community.

Grace Meng seems to be a favorite of members of the Stonewall Democrats of NYC.

Rick Palacio is out, open and locals tell me he is a great ally.

Will update next month.

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Category: Transgender Community News, Transgender Politics


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

Comments (2)

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  1. says:

    “In a year when It appeared that the FBI was more concerned about a former congressman’s emails than Russia interfering in our free election process…”.

    If the implication of those last 7 words is that Russia ‘hacked’ the presidential election (to defeat Hillary) there is NO supporting evidence.

    Both Politifact and the Washington Post have articles debunking this now rampant Democrat myth.

  2. KoolMcKool KoolMcKool says:

    Ellison’s past comments on Israel and Farrakhan would have trouble raising big money from LA, NYC, and in-between, take Buckley or someone else who is the best money manager. You folks do not have to rush, the right person for the times will emerge.

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