DNC Committeeman & Committeewoman
Report on DNC Winter Meeting & Election of Officers
February 23 – 25, 2017
Fellow Democratic Non-Partisan Leaguers:
We wanted to reach out to you with a report and recap of our first meeting with the Democratic National Committee in Atlanta, Georgia. The meeting was productive and we feel it will yield positive changes both for the national party as well as our state party. The main order of business was the election of new executive committee members, so we’ll start our report there.
Phone calls, emails, snail-mail and in-person contact from candidates and surrogates started the morning after Thanksgiving Day 2016 and didn’t stop until right up to the vote on February 25, 2017. While this was at times overwhelming for us newbies, it’s hardly surprising considering this is the first election the DNC has had in 12 years! Our criteria for consideration of the candidates was simple: 1) What are their plans to help bolster rural red states like North Dakota who have suffered devastating local and state losses, and 2) What are their organizational plans to reform the DNC in order to bring it back to serving in the best interests of the people of America. The answers we got to those questions were as diverse as the candidates themselves. In the end, we found two candidates to have values that were in line with ours here in North Dakota: Sally Boynton Brown, Executive Director of the Idaho State Democratic Party and President of the Association of State Executive Directors; and Keith Ellison who is US Representative of the 5th District of Minnesota.
We are fairly certain most of you reading this report know that neither of the candidates we supported for Chair were able to attain the position, but we want to pass on the following thoughts on the elections: Tom Perez, who ultimately won the election for Chair, spoke with all of us personally and has completely committed to helping states like North Dakota regroup and revitalize. Rather than a top-down approach of “the DNC will do x-y-z for North Dakota,” Tom asked us to bring him ideas from the ground up. We let him know what we’re going to need to make changes in ND and we received a commitment that he and his team will do everything in their power to help us.
Under any measurement of the situation, this is a vast improvement in logistics between state parties and the national party. While the Chair race certainly received the most media attention, the down ballot races were equally as important and all of the new officers have committed to reforming the communications and practices of the DNC. Of the nine people elected to the executive team, only two are incumbents. Seven of the nine officers are people of color; two are millennials; three are LGBT; they hail from Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, and California. This is a new DNC. It is unlike the old DNC.
After twelve hours on the convention floor, the main elections were complete, but our party Chair Kylie Oversen had one more meeting to attend, that of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC), who had an election of their own to attend to. Another hour or so of waiting and we were delightfully surprised to hear that not only did we have a ASDC Chair who is from our neighboring state of Minnesota, but that Kylie was elected to the executive team of the ASDC, having been elected the Chair of the Midwest Caucus. The positive implications of this election cannot be understated – Kylie is now in a position of real influence within that organization and this will help the Dem-NPL enormously moving forward.
Our major takeaway from the meeting is that “Team ND”—your Committeeman Josh Boschee, Committeewoman Dina Baird, Chair Kylie Oversen, and Vice Chair Warren—now has a unique advantage in that every elected member of the executive team of the DNC knows who we are, our faces and our names, and what we expect from them moving forward for the Dem-NPL. Now that the election is over, we intend to hold them to their commitments to us.
So what are our next steps? We made dozens of personal contacts last week with other members of the DNC as well as with candidates and their surrogates. Many of them have committed to helping us with training and best practices with our local districts. A few examples that jump out: Liz Jaff, candidate for Vice Chair, has committed to helping with technology issues as well as new ideas for online fundraising; Jehmu Green, candidate for Chair, has committed to helping state parties with communications trainings; Bill Derrough, who is the newly elected Treasurer of the DNC has already started what he is calling “office hours” to help with fundraising and money management. Our intention is to leverage these contacts to the fullest and get them working for the Dem-NPL.
We return home energized and renewed in our spirit of rebuilding our state and national party from the district level on up. Each one of you play an important role in ensuring that we build strong districts that inform the state and national party. We can do this by setting short and long-term goals for each of our districts, including the need to support and elect Dem-NPLers to local and county positions in addition to legislative and statewide offices.
As you move forward through your regional reorganizations and we ultimately reorganize our state party in early April, we hope you keep this report in mind. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us with questions or thoughts or requests for further information about any of our interactions. If this report were as detailed as it could be, we’d have to make a call to a printing press to have it bound – so, please, if you’re interested in hearing more, reach out at any time. We’d love to have a conversation with you.
Democratically submitted March 1, 2017.
Dina Baird Joshua Boschee
DNC Committeewoman of North Dakota DNC Committeeman of North Dakota
2017 Democratic National Committee (DNC) Officers
Tom Perez – Chair – Perez was the United States Secretary of Labor from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that he served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, the son of first-generation Dominican immigrants.
Keith Ellison – Deputy Chair – Ellison has been the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district since 2007; Ellison was the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress. He is also the first African American to have been elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota.
Karen Carter Peterson – Vice Chair for Civic Engagement and Voter Participation – Peterson is a Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate, having represented the 5th District since 2010. She is also the current Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Peterson is the first woman to serve in this role. Since 2008, Peterson has served as Democratic National Committeewoman for Louisiana.
Ken Martin – Vice Chair/ASDC President – Martin began his career in politics as a high school volunteer for the campaign of Paul Wellstone; as State DFL Chairman since 2011, Ken has rebuilt the party, restoring confidence among donors, elected officials, and party leaders and demonstrated the party’s ability to win elections and advance a progressive agenda.
Michael Blake – Vice Chair – Blake is the son of Jamaican immigrants. After graduating from New York City Public Schools, he graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Journalism. Blake is currently serving in the New York State Assembly representing the Bronx.
Maria Elena Durazo – Vice Chair – Durazo is an American trade union official. Since May 2006 she has served as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. She also serves as the Executive Vice President of the governing Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO.
Grace Meng – Vice Chair – Meng is currently representing the borough of Queens, New York in the US House of Representatives. She is an attorney and the first Asian American to represent part of New York in Congress.
Bill Derrough – Treasurer – Derrough serves as Managing Director and Co-Head of the Recapitalization and Restructuring Group of Moelis & Company Holdings LP; previously he was responsible for identifying and executing controlling equity investments in underperforming companies and assisting them in their operational turnarounds.
Jason Rae – Secretary – Rae was born in the northern rural city of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. He was a student at Marquette University and graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. Rae is the youngest person ever elected to the DNC.
Henry Muñoz III – National Finance Chair – The son of a labor organizer, Muñoz was plugged into political circles from birth and since has grown into a heavyweight in Democratic fundraising.