DNC Chair Candidate Forum Voter Guide
presented by Democracy in Color
(Please scroll down to view all 7 candidates)
Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic Party
Our party can’t afford to spend the next two years having an ideological debate on whether we are liberals or moderates; everyone should feel welcome.
Rebuild purpose of Party: The Party must become a service-based organization designed to meet the needs of its national institutions, 57-state Party organizations, its general membership, and every citizen who needs an advocate on her or his behalf.
Rebuild Party’s partnership with states: Build a strong infrastructure and provide resources (including a minimum of $15,000 a month) to all 57 state Parties to take back statehouses and achieve electoral success at every level of governance. Make Democrats Abroad, D.C. and 5 territories full partners with equity.
Rebuild Party’s culture: To change the Party’s culture, everyone in the Party should start looking deeply at her or his own actions, assumptions, and judgments. Create a “New American Majority Council” to help achieve true equity and multiplicity in every aspect of the Party. Require “Transforming White Privilege” courses for all members and leaders. Provide political job-training courses in New American Majority communities. Scout and recruit individuals in New American Majority communities with leadership qualities.
U.S. House of Representatives, Minnesota 5th District
We must champion working families and give voters a reason to show up at the polls in 2018 and beyond.
Prioritizing a grassroots focus on voter turnout: Engage with progressive allies in party rebuilding. Study and disseminate best practices for effective field organizing to candidates on all levels. Resurrect DNC-led national training programs. Encourage local, state and federal candidates to set goals to boost turnout. . Protect against voter suppression and promote laws that encourage voter participation, including automatic voter registration, early voting and vote by mail.
Strengthen state and local parties: Increase State Partnership Project funding to a base of $10,000 per month, with additional funding available for state and local parties dedicated to building programs for core work. Develop an aggressive strategy to win back state legislatures and governors for 2020 redistricting. Provide DNC-sponsored candidate training programs to win local races, creating diverse qualified candidates ready to run for higher office.
Focus on working people: Ensure voters know Democrats stand for them. Have labor as a full partner, commit to using only 100% union hotels, venues and vendors when possible. Engage directly with working voters through round tables, listening sessions and direct voter contact in areas where Democrats under performed in 2016 compared to previous elections.
26th United States Secretary of Labor
We need to listen to Democrats at every level.
Stand up for what we believe in: Protect civil rights and create a level playing field for all Americans. Fight voter suppression and disenfranchisement. Target gerrymandering by working to elect more Democratic state legislatures and governors. Stand up and lead efforts to stop policies that undermine the pillars of the middle class and make it harder for Americans to get a fair deal.
Grow from the grassroots: From organizing to fundraising, the Party’s values and messages must be driven from the ground up. Encourage and prioritize small-dollar fundraising. Increase the availability of surrogates to support state Party fundraisers.
Advocate in every zip code: Make sure Party’s message of inclusion and opportunity reaches every American. Foster year-round conversation with voters, driven by state parties. Ensure candidates will stand up for our values. Invest in state parties to help support candidates from school board to Senate. Build a deep bench of Democrats ready to run and provide national and regional candidate training.
Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party
The DNC requires radical reform.
Reforming the Party’s structure: Every aspect of the Democratic Party’s structure should be reviewed and reformed, from the DNC itself to state parties and grassroots. Increase accountability from leadership and affiliated groups, and transparency around DNC finances and spending. The Party’s delegate selection process and convention proceedings should be examined and amended, as well as the presidential nomination process. The scheduling and criteria for the DNC-sponsored presidential debates and forums, and the DNC fundraising policy, should be removed from the DNC Chair’s sole prerogative.
Strengthening state parties: As part of a “15-point plan”: DNC should provide a guaranteed base of $10,000 per month to every state party and assign a DNC staff person to serve as the organizer and point of contact for the five territories. The Party should also provide “State Party Partnership Victory Grants”, up to $15,000 per month for state specific projects or programs, which could be renewed on an annual basis. Increase staff development and improve recruitment and retention of Executive Directors.
Increase voter engagement: Build community-based voter engagement programs year-round.
The Party needs to be a constant presence in communities across America, not just a force that descends every few years at election time.
Engage, prioritize and invest in local communities and strategic states: Prioritize ongoing, sustained investment in, and engagement of, local communities in order to have conversations beyond the two-year election cycle. Be a partner to local party leaders. Seek out and elevate the best practices from the local level.Make significant investments in states where our base is rapidly growing, even if the electoral payoff is not immediate.
Develop and support candidates: Develop a robust, diverse pipeline of candidates eager to advance our principles, and support them when they run. Commit resources to building a grassroots army of diverse volunteers, trainers, staff and candidates. Build a leadership team comprised of the most thoughtful, compassionate, locally-focused group of people around.
Reach out to young eligible voters: Communicate better with the young people who share our values and yet are not showing up to vote because they feel left out of the process in order to build an inclusive membership base.
Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
The DNC needs new leadership to deliver a fresh start.
Put Democratic values first: The Democratic Party must do what it does best: put forward a compelling economic message that resonates with all working- and middle-class families. Ensure that every citizen knows that this Party is the party of freedom, fairness, families, and the future. Bring our message to all voters.
Put focus back on states: The DNC should not only fund but also authentically partner with and fully respect the needs of the state and local parties. This includes: state-by-state long term planning; encouraging more flexible models for funding the states; connecting local resources to national needs, and vice versa; a comprehensive DNC fundraising audit to create an evidence-based future plan; top-level cyber-security capabilities; robust partnerships with Democratic organizations; round-tables with stakeholders cultivating emerging leaders and reinforcing the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute and Voter Expansion Project.
Build the Party from the bottom up: Align regional desks more closely with the regions they serve. Increase frequency of how often DNC members convene and engage with one another. Create a Local Surrogates Program to engage mayors and other local officials to help with media.
Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party
All voters must know that they matter to us.
Invest in our state parties: The DNC should provide resources so that state parties have professional and specialized operations and capabilities on a permanent basis. Afford state parties the ability to share their message in a timely and compelling manner through television, radio, and digital ads; social media outreach, and any other support required, by increasing State Partnership Program funding to $12k/mo (and easing restrictions on how that money is spent) and providing in-kind services. Empower regional Caucuses through joint fundraising and candidate support efforts and ensure Caucuses have dedicated funds to support local candidates and efforts.
Groom and build a deep bench of Democratic leaders: The DNC must develop programs nationwide to groom candidates who can speak to the concerns of their constituents. The Party must cultivate and encourage the right candidates, who may not yet think of themselves as potential candidates, train and prepare them to run for office, manage campaigns, and lead local parties.
Develop next generation of leaders: Give young people a seat at the decision table by creating a Vice Chair position for those 35 and younger.
Note: All above information obtained from candidates’ campaign websites.