Author: keithfordnc

Washington, DC – Keith Ellison rolled out 35 additional endorsements and statements of support for becoming Chair of the DNC, including Former United States Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, United States Senator Tammy Baldwin, Former Iowa Senate Majority Leader and current President of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Mike Gronstal, Members of Congress, City Councilmembers from across the country, the United Steelworkers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

“I saw what kind of leader Keith Ellison was when we served in Congress together, and when I was the Secretary of Labor,” said Hilda Solis. “He has a work ethic and commitment like no other. Whether it was on the floor of the House of Representatives, on the picket line, or in meetings with government officials, Keith always prioritized one thing: working families. That’s the kind of Chair we need at the DNC. Someone who knows the stakes and knows the people fighting on the front lines. Keith Ellison is that person, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will be able to do the job effectively.”

“Keith is the right leader at the right time,” said Joe Crowley. “We’re at a critical juncture- and we’re facing unprecedented challenges. Keith has a vision for where we need to go, and how we can get there. Keith is not a 100% kind of leader, but a 200% kind of leader. He puts his heart and soul into every position, task, and opportunity and there’s no question he’ll continue to do just that as both a member of the House and as DNC Chair.”

“I hear the voices of Americans who are angry because they feel Washington is broken and it isn’t working for them,” said Tammy Baldwin. “It’s important for progressives to speak truth to power and join together to take on the corporate lobbyists and Wall Street interests that are now calling the shots in Washington to make a rigged system work for them. Too many Americans are being left behind and we need to change that by building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That’s why I’m endorsing Keith Ellison to be Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I will fight to make sure all Americans have an opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams. That is the promise of America and I will fight to make sure we keep it.”

“We need to interject energy and resources into the Democratic Party at all levels,” said Mike Gronstal. “To do that, we need Keith Ellison as DNC Chair. He will bring our party together, focus on turnout and bring in the grassroots. I am confident that Keith will do a phenomenal job.”

Washington, DC – Keith Ellison announced two major endorsements for his candidacy to become Chair of the DNC, from Lee Saunders, DNC Member and President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers.

“Keith Ellison is a principled progressive, a shrewd strategist and one of the nation’s most tenacious fighters for working families,” said Saunders. “He’s as comfortable in the union hall as he is in the halls of Congress, and he is exactly the right person to lead a diverse, dynamic Democratic Party at this critical time. Keith understands that the party’s strength is at the grassroots. He will invest in voter programs and build party infrastructure from the bottom up. As a superb organizer, a talented communicator and a keen listener, he’s got all the attributes a successful party chair needs. As a DNC member, I am proud to personally endorse his candidacy and look forward to working with him.”

“Keith Ellison is a fierce fighter for all working people and our families,” said Weingarten. “His track record as an organizer and a Congressman shows it. He has a clear vision for what our party represents, and knows how to build the grassroots strategy needed to engage people and bring us all together around our aspirations for the future. He has spent his career fighting for an economy where Americans can earn a good living and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect regardless of their race, religion or creed. His leadership will be guided by a passion to improve people’s lives.”

“The future of the party and our country rests on listening to the hopes of the American people and making sure government acts in a way that allows people to achieve their dreams,” Weingarten added. “Americans must trust that Democrats are on their side if we hope to take back White House and Congress. Keith knows what it takes to build that trust and strengthen the party infrastructure in all our communities throughout this country.

“Keith is a fierce fighter both for working people and against the bigotry and hate that create obstacles to real opportunity and dignity,” said Weingarten. “Based on what I have seen and heard from Keith and from the community he represents in Minneapolis, I am confident that he has strongly and unequivocally rebuked all forms of bias, including the anti-Semitism expressed by Rev. Farrakhan.”

Washington, DC – Keith Ellison released the following statement today on his support for the state of Israel and a two-state solution:

“I support Israel. And I have long supported a two-state solution and a democratic and secure state for the Jewish people, with a democratic and viable Palestinian state side-by-side in peace and dignity.

“As I told Senator Schumer before he endorsed me, as Chair of the Democratic National Committee, I will continue to support the DNC platform, which I voted for as a member of the Platform Drafting Committee. The platform affirms:

    • Support for a strong and secure Israel, including its right of self-defense
    • Opposition to the BDS Movement
    • Support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”

Ellison rejects the choice between supporting the working class and supporting religious and ethnic minorities.

With the country still reeling from the outcome of the presidential election, another high-stakes election approaches. The Democratic National Committee — having lost control of the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, most state legislatures and governorships, and soon, the Supreme Court — is preparing to elect its new leader. As the left argues over what went wrong over the past few years and how to recover, many are calling for fresh blood in the top ranks of a party that has long been controlled by older, white officials from coastal states.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) — the first Muslim ever elected to Congress as well as the first black congressman from Minnesota — is gunning for the job. A leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, one of the few members of Congress to back Bernie Sanders in the primary, and the representative of a midwestern swing state, Ellison argues he is uniquely qualified to be the face of a party attempting to come back swinging from a series of devastating losses.

In a conversation with ThinkProgress, Ellison described his vision for a party that prioritizes religious and ethnic diversity, reforming the primary process, standing in solidarity with labor unions, and building relationships with voters years before an election takes place.

Just a few months ago, Democrats were confident that they would not only win the White House, but take back the Senate as well. Democratic lawmakers said openly that they didn’t even have a contingency plan for Donald Trump’s victory, since they couldn’t picture it happening. What does the party need to learn from such a shocking loss?

We learned that voter turnout is absolutely essential, and turnout is driven by three things: a great message, some credible evidence that you’re going to do it, and a delivery system. You have to knock doors, make calls, and build a relationship with voters long before Election Day. A year before. Two years before. That lesson was painfully learned.

You can’t just do get-out-the-vote. You can’t come to town the weekend before the election and saying, “Hey, y’all. Let’s go vote.” If the message and your relationship are weak, they’ll pass.

I also think [the DNC] is perceived as too top-down. We do a good job at fundraising from labor and having them go knock on doors, but they’re not at the table enough. The party needs to have the labor voice featured at the table much more prominently. They could help us form the message and deliver the message. They don’t feel as included as they should be.

And finally, we really have to come to grips with how awful wage stagnation and income inequality is for people. In certain parts of the country — D.C., New York, San Francisco, LA — you might not feel it. But in other parts of the country, even when the unemployment rate goes below five percent, there are still a lot of people not working, still a lot of people who haven’t seen a raise in years.

You might ask, why do people like that vote for Trump? Well, many of them didn’t. His voter turnout was pretty moderate. It wasn’t some big wave. But it was enough. Even if Trump is a fraud, and not a credible messenger, for some people, he’s talking about jobs, renegotiating trade deals, taking on the elites and the establishment, and they say, “That sounds good to me.”

But Democrats campaigned on cracking down on Wall Street, raising the minimum wage, expanding paid family leave, ensuring equal pay for women, and other pro-worker policies. Why didn’t that appeal to voters?

People are going to be trying to figure that out for a long time. But we do know that we really needed to have a stronger presence in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania. I mean, we need to strengthen the grassroots in every state and every county. I’m not against TV advertising for campaigns, but we need to emphasize field campaigning much more than we do.

There is one other basic fact that Democrats have to come to grips with: that character assassination is item number one in the Republican playbook. Whether they’re saying Obama’s a Kenyan or making a big hairy deal about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, these are not sincere allegations. Their purpose is to make sure that instead of talking about your plan, you’re defending yourself from these falsehoods.

People spend money on negative campaigning because it works. I believe their relentless program of character assassination put a damper on our turnout numbers. What do we do about it? We have to find a way to say, “I know you’re trying to change the subject, but I’m not going to let you.” We have to fight back.

But having lost the White House, both chambers of Congress, and most state legislatures, how can Democrats best fight back? You’ve said that Hillary Clinton’s popular vote margin — winning by more than two million votes — is a mandate for Democrats to stand up to Trump’s policies, but how will you do that?

The First Amendment and the right to address grievances is still in full effect. If people want to protest, to get out there and express themselves, as long as they do it peacefully, they should be encouraged to do so.

And as public officials who have a platform, we ought to highlight stories of people. I mean, we’ve seen hate crimes spike in this country since Trump was elected. We have to elevate those stories. We have to boldly and unapologetically assert our solidarity, assert that all people truly are created equal. Trump is trying to return our country to a time in which people were not equal. I suppose in his opinion, that was when America was great.

Washington, DC – Keith Ellison unveiled his platform for the Democratic National Committee. In the platform, Ellison lays out his plan for returning Democrats to elected offices across the country at all levels of government – from city council to governor to the presidency.

“We must energize Democratic activists across the country and give them the tools to build the Party from the bottom-up,” said Ellison. “Beyond a 50 state strategy, we need a 3,143 county strategy. DNC members are on the front lines in these states and counties and we must harness their experience and give them a meaningful voice as we set the direction for the Party. In a DNC Chair, they need a partner and an advocate who will ensure they have the resources they need to win. This platform does just that and will give Democratic voters a reason to show up at the polls in 2017, 2018, and beyond.”

Portions of the platform include the following (view the entire platform here):

Putting Voters First

  • Progressive Partners:  Engage with progressive allies in party rebuilding, including vision and message development, constituency outreach, and grassroots mobilization.
  • Organizing Best Practices:  Study and disseminate best practices for effective field organizing to candidates on all levels. Resurrect DNC-led national training programs.

Beyond the Beltway

  • Strengthened State and Local Parties:  Increase base funding for state parties, with additional dedicated funding available for state and local parties to apply for to build programs for core work, with metrics for success.
  • Redistricting:  Convene all interested stakeholders to develop a shared, aggressive strategy to win back state legislatures and governors for 2020 redistricting to create fair and impartial maps.
  • State and Local Toolkit:  The DNC should provide additional resources to help state and local parties succeed, including, but not limited to, assisting with development of political, field, and communications plan, expand technology tools, and helping states build effective state-based fundraising program. 

Focus on Working People

  • Labor as a Full Partner:  Build meaningful relationships with the labor community as a strategic and tactical partner in the fight for the interests of working people.
  • Low-Dollar Fundraising:  Actively pursue grassroots fundraising, setting a goal that low-dollar contributions from everyday Americans account for 33% of revenue.

Accountability and Inclusion

  • Two-Way Communication:  Open up lines of communication within the Party, ensuring that all have a voice in how their Party operates.
  • Transparency:   Regular briefings and programmatic updates from the Chair and Department Directors to the DNC Executive Committee and state party chairs.

Technology and Data

  • Polling and Analytics Post-Mortem:   Convene a working group to assess polling and analytics from this cycle and create an executable plan to improve performance.
  • Cybersecurity:  Create a permanent cybersecurity advisory group to stay ahead of future cyber-attacks. Expand membership to include technologists and policy experts from the business community and government.

Washington, DC – Keith Ellison released the following statement on the DNC Chair race:

“Since I threw my hat in the ring a few weeks ago for the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, I have had the privilege, pleasure, and benefit of listening to a great many party activists, including folks with long years of service and those brand new to the party. I have learned one thing: Democrats are ready for a massive come back.

“In order to further their commitment and maximize my effectiveness, I have decided to resign as a member of Congress if I win the election for DNC chair. Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising. I will be ‘all-in’ to meet the challenge. I want to thank everyone who shared their views on this issue, and I want to thank Democrats everywhere for allowing me to move through my decision-making process.

“But at this point, the Democratic Party must be the party that delivers for working people. We can do that by meeting folks where they are, looking them in the eye, treating them with respect, and working to solve their problems. For me, that means a chair with only one full time commitment.

“Serving my neighbors in Congress and fighting for them has been the best job I’ve ever had. Whether it was for immigration reform, worker’s rights, gender equity, or social justice, we stood side by side so that every person in America, no matter their race, religion or identity, is treated with respect and given every opportunity to succeed. Until the DNC Chair election, I plan to continue doing just that.”

Washington, DC – Earlier today, Keith Ellison was endorsed overwhelmingly by the AFL-CIO, which represents 12 million workers and 56 national and international unions. After the endorsement, Keith Ellison and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statements:

“Representative Ellison meets the high standard working people expect from leaders of our political parties,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “He is a proven leader, who will focus on year-round grassroots organizing to deliver for working families across America. Under his leadership, the Democratic Party will embody the values that our members stand for every day.”

“There simply is no stronger voice for working people than the AFL-CIO, which represents 12 million workers in every section of our country,” said Ellison. “I am proud to have their endorsement for DNC Chair. For decades, they have organized and won higher wages, safer working conditions and the right to a seat at the table to bargain collectively. They believe, as I do, that America’s workers do best when they get organized. The right-wing knows this too. That’s why it’s spent years rolling back labor protections, lowering wages, and making it harder to join a union. The AFL-CIO knows the challenges facing America’s working families and how to speak to working Americans of all colors, genders, and backgrounds. I am proud to be on their side and I am even prouder that the AFL-CIO is on mine. Workers will be central to the Democratic Party.”

Additional statements endorsing Keith Ellison for DNC Chair:

“Keith Ellison is a principled progressive, a shrewd strategist and one of the nation’s most tenacious fighters for working families,” said Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME. “As a superb organizer, a talented communicator and a keen listener, he’s got all the attributes a successful party chair needs. As a DNC member, I am proud to personally endorse his candidacy and look forward to working with him.”

“Keith Ellison is a fierce fighter for all working people and our families,” said Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers. “His track record as an organizer and a Congressman shows it. Americans must trust that Democrats are on their side if we hope to take back White House and Congress. Keith knows what it takes to build that trust and strengthen the party infrastructure in all our communities throughout this country.”

“Congressman Keith Ellison is the right person to lead the Democratic Party at this time,” said Chris Shelton, President of the Communication Workers of America. “Keith Ellison will make sure that the voices of all working Americans in all communities are heard and able to play a leading role in shaping our Party and our country’s future.”

“When Republicans shut down the Federal Government in 2013, one of the first calls I got was from Rep. Keith Ellison,” said David Cox, President of American Federation of Government Employees. “He knew that the shutdown was hurting millions of workers and their families. Keith’s leadership united us, focused us on our common goal, and accomplished the task at hand.”

Complete list of labor endorsements:

  • Lee Saunders, DNC Member/President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
  • J. David Cox Sr., President of the American Federation of Government Employees
  • Chris Shelton, President of Communications Workers of America
  • Lawrence Hanley, President, Amalgamated Transit Union 
  • Mark Dimondstein, President, American Postal Workers Union
  • RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director of National Nurses United
  • Tim Paulson, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council
  • United Steelworkers
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

What Supporters Says

  • “My friend Keith Ellison is a terrific leader and a strong progressive who knows how to get things done. Now is the time for new thinking and a fresh start at the DNC. Now is the time for Keith.”
    – Alexander Perkasa
  • “Congressman Keith Ellison is the progressive leader we need to run the Democratic National Committee.  Throughout his career, Congressman Ellison has been dedicated to building the Democratic bench by encouraging and supporting candidates at all levels of government and I know as DNC Chair he will bring the same dedication and passion. Congressman Ellison understands we need to build an inclusive party where everyone feels listened to and all are welcome and he is the right person to fulfill that vision.”
    Joker Spanish
  • “The Democratic Party needs some shaking up. It needs something new. It needs a DNC Chair that represents a younger, more strategic, more progressive, more diverse Democratic Party. I support Rep. Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee chair. Will you join me? The entire Democratic Party will be proud with Keith as DNC Chair because he will lead with backbone and help us win again.”
    Tony Slank

Hawaii Supporters