February 25, 2017

Perez elected new DNC Chair, Ellison selected as Deputy Chair

Democrats Abroad Chair Katie Solon reports from Atlanta, where Tom Perez has just been elected the new chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Keith Ellison appointed Deputy Chair.

“Today is Unity Saturday,” says Solon. “Because of our shared values, principles and purpose, we are going to leave Atlanta unified and ready to take this fight to the places we need to fight. As Tom Perez said, contrary to what the press has been reporting, during this meeting we have not focused on our divisions, but instead have focused on our issues.”

Perez is the first Hispanic elected to the Democratic Party Chair position. He served as the Labor Secretary under President Obama as well as Deputy Attorney General. His first action as Chair was to call for Ellison to be named as Deputy Chair. Ellison has served as a Congressman from Minnesota for the last 10 years.

Democrats Abroad is confident that the deep experience that Perez and Ellison bring to the DNC will take us in the needed new direction. Perez’s background in civil and voting rights, and worker advocacy, community organizations and organization management will be critical to the party, while Keith Ellison has demonstrated time and again that he knows how to win elections and speak effectively to Democratic voters.

Both Perez and Ellison have committed to providing Democrats Abroad the institutional and financial support our party needs to help win elections and to protect and expand voting rights for U.S. overseas citizens.

Following the election, Perez said, “By getting back to basics, we can turn the Democratic Party around, take the fight to Donald Trump, and win elections from school board to the Senate."

After being named Deputy Chair by acclamation, Ellison told the DNC meeting, “If we waste even a moment going at it over 'who supported who', Democrats would be letting down the American people in their need to confront Trump and beyond that.... We’ve got earnest sincere work to do under Chairman Perez, and all of us and all of you are going to help him.”


To: DNC Members

I’m humbled and honored.

Thank you for putting your faith in me to lead our party. It will be the privilege of a lifetime to work with each of you to turn around the DNC.

After this weekend, I’m confident that we will move forward as a stronger, unified party. If we work together and walk together -- not just with faith in the future but faith in each other, I know we will win the battles ahead. And I'm proud to have Keith Ellison alongside me as the deputy chair of the DNC. 

I will work tirelessly for you and Democrats in every zip code -- refocusing our energy on grassroots organizing so we can win from school board to Senate.

Finally, I want to express my deepest appreciation to every candidate. They ran great campaigns, and our party will be stronger for it. I'm ready to work with each of them to move forward and unite our party -- our family.

As I said this morning, you will always have my ear, and I will always have your back. Now is the time to come together to fight for our shared values. We have a lot of work ahead of us -- and that work starts now.


The Democratic Party finally has a leader – a leader who has demonstrated time and again that he has what it takes to fight for all Americans. That leader is my good friend, Tom Perez.

I’m immensely proud of everything that our campaign accomplished, of how hard my staff, volunteers, and delegates fought. And now, I ask all those who love our country and believed in our vision to support Tom.

With Trump in the White House, at stake is the very essence of our democracy, and I want us to be able to look back at this moment and tell ourselves that we did the right thing and helped Tom succeed.

We must be united – because we live in times when the judiciary is under attack, when the press is under attack, and hate groups are desecrating Jewish cemeteries and defacing mosques. Two Indian men were even shot down for looking ‘foreign’ in the eyes of the terrorist who shot them. 

I look forward to returning to Congress and continuing to represent the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota. And I look forward to helping the Democratic Party in any way that I can. I urge all to do the same. Working people across this country are depending on us.

Thank you for everything,

In solidarity,
Keith Ellison

Dear Officers and Members of the Democratic National Committee:
I am not the first to offer congratulations to Tom Perez, newly elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).  However, I do want to join the chorus in heralding his election, along with the other newly elected DNC officers.  I also offer my sincere thanks to Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile for her stewardship of the DNC and to each DNC staff member for his and her dedication to the DNC and to the officer elections.
As a former candidate for Chair who withdrew and supported Tom, I feel your electing him reflects the values of the Democratic Party as well as a commitment to unity and reinvigorating DNC core principles.  If I was able to highlight my message to you and to present a viewpoint beneficial to the future success of the Party I am glad.
During the debates, I stated I would support and work with the new DNC leadership to move the Party forward.  Please know I restate my pledge to support Chairman Perez, Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison and the DNC family to fight back the regressive policies of President Trump and the Republican Party.  Over the next years leading up to a newly elected Democratic President in 2018, a Democratic Congress, Democratic State Legislatures and Democratic Governors, we must tell the real DNC story with passion, clarity and honesty. 
Despite our differences and disappointments, we are stronger together.  As Chairman Perez states, “Unity is our greatest strength.”  The ideas and vision of the Democratic Party are good for America, just as is Statehood for DC.
Robert Vinson Brannum

My Fellow Democrats,

I am thrilled to congratulate Tom Perez on his election as our next DNC Chair. He will be a phenomenal Chair, and his victory comes at a critical moment for our Party and our country. I look forward to working with him to rebuild the Democratic Party in every community in America to help us win elections up and down the ballot so that we can enact the progressive change our country so desperately needs.

Today is Unity Saturday. We are a big-tent party, and that's what makes the Democratic Party so dynamic and forward-thinking. But especially at this time, when we are seeing how startlingly the Republican vision for the country differs from ours, Democrats must remember that the differences within our own Party pale in comparison. I thank all the stellar candidates who stepped forward; they are all great Democrats, and rebuilding our Party will be require every single one of us. From this point forward, we stand together as one Democratic resistance, united in pursuit of opportunity, dignity, and justice for all.

Getting to know Tom Perez over the course of this campaign has been a great joy. He is a methodical builder, a dedicated organizer, a brilliant visionary, and a dogged fighter. He knows that his most important role, though, is dad. As dads, Tom and I know that the coming fight is about what kind of country we'll leave to our kids.

There is no time to lose. I'm excited to get to work with Tom in this fight to build the Democratic Party and build the country that all of our kids deserve.

All the best,

Jaime Harrison


I got into this race for DNC Chair because I saw it as a continuation of my commitment to improve democracy in our country and our party. I am so proud to stand and watch the members of the DNC cast their votes today. Today democracy won, and so did the Democratic Party. 

I want to thank you all so much for your support, your kind words of encouragement and your friendship. I have become so inspired by the great leaders in our country as I have traveled on this journey. 

I also want to congratulate my fellow candidates. Together we have had an inspiring conversation about where our party goes from here. I am humbled to share a stage with you throughout this campaign. I count all of you, Tom, Keith, Pete, Jehmu, Sam, Peter, Ray and Jamie, as my friends. And of course I want to congratulate our new Chair, Secretary Tom Perez. I know by moving forward together our party will begin the important work ahead of us. 

I look forward to ensuring our values of transparency, collaboration and inclusion are key components of our future. I am forever grateful to all of you and look forward to continuing to work with all of you in this critical time in our country. 

Thank you all and please stay in touch. 

Warmest regards, 


I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve as the next Treasurer of the DNC.  Thank you for your confidence in me, and for the chance to join a terrific new leadership team.  The task of rebuilding our party will require all of us to work together, and I'm eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work.
Part of my campaign was a commitment to be available to hear your ideas and discuss the needs of your organizations.  I'm holding my first "office" hours beginning right now.
Join me in the lobby of the Westin Hotel from 10:00am to 1:00pm today if you'd like to talk.  If your flight doesn't allow for a quick conversation don't worry, there will be more office hours to come.
I want to extend a special thank you to Andy Tobias, who has served the DNC with distinction for 18 years.  Andy's friendship and support throughout this campaign has been essential, and I will be relying on his wisdom and guidance to succeed in this role.
To the DNC staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make these forums and elections possible -- thank you for helping our party take this important step toward a brighter future.  
We all have a lot of work to do, but last night's results in Delaware are a great start to a brighter future for our country.  
Bill Derrough
As our process closes, I'd like to say thank you to all for the conversations we shared and the discussions we will continue over the next few years.

I'd like to thank Karen Carter Peterson and her gracious team for her work, and I encourage all members to remember that Civic Engagement isn't a duty of one person, but the responsibility of all of us, every day.

For those of us who live in the heart of Republican sea, I was glad to talk about our shared experience in the forums presented. I'd like to commend those who went, spoke, and listened in the states that aren't often on the map.

Our states, while often flyover, are the homes of legislation that ties up our courts and harms the rights of our fellow citizens, and draining progressive resources in court rooms rather than in our communities. Our red-state legislatures are ground zero for anti-union and anti-labor policies. Our red states are home of two senators, creating a Republican firewall that will not change.Finally, our red states are full of human beings, immigrants, LGBT, minorities, the disabled, and good, hard working Americans who deserve our attention.

With special election races upcoming in Kansas, Georgia, Montana, and legislative races around the country, time is not our ally.

Our country can be better tomorrow than it is today. It is on all of us to make that promise  a reality.


Chris Reeves

Dear DNC Members and supporters,

Thank you.

Thank you for electing me to a four-year term as one of your Vice Chairs of the Democratic National Committee.

Thank you for trusting me to help us lead our party.

Thank you for believing in our #LeadershipForTomorrow vision.

The day after Election Night 2016, New Leaders Council President Mark Riddle texted me and said that I needed to run for DNC leadership. He shared, we continue to encourage millennials to step up and lead: Here is your moment.

We chose to stand up and present ourselves to the country, and you said “Yes!” to a new direction.

Thank you for supporting our vision to Build Our Bench, Strengthen Our Party and Embrace Our Future.

Thank you, Mama Hilary, for being our rock and foundation.

Thank you, Vice Chair R.T. Rybak, who mentored me for the last nine years and chose to endorse us to succeed him.

Thank you, Sabrina Philson of Epsilon Advisors, for being a remarkable Campaign Manager and friend, and for leading our national and diverse (in all senses of the word) team to victory.

Thank you, Steve Walker, who for a second time was the Chairman of our successful campaign effort.

Thank you, Nevada Regent Allison Stephens, New Jersey Democratic Party Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco, and Vice Chair R.T. Rybak for giving me the honor of nominating me at the Winter meeting.

Congratulations to Chairman Tom Perez, Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, fellow Vice Chairs Congresswoman Grace Meng, Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman & State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, Maria Elena Durazo and Chair, Association of State Democratic Chairs & Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin, National Finance Chair Henry Muñoz, III, Treasurer Bill Derrough and Secretary Jason Rae. I cannot wait to serve with you for the next four years.

Thank you to everyone who rose to the call of service to run for office, regardless of the outcome. Thank you to all the Vice Chair candidates whose dedication to the Party is undeniable. I look forward to working with you in the future, Adam Parkhomenko, Rick Palacio, Mitch Ceasar, Lorna Johnson and Melissa Byrne, but, I must especially thank LaToia Jones and Liz Jaff. Both Latoia and Liz endorsed me on Saturday night and asked their supporters to vote for me. I will never forget that you showed me an indescribable level of selflessness.

Thank you to so many people who stood side by side with me on this journey including but certainly not limited to: Tatiana, Franny, Racquel, Crystal, Derrick, Aditi, Alex, George, Ali, Dustin, Sarah, Denise, Brett, Dom, Robert, Aubrey, Fitz, Dell, Akilah, Trey, Justin, Emily, Bruce Gyory, the Women For Blake led by Chloe and Keshia, the New York, Illinois, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco teams.

Thank you to some specific people who went above and beyond including but not limited to my home delegation in New York including Governor Andrew Cuomo, NY Democratic Party Chairman Byron Brown, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand & Charles Schumer, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James, Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Bronx Democratic Party Chairman Marcos Crespo.

Across the country, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper who were the first two Chairs to endorse our campaign, which led to 22 state party Chairs endorsing us, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan who flew down for less than 24 hours to help us, Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter who tirelessly made calls across this country for us, Texas State Representative Cesar Blanco and Gene Collins of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats who formed a remarkably diverse coalition of support for us, the North Carolina delegation, Washington State Party Chair Tina Podolowski, Joe Buscaino and Suzie Nakasian of the Democratic Municipal Officials, Democrats Abroad, the Democratic Associations of Mayors, County Officials, Secretaries of State and Attorneys General for your support throughout the campaign.

Thank you to each of you for voting and being a part of the process of unifying our Democratic Party.

Thank you to the people who worked tirelessly to encourage DNC members to vote for us, especially Jackie Williams and Larry Scherer, 1199SEIU, 32BJSEIU, Teamsters, DC37, NY State AFL-CIO and Local 372.

Thank you to our volunteers who helped us at each event, forum and especially those who traveled to Atlanta to help us bring home victory.

Thank you to every person who donated to our campaign so we could share our message with voters.

I want to be clear that I will proudly continue to serve the 139,000 people of the 79th Assembly District to continue #BuildingABetterBronx

We press forward to unite, to build, to strengthen our party.

Please send me an e-mail about anything on your mind to: [email protected]

#LeadershipForTomorrow is just beginning because of YOU.

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU

P.S. It will take me a while, but, I will respond to your texts and e-mails :)

Michael Blake