WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz today announced veteran Democratic Party operative Raul Alvillar, as the DNC’s new National Political Director.
“We’re thrilled to have Raul joining our team, bringing with him more than a decade of experience on campaigns, in the private sector and in government. His work on everything from legislative outreach to campaigns and LGBT advocacy will be an asset to Democrats at every level,” said DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Together, with the rest of the team at the DNC, we’ll be able to support the President’s legislative agenda and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2014 and beyond.”
“I am excited to join the DNC and get to work electing and reelecting Democrats across the country,” Alvillar said. “I look forward to working with our state parties and DNC members to make certain we are providing them the tools they need to ensure that the Democratic Party thrives at all levels.”
"I've worked closely with Raul over the years and have been continually impressed by his leadership, work ethic and political instinct," said DNC CEO Amy Dacey. "Raul will be an invaluable resource to our team at the DNC and Democrats across the country."
Alvillar has worked for President Obama in a variety of roles since 2007. He comes to the DNC after serving as Senior Advisor to Secretary Shaun Donovan in the Office of Public Engagement and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Prior to his position at HUD, Raul was Associate Director at the Office of Public Engagement for the White House Office of the Vice President, where he worked closely with elected officials, stakeholders and members of the administration. He also served as Deputy National Political Director at Senator John Kerry's Keeping America's Promise PAC and as Political Director and Regional Field Director on the John Kerry 2004 Presidential campaign.
Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-34), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus added, “Raul is a strong ally for Democrats everywhere and I'm proud to call him a friend. At a time when the stakes could not be higher for working families in America, I am confident that Raul brings the experience and dedication to promote the President's agenda and propel Democrats to victory in November.”
“Raul is a real star in the Democratic world. He worked for me during the Kerry for President Campaign and showed great skill and political judgment. The DNC is lucky to have him,” said Democratic strategist Steven Elmendorf.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ll be sharing thoughts from Democratic leaders throughout March. I started things off by reflecting on my inspirations and what I’ve learned from the women around me.
1. What woman inspired you?
I was inspired by my mom and my grandma who instilled in me as early as I can remember that I could grow up and be anything I wanted to be. They lead by example, balancing work and family and giving me the values that helped me understand that because we were fortunate, it was our responsibility to give back to the community.
2. Why are you a Democrat?
I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party stands for inclusion, equality, and opportunity and that means empowerment for all Americans to achieve anything they can dream, if they work hard and play by the rules. I’m a Democrat because I believe that government can be part of the solution and isn’t all of the problem.
3. What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self not to sweat the small stuff, to not put off for tomorrow what can be done today and to remember to be a sister to other women because helping others succeed helps all women succeed.
Name: Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Women’s History Month is special to me not just as a woman but as a mother, as a daughter and as a wife. It is inspiring to think how far we’ve come thanks to the women of previous generations on whose shoulders we stand. The suffragists fought for the right to vote and they won it in 1920. Another generation secured the passage of Title IX.
Our generation had cause to celebrate when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 and when health care reform passed in 2010. Because of the Affordable Care Act, being a woman is no longer a preexisting condition, and women now have access to preventive care like mammograms at no cost.
And yet our generation of women has an opportunity to do even more. I’m proud that the DNC recently launched the Democratic Women’s Alliance to get more women involved in politics, at every level. As the President said in his 2014 State of the Union Address, "When women succeed, America succeeds." Together, let’s make this year a success for women and for the nation.
Add your name to stand with the President and Democrats fighting for equal pay for women:
Washington, DC – Earlier today, U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell (MI-12) announced he will not seek re-election. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“For more than five decades, U.S. Rep. John Dingell has served the people of Michigan and this nation with honor and distinction. As the Dean of the House of Representatives, he has done so much to help not only his constituents in Michigan, but nationwide. He has been a champion for Democratic values and has been a vocal advocate for the auto industry, civil rights, immigration reform, the environment and presided over the House of Representatives as we passed the Affordable Care Act.
“While he was Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, he helped pass clean air and water bills and helped secure more of our land for preservation and national parks. He also helped shepherd through a bill that is very personal to me, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, that aims to prevent childhood drowning deaths and injuries.
“Congressman Dingell leaves behind a remarkable legacy of working across the aisle on behalf of all Americans. His diplomacy and institutional knowledge will be missed in the halls of Congress. I wish Congressman Dingell and his family all the best as he embarks on a well-earned retirement.”
President Obama sent an email to supporters emphasizing the importance that 2014 will make for the progress of our country. He encouraged them to chip in to support Democrats and they will be entered for a chance to meet him at the 2014 Winter Meeting at the end of February. Here's what he had to say:
We've accomplished so much together over the last several years, and none of it would have been possible without you.
On November 4th, America will elect the last Congress I will work with as President, and I'm going to do everything I can to help support the Democrats who are going to fight for an America where everyone has a fair shot at success.
I won't be on the ballot this fall, but these midterm elections will have an outsized impact on what we're able to get done while I'm in office.
There's so much more we can be doing to create opportunity for our family members and neighbors. We cannot afford to move back or stand still. This year has to be a year of action for all of us.
Pitch in to elect more Democrats today:
P.S. -- Don't worry about your flight and hotel -- if you win, those will be covered for you and a guest. Support Democrats today, and automatically enter for a chance to meet me later this month in D.C.
Medicaid expansion is one of the most important issues to face the Tennessee General Assembly in more than 20 years. This decision will affect the lives nearly a quarter of a million working men and women in Tennessee, and now is the time to make a decision -- one that is based on people, not politics.
Here are the facts: If we expand our Medicaid program, hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans -- will receive quality, affordable health care coverage. Tens of thousands of these individuals are children and veterans, many of them our neighbors from the National Guard who don’t qualify for full V.A. benefits.
Every week when I get back to my district, I hear from working middle-class families whose jobs don’t provide health care and who make too little to afford real coverage on their own. Medicaid expansion offers an opportunity to expand coverage to these working families who live between 100-138 percent of the poverty line -- or about $31,000 a year for a family of four.
Expanding Medicaid also makes financial sense. About 15 percent of the Tennessee economy is dependent upon the health care sector. Without Medicaid expansion, dozens of hospitals are in danger of closing, meaning our state could lose thousands of jobs over the next ten years.
Drilling down deeper, we know that Tennessee currently ranks near the bottom in women’s health and infant mortality. Medicaid expansion offers a meaningful opportunity to address both these important issues.
We know that the key to a healthy baby is a healthy mother. Unfortunately, our current system ignores the needs of working class mothers, who many times don’t qualify for Medicaid coverage until they are pregnant. Medicaid expansion would extend quality health care to women before they become pregnant, meaning a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby.
It should be no surprise that Tennesseans have already made up their mind on this issue. A recent survey showed that 59 percent of Tennesseans believe we should expand the Medicaid program, while only 35 percent expressed reservations about such a move. This is because Tennesseans understand what is at stake.
They know that expanding Medicaid will help working families, women and children. They also know it will reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals provide, which will ultimately bring insurance premiums down for everyone -- including those of us with employer provided or privately purchased coverage.
The good news is that it’s not too late for Governor Haslam to do the right thing. Tennessee Democrats know that Governor Haslam can negotiate with the federal government on Medicaid expansion. That’s why we offered budget amendments that would allow the Governor to accept federal funds for expansion, if and only if the conditions for his hybrid plan were met by the Department of Health and Human Services.
I understand there’s political pressure on Governor Haslam from the far right wing of his party. While putting this decision off may be politically popular, we owe it to the least among us to put people above all else and do the right thing. Lives depend upon it.
Joe Armstrong represents the 15th district in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He is the Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman, and President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
As our economy is continuing to recover, and new jobs are being created every day, President Obama reminds us that we still have much to do, as millions of Americans are working every day to find jobs. Until recently, people had been able to rely upon the safety net of federal unemployment insurance to help put food on the table and pay the rent.
However, Republicans in Congress have refused to extend unemployment insurance, leaving 1.7 million Americans without benefits, including more than 20,000 Marylanders. Approximately 70,000 more Americans lose their unemployment insurance each week that Congressional Republicans don’t choose to do what is right.
Once again the GOP is putting partisan politics over struggling American families. It is sad and disappointing that these lawmakers do not realize these are real people that rely upon this essential benefit as a lifeline.
In 2012 alone, unemployment insurance lifted 2.5 million Americans out of poverty, and since 2008, 17 million children have been supported by unemployment benefits. Failing to extend benefits could slow our recovery and cost the economy 240,000 jobs this year. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office found that funding for the unemployed was one of “the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of budgetary cost.”
And in communities of color, the need is ever greater. The unemployment rate for African-Americans – while on the decline – still remains higher than the national average. This is not acceptable. President Obama knows this, and Democrats across the country know this. Nationally, the unemployment rate among African-Americans has remained above 11% for more than four years. Renewing unemployment insurance will provide the crucial safety net that these families need to succeed.
Join me in calling on Republican Members of Congress to renew unemployment insurance. It is time to put an end to partisanship, work with Democrats and help our citizens who are searching for jobs.
Yvette Lewis is the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party.
On January 23, 2014, an image of my father appeared on the front page of the Hattiesburg American, a local paper in Mississippi. The solemn picture shows an older African-American man recreating the city’s 1964 Freedom Day, when he was a 14-year-old civil rights activist demanding voting rights for all. He joined with hundreds of others across the beleaguered city. He was a child, unable to use the very powers he sought for others, who nevertheless risked his own liberty to demand justice.
There will be elections all across the country this November, and like my father 50 years ago, we will be called to participate and vote; in the process, we will be standing for those who will remain voiceless if we do not. Our response to that call will be our legacy half a century from now. Did we balk at the difficult beginnings of a transformed health system that will give millions the ability to live better without fear of economic ruin? Have we ignored the attempts to cut the fabric of our social safety net, distracted by stereotypes and rigid ideology? Did our votes go uncounted because we refused to secure the unnecessary - but required - identification?
The power of the vote is more than a right or an obligation. It is a powerful tool. In the proper hands, our votes alter the nature of our communities and our nation, much as my father’s protest helped change Mississippi.
I live in Georgia now, a frontline for civil rights and the right to vote. Each Election Day is a call from my father’s 14-year old self across the lines of race and class and geography that might separate us. It is his call that I urge each of us to honor in 2014.
Let’s call Election Day by its rightful name beginning this year – for if we are willing to act, every Election Day has the chance to be our very own Freedom Day.
Stacey Abrams is the Georgia House Minority Leader and represents the 89th district, which includes the city of Atlanta.
Forty nine years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the White House to discuss the importance of the Voting Rights Act. Six months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation into law.
Do you remember 2004? I do. And so do most Ohioans.
We remember waiting hours to vote using antiquated punch cards or broken machines, and a complete failure of our election system to work on behalf of us, the citizens. It was a failure of the promise of enfranchisement.
Now Ohio Republicans want to return to those days. They want to undo all of the progress that we have made as a state - by limiting early vote and eliminating “Golden Week”, by ending voting the weekend before Election Day, by making it more difficult to request a ballot, and by making it harder for those who want to exercise their right to vote in person. Republicans are not proposing these measures because there is something broken in our voting system – they are proposing these measures because we’re doing things right!
We have fought hard to expand and protect the rights of every Ohioan – often having to go to court to defend our right to vote from the Republicans holding office in our state.
But we can protect our vote by registering our neighbors, demanding an early vote period that helps working families, and by showing up in November for candidates that support access to the voting booth.
Tell the Republican Legislature that we will not go back to 2004. Join me and the Ohio Democratic Party to make sure that we keep moving Ohio forward.
Nina Turner is the Minority Whip of the Ohio Senate, and represents District 25, which includes the city of Cleveland. She is running to become Ohio’s next Secretary of State.
South Carolinians are known for our strong opinions -- on sports, weather, politics, even BBQ. As a native of the Palmetto State, my friends, family, and neighbors share their opinions with me just about every day. And that has been my favorite part about traveling around the state as I run for the United States Senate -- hearing directly from the people.
Unfortunately, South Carolina Republicans have repeatedly tried to make it more difficult to hear the opinions of us citizens. They are attempting to silence our voices by playing politics with our most fundamental right -- the right to vote.
In few states has there been a harder fight for the right to vote than in South Carolina. The Department of Justice has intervened in over a hundred election laws through the Voting Rights Act over the years, including a voter ID bill. Thats why, when the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act, many attorneys thought the court got it wrong.
But after my initial disappointment in the Supreme Court decision, I quickly remembered the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement and what comes naturally to all South Carolinians -- to organize our neighbors, to mobilize our communities, and to make our voices heard. I decided that I was going to share my opinion with anyone and everyone who would listen. And I want you to join me.
Contact your state Democratic Party today and find out what you can do to help register and educate voters in time for this year's election. It is too important to wait.
Rick Wade is a small business owner and former Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to the U.S. Department of Commerce. He served as the Director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services from 1999 to 2002, and is currently running to represent South Carolina in the United States Senate.