Friday, December 16, 2016

Assemblymember Michael Blake - Why I’m running for Vice-Chair of the DNC

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Dear DNC Members, 
My name is Michael Blake, and, I am running to be a Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee. As a Vice-Chair, I will focus on recruiting and winning local elections for Democrats, strengthening our party's training efforts at the county, state and national levels and embracing our diversity with a continual focus on constituency vote programs, especially among communities of color, millennials, and women. 
As Democrats, we have an urgent need to Build Our Bench, Strengthen Our Party and Embrace Our Future. 
Build Our Bench: 
As a DNC Vice-Chair, I will work to identify, cultivate, and build a bench of dynamic candidates for local offices. Our party needs a strong bench partnered with a mentorship-based candidate support program, and we must enlist our top strategists in the DNC efforts to win the bench.
Strengthen Our Party: 
I will work to instill the same community-based organizing tactics that I used in Michigan in 2006 to win three state house races, on the 2008 Presidential campaign for President Obama in eight states and in 2012, as the National Deputy Director of Operation VOTE for President Obama’s campaign to build constituency vote programs. We will train DNC team members on how to identify and engage community leaders and institute a metrics-driven approach to constituency organizing in all 50 states.  I will also advocate for programs that build permanent, meaningful relationships between core Democratic constituencies and a re-energized DNC. 
Embrace Our Future: 
We know our values are shared by a majority of Americans, but we must be better at delivering the message and program of those values in a sustainable way through both grasstops and grassroots of the DNC. I’ll work to convene quarterly messaging workshops with party strategists and officials. We’ll also ensure that we are using cutting edge digital platforms to amplify our message and bring millennials into the conversation. 
We have lofty goals and much to do, but just like you, I’m ready to get to work and to help unite a re-energized Democratic Party.  
I was one of ten young leaders in 2006 selected to the inaugural “Yes We Can” program launched by then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama to train millennials of color how to manage and win local campaigns. I took that training to Michigan where I successfully managed and won three races to help flip the State House into a Democratic majority. 
In 2008, I joined President Obama’s campaign as the Iowa Caucus Deputy Political and Constituency Outreach Director where I successfully brought together coalitions of color, women, youth, veterans, LGBT, faith and rural leaders to caucus for Senator Obama. After the historic 2008 Election, I worked in President Obama’s administration as the deputy associate director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement coordinating African-American, Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises and state and local elected official outreach.  In 2012, our team oversaw successful constituency vote programs that helped win nine out of ten battleground states.  But, I decided it was time to go back home and help my local hometown more directly.
In 2014, our team built a winning campaign from the ground up, won a six way primary by 13 points and was elected to the New York State Assembly with 80 percent of the vote. In office, we’ve passed legislation to help small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses get paid faster, helped spearhead the creation of a $20 million My Brother’s Keeper Pilot Program and secured historic funding for housing and Criminal Justice reform.
It is critical for Democrats to win local races and create transformational impact in communities. We must have a seat at the table to stand up for our values and face critical policy fights in an era of Trump – like the redrawing of legislative district lines in 2020 – head-on. 
We need to hear and listen to the everyday needs of everyone, and we must embrace and defend progressive Democratic policies. We must continue to fight for economic justice, quality access to health care for seniors and young adults, equality for all communities and protect collective bargaining rights to create opportunities for everyone. 

The DNC must be a place where all Democrats can call home. My goal as a DNC Vice-Chair is that Democrats across the country are heard, supported, and provided the necessary resources and training to win.
I hope to have your support in the coming weeks, and I look forward to continuing to work together to rebuild the Democratic Party and continuing to fight for the values we share. Join our movement at
It is time for #LeadershipForTomorrow 
Thank you, 

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