On his first day as president, Barack Obama etched his mark on history. On his first day as incumbent leader of the Democrats, President Obama etched his mark on his party. Today in Washington, DC we the Democratic National Committee just met to elect new party leaders and renew our commitment to develop grassroots leaders. Our short meeting convened to elect President Obama's designee, Virgina Governor Tim Kaine, for DNC Chair. Kaine in turn set forth the agenda for the next 4 years.
The DNC's new slate of party leaders:
Governor Tim Kaine
Donna Brazile, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Congressman Mike Honda (CA),
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL),
Ray Buckley (NH)
Alice Travis Germond
National Finance Chair
The DNC's renewed commitment to grassroots leaders:
Taking care to remind us that he was its "first beneficiary," Governor Kaine profusely praised outgoing DNC chair Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. In what was probably the most nonpartisan partisan acceptance speech I've heard by a DNC chair in my memory, Kaine pledged to reach beyond our party and beyond the beltway to look for ways to show up, stay engaged, and stand for Democratic values while not excluding people or ideas. In brief remarks in English and Spanish, Kaine told his credo of service "walking with the people" as a young missionary in Honduras and engaged in civil rights work with his remarkable wife Anne Holton, a former juvenile court judge and longtime children's advocate.
What is the Obama DNC? In a nutshell: "You don't have to be a big donor for your dollars to matter; you don't have to be a policy expert for your ideas to matter; you don't have to be a campaign professional for your work to matter."
In the coming days, after we've returned home and thawed out from the Inaugural activities, we'll get to work on Kaine's directive to channel the Obama movement into success for the President's policies. In the meantime, the Obama DNC -- a big tent of people and politics -- is officially open to the American people.