Kimberly Ellis for California Democratic Party Chair
I am proud to endorse Kimberly Ellis for chair of the California Democratic Party. Here’s why I support her and what you can do to help over the next 48 hours before the crucial vote of party delegates this Saturday, May 20th.
This is a crucial leadership contest. After the Democratic Party establishment tilted the scales against Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Keith Ellison over the past year, we have an opportunity to elect a progressive leader to head the nation’s largest state Democratic Party.
Kimberly Ellis is the true progressive candidate in this race. As the first African American to serve as executive director of Emerge America, Kimberly has brought countless women into the party and provided them with the training, support, and inspiration to make a difference — and that includes a great many women of color to reflect the communities that the Democratic Party must better serve in the future. Kimberly is also a lawyer who serves on the Finance Committee of the African American Caucus of the California Democratic Party. Click here to see Kimberly’s plans to move the party forward.
What has most impressed me about Kimberly is her commitment to clean up the party and free it from the corporate domination that has undermined its credibility with so many voters for too long. Campaign finance reform is central to her agenda. You will recall one of the top reasons I challenged Debbie Wasserman Schultz last year was her decision as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to overturn President Obama’s ban on corporate PAC donations to the DNC. Like me, Kimberly was profoundly disappointed with the DNC’s recent decision to reject reinstituting that ban. Like me, she believes corporate lobbyists should be barred from serving as Super Delegates.
Kimberly supports “100 percent transparency” and full disclosure of the deep pockets that are funding ballot measures and political ads in California. She believes that all Party leaders should be required to disclose their consulting work, partnerships and personal relations when lobbying on legislation and ballot measures. She wants the California Democratic Party to stop taking donations from the fossil fuel industry, tobacco companies, and Big Pharma.
In short, Kimberly believes that it’s time for the Democratic Party to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. I know from my campaign that when we reject corporate money, we are rewarded in support and small donations from the grassroots of Democrats, as well as from those who identify as Independents, Republicans, and Greens and other third parties. When we reject corporate money, we are also free to embrace the kind of progressive agenda that we so urgently need to address the problems and struggles felt everyday by millions of people in our country.
Kimberly supports a guaranteed right for healthcare for everyone in the form of Medicare For All. That’s one of the reasons the California Nurses Association has endorsed Kimberly. She knows we need to make it easier to join unions, defend against attacks on public service employees, support our teachers, and demand a universal minimum wage and overtime pay and benefits, including for farm workers.
As the son of a DREAMer who came to this country at the age of two, I deeply sympathize with the plight of our undocumented neighbors and immigrants. Kimberly wants to protect them from wholesale deportations and to expand upon President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
Too many candidates for public and party offices fail to make specific commitments on the issues. Not Kimberly, and that’s refreshing and inspires confidence. Just go to her website, to her issues page, and you will see that she’s ready to walk the walk for all of us — on civil rights, justice reform, addressing homelessness and poverty, and LGBTQ rights. She wants the California Democratic Party to stand fast for economic reform, public education, protecting the environment, and taking care of veterans and service personnel.
Kimberly needs our help now! While Bernie Sanders supporters took over 67 percent of the elected delegate positions in party elections last January, that makes up only one-third of all delegates who will be voting for the party chair this Saturday, May 20th because of the outsized influence of Super Delegates, the elected officials and people they appoint who are often more responsive to corporate interests than to the grassroots of our party.
Here’s what we can do: Please click on this link, not to donate, but to help spread the word and influence the legislators and Super Delegates who hang in the balance. As you will see, this memo outlines who to contact and how, with three actions we can all take to help elect Kimberly Ellis: (1) Calling Legislators; (2) Social Media Outreach; and (3) Emailing Legislators.
In times past, I taught in California for eight years and I know what a beautiful and promising state it is. California leads our nation in progressive change, but in the words of Franklin Roosevelt, there is much “unfinished business” of reform ahead.
Now is not the time for dejection or to settle for the status quo. Let’s work together to elect Kimberly Ellis as California Democratic Party Chair.