08 May
0

I am backing an outsider for CDP Chair


The Fresno County Democratic Central Committee has not endorsed any candidate in this race.


 

Dear CDP E-Board Member,

Last time I sent out an email, it was to explain my support for Keith Ellison based on a thorough process of listening and asking what you wanted.

As with the DNC Chair, I have had the chance to discuss with many of you what you are looking for in a CDP Chair.

Unlike the DNC Chair’s race, the CDP chair race has been an extremely negative one.  Rather than focusing on ideas, it seems more like this campaign has been about mischaracterizations and personal attacks. I certainly hope these tactics stop.  They are destructive and turn off more delegates than they inspire. That being said, I’ve been through this enough to see through the smokescreens and not let the actions of overzealous supporters get in the way.

We have three candidates for Chair with different visions and styles.

Lenore Alpert-Sheridan – a noted attorney who has focused her campaign on Progressive issues and eliminating dark money.

Kim Ellis – The former executive director of Emerge CA who has put forth ideas on decentralizing the party structure and resources, as well as adding new layers of party elections to empower grassroots activists.

Eric Bauman – The Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party Chair of the Los Angeles Democratic Party and former President of Stonewall Democrats who has focused his campaign on ideas to empower the grassroots and elect more Democrats.

Each of these candidates brings their own set of experiences, styles and goals which could affect the party’s considerable gains in the face of losses nationally.

In my discussions with delegates, I heard over and over again that delegates wanted a California Democratic Party Chair who:

  • Is willing to listen to the grassroots (not just one group) and knows how to empower them to make change
  • Is an organizer and has a history of bringing people together
  • Is straightforward – does not pander or tell people what they want to hear
  • Has a record of taking on the political establishment

There is, in my opinion, only one candidate who fits this description – Eric Bauman.

Some who are new to California politics may view him as the establishment, but those of us who know what his path has been here understand he is not.

How an Outsider Became a Voice for the Grassroots inside the Party.

Eric Bauman did not just become CDP Vice Chair or LACDP Chair because the establishment put him there.  In fact, he got to where he is by taking on establishment interests in California. In the 1990s.

Eric did not begin his career in politics. He is a trained nurse who got into politics because of his interest in health care issues.  He ran for chair of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley and California Democratic Party Secretary but was edged out by establishment candidates.

As an LGBT activist with Stonewall Democrats, he reinvigorated a Democratic club by focusing on a Progressive agenda and demanding local, grassroots voices be heard.  He was fighting for universal health care and ending discrimination in Los Angeles at a time when those voices were few.

Despite pushback from the establishment, his perseverance and hard work enabled him to become a leader int he party. But even as he became more involved, he stayed a strong voice for grassroots activists. When insiders tried to shut down or limit the ADEMs, he fought to keep them.  When politicians tried to use the delegate system to move appointments around to rig endorsements, he was part of the effort to stop it.

He’s traveled all over the state on his own dime to help grassroots Democrats organize and been a ready mentor to any new or young activists to show them how the party works. He was always there to listen and even if he disagreed with you, he still found a way for you to have a voice without pandering to you, or sugarcoating things.

That is the kind of leadership the California Democratic Party needs.

Eric Bauman Helped Los Angeles Become a Democratic Stronghold.

Thirty years ago, Los Angeles was a very different place politically.  Los Angeles County had 4 Republican members of Congress, 3 Republican Supervisors, and 3 Republican City Councilmembers. California had Republican governors in the 1990s and even held 2 or 3 of the other constitutional offices.

Today we have zero statewide Republican constitutional officers, only one Republican represents any part of Los Angeles in each of the U.S. House of Representatives, County of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles. Democrats hold 2/3 majorities in both the Assembly and State Senate.  Once a place where Republicans thrived, the San Fernando Valley is now a stronghold for Democrats. I’m not going to say all of this was solely because of Eric Bauman, but he was a significant part of that effort, as were the multitude of grassroots activists from labor, environmental, progressive and immigration rights groups that turned Los Angeles into a blue anchor for California.

I personally have seen how Eric Bauman has taken that experience building infrastructure and communications to other parts of this state.  It is not a matter of just money, you have to build the support network to sustain organizing, operations, messaging and fundraising at the local level to build staying power for Democrats to win and stay there.  Eric has done that without blowing smoke or making promises that can’t be kept.  The endorsement of Jaimie Beutler, chair of the CDP Rural Caucus shows that those who have worked with him know he can move us forward.

He’s also been a strong communicator who can go toe to toe with Republicans, corporatists and right wing extremists on TV and in print to expose their true agenda.

The only candidate for CDP Chair who knows how to make the party work and win elections on Progressive principles at the state and local level.

Finally, the California Democratic Party is complex.  The Chair has to get Democrats elected at every level and every corner of the state, work with elected officials and make sure that the voice of those who make the party work day after day in each precinct are heard.  As if this is not enough, the CDP must also navigate a labyrinth of election laws that were designed in part by Republicans with the goal of empowering corporations and suppressing the voices of working people within the law.  FEC, IRS and FPPC investigations can take valuable resources from winning elections.

The other two candidates for CDP Chair are good people who I think genuinely care about the party, but only Eric Bauman has consistently fought the establishment on behalf grassroots activists and won efforts to preserve their voice while also winning elections for Democrats to get progressive policies passed. He did it by working hard, having integrity and bringing people together.   He will have my support and I hope he will have yours too.

 

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