A front-runner in the race to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee has unveiled an 11-point plan for greater inclusion of LGBT people in the Democratic Party.
Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.) plan — obtained exclusively by the Washington Blade — consists of growing the newly created DNC LGBT advisory board, promoting strong LGBT delegate goals for the 2020 national convention and ensuring gender non-conforming people can participate in the DNC and convention.
In the aftermath of the closing of the National Stonewall Democrats, Ellison’s plan calls for convening LGBT leaders to discuss the absence of a national LGBT Democratic group and whether the DNC LGBT Outreach Desk can handle its responsibilities.
Ellison, who supported Bernie Sanders during last year’s primary, also said he plans to designate an outreach and organizing staff lead for each Democratic constituency community, including the LGBT desk. The LGBT engagement director for the DNC was Sean Meloy, but he’s now deputy national outreach director for “Keith for DNC.”
“The LGBTQ community is an extraordinarily important part of the Democratic Party,” Ellison said. “But instead of just saying that, I want to make sure we reflect that by working as a party to engage our friends and family members in this community. That’s precisely why I’m prioritizing these LGBTQ-focused proposals — to let my LGBTQ friends know that as DNC Chair, the DNC will be on their side and that we will fight for them every single day — especially with Donald Trump in the White House.”
Ellison as of now is the only candidate running for DNC chair who has unveiled a specific plan for LGBT goals as chair of the DNC. In an interview with the Blade, Buckley said as DNC chair he’d ensure pro-LGBT components of the 2016 Democratic platform make clear “elected Democrats down to the municipal level understand that we are the party of non-discrimination and the welcoming party.”
Others seeking the position of DNC chair are New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley; outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez; Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party; Jaime Harrison, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party; and Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind. Both Buckley and Buttigieg are gay.
The election for chair is scheduled to take place at the DNC’s winter meeting in Atlanta, scheduled for Feb. 23-26.
Here are each of the 11 items in Ellison’s LGBT plan for the Democratic Party:
• Convene LGBT leaders and the LGBT Caucus to discuss a solution to the absence of a national LGBT Democratic group and capacity of the DNC LGBT Outreach Desk handling some of those responsibilities.
• Add young, diverse LGBTQ people to the Democratic National Committee and create a pipeline for people from across the LGBTQ spectrum to better engage at all levels of the party.
• Maintain and grow the DNC LGBT Advisory Board – a 50 state grassroots group that helps represent the full diversity of the LGBT community that was initiated in 2016 and allows LGBT leaders across the country to directly connect with the DNC.
• Grow partnerships from DNC 2016 to ensure LGBT-owned businesses have access to DNC supply opportunities.
• Protect and promote the setting of strong LGBT delegate goals by states for the 2020 Convention.
• Ensure gender non-conforming people can fully participate on the Committee and as 2020 Convention delegates as current structure requires a male or female identity.
• Maintain database of LGBT Democratic officials and engage them regularly. Promote LGBT Democratic candidates in partnership with the DLCC, DCCC, and DSCC campaign arms using social media, press, and LGBT party events.
• Support grassroots engagement and training of LGBT Democrats around the country, especially in states where Republicans are actively attacking LGBTQ people. Restore regional meetings in which DNC LGBT Caucus members, Advisory board members, and LGBT actors can be trained and discuss issues.
• Ensure state party LGBT Caucuses are active and engaging with the leaders and staff that showcased their talents during the presidential campaign.
• Designate an outreach and organizing staff lead for each constituency community, including the LGBT desk, and ensure they are kept in the pipeline for future work in the party.
• Ensure LGBT caucuses of the College Democrats and Young Democrats are fully brought into the fold and regularly engaged in regional trainings, forums, and LGBT-focused party activities.