Courtesy of The Daily Kos, the following post is Howard Dean’s press release announcing his candidiacy for the leading the DNC. Good for him.
(more information can be found at Dean’s Democracy for America site.)
Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, and I am asking for your vote.
Terry McAuliffe will soon step down, leaving the Democratic Party solvent and poised for growth for the first time ever after a presidential campaign. As a result, our Party has an enormous opportunity to build on the energy and experience of the last election—and your decision about our next leader will be critical to building a party that grows our base and creates a lasting majority.
We need a party focused on more than the next election. We need to build an infrastructure now that will remain in place not only in 2008, but in 2005, 2006, 2007 and beyond. There is only one way to do this: together, we must build from the ground up.
The states are a central piece of that strategy. The Democratic Party needs a vibrant, forward-thinking, long-term presence in every single state. We must give our state parties the tools and resources they need in order to be successful. We must be willing to contest every race at every level. We can only win when we show up.
Another integral part of our strategy must be cultivating the party’s grassroots. Our success depends on all of us taking an active role in our party and in the political process, by encouraging small donations, by taking the Democratic message into every community, and by organizing at the local level. After all, new ideas and new leaders don’t come from consultants; they come from communities.
As important as organization is, alone it cannot win us elections. Offering a new choice means making Democrats the party of reform—reforming America’s financial situation, reforming our electoral process, reforming health care, reforming education and putting morality back in our foreign policy. The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side’s positions. We must say what we mean—and mean real change when we say it.
But most of all, together, we have to rebuild the American community. We will never succeed by treating our nation as a collection of separate regions or separate groups. There are no red states or blues states, only American states. And we must talk to the people in all of these states as members of one community.
That word—‘values’—has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.
We cannot let that happen. And we cannot just mouth the words. Our party must speak plainly and our agenda must clearly reflect the socially progressive, fiscally responsible values that bring our party—and the vast majority of Americans—together.
All of this will require both national perspective and local experience. I know what it’s like to lead hands-on at the state level and I know what it’s like to run for national office.
My organization, Democracy for America, has already begun creating the kind of organization the Democratic Party can be. This past election cycle, we endorsed over 100 candidates at all levels of government—from school board to U.S. Senate. We contributed close to a million dollars to nearly 750 candidates around the country and raised millions of dollars more for key candidates, including John Kerry.
We helped elect a Democratic governor in Montana, a Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah and an African American woman to the bench in Alabama. Fifteen of the candidates we endorsed had never run for office before—and won.
I also have experience building and managing a local party organization. My career started as Democratic Party chair in Chittenden County, Vermont. I then ran successful campaigns: for state legislature, lieutenant governor and then governor. In my 11-year tenure as governor, I balanced the state’s budget every year.
I served as chair of both the National Governors’ Association and the Democratic Governors’ Association (DGA). And as chair of the DGA, I helped recruit nearly 20 governors that won—even in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi.
All of these experiences have only reaffirmed what I know to be true. There is only one party that speaks to the hopes and dreams of all Americans. It is the party you have already given so much to. It is the Democratic Party.
We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe.
I look forward to speaking with you and hearing your thoughts in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact me at 802-xxx-xxxx or via e-mail at xxxxx.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.