Association of State Democratic Chairs
Florida Democratic Party Hires Sally Boynton Brown as New 'President'
Sally Boynton Brown, the former executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party is packing her bags and heading to Florida to serve as the Florida Democratic Party’s new president. Boynton Brown, a newcomer to Florida politics, will replace executive director Scott Arceneaux, who stepped down after longtime Democratic fundraiser Stephen Bittel took over as party chair in January. With the new appointment comes a new title for Boynton Brown, “president,” replacing the term “executive director.” This will be Boynton Brown’s first foray into Florida politics, where the Democrats desperately need to gain ground and make up for a poor performance in last year’s election. She has spent the last five years as executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party. "Sally shares my optimistic, idealistic enthusiasm," said Stephen Bittel in a release. “Her national profile and experience as President of the Democratic State Party Directors are a testament to her impressive party and infrastructure building skills.”
Maine House rejects requiring voters to present photo IDs
The Maine House on Tuesday rejected a bill that would have required voters to present photo identification at their polling places in order to cast a ballot. Majority Democrats prevailed on a 76-67 vote that split mostly on party lines in rejecting L.D. 121, which sought to make voters provide proof of identity with a photo ID such as a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. Rep. Karl Ward, R-Holden, the bill’s primary sponsor, expressed frustration with Democrats via Facebook following the vote Tuesday. He wrote that the measure would have “prevented virtually all voter fraud in Maine,” and vowed to defeat Democrats at the polls in 2018. Maine civil rights advocates, however, hailed the vote Tuesday, saying it rejects discrimination and protects voters’ constitutional right to polling-place access. “While President Trump, Gov. LePage and other elected officials have made false statements about voter fraud, proponents of such laws have failed to show that voter fraud is an actual problem, either in Maine or nationwide,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine said in a statement.
Kathleen Matthews: Dems need to reach out to rural areas like Western Maryland
Democrats feel ignored in rural areas like Western Maryland, but that has to change because the party needs to go "after every vote" to succeed at the polls, the interim chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party said Wednesday night. Kathleen Matthews — a former television news anchor and an unsuccessful candidate for a U.S. House seat in Maryland's 8th Congressional District — was the keynote speaker at the Washington County Democratic Central Committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at Hager Hall Conference and Event Center in Hagerstown. Matthews said it is also important to focus on what unites Democrats. Not only is that "understanding how bad the Trump agenda is for Maryland" but examining Gov. Larry Hogan's shortcomings, she said. Matthews said she is troubled by Hogan's failure to address issues such as ensuring protection for the Chesapeake Bay and fighting for health coverage for those affected by threats to Obamacare.
Cancer Patients, Researchers Oppose Trump’s Proposed NIH Spending Cut
Cancer patients and researchers delivered a message to President Donald Trump and Congresson Wednesday: The $5.8 billion proposed cut to the National Institutes of Health’s budget will compromise research into treatments and cures for cancer. Maryland Democratic Party Interim Chair Kathleen Matthews, who also attended, urged Gov. Larry Hogan to publicly oppose the cut. She said he was “missing in action” in speaking out on behalf of Marylanders who could be negatively affected by Trump’s budget. The president’s proposed budget also calls for large spending cuts at other Maryland-based agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring and the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Derwood. “I think the governor has been heroic in his own personal fight against cancer and he has reached out to cancer survivors around the state to share his own personal example,” Matthews said, in response to a question from a reporter. “I would expect him to stand up for the really important research that made his cure possible.”
Drivers who hit protesters blocking roads could be protected under NC House bill
Drivers who hit a protester who’s blocking the road couldn’t be sued for injuries if they “exercise due care,” under a bill that passed the N.C. House on Wednesday. “These people are nuts to run in front of cars like they do ... and say, ‘me and my buddy here are going to stop this two-and-a-half-ton vehicle,’” said Rep. Michael Speciale, a New Bern Republican and a supporter of the bill. “If somebody does bump somebody, why should they be held liable?” The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Justin Burr of Albemarle, said drivers wouldn’t be allowed to deliberately run over protesters. “This bill does not allow for the driver of a vehicle to target protesters intentionally,” he said. “It does protect individuals who are rightfully trying to drive down the road.” A final vote on the bill is scheduled for Thursday. After Wednesday’s vote, N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin called it a “shockingly horrible and dangerous piece of legislation.” “One of the cornerstones of American democracy is the right to peacefully assemble and demonstrate, but with this bill North Carolina Republicans are giving motorists a free pass to run over protestors without any fear of civil liability,” Goodwin said in a news release. “This legislation is antithetical to our values and risks causing bodily harm to peaceful protestors.”
Lawmakers targeted as district politics shift
Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) are both prime targets for their opponents, with each seen as a potential takedown for parties looking to expand their 2018 footprints in once-safe seats. Both lawmakers enjoyed easy campaigns in the last cycle, facing no opponent in November. But Sessions and Kind also have the dubious honor of being the only two incumbents who faced no opposition even as their parties’ presidential candidates lost their districts. But Democrats smell blood, knowing that Sessions is tied at the hip to an unpopular GOP House majority and to Trump himself. Making matters worse for Sessions, a president’s party typically loses House seats in the first midterm elections after a presidential race. “Pete Sessions is married to the Trump agenda, 100 percent. And we are going to wrap that agenda around his neck,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told The Hill.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Statement On 5th Anniversary of $1 Trillion Student Loan Debt
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the total student loan debt in the United States surpassing $1 trillion. The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning with regards to the anniversary: “Five years ago, the total student loan debt in our country reach $1 trillion, that figure now stands at more than $1.3 trillion. But the crisis isn’t just about numbers, it’s about real people, our friends, family, and neighbors struggling with debt each month. “Democrats understand that the first-generation college student from Beloit should be able to attend one of our universities or colleges without the fear that they’ll graduate with crushing amounts of debt. We want the recent graduate in Rice Lake to be able to start a business without fear of defaulting on their loans. And we want the couple in Oconomowoc to be able to make the next step and purchase a home without hesitation about their financial limits. Our students and graduates are trying their best to better themselves and their communities while taking on the responsibility of paying for their own education but are too often trapped in a system that treats them unfairly. One of the biggest things we can do to grow the middle class and help everyday Wisconsinites is to give borrowers more options to pay off their debts, and reduce their monthly burden, so they can contribute to our state’s economy.”