Minnesota Progressive Caucus
DECEMBER 7, 2004
6:31 PM
CONTACT: Minnesota Progressive Caucus
Donna Cassutt, 612-859-2054
Minnesota Progressive Caucus Hosts First DNC Listening Session
More Than 300 DFLers Gathered to Discuss the Selection of the Next Democratic National Committee Chairperson
ST. PAUL, MN -- December 7 -- Last Friday, an overflow crowd of more than 300 enthusiastic rank-and-file DFLers came together in the Carpenter’s Union Hall in St. Paul for a “Listening session” to offer suggestions and register opinions about the direction of the National Democratic Party and the qualities they would like to see in the next person chosen as DNC Chair, a post currently held by Terry McAuliffe.

The two-hour meeting where the audience did the majority of the speaking about the direction of the National Democratic Party demonstrated an unprecedented level of interest in the next leader of the DNC. "We are very encouraged by the commitment and passion of so many DFLers who want to help shape the future direction of the National Democratic Party," said Mike Erlandson, MN State DFL Chair.

At the meeting, sponsored by the DFL, four of Minnesota’s six DNC representatives were on hand to “listen” to attendees as they expressed their views on a variety of subjects, including: the need for continuous off-year organizing in all 50 states, stronger support for state parties, recognition of the power in the grassroots, an overhaul of the primary process, election reform for fair and transparent results, and the need to frame the Democratic Party’s platform with greater clarity.

“The response to our first Minnesota Progressive Caucus event has been overwhelming. It was gratifying to hear all the thoughtful comments and ideas expressed by people who are proud to be progressive liberals,” said Donna Cassutt, Chair of the Minnesota Progressive Caucus. “The excitement and enthusiasm in the room has us energized. This is just the beginning.”

The most commonly expressed endorsement for DNC Chair from the participants was 2004 presidential candidate and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Simon Rosenberg, founder of New Democrat Network, was second. The election of the next National Chair to replace Terry McAuliffe will occur in February. Minnesota’s DFL will send six DNC representatives to vote.

The “listening” event was the first of four hosted by the Minnesota Progressive Caucus. Future meetings of the “Listening Tour” will take place in Duluth, Rochester, and Bemidji sometime in January.

The Minnesota Progressive Caucus www.progressivecaucus.net is a newly formed grassroots organization that is committed to advancing issues of justice and equality, and helping to elect progressive Democratic candidates. It recognizes that democracy functions best with an informed and engaged citizenry and is working within the DFL, as well as with other organizations with similar views to educate and engage the public.