On January 2, we will hold two important endorsement votes.
Vote #1: To endorse DC for Democracy’s participation in the 13-member slate of pledged, district-level delegates representing Barack Obama, who will stand for election at DC’s January 19th Pre-primary Caucus. The slate is called Barack Brings DC the Vote.
Vote #2: To endorse DC for Democracy’s joining, as a friend of the court for the District of Columbia, the DC Appleseed amicus brief in Heller vs. District of Columbia, which argues for DC Home Rule.
It is very important that you attend the Wednesday, January 2 meetup. If you cannot attend, you can vote by requesting an absentee ballot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Midnight, Wednesday, December 26th.
In 2004, DC for Dean, our predecessor, supported two of its members, Charles Allen and Kathie Boettrich, when they stood for election as pledged, district-level delegates for Howard Dean, and turned out the vote to elect them. Charles and Kathy both served as delegates to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In keeping with this proud tradition, DC for Democracy will vote in January to endorse three of our members running as pledged, district-level delegates for Barack Obama, our endorsed candidate: Jerry Clark, Eugene Kinlow, and Kesh Ladduwahetty. Click here to see the biographical information on our slate representatives.
This time, we will be part of a unity slate representing the major organizations supporting Barack in the District: DC for Obama (4 representatives), Women for Obama (1 representative), Young Lawyers for Obama (1 representative), and Mayor Fenty (4 representatives). All members of the Barack Brings DC the Vote slate have pledged to promote DC voting rights before and during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. We will stand for election at the January 19th Pre-primary caucus that will be held in the District of Columbia.
Supporting the 13 candidates will be 26 supporting candidates, as required by the DNC. DC4D will have 6 supporting candidates, who will also help to turn out the vote for the slate. Ron Bitondo, Julia Clones, Jesse Lovell, and Gerry Schwinn will be candidates in District 1. We are still recruiting supporting candidates in District 2. Supporting candidates are not considered to be part of the slate.
Why is the caucus important to DC for Democracy?
Aside from continuing our proud tradition, this is an early indication of Barack’s support in the District of Columbia, a month before our official primary on February 12. On the same day as the Nevada caucus, we could make national news by showing that more people turned out to vote for Barack’s delegates than for those of any other candidate.
Who can vote in the caucus?
Anyone registered as a Democrat in the District of Columbia.
What does “pledged district-level” mean?
Pledged means that the candidates pledge to support Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention (unpledged candidates can support anyone). District-level means that DC is divided into 2 districts. Wards 1,2,3, and 4 are District 1, while Wards 5,6,7, and 8 are District 2. Each of our 13 delegates must run in the district of their residence. Six of the slate members (including Jerry and Kesh) will run in District 1, and seven of the slate members (including Eugene) will run in District 2. When you vote at the caucus, you will vote for those slate members who are running in your district for the presidential candidate of your choice.
More information forthcoming
At the January 2 meetup, we will explain more about how the caucus works. As far as how the delegates finally get chosen for the Democratic National Convention, that is a complex process that has many of us tearing our hair out! That part will make a lot more sense after the February 12th primary.
As a grassroots, membership-driven organization, DC4D represents the basic interests of DC residents where they live. Collectively, we respond to the priorities of our members through political organizing and direct action. Our priority mandate for 2007 is to secure voting rights for the District of Columbia. Without deference to DC Home Rule by Congress or the courts, our basic voting rights are not secure. Heller vs. District of Columbia, which challenges DC’s 31-year old prohibition on the ownership of handguns, is a direct challenge to DC Home Rule. The case is on the Supreme Court’s docket for oral arguments in March and a decision is expected no later than June. This is an historic Second Amendment case with national consequence, yet at its core is the very basic notion of whether residents of the District of Columbia are truly entitled to self-governance.
DC Appleseed is filing an amicus brief, as a friend of the court for the District of Columbia, which argues on behalf of DC Home Rule and the public safety laws enacted by our own elected representatives. We will vote on whether DC for Democracy should join the DC League of Women Voters and the DC Bar in joining DC Appleseed’s amicus brief.
Following is an outline of the amicus brief:
Amici will assume, without conceding, that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms unrelated to actual or prospective membership in a militia. Amici will nevertheless urge the Court, if it concludes there is such a right, to accord substantial deference to the policy choices of local legislatures exercising their fundamental prerogative to decide how to protect public safety given local conditions and local circumstances. Any such right must be subject to reasonable regulation, with legislatures having the widest latitude to enact public safety regulations while appropriately preserving the ability of individuals to safely defend themselves and their families in their homes. Assuming an individual right exists that is divorced from militia service, it should not be the business of the federal courts to micromanage the myriad different kinds of laws that regulate the possession, use, and safe-handling of firearms and other weapons in furtherance of public safety.
A registered Democrat his entire adult life, Jerry worked on the staff of Attorney General Eliot Richardson during Watergate, as Executive Director of the UMWA Health & Retirement Funds, and since 1991, as a consultant on health benefit and pension issues to several labor unions. He served as Co-Chair of the Board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for four terms, and continues to be an active board member. He served on the Gay and Lesbian Steering Committee for Gore/Lieberman in 2000, spending most of the campaign in Missouri. In 2002 he was coordinator of gay & lesbian outreach for Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Mo), and in 2004 he worked on the Dean presidential campaign before working for Kerry/Edwards in Florida in the general election. He has been an active member of DC for Democracy, serving as Co-Chair of the Presidential Endorsement Committee in 2007. He was active in Adrian Fenty’s campaign for Mayor, working closely with Marika Torok in Ward One and serving as captain for precinct 35. He is a member of numerous local and national organizations, including Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Stonewall Democrats, and Pride at Work (AFL-CIO).
Eugene Dewitt Kinlow
Eugene Dewitt Kinlow, a native Washingtonian, and an elected member of the DC Democratic State Committee and a member of DC for Democracy best exemplifies the characteristics of community service in support of human rights, civil rights and workers rights. Eugene channels his activism by being heavily involved in the fight for DC Voting rights.
Kesh has lived in Ward 3 for 18 years and served on the DC Democratic State Committee. She joined DC for Dean in 2003 and became Chair of DC for Democracy in 2007. She led DC4D’s campaign for DC’s Living Wage law, which was championed by then Councilmember Fenty, and organized DC4D’s canvassing operation for Judy Feder in Virginia ’s 10th district in 2006. Kesh has served as an unofficial ambassador for DC Voting Rights to the national Democracy for America (DFA) community, and served on the “Taxation without Representation” panel at the 2007 YearlyKos convention. Under her leadership, DC4D became the first DFA group in the nation to endorse Barack Obama, and she is presently leading DC4D’s campaign to elect Barack in Nevada and DC.