Dear California Delegates,
The election of Donald Trump ushered in one of darkest periods in our nation’s modern political history. Just over one month into his presidency, and he has moved aggressively to make our worst fears become reality.
But here’s another reality: resistance. On his first full day as president, the largest demonstrations in American history erupted throughout the country. A week later, spontaneous protests at airports across California and the nation overturned Trump’s hateful, bigoted, and unconstitutional ban on Muslim immigrants.
Democrats who were first inspired by John and Robert Kennedy took to the streets with the same energy and conviction as the young activists inspired by Bernie Sanders.
While Democrats across the nation are struggling to retain their relevance, the successes of the Democratic Party here in California are a roadmap back to power – and we must ensure California remains a beacon of hope for those passionate activists striving for a way forward.
That is why I am running for Chair of the California Democratic Party, and am asking you to join the hundreds of grassroots Democrats from around our state who have joined our campaign to Resist Trump, Renew our commitment to progress and opportunity for all, and Raise up our party to the next level.
For the past 16 years, I have served as Chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party – an unpaid, elected position, representing the largest local jurisdiction of Democrats anywhere in the nation. I have transformed this local party into a nationally award-winning political powerhouse with a proven record of getting Democrats elected.
When I became Chair of LACDP, we had a $50,000 annual budget and one half-time employee. Through building strong partnerships with our allies and innovative programming, we now have a $1.7 million budget and six full-time staff.
These successes don’t go unnoticed by our allies in organized labor. They are looking for a strong and robust Democratic Party that champions working people. They know that the next Chair of the California Democratic Party needs to be outspoken, passionate, and effective, and that they must have a track record of success on the ground that reflects the power of our values.
That is why unions like the California Faculty Association, State Building & Construction Trades Council, California Professional Firefighters, and United Food & Commercial Workers Locals 324, 648, 770, 1428 & 1442 have endorsed my campaign for Chair.
And that is why I am honored to count phenomenal labor icons like UNITE HERE International Vice President María Elena Durazo, NUHW President Sal Rosselli, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis as supporters of my campaign.
During my eight-year tenure as CDP Vice Chair, we have won every statewide race two cycles running. Even against last year’s GOP takeover across the nation, California Democrats held every Congressional district and picked up enough seats in our State Legislature to win a vital two-thirds supermajority in both houses.
In order to protect California from Trump’s dystopian worldview, we must maintain and expand upon these successes. My proven track record of growth at LACDP is why many of California’s statewide leaders like Gavin Newsom, Fiona Ma, John Chiang, Alex Padilla, Dave Jones, Tom Torlakson, Jerome Horton, Eric Garcetti, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Tom Steyer are supporting me.
I believe that in this new era, it is not enough for our Democratic Party to be anti-Trump. We must unite around a progressive agenda that will encourage the newly mobilized activists who turned out by the millions for Women’s Marches and those who energized Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
I am not new to the fight for progressive values. I am proud to have the endorsements of so many progressive stalwarts – like Mimi Kennedy, Dr. Paul Song, Tom Ammiano, Sheila Kuehl, Pastor William Smart, Rebecca Kaplan, and the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains. And I want to share with you why they are supporting me. They know that for me, these fights are deeply personal.
I believe that healthcare is a right for every single person in this country. I believe in Single-Payer Healthcare, and will work with our grassroots to make this an issue around which our entire party organizes. This is something I have lived and fought for my entire life, and it’s why I have the support of the United Nurses Associations of California and the National Union of Healthcare Workers.
As a nurse, I watched people die because they didn’t have health insurance. I had to comfort families who lost someone that didn’t go to the doctor because they didn’t think they could afford the costs of treatment. I have worked with policymakers going back two decades to try to make single-payer a reality in California, and I believe this is the moment we can make it happen and declare ourselves a “healthcare sanctuary” state.
I believe that we must engage in the red, rural, and purple areas of our state. For almost two decades, I have traveled to provide inspiration to local activists in the farthest flung corners of California. I brought urban legislators together with rural activists to successfully garner support for important needs and policies that never before received the necessary backing for adoption. In 2005, I launched the Red Zone Program at LACDP to deliver substantial campaign services to those who run for office in deeply Republican districts in LA County and elsewhere – who are all too often ignored, maligned, and under-resourced.
I believe in women’s rights. As the son of a single mother, I watched her struggle with the burdens of working full-time as a nurse and juggling a son who could be…a handful…at times. If you ever wonder where I get my aggressive streak, you obviously never met the real heavyweight champ in the family. I watched her grow old with her partner of more than 30 years, who came to live with me after my mother passed away and her retirement evaporated in the Great Recession. When Trump and his misogynistic bullies demean, degrade, and debase women, I take it personally because my mother had to deal with men like him her entire life.
I believe in immigrant rights. My grandparents came to America because of religious persecution. We are a nation of immigrants, and yes, a nation of refugees. The nativist, white supremacist thugs in this administration are not just attacking one subset of immigrants – they are attacking “e pluribus unum” and I take it very personally, as should we all. That’s why last year I hosted an unprecedented forum on combating Islamophobia and just last month, I turned a significant portion of the LACDP Central Committee meeting over to representatives from immigrant rights organizations so they could educate us on how to effectively resist these un-American, anti-immigrant scare tactics.
And I believe passionately in LGBT rights. My husband Michael and I met when we were both working as ICU nurses, in the very first years of the AIDS epidemic. We lost many friends and people we loved, and lived through those terrible years when people openly said gay men deserved to die from AIDS. Michael and I formally married in 2008, during the brief window before Prop. 8 stripped our rights away, and we received our marriage certificate on the very last day they could legally be issued. Our rights are under assault by this new administration – Jeff Sessions just declared open season on Transgender kids – and I am furious to see the hope fade away from young LGBT kids’ eyes, to be replaced by fear.
You’re damn right I am taking this personally, and I am as committed to fighting back today as when I was President of the Stonewall Democratic Club in Los Angeles and helped found what became the National Stonewall Democrats.
But I can’t do it myself. I can’t win these battles on my own. And neither can you, nor can our elected officials. We have to win these fights together. We must be united and focused and strong.
Earlier this year, many Bernie supporters and other progressives effectively organized around the ADEM elections to gain a significant foothold in our Party – by some reports, winning more than 600 slots among the approximately 3,400-person-strong membership of the CDP. The revitalizing energy these activists bring will help push California Democrats to even further heights.
I look forward to serving as the next Chair of the California Democratic Party, where I will always engage with our activists, leaders, elected officials, and institutional partners alike to ensure that our state remains a shining example of how politics and government can be vehicles for good, for generations to come.
I would be honored if you would join CDP Vice Chair Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Kings County Democratic Party Chair Holly Andrade-Blair, CDP Environmental Caucus Chair RL Miller, State Senator Toni G. Atkins, Assembly Member Autumn Burke, the California Young Democrats, New Frontier Democratic Club, Equality California, and hundreds of delegates up and down the state by endorsing me here.
For more information, feel free to contact me at 818-755-4570 or Eric@EricBauman.com.
In Democratic Unity,
Eric C. Bauman
Vice Chair, California Democratic Party
Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party