Republicans have released their plan for the ill-named HEALS Act, which is actually a conglomerate of several bills – none of which provide assistance to cities, or help Americans with essential water security. DMO has received word that many vulnerable members of Congress do not believe that cities are in dire need of assistance. They have recieved talking points from the White House that say everything is fine, but have not heard from their DMOs to tell the real story.
Unless you tell them otherwise, our Members of Congress will continue to believe that cities need no financial assistance from the federal government.
Every DMO needs to call their Senators and Representatives to demand sufficient funding to keep our cities working and our residents healthy. Our constituents support increased funding for our communities.
Cities are laying off essential staff and facing slashed budgets. Our residents are out of work, on the verge of eviction, and even lack access to running water when forced to make the difficult choice between rent and utilities. Without federal financial aid, our local governments and the people who depend on city services will needlessly suffer.
Please join me in calling each of your Senators and Representatives today to tell them the truth – that our cities need federal funding to carry us through this crisis.
We especially need you to call
Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-CO
Sen. Martha McSally, R-AZ
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC
Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-GA
Sen. Gary Peters, D-MI
Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-IA
Sen. Edward Markey, D-MA
Together, DMOs can combine our voices and bring much needed aid to our towns and cities.
Hon. Scott Benson
Your Role in the Convention Across America
Featuring DNC Chair Tom Perez!
Monday, July 13th | 3:00pm ET / 12pm PT
Join DMO for a Municipal Mondays call discussing how you can get involved in this summer’s Democratic Naitonal Convention.
First, we will hear from Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez about why it is important for local officials to engage with the party as we form our platform and celebrate the nomination of Joe Biden as our candidate for president.
Next, Jorge Neri will tell you how specifically you can get involved, from adding your ideas for platform consideration to telling your personal story about local Democrats making a difference in our country.
Finally, we will hear from a few DMOs including National President Scott Benson, Treasurer Van Johnson, and Policy Council Vice Chair Lauren Kuby as they share their stories, and encourage you to record a video of your own for the DNC.
Call on the Senate to Pass the Heroes Act
On July 2nd, the Senate headed home for vacation having done nothing to effectively address systemic racial injustice, respond to the public health and economic crises spurred by the Coronavirus pandemic or fund essential services to provide relief to communities and workers. Their refusal to act and decision to vacation in the midst of crisis is a clear failure of their leadership.
Join the American Federation of Teachers on Wednesday July 8th, when communities across the country will take action to hold their senators accountable.
Your voice is needed, especially if you live in one of the following states: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, South Carolina, Maine or Iowa.
July 8th Action
Existing AFT Digital/Comms Collateral
The HEROES Act also includes funding for municipal water security programs that would keep water flowing to every home, even if they can’t pay the bill in a given month. This is essential not only for cleaning and drinking, but preventing the spread of COVID-19. To learn more about DMO’s efforts and how you can support this work, visit NationalDMO.org/watersecurity.
Register for the OpenGov Webinar
July 15th | 9 AM – 10 AM PT / 12 PM – 1 PM ET
Two inspiring leaders have turned the current Coronavirus crisis into a catalyst for strategic and budgetary change in their communities.
Leaders have two tasks before them: to keep positive momentum around restarting their economy, while also communicating the ongoing financial and health risks. Learn how to balance transparency and optimism while getting your economy back on track with the Honorable Andreas D. Addison Councilmember (Richmond, VA) and Mayor Oliver Gilbert (Miami Gardens, FL).
Over the past year, they’ve leveraged strategic thinking with innovative technology for more accurate scenario planning and easier public communication to align fiscal priorities to community needs—two key elements in the Coronavirus recovery for governments nationwide.
Join us for this webinar to learn:
- How Richmond, VA re-imagined their budget process in the wake of Covid-19
- How Miami Gardens, FL is effectively using technology to support financial decision making and scenario planning as they navigate this crisis
- Best practices for communicating key financial data to constituents to garner broad support for financial decision making
Oliver Gilbert, Mayor
Miami Gardens, FL
First District City Council
Manager, Solution Engineering
Share Your Story With The DNC
Democratic National Convention Invites Americans to Add Voices to 2020 Party Platform Process, Democratic National Committee Releases Further Details on Platform Hearings
MILWAUKEE, WI—As part of efforts to make this year’s convention the most inclusive and engaging yet, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) today launched a digital engagement campaign inviting voters to share what ideas, values, and beliefs they want to see reflected in the 2020 Party Platform. The campaign will allow anyone who has ideas about the party’s agenda to record, upload, and share their story in a brief video message. This project is the first in a series of engagement campaigns that convention organizers will roll out between now and August, allowing Americans across the country to add their voices to convention programming.
“While Republicans are cutting and pasting their platform from 2016, Democrats recognize the massive challenges and changes before our nation, and we are committed to a platform process that includes voices from across our party that will generate proposals reflecting the values of our country,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “Vice President Biden is committed to developing a robust, forward-looking agenda for the next four years, and to do so by listening to the diverse voices that make our party stronger.”
Every four years, Democratic National Committee members come together ahead of their convention to forge a diversity of values and beliefs into the Party Platform—a roadmap for how they plan to move America forward. The project announced today will allow anyone who has ideas about the party’s agenda to record, upload, and share their story in a brief video message. These videos will be hosted through Countable, an innovative and user-friendly video content hub, and may also be shown on the convention’s website, social media, or during the event in August. Countable is a civic technology company powering a new wave of political engagement through community and user-generated video content.
“Our convention across America will reach more people than ever before—so our programming should bring in more voices than ever before,” said Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention. “This is a unique opportunity for anyone who is passionate about being a force for change during this watershed moment for our country to make themselves heard, and we can’t wait to share their stories with the rest of the nation in August.
To learn more, or to get started with your own video or idea, visit stories.demconvention.
The National Board of Directors of Democratic Municipal Officials (DMO) has endorsed Councilwoman Melissa Fox as a Blue Star Rising Candidate in her race to represent California’s 68th District in the California State Assembly. She runs against a Trump-supporting Republican incumbent who has fought to repeal affirmative action and weaken environmental protections in the state. Reflecting on Fox’s campaign, DMO President Scott Benson said that “The Board of Directors of Democratic Municipal Officials is honored to name Councilmember Melissa Fox a Blue Star Rising Candidate as she seeks a position in the California State Assembly. We know her to be a fierce leader who embodies Democratic values and a motivation to improve the well being of every resident of her district.”
Councilwoman Fox caught our Board’s attention through her diligent service to bettering her community while serving on the Irvine City Council. An elected councilwoman since 2016, she has fought to keep families housed during the COVID-19 pandemic and introduced a vote to proclaim June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Irvine. She also extended public transportation routes in Irvine to reduce congestion and pollution, and worked to create Irvine’s first climate action plan.
The DMO Board is confident that Councilwoman Fox will continue to be a strong voice for her community in Sacramento. Previously, Fox served for four years on the Irvine Community Services Commission, where she fought to defend open parkspace and recreation facilities. The daughter of a Korean War combat veteran, Fox is also a fierce advocate for veterans and working families. As Chair, she has led the Irvine Community Land Trust to win multiple awards for providing affordable housing for veterans and other groups in need. DMO is confident that Fox will build upon this impressive record as a dedicated public servant in the State Assembly. She is committed to improving her community by investing in education, public transportation, and stronger environmental protections as representative of the 68th district.
The DMO serves to connect, engage, and empower elected officials who identify as Democrats across the US. Democratic Municipal Officials initiated the highly selective Blue Star Candidate program to draw national attention to local Democratic candidates, in particular when such an election would shift a mayor’s seat or council majority from red to blue. These candidates have been vetted and recommended by the DMO National Board.
If you would like to learn more about Melissa Fox’s campaign please visit https://www.votemelissafox.
The National Board of Directors of Democratic Municipal Officials is honored to endorse our own Dan Besse as a Blue Star Rising Candidate in his race to represent North Carolina’s 74th District in the State House of Representatives. Dan is a former DMO Board Member and currently serves part time as DMO’s Labor and Intergovernmental Affairs Advisor.
The DMO confidently attests to Dan’s capabilities as a leader committed to progressive policy change. Dan comes highly qualified as a lifelong public interest advocate, with demonstrated expertise as a champion for expanded healthcare, strong neighborhoods, good public schools, public transportation, and affordable housing. As a lawyer, he has fought for clean energy and utilities, fair employment, housing, and health care access for working families. A true advocate for Democratic values, Dan has been improving his community throughout his entire career, having spent nearly a decade representing poor families as a legal aid attorney in coastal North Carolina.
As the Representative for North Carolina’s House District 74, Dan will fight to improve North Carolina’s education system as well as for better pay and respect for the state’s teachers. He will do all that he can to increase access to affordable healthcare, including expanding Medicaid. He will work to improve environmental quality and economic opportunity, and help North Carolina thrive amidst new challenges. DMO believes that Dan is the progressive leader that North Carolina’s District 74 needs. This belief is widely shared, as shown through Dan’s endorsements from the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood Votes of the South Atlantic, the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, and many more.
The Democratic Municipal Officials (DMO) serves to connect, engage, and empower elected officials who identify as Democrats across the US. To better fulfill that mission we initiated our Blue Star Candidate program, strengthening our membership by drawing national attention to local Democratic candidates. These candidates have been vetted and recommended by their DMO State Chapter, and their election may swing a city council or mayor’s office from red to blue.
If you would like to learn more about how to support Dan Besse’s campaign, please visit https://www.bessefornc.com/
North Carolina DMO Ian Baltutis and other local electeds take stand on removal of confederate monuments in Alamance County
Alamance County Leaders’ Statement on the Confederate Monument on Courthouse Square
We as leaders in Alamance County recognize that we have a role to take the necessary and timely action needed to ensure that our county is an inclusive, equitable and welcoming place for people to thrive, conduct business, pursue an education, and live fulfilling lives.
The Confederate Monument in the Courthouse Square of Graham currently stands at the symbolic heart of our county at the epicenter of government. While this artifact is undeniably part of our history, for many in our community, it represents an ideology incompatible with equality. The history of Confederate monuments in the United States is complex. While many believe they exist simply to honor fallen soldiers, in actuality they were erected at a time of fervent white supremacy. The monument’s prominent location before a house of justice, an entity which has historically failed to serve our communities of color with equality, perpetuates this symbol as a barrier to the inclusion we aspire to achieve. As the municipalities and counties around us have taken action to remove their monuments, the Alamance County monument draws ever increasing notoriety and represents an increased potential for violence. Now is the time for decisive action to relocate this monument.
We are at a crossroads. As leaders, we want the county to move forward to a bright, prosperous future and not cling to a symbol that will inevitably hold us back. The county manager has wisely warned of the risks of deadly violence and recommended that the monument be relocated. We wholeheartedly agree and support urgent action.
The future of our community hangs in the balance. Bold and inclusive leadership is needed now more than ever. We stand together in this request and we invite other leaders to join us in this call to action.
We hereby call upon the Alamance County Commissioners and the City Council of Graham to take action to relocate the monument in a respectful and appropriate manner. Relocation of the monument will remove the threat to the public safety that has been created by this symbol in the Courthouse Square of Graham.
Ian Baltutis, Mayor, City of Burlington
Ed Hooks, Mayor, City of Mebane
Lenny Williams, Mayor, Town of Gibsonville
Carissa Graves-Henry, Mayor, Town of Green Level
Connie Book, President, Elon University
Leo Lambert, President Emeritus, Elon University
Patsy Simpson, School Board Member, Alamance Burlington School System
Steve Van Pelt, School Board Member, Alamance Burlington School System
Brian Feeley, School Board Member, Alamance Burlington School System
Wayne Beam, School Board Member, Alamance Burlington School System
Quinn Ray, Alderman, Town of Elon
Emily Sharpe, Alderman, Town of Elon
Doug Williams, CEO, Buckner Companies
Bill Scott Jr., President, Alamance Foods, Inc
LeAndra N. Ratliff, Chair-Elect, Alamance Chamber of Commerce
Jill Auditori, Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Mebane
Sean C. Ewing, Councilmember, City of Mebane
Patty Philipps, Councilmember, City of Mebane
President Barrett Brown, Alamance NAACP
Jim Bryan, President, Fairystone Fabrics
Griffin McClure, Green & McClure Furniture
Jason Cox, The Monroe Companies
Lee Kimrey, Lee Kimrey Construction, LLC
Mayor Pro-Tem Kathy Hykes, City of Burlington
Rev. Anita Thompson, Presiding Elder, Western NC Conference – AME Church
Rev. Tamara Kersey-Brown, Wayman Chapel AME, & Secretary, Alamance Pride
Rev. Gwendolyn Benjamin, Sr. Pastor, Wayman Chapel AME
Rev. Jay Kennett
Rev. Beth Kennett
Ken Smith, President, Alamance Pride
Laurin Kier, Incoming treasurer, Alamance Pride
Gabrielle Legrand, At-large board member, Alamance Pride
Yun Boylston, MD
Lisa Pennington, Past Chair, Alamance Chamber of Commerce
Rev. Dr. Bridgette Gloster, Senior Pastor, Springdale AME, Burlington
Rev. Dr. Clay Gloster Jr. Associate Pastor, Springdale AME Burlington
Pastor A. Offord Carmichael, Jr. – Clover Garden, Burlington NC
Mac Williams, President, Alamance Chamber of Commerce
David K Mertz, MD
David Carter, Allen Tate Realtors
Allison Gant, Chair, Alamance Burlington School System
Tony Rose, School Board Member, Alamance Burlington School System
Kristen Page, MD
Megan Ray, outgoing treasurer, Alamance Pride
Rodney Wyatt-Younger, at-large board member, Alamance Pride
Eric Henry, President, TS Designs
Bob Byrd, Former Commissioner, Alamance County Commission
Catherine Smith, President, Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition of Alamance
For questions or to have your name added to the list of supporters on this letter, please contact the office of Mayor Ian Baltutis at 336-222-5020
Dear Maryland Speaker Jones and Senate President Ferguson,
We the mayors and council members of the Maryland State Chapter of Democratic Municipal Officials (DMO MD) are writing today to express strong support for efforts to make June 19 – Juneteenth – a federal holiday.
We recognize the historical significance of this day in 1865 in Galveston, Texas when Union Major General Gordon Granger declared General Order No. 3 in effect which called for the freeing all slaves. It was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, but it finally would erase what remained of slavery in this country for good.
Early celebrations of Juneteenth were used not only to celebrate freedom and Blackness but also to give voting instructions to newly freed slaves. As we celebrate Juneteenth in Maryland and some 48 other states in our country, we believe it is time to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
There is still much work to be done to reconcile the racist history of our past that cannot be fixed by one holiday. The history of racism stemming from slavery created a long, deep path to current disparities in education, jobs, housing, and healthcare, as well as disproportionate incarceration rates.
As Democratic municipal officials we recommit our cities and towns to working toward rooting out institutional and systemic racism. We will promote racial justice through fair, just, and equitable governing.
We believe that celebrations such as Juneteenth make it clear that black lives matter and they can and should be celebrated for the part they play in the history and fabric of our country.
The Mayors and City Council Members of DMO Maryland
Statement from Democratic Municipal Officials on the Killing of George Floyd and Ongoing Protests
We, the Democratic Municipal Officials of America strongly and unequivocally condemn the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, as well as the officers who stood by and watched the killing. We call for the immediate arrest of all officers involved, and hope swift justice can be served for George Floyd, his family, and the Minneapolis community.
We respect the anger of protesters marching against racial violence. As DMO President and Detroit Councilman Scott Benson stated, “Each time this occurs anywhere in America, it is felt by our entire community and reminds us of how dangerous life is and how quickly it can be snatched from one of our own. No one can expect this magnitude of hurt, pain, fear and uncertainty to be absorbed without manifesting itself in some way, shape or form.” Our local elected leaders feel this anger as their own, but we also cannot tolerate the selfish few who have taken it upon themselves to loot local businesses, or respond to this situation with violence.
While we support the brave police officers who have worked to keep peace across the country, we must also recognize not all police behave so admirably. Sadly, we have seen irrefutable evidence this past week how certain police activities can escalate non-violent protests. We must also not pretend that the killing of George Floyd was an outlier. These protests come as the inevitable response to the fear and pain inflicted on black Americans by racist police. Local officials bear the responsibility, however difficult and uncomfortable, of making sure our cities are safe from police violence as much as property violence.
Finally, we must recognize the failure of leadership coming from the President, who this weekend emerged from his bunker to tweet from a darkened White House. President Trump has actively participated in racist causes, instituting his “Muslim ban” on certain countries, calling the white supremacists in Charlottesville “very fine people”, and Mexicans “rapists”. This week he called for violence against our cities, saying “When the Looting Starts, the Shooting Starts”, and threatened to respond to protests with the “unlimited power of our Military.”
The words of President Barack Obama inspire us to move forward with the difficult task of rebuilding what has been destroyed. “It falls on all of us…to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts”.
At DMO, we know local elected officials are held responsible to all members of our community; the people of color who endure racism, non-violent protesters marching in solidarity, small business owners who stay awake for fear of looters, and the police, whom we have seen the best and worst of this past week.
These are the times when our local elected officials are called upon to do more than we can expect of anyone. As you lose sleep trying to keep your cities safe, field phone calls from angry constituents, and prepare for the long weeks ahead, know that we here at DMO stand by you, and are here to support you. With one last request, encourage your residents who are fed up with the negative messages that are coming from the White House to VOTE on November 3rd, 2020.
DMO kicked off efforts last week to help get out the vote during this primary election season. Even if you don’t live in states with upcoming primaries, DMO is encouraging you and your volunteer base to get outhe vote from now until Election Day. As Republican efforts to suppress the vote are being rolled out, there will be many challenges for voters this election season. It’s up to us to make it as easy as possible for them to get out and vote.
This week we are asking DMOs to create a short video message on your phone to educate voters on the upcoming primaries.
Videos can include information on:
• Sharing Vote-by-Mail instructions with your constituency
• Mobilize your base to volunteer on a local or national campaign (from home)
• Recognizing voter suppression tactics now to protecting the vote later
DMO’s electoral focus will be on June 2 – the new Super Tuesday – when primaries will be held in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Montana, and New Mexico. The primaries are a dry-run to help get voters ready for the General Elections in November. DMOs can help ensure voters know how to vote-by-mail, can volunteer from home, and are prepared if they encounter voter suppression.
Here’s a video of a panel our President, Scott Benson participated at the DNC meeting in San Francisco last office. It shows the importance local elected officials play in keeping voter suppression in check.
If you haven’t already, please take the pledge to help DMO get out the vote because as DMOs know best, all politics are local.
Thank you for all that you do.
DMO Membership Director/Labor Liaison