By Sierra Yamanaka, Arizona DNC Representative and Pat Burns, Arizona Democratic Party First Vice Chair

Sierra and Pat

At the January meeting of the Arizona State Committee Representatives, Sierra Yamanaka was elected as the DNC Representative from the Arizona Democratic Party. At that same meeting, Pat Burns, was elected as First Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. The two of them attended their first DNC meeting on Feb. 12-14 in Washington D.C. Below are their reports:

Report from Sierra Yamanaka

Sierra is Arizona’s Democratic National Committee (DNC) representative, a native Tucsonan and former Deputy Field Director for the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP). Sierra is a PC in LD9 Precinct 100.

The role of National Committeewoman is simple: to represent Arizona’s interests and needs at the DNC’s semi-annual meetings, while learning from other states and national leaders. I will also serve as a delegate to the July 2020 Democratic National Convention.

But I want to expand my role to include an education-and-training piece for PCs across Arizona. I believe there is a disconnect between what the DNC is doing, what the ADP is doing, and what PCs hear. I hope to bridge that gap by explaining what the DNC does, and how it is helping and prioritizing Arizona.

Sierra Yamanaka with Bel Leong-Hong, Chair of the DNC Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus

I had the privilege of attending the DNC’s Winter Meeting Feb. 14-16 in Washington, D.C. Members from all 57 states and territories, as well as several at-large members, comprise the DNC. The members gather for council and caucus meetings before and after the general sessions. I attended the Youth Council, the Women’s Caucus, and the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus, as well as the Budget and Finance and the Executive committees. Arizona was a topic in nearly every meeting I attended, either what we accomplished in the 2018 midterms or that we’re a priority moving forward!

We heard from incredible speakers, including Georgia’s Stacey Abrams and The Rev. Al Sharpton, amazing U.S. House members like Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, Rep. Andy Kim, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Judy Chu, and Rep. Barbara Lee.

The DNC invested $30 million to support elections and campaigns in 2018. That money purchased 112 million cell-phone numbers, paid for organizers, enabled training, and upgraded data and technology infrastructure.

The 2019-2020 road map includes five major priorities:

  1. Ending the “accordion effect’’ by raising more money in the off-year, because we can’t afford to wait until 2020!
  2. Expanding data and tech reach. The DNC has signed on to the Democratic Data Exchange, which will allow data sharing between DNC and partner organizations so that campaigns have the very best targeting.
  3. Defining and localizing Donald Trump through messaging, communications and digital to demonstrate through personal stories how his policies hurt Americans.
  4. Building state party infrastructure so that the Democratic presidential nominee has the resources he or she will need to win, and investing in every other Democratic race across the country. State parties are the backbone of successful races from School Board to Senate.
  5. Having a fair, inclusive and transparent nominating process by scheduling 12 primary debates and limiting the power of superdelegates.

Thank you all for your support! I’m happy to answer your questions, so please reach out: sierrayamanaka@gmail.com

Report from Pat Burns

Pat delivering Western Region Caucus update at the February DNC meeting in Washington, D.C.

PAT BURNS is the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP)’s first vice chair. He serves on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and belongs to the Association of State Democratic Committees (ASDC). He attended his first DNC meeting Feb. 14-16 in Washington, D.C.

Discovering that the DNC has become a much more transparent body since the 2016 election, and that it has once again adopted a 50-state strategy, was a highlight of the meeting for me.  If the DNC invests everywhere, we have an opportunity to win anywhere.

I was pleased to hear Arizona mentioned in almost every meeting I attended. People have noticed not only our recent wins, but our potential for more. Whether it’s being a part of the road map to beat Donald Trump, winning another U.S. Senate seat or taking back our state legislature, the rest of the DNC knows what we know: Arizona is a battleground state in a region with many exiting things happening electorally.

Delivering the Arizona update to the DNC Western Region Caucus gave me a great opportunity to brag about the work we did that led to our success in the midterms, and about our future prospects.

At the Native American Caucus, we heard from newly-elected Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, one of the first female Native American members of Congress, now chairing the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. She talked about working with DNC Chair Tom Perez  to make the DNC more inclusive while she chaired the New Mexico Democratic Party.

Perez spoke passionately at the closing general session about our country’s real emergencies, not Trump’s manufactured one. He said that Democrats will win back the White House by shining light on our country’s real threats, and our party’s ideas for handling them.

I look forward to emphasizing Arizona’s role in the 2020 election cycle at the summer ASDC meeting. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your comments and suggestions: wpburns81@gmail.com.

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