15 DSA Members Elected!, 2017 election

By Democratic Socialists of America (from a press release)

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) today announced that its membership now includes 15 new elected officials. This is in addition to 20 elected already in offices around the United States. On Tuesday the DSA was represented in 25 elections across 13 different states. Four of those running have national endorsements from the DSA, and many others were supported by our local chapters.

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 Lee Carter

 “We’re excited for all our DSA members who won last night” said David Duhalde, deputy director.  He added “DSA is especially proud of Lee Carter, a DSA member, defeating Virginia Republican House of Delegates Majority Whip Jackson Miller. Miller’s last minute red-baiting was no match for the people power that DC DSA members brought from around the region. This victory demonstrates the rising tide for socialist electoral activism across the country. ” In addition to Carter’s upset over Miller, the other democratic socialists also won for the first time.

In addition to Carter, at least two of DSA’s five nationally endorsed candidates also won last night.  Ginger Jentzen (Socialist Alternative - MN) is currently the top receiver of first-choice votes in a ranked choice election that is yet to be determined. “The national electoral program on DSA is on the march” said Duhalde, who had directed the national endorsement process with the National Electoral Committee (NEC). He stated “The victories of Tristan Rader (D-OH), JT Scott (D-MA), and the other DSA members elected last night show we have the beginning of a new wave of socialist political leaders.”  DSA, which included electoral work as one of three national priorities at our August 2017 convention, launched a countrywide volunteer effort to support six DSA-endorsed candidates this fall. (The sixth, Khader El-Yateem, lost in the September New York City primary.) Led by the NEC, DSA members supported these campaigns with phonebanks by dozens of chapters, graphics, fundraising, and more.

Also of note, Jabari Brisport won nearly 30% of the vote in New York City District 35. Brisport, a Green who ran on a newly created Socialist ballot line, received hundreds of volunteers from DSA and also the endorsements of Our Revolution and other socialist organizations.  In a city where the Democratic primary is often the general election, capturing such a large chunk of the electorate for a first-time candidate is no small feat.

A full list of the candidates who won can be found below along with some of their statements:

Vanessa Agudelo (I) City Council, Peekskill NY 

Scott Alberts (D) Treasurer, Upper Darby PA

Lee Carter (D) Virginia's House of Delegates in District 50, VA

Charles Decker (D)  Alderman for District 9, New Haven CT 

Ben Ewen-Campen (D)  Board of Aldermen - Ward 2, Somerville MA

Kara Gloe (I) School Board, Moorhead MN 

Kara Gloe lives in Moorhead Minnesota. She was one of the original organizers of the Red River Valley DSA chapter. She organized a fundraiser in July that raised money to help pay off some of the school lunch debt, and wants to work to ensure every child has access to healthy food in school, regardless of their family’s  ability to pay. She works in community development and is committed to creating a more equitable society for all. That commitment to equity is what inspired her run for school board. She campaigned on a platform of supporting students, supporting teachers, and supporting families.

Ross Grooters(I) City Council, Pleasant Hill IA 

In both rural and urban communities, difficult economic demands are diminishing the power of people to control their day-to-day lives. This is also true in relatively well-to-do suburban communities like Pleasant Hill. When choosing to opt out of a county minimum wage increase earlier this year, the city council failed to represent working people in our community. As a union worker, Ross Grooters felt a need to step up and be a voice for working people. This led to a door-to-door campaign listening to the community and championing three issues: clean water, living wages, and a welcoming community. 

Denise Joy (I) City Council Ward 3, Billings MT 

Kristin LaLonde (I) City Commission, Mount Pleasant MI

Brian Nowak (D/WF) Town Council, Cheektowaga NY

Brian is a long-time resident who lives just across from Cheektowaga Town Park.  He grew up minutes away from where he now resides, raised by a single mom with his younger and older brothers. He studied Education at SUNY Buffalo State, becoming the first in his family to graduate with a college degree.  Brian has been a business manager in the town, with experience addressing budgetary issues and making a struggling operation profitable again. His recent work has been centered around political organizing and civic activism.  Brian and his wife Holly have been happily married for ten years.

Anita Prizio (D) County Council - District 3, Allegheny PA

Tristan Rader (D) City Council, Lakewood, Cuyahoga County OH

Tristan’s campaign for Lakewood City Council was about reprioritizing basic, people-first government. Strong public services, an inclusive culture, and genuinely open, democratic decision-making are concepts that he hopes most people support, and he’s honored that Lakewood endorsed this platform today. As a DSA member, he will continue working to make it a reality for all. He is very glad that DSA was a part of this campaign and will be part of that ongoing work.

Carlina Rivera (D) City Council - District 2, New York City NY

JT Scott (I) Board of Aldermen - Ward 2, Somerville MA

Seema Singh Perez (I) City Council Third District, Knoxville TN

Singh Perez ran for City Council because she believes the city needs qualified people who represent the population of Knoxville. The city needs the council to reflect the genders, races and socio-economic makeup of the people. Singh is a qualified woman of color who is an immigrant and a naturalized American citizen with a background in social justice. Why does diversity matter? Not because we want to sit around a table looking like a rainbow coalition, but because the local government needs to understand the unique life experiences, challenges and struggles of its many people, not just the dominant culture.