Contact: April Mellody
Dana Vickers Shelley

Democratic National Convention Platform Drafting Committee Hosts First in Series of Regional Forums

Policy Experts and Other Democrats Offer a Range of Perspectives on How to Level the Playing Field for all Americans; Democrats Asked to Make their Voices Heard by Providing Testimony

Diverse Group of Witnesses Represent Depth and Breadth of Democratic Party

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Democratic National Convention Committee’s Platform Drafting Committee today launched the first in a series of regional events designed to engage every voice in the Party. Platform Drafting Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Democratic National Convention CEO Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, welcomed committee members, Democrats from all walks of life, and the general public to the forum, outlining the critical role public hearings and meetings will play in informing the Democratic National Party Platform.

"We are 47 days away from our Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and this public forum is vital to shaping how our party shares its ideas and values with the American people," said DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz. "Today we kick off a process that brings together voices from across our Party, from both of our campaigns, and from our voters. By the time this committee is done, there will be no doubt that our Party shares the values and speaks to the aspirations of the American people.”

“We are excited to begin this unprecedented effort to engage as many Democrats as possible in the process of creating the vision of our Party – and our nation’s future,” said Chairman Cummings. “Our approach of an open and transparent process that provides ample opportunity for every viewpoint to be expressed is not only consistent with our values but it is also essential to the long-term interest and vitality of the Democratic Party.” 

 During the first of the two-day forums being held June 8-9 at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C., members of the Platform Drafting Committee will hear testimony from 19 speakers on ways in which Democrats can address the needs of Americans through sound public policy that will create opportunity and remove barriers to individual, family and community success.

 “Whether they live in cities, suburbs, Indian Country, rural or indigenous communities, all people want to feel safe, secure and empowered and they want their families to thrive,” said DNCC CEO Daughtry. “Our first group of speakers will share with the Committee the approaches and vehicles needed to make that happen.”

The following individuals were invited to present testimony under the theme “Leveling the Playing Field: Creating Opportunity and Removing Barriers" in the order as listed below:

Sister Simone Campbell
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Honorable Eric Holder
Covington & Burling LLP

Honorable Raúl Grijalva
United States House of Representatives

Dalia Mogahed
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Christopher Kang
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

Fawn Sharp
Quinault Indian Nation

Angela Glover Blackwell

Don Cravins, Jr.
National Urban League

Gayle Manchin
Reconnecting McDowell

Lucia K. McBath
Mother of Jordan Davis, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Tianna Gaines-Turner
Witnesses to Hunger

Ben Jealous
Center for American Progress

Roxana Orellana
Deferred Action for Parental Accountability-eligible mother

Sheila Crowley
Formerly, National Low Income Housing Coalition

James Obergefell
Plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges

Hilary Shelton

Sabrina Shrader
West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition

Hector Sanchez
National Hispanic Leadership Agenda


Contact: April Mellody
Dana Vickers Shelley

Democratic National Convention Committee Convenes Day Two of  Mid-Atlantic Democratic Platform Forum

Democrats Asked to Make their Voices Heard on Policies To Move America Forward and America’s Role in the World

Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, June 9th at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., the 2016 Democratic Platform Drafting Committee will hold the second session of the Mid-Atlantic Democratic Platform Forum, the first in a series of regional events designed to engage every voice in the Party. Platform Drafting Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) CEO, Rev. Leah D. Daughtry will deliver opening remarks at the forum. The Drafting Committee will then hear from policy experts and Democrats from all walks of life to inform the Democratic National Platform. 

In an effort to welcome every voice in the Party, the DNCC has announced multiple ways in which the public can participate in the series of regional events. Democrats interested in providing testimony can go to to submit written or video testimony. Members of the public interested in attending the events can also RSVP online; seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Members of the media interested in attending must RSVP by emailing


Democratic National Platform Forum


Thursday, June 9 , 2016
Session 2 – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM*
Moving America Forward: Education, Jobs, and the Economy

Session 3 –1:00 PM to 5:00 PM*
America’s Role in the World

(*All times are approximate)

WHERE: The Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008. Event to be held in the Palladian Room.

All Platform forums and meetings will be live streamed at and open to press. Members of the media interested in attending must RSVP by emailing

The following individuals are scheduled to speak under the theme “Moving America Forward: Education, Jobs, and the Economy” in the order listed below:

Honorable Nancy Pelosi
United States House of Representatives

Richard Trumka

Lawrence Mishel
Economic Policy Institute

Heather Boushey
Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Nancy Altman
Social Security Works

Michael Smith
BCTGM Local 300

Honorable Kurt Campbell
The Asia Group

Mark Dimondstein
American Postal Workers Union

Sandra Springer
Teacher, American Federation of Teachers

Melanie Campbell
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Lily Eskelsen Garcia
National Education Association

Honorable Brad Miller
Roosevelt Institute

Zakiya Smith
Lumina Foundation

Lori Wallach
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Vicki Shabo
National Partnership of Women and Families

Dennis Kelleher
Better Markets

Barbara Carr
Homecare Worker, Service Employees International Union 

Dr. David Wilson
Morgan State University

Frank Clemente
Americans for Tax Fairness

Fatima Goss Graves
National Women’s Law Center

Chris Shelton
Communications Workers of America

Robert Hathorn
Auto Manufacturing Worker

Fernando Trevino
Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The following individuals are scheduled to speak under the theme “America’s Role in the World” in the order listed below:

Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senate

Honorable Mike Posner
New York University, Stern Center for Business and Human Rights

Lawrence J. Korb
Center for American Progress

Cindy Huang
Center for Global Development

Honorable Robert Wexler
S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace

Ray Kelley
Veterans of Foreign Wars

Janet Redman
Institute for Policy Studies

Vikram Singh
Center for American Progress

Phillip Carter
Center for a New American Security

Matthew Duss
Foundation for Middle East Peace

Joseph Cirincione
Ploughshares Fund

Democrats are invited to go online at to either submit written or video testimony, or to request an opportunity to testify in person.  In addition, there will be three additional regional events that will be open to the public. They will be held in the following locations:

  • Southwest – Phoenix, Arizona on June 17 and 18 (forum with testimony)
  •  Midwest – St. Louis, Missouri on June 24 and 25 (drafting committee meeting)
  • Southeast – Orlando, Florida on July 8 and 9 (platform committee meeting)

About the Democratic National Convention

The 2016 Democratic Convention will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia July 25-28, 2016.   Working in partnership with the Philadelphia Host Committee, the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our goal is to make this the most engaging, innovative and forward looking Convention in history.  The 2016 Democratic National Convention will leverage technology to take the Convention experience well beyond the hall in an effort to engage more Americans than ever before in the event.  With the birthplace of American Democracy as a backdrop, the 2016 convention in Philadelphia will highlight our shared Democratic values and help put the Democratic nominee on a path to victory.

The Democratic Convention is the formal nominating event for the Democratic candidates for President and Vice President.  At the Convention, the Democratic Party also adopts the official Democratic Party platform as well as the rules and procedures governing party activities including the nomination process for presidential candidates in the next election cycle.

The CEO for the 2016 Democratic National Convention is Reverend Leah D. Daughtry.

The DNCC will hold platform events in the following locations: Mid-Atlantic – Washington, DC on June 8 and 9 (forum with testimony); Southwest – Phoenix, Arizona on June 17 and 18 (forum with testimony); Midwest – St. Louis, Missouri on June 24 and 25 (drafting committee meeting); Southeast – Orlando, Florida on July 8 and 9 (platform committee meeting). Members of the public will be admitted to platform events on a first come, first served basis.

The official website of the 2016 Democratic National Convention is

Democratic National Committee
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2016
Contact: DNC Press

Prepared Remarks for Delivery: DNC Chair Rep. Wasserman Schultz at Democratic National Convention Mid-Atlantic Democratic Platform Forum

WASHINGTON, DC-- Today, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz addressed a meeting of the Democratic National Convention Mid-Atlantic Democratic Platform Forum. Below you will find remarks as prepared for delivery:
“On behalf of the Democratic National Committee, thank you for being here today, thank you for accepting this important assignment, and thank you for all that you do as leaders in our party. These are exciting times!  We only get one of these elections every four years. It is our opportunity to remind the American people of who we are, what we stand for and what we have to offer as a party.
“At the DNC we’ve been working every day to prepare for the general election and to hold Donald Trump accountable for all of the shameful, racist things he says, and his reprehensible plans to take our country backwards…Needless to say, he’s been keeping us very, very busy, but we’re not taking anything for granted. That means it’s time to make sure we’re putting the spotlight on the many reasons Americans have to vote against Trump…
“Like the fact that he swindled hardworking seniors, veterans and families out of their savings with his fraudulent university; or the fact that that he rooted for the foreclosure crisis…The list gets pretty long, and I don’t want to keep you here all day.
“But there is one issue in particular that’s worth taking a moment to pause on, and it’s what Donald Trump said this past week about a federal judge who was born in Indiana. If he truly believes that a person’s ethnic heritage can disqualify them from serving as a judge, what’s to stop him from going further? From saying someone’s race, gender, religion  or sexual orientation could be used to strip them of other rights and opportunities? The right to hold elected office? Or their right to vote?
“Frankly, with this episode more than any other, Trump has disqualified himself from holding a position as important as the presidency. And we’re going to keep holding him accountable. But it’s not enough to just give voters a reason to vote against Trump. It’s time to gear up for the General Election and give the American people a clear vision of what they’ll be voting for when they cast their ballot for a Democrat.
“That’s the vital task you undertake today. We are here to kick off a process where we can share with the American people what the Democratic Party stands for, and leave no doubt that it is our Party that shares their values and speaks to their aspirations. And it is your task - the task of the Platform Committee, and the Platform Drafting Subcommittee, to bring together voices from across our Party, from all of our campaigns, and from our voters. This is an open process, and it’s a hallmark of the Democratic Party.  Every cycle we do more and more to engage and include the American people. 
“This year, we made sure our campaigns were represented fully, so 75% of the members of this drafting committee were recommended by our presidential candidates. And when we’re done, this process and our convention will be the most representative and inclusive in history. Arriving at a consensus will no doubt be a difficult task, but I am confident that the process will be a success.
“That’s in no small measure because of our Committee Chair. We are enormously fortunate to have a man of unquestionable integrity, extraordinary legislative experience, and a lifetime of dedication to Democratic ideals chairing this committee: Congressman Elijah Cummings – which is why I asked him to take on this responsibility.
“Through his leadership, Congressman Cummings will ensure that we have a fair, open and inclusive process, consistent with our shared values.   I have the utmost confidence and faith in his ability to accomplish the task at hand. And when your job is complete, we’ll head into our convention ready to make our case to the American people.
“Our phenomenal convention CEO, Leah Daughtry will talk about the convention in a moment, but before I hand it over, I want to take a brief look at what our last platform meant to our nation and our people to give you a sense of what this work means for our future.
“Our 2012 Party platform called on Democrats to continue rebuilding the middle class after the Great Recession and to put more Americans back to work. Under President Obama, we’ve had 75 consecutive months of economic growth and 14 million new private sector jobs created. Our 2012 party platform called for reducing the deficit and making the tax code more progressive. Under President Obama we’ve cut our deficits by almost three-quarters, and most Americans saw some tax relief while top earners now pay a little more of their fair share.
“On National Security, our party platform recognized that the cornerstone of our engagement with the world is our commitment to building strong alliances, which were badly damaged under the Bush administration. As promised in our platform, President Obama has promoted American national security by strengthening our relationships with key allies around the world.
“We have worked with our NATO allies in Europe, and continue to work with our strategic partners to counter emerging threats in the Middle East and Asia. The President has made it clear to our allies around the world that our democratic values will continue to drive our foreign policy. He just returned from a historic visit to Japan – making him the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, strengthening our Asia-Pacific relations. Instead of the isolationism coming from the other side, he recognizes that we must work with Mexico and our neighbors in the Americas as equal partners based on mutual interest and mutual respect. He has stood against provocations from countries like North Korea, and his actions have made clear that we will continue to stand strong with our stalwart allies including Israel, and ensure her security.  
“Our party platform called on Democrats to stand up for the Affordable Care Act and defend the dream of universal health care against the Republican calls for its repeal. Just last month, for the first time in our nation’s history, ninety percent of Americans had access to affordable health care. Ninety percent! That number alone doesn’t do justice to all that it represents - the diseases and cancers cured, wounds healed, lives extended, comfort for the dying and peace for families.
“The concrete accomplishments of the Obama era are too numerous and great to list here today, but one thing is clear – on issue after issue when Democrats are elected WE deliver on the promises of our party platform, and our nation is stronger for it. Our people are more prosperous; Our allies can depend on a stable, smart foreign policy; Our people are healthier and more productive; Our seniors can depend on a more secure retirement; and Our children can depend on the promise of a brighter future, full of opportunity; And on each one of these issues, we know that Donald Trump would only drag us backward. Even though we’ve come a long way, we have much more to fight for, much farther to go, and that work begins anew, right now.
“All of you will help to determine the path for building on our progress. It’s up to you to show the American people what the next Democratic president of the United States, and Democrats up and down the ballot stand for.
“As Chair of the DNC, the only request I have is that you come together and offer the American people a platform that reflects their hopes, dreams and aspirations; a platform that attracts an electorate as diverse as our country itself; a platform that prizes optimism and action over obstruction and inaction, that places people over profit, and unity over division.
“This is a complex task with no perfect answers.  Everything is on the table. And nothing is off limits. When you disagree try to do it without being disagreeable. And do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We all believe in building a government that works, and that works well in service to the people. We all believe that we can have both economic growth and economic fairness, and that this is not an “either-or” proposition. I hope that in this process, you will be guided by the traditional tenets of our party, but not confined by them.
“And I know that the document you deliver will reflect the great diversity of our nation and set the stage for historic Democratic victories this November! Now it’s my great honor to introduce my friend and our Convention CEO, the incomparable Rev. Leah Daughtry!”

Social Security Works
June 11, 2016 email

This past week, Social Security Works Co-founder Nancy Altman testified in front of the Democratic Party Platform Committee on the need to expand Social Security and include expansion in this year’s Democratic Party platform.

In her testimony, Altman said:

“Whether to expand or cut Social Security is a question of values … It’s a question where the parties starkly disagree….

“Expanding Social Security is a solution. It’s a solution to our nation’s retirement income crisis, to income and wealth inequality, to the financial squeeze on working families.”

Stand with Social Security Works and our Co-founder Nancy Altman in calling on the Democratic Party Platform Committee to include Social Security expansion in this year’s party platform.

Social Security expansion is not only good policy, it’s good politics. Polling shows that 79% of likely voters – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – support expanding Social Security benefits and paying for it by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.

And now, with President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Senator Sanders all championing this critical issue of economic justice, it is time that the Democratic Party Platform Committee fully embrace Social Security expansion as a plank in this year’s party platform.

Please, sign the petition today and call on the Democratic Party Platform Committee to include Social Security expansion in this year’s party platform.

This platform is an agenda for the next president and the next Congress. It is critical that Social Security expansion become an official position of the Democratic Party.

Thank you for your support. Together we are telling the platform committee and our elected officials in Washington where the American people stand: Expand, don’t cut Social Security!

Michael Phelan
Social Security Works