For­mer labour sec­re­tary pledges unity

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - HOPE YEN AND BILL BAR­ROW

AT­LANTA — Newly elected Demo­cratic na­tional chair­man Tom Perez has pledged to unite a frac­tured party, re­build at all lev­els from “school board to the Se­nate” and reach out to chunks of ru­ral Amer­ica left feel­ing for­got­ten in the 2016 elec­tion.

Speak­ing in tele­vi­sion in­ter­views Sun­day, Perez in­di­cated that an im­por­tant first step was join­ing with van­quished ri­val Min­ne­sota Rep. Keith El­li­son, who agreed at Perez’s in­vi­ta­tion to serve as the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee’s deputy chair­man. Perez said the two would work hard to put out an af­fir­ma­tive party mes­sage while op­pos­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s poli­cies, adding that he and El­li­son were al­ready get­ting a “good kick” that Trump was stirred to tweet that the DNC elec­tion was “rigged.”

“We lead with our val­ues and we lead with our ac­tions,” Perez said, de­scrib­ing a party fo­cus that will em­pha­size pro­tect­ing So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medi­care and “grow­ing good jobs in this econ­omy.”

“You know, our unity as a party is our great­est strength. And it’s his worst night­mare,” he said. “And, frankly, what we need to be look­ing at is whether this elec­tion was rigged by Don­ald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin.”

The for­mer labour sec­re­tary in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­knowl­edged that swaths of the U.S. had felt ne­glected, say­ing he had heard from ru­ral Amer­ica that “Democrats haven’t been there for us re­cently.”

“That’s ex­actly what we’re go­ing to do,” Perez said, stress­ing grass­roots ef­forts in all 50 states.

Af­ter Perez’s vic­tory, Trump took to twit­ter. “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Thomas Perez, who has just been named chair­man of the DNC. I could not be hap­pier for him, or for the Repub­li­can Party!” the pres­i­dent wrote. Early Sun­day, the pres­i­dent as­serted the Demo­cratic con­test was “of course, to­tally ‘rigged.’ Bernie’s guy, like Bernie him­self, never had a chance.”

Tom Perez

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