The Florida Democratic Party at its organizational meeting on January 14, elected new officers, including a chair, first vice chair, secretary, treasurer and 10 Democratic National Committee (DNC) members. The Democratic Black Caucus of Florida (DBCF) proudly celebrated the fact that African-Americans now hold three of the four elected officer positions within the Florida Democratic Party’s State Committee and that three of the 10 Democratic National Committee (DNC) members elected are African-American.
“Since November, Democratic activists and the media have focused on the battle for chairman of the Florida Democratic Party,” said Henry Crespo, president of the Democratic Black Caucus (DBCF). “While so much attention was placed on the chairman’s race, the Democratic Black Caucus was also focused on the other elected officers of our State Committee and DNC elections. The DBCF utilized its collective will to ensure that the Florida Democratic Party leadership begins to look like the Florida Democratic Party.”
African-American Democrats swept the elected officer positions. Judy Mount, the DEC chairwoman of Leon County is now 1st vice chair, the first time ever an African-American has held that position. Francesca Menes, state committeewoman from Miami-Dade County is now treasurer and in charge of the purse strings. She is the daughter of Haitian-Dominican immigrants. Casmore Shaw, the state committeeman from Osceola County who is Jamaica-American, was elected secretary.
“We know and understand that people win elections and the people must be reflected in the leadership in order to motivate voters,” said Lydia Hudson, 1st vice president of the DBCF. “Florida Democrats have lost 17 of the last 20 statewide races and 17 of the last 18 statewide cabinet races – a record which is comparable to that of deep red states in the interior of the country. There is much work to do, and it begins with getting our own house in order. I think we made equitable steps in that direction on January 14th in Orlando and we all can lay claim to a shared victory!”
Although the DCBF’s endorsed candidate for chairman, Senator Dwight Bullard, was not victorious, Bullard was elected one of 10 to the Democratic National Committee. His voice will be heard on a national stage, starting with the election of the DNC chair in February.
Other African-American Democrats elected to the DNC were Nikki Barnes of Wakulla County and Grace Carrington of Broward County, who is also a DBCF Executive Committee member. In addition, Crespo nominated Ken Evans of Broward County for the DNC. Evans is also a member of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida.
“We congratulate our new Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel, and the other newly elected officers and DNC members of the FDP. Now is the time to rally behind this new FDP leadership team as we move our collective energies towards fighting for the hearts and minds of Democrats and Democratic policies in our state and nation,” Crespo said.