By Ken Martin
ST. PAUL (Nov. 9, 2013) — Candidates who carried the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) endorsement posted big wins throughout the state in this past election. Despite rumors to the contrary, the DFL endorsement is alive and well, all you need to do is ask those candidates who ran against it.
In this post-Citizens United age of outside independent organizations with massive amounts of money being spent to influence elections, one could ask why do party endorsements even matter anymore. The imprimatur of the DFL delivers a powerful message to voters that a candidate is committed to our Party’s values of fairness, equality and opportunity for all. From Minneapolis to Maplewood to Duluth, the DFL endorsement resonated with voters during the 2013 elections.
In addition to the message the DFL endorsement sends to voters it also comes with the strong backing of our local, state, and national party resources. The DFL believes strongly in the value of local elections and the need for us to get people who share our values elected to those critical positions. Unlike outside groups, the DFL party focuses on grassroots organizing – having meaningful one-on-one conversations with voters about the issues and finding those candidates best prepared to deliver results. It’s this grassroots organizing that this election propelled young, upcoming leaders from communities of color to elected office.
The success of DFL-endorsed candidates of color and young leaders comes at a critical time for our state when we have so many racial disparities. The DFL Party helped elect the first Somalian, the first Hmong, and the first Latina to the Minneapolis City Council. In other communities throughout Minnesota we elected DFLers to local offices who reflect new voices and a changing electorate. This past election the DFL and voters showed communities of color that Minnesota needs their experience and participation in efforts to build a prosperous state for all residents. I expect that these dynamic leaders will not only have a positive impact on their local communities, but their influence will be felt throughout the state.
Also of note this election was the approval of 9 out of 10 school levies. Minnesotans know that the Republicans’ 10 years of disinvestment has taken a toll on our schools. The battle cry of “no new taxes” was more of a one-person chant on Election Day, and people voted for Minnesota’s tradition of quality education. This support of schools on the local level as well as the DFL’s historic investment in education during the 2013 Legislative Session will help our children to be career and college ready and play a part in our state’s future success.
While it was a great election for the DFL Party, the residents of this state were the real winners this past election, having elected DFLers all around the state to local offices who are committed to building stronger communities and collectively to building a better Minnesota. The 2013 election is a great example of what happens when people engage and make their voice heard.
Ken Martin is chairman of the Minnesota DFL.