By Pamelya Herndon
Following President Joe Biden ‘s victory in the 2020 presidential election, Jamie R. Harrison, a Black man, was nominated to be the Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), 153 years after the Three-Fifths Compromise was repealed. This moment in Black History was amplified when DNC members officially elected Jamie Harrison to lead the Democratic Party on January 21, 2021. Harrison is not the first Black person to hold the position as Chair of the Democratic Party. That distinction belongs to Ronald H. Brown, an influential Washington lawyer who embraced the title as Chair of the DNC in 1989.
Ron Brown was 47-years old when he became the leader of a party dispirited by the loss of its third Presidential election in a row. Jaime Harrison celebrated his 45th birthday on February 5, and like Brown, faces the challenge of taking over a party widely identified with civil rights, but at a time when Black people in New Mexico and around the country are challenging the way their civil rights and dignity are being respected. Jaime knows that Democrats are in the position to pass legislation like the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 202, and the expansion of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2017, Harrison served as associate chairman and counselor of the DNC, where he implemented a program called “Every ZIP Code Counts.” The program offered to provide each state party with $10,000 per month so long as the state party did an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses for its internal operations. By analyzing and recognizing their weaknesses, Jaime advocates for Democrats to develop viable strategies to win elections. We saw Stacy Abrams develop such strategies in Georgia, as that state went from Red to Blue. We need to make sure that such strategies are developed in New Mexico, particularly as we keep a keen eye on political races in the 2nd Congressional District.
Harrison knows how Democrats can win elections, implement good policies to protect the soul of the democracy of our country. Now, he is in the position to make sure Democrats are listening. In this month as we honor Black history, Harrison recognizes that African-Americans are often ignored until the Sunday before an election, a practice that needs to stop. African Americans bring a strength to the party and a broad recognition of issues that will help the Party succeed but that are too often overlooked.
During his candidacy for Senate in South Carolina, Harrison raised $57 million, the largest quarterly total by a U.S. Senate candidate ever. Harrison will now guide Democrats at a time when we have control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. He has the ability to raise money to support the implementation of Democratic values and he recognizes the value of having a strong strategic plan to win political races. He is the right person for the Democratic Party now. We acknowledge and recognize the talents that Jaime Harrison brings to the Democratic Party.