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Gabbard elected to Democratic National Committee leadership

By Tribune Washington Bureau (MCT)

LAST UPDATED: 03:25 p.m. HST, Jan 22, 2013

WASHINGTON - Freshman Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was among a slate of new leaders elected to the Democratic National Committee today.

Gabbard, elected as a vice-chairwoman, was among the incoming leaders approved after a messy fight that highlighted strains with the White House and the DNC over what should have been a routine election of a new slate of officers.

Gabbard said in a news release that she sees here role as a "great opportunity to let Hawaii's voice be heard on a national platform." 

As expected, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida was given another term as national party chairwoman. But below that level, chaos reigned for a time as DNC members balked at rubber-stamping a White House-approved list of replacements for several veterans of the pre-Obama era.

Other incoming DNC leaders include vice chairwomen Maria Elena Durazo, a Los Angeles labor official and Henry R. Munoz III, of San Antonio, who was named finance chairman, the first Latino in that post.

But many on the DNC strongly resisted the forced removal of longtime activist Alice Travis Germond as DNC secretary. Highly popular with the membership, Germond, who calls the roll of the states at presidential nominating conventions, is only the third person to hold that job since 1944. In order to tighten its control of the DNC, the White House wanted to replace her with Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore, who has no experience in national politics.

Angered by the handling of the leadership change by Patrick Gaspard, a former Obama organizer who serves as the party’s executive director, DNC members tried to postpone election of the secretary until the fall. A clearly flustered Schultz, after halting the proceedings and huddling offstage with Germond, returned to announce that Germond had agreed to become secretary-emeritus of the party and an at-large DNC member. With that, the slate of officers, including Rawlings-Blake, was approved.

The unexpected drama came only days after President Obama announced creation of his new national advocacy operation, Organizing for Action, widely seen as undermining the DNC’s already weakened status as a political organization.

Schultz, who was Obama’s pick as party chairwoman during his first term, defended the president’s decision, telling the DNC that the new Obama group didn’t pose a threat to the national party.

Schultz said that she was “thrilled” that Obama’s campaign hadn’t ended with the 2012 election and that his new organization would be “complementing the work we are doing.” She said the Obama group would be training and engaging grass-roots volunteers “so that our work at the Democratic Party can continue to be about electing Democrats up and down the ballot.”

The dispute during the meeting at a Washington hotel, one day after Obama’s inaugural celebration, dragged on for so long that Vice President Joe Biden was forced to cool his heels in a nearby ballroom until the DNC members finished their business.

Although the party organization’s influence may be fading, the hundreds of national committee members still retain at least one measure of clout: They are automatic “superdelegates” to the Democrats’ presidential nominating conventions (though Obama aides briefly considered, and then rejected, getting rid of their delegate power several years ago).

Biden, who would covet those DNC delegate votes if he ran for president in 2016, eventually was able to schmooze with the members at a private reception after the meeting.

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Anonymous wrote:
Wow. Very impressed with Tulsi. She's continually adding to her already impressive list of achievements.
on January 22,2013 | 12:15PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
No doubt you refer to the landmark lunch wagon parking legislation. Indeed impressive.
on January 22,2013 | 12:56PM
LanaAloha wrote:
Maneki you can really be quite witty at times. But the lunch wagon line is getting a bit old already.
on January 22,2013 | 01:17PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Well, her other landmark accomplishment was introducing Bill 54, a measure that authorized City workers to confiscate personal belongings stored on public property.

Yup, that was equally impressive!

Sadly a search of current legislation sponsored by Tulasi comes back as "no records located" at the Library of Congress website.

on January 22,2013 | 01:45PM
simple wrote:
Congressperson's work isn't just legislation. A lot of the heavy lifting is done in committee work & she's on 2 important committees for Hawaii - Homeland security & Foreign Affairs. This is in addition to helping constituents with their issues.
on January 22,2013 | 02:28PM
simple wrote:
Been living under a rock? A legislator at 21, distinguished tours of duty to the middle east, city council member at 29, congresswoman at 31 & now DNC vice-chair. There's much more to city council duties than introducing legislation. She did also sponsor the GMO labeling bill that passed.
on January 22,2013 | 02:23PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
None of those gave me a return on my tax dollar. Pretty good at career jumping. Like I said....no significant legislation was originated and passed. I don't buy into the cult of personality so I'll wait to see what is achieved by her in the future. Fun to watch all the social media warriors that come out of the bushes every time Tulasi's name is mentioned. I see a lot of lip sync'in going on.
on January 22,2013 | 04:04PM
turbolink wrote:
How many of those elected positions did she actually complete? Say again?
on January 22,2013 | 04:48PM
simple wrote:
It's not clear from the article what she was elected as. So I went over to Tulsi's twitter account & she says "Very honored to have received unanimous vote from @dnc today to serve as Vice Chair. Great opportunity to work on uniting people in service" Pretty dam impressive indeed
on January 22,2013 | 02:17PM
turbolink wrote:
Curious how serving as vice chairman of the DNC unites anyone. Might sound impressive until you ask the critical question "how?"
on January 22,2013 | 05:19PM
LanaAloha wrote:
You go girl! Makin' Hawaii proud already.
on January 22,2013 | 01:16PM
entrkn wrote:
Tulsi is on her way to the US Senate...
on January 22,2013 | 01:51PM
false wrote:
This is a tough assignment. So Tulsi will be just perfect for the job.
on January 22,2013 | 02:34PM
Jsato wrote:
on January 22,2013 | 03:15PM
lokahiblaze wrote:
Hopefully Tulsi Gabbard will be the face of the new Democrat party--tough, competent, fair, with youthful energy, and ready to take on the serious problems facing this nation.
on January 22,2013 | 02:40PM
bodysurf_ah wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 22,2013 | 03:32PM
omd111 wrote:
Exactly! What has Tulsi done to make all these people all gaga about her? She has accomplished very little for the people but accomplished a lot for HERSELF.
on January 22,2013 | 03:42PM
KammyKam wrote:
We all would hit it though
on January 22,2013 | 03:48PM
Skyler wrote:
Well, good for Ms. Gabbard - and Hawaii. It's nice to see our freshmen representatives get good national exposure instead of languishing by the wayside like some other newcomers. I've not looked much into the dispute the others are having, but I'm sure time will heal the rifts & the DNC will do just fine.
on January 22,2013 | 05:06PM
vbdwong wrote:
Much of what a politician can do depends upon the position they have. Although Gabbard has moved quickly thru many positions, hopefully she is now in position to do something not only for Hawaii but for the entire nation. Our nation needs the right kind of leadership. Hawaii has many of the values the nation needs; we need someone who can provide that leadership.
on January 22,2013 | 06:36PM
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