DNC - Listening to America: The Democratic Platform for Change

Democratic National Committee, Obama for America Unveil New Initiative to Involve American People in the Democratic Platform Process

WASHINGTON, DC--Today the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America unveiled a bold new initiative to involve the American people in the development of the Democratic National Platform. This year, for the first time, voters will have the opportunity to take part in Platform Meetings in all 50 states to help shape the Democratic Platform. DNC Chairman Howard also announced that Governor Napolitano will chair the Platform Drafting Committee. Michael Yaki will serve as National Platform Director and Karen Kornbluh will be the Principal Author of the Platform.

Members of the public will be invited to host and attend Platform Meetings in their communities as an opportunity to exchange ideas and share perspectives on the challenges we face. To facilitate the process, the Obama campaign and the DNC will send policy experts and DNC Platform Committee members to as many meetings as possible to serve as facilitators. Each Platform Meeting will produce a written summary that will be reviewed and considered by the Platform Committee.

"From the beginning, we said we were going bring down the traditional walls of the Democratic Convention and make this event more accessible and include as many people as possible," said Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean. "This process will empower Americans in all 50 states to make their voices heard as they help write the document that embodies our Party's values and vision for the future. Barack Obama will bring real change to Washington, and as we write the Democratic Platform, there will be a clear choice between more of the same failed policies of the Bush Administration with John McCain or real change with Barack Obama who will make the American people, not the special interests, the priority again."

"Barack Obama believes that every American should be able to contribute to the Democratic Platform, just as record numbers have participated in this campaign," said Steve Hildebrand of Obama for America. "It's not the lawmakers in Washington who live the day-to-day reality of our policies--it's workers, teachers, parents and first responders--everyday Americans who just want to the best for their families. What better way than to incorporate their voices into the process than to have them help shape the Democratic Platform, the statement of our ideals, values, and proposal for change."

Registration is available at http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/listening/ , starting today through July 15th. The Platform Meetings will occur across the country from July 19th through July 27th.

A National Hearing will take place August 1st in Cleveland, Ohio, where presentations will be made before the Platform Drafting Committee. The Committee will then meet separately August 2nd and 3rd to draft the Democratic Platform. The Platform Drafting Committee is responsible for preparing an initial draft of the Platform, which is used as a working document by the Platform Committee at its meeting.

Also named as members to serve on the Platform Drafting Committee are: U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin; State Representative Dan Blue of North Carolina; Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown; Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman; U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro; DNC Secretary Alice Germond; Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm; Donna Harris-Aiken, a National Education Association Policy Advisor; Platform Policy Advisor Heather Higginbottom; Platform Policy Advisor Chris Jennings; Florida Tallahassee Commissioner Alan Katz; AFL-CIO Policy Director Thea Lee; UFCW Local 1428 President Connie Leyva; U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy; Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly Fabian Nunez; Obama for America Foreign Policy Advisor Susan Rice; U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez; Youth Representative Giancarlo Sopa of Florida; Ron His Horse is Thunder, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota.

The full Platform Committee will meet and recommend adoption of the platform August 9th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, former New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, and former Discovery Communications President and CEO Judith McHale serve as Chairs of the full Platform Committee. At the Platform Committee meeting, members discuss each plank of a draft platform. They have the opportunity to submit new proposed planks, or amendments to the draft. Proposals and amendments must be approved by a majority of the members present and voting.

Meetings of the Drafting Committee and full Committee are open to the public and press. Details will be announced at a later date.

Michael Yaki will serve as National Platform Director. A lawyer in private practice, Yaki is a former senior aide to Speaker Pelosi from 1989-1996 and worked on the 1992 Democratic Platform. He also served as a member of the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, CA from 1996-2001 and has served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 2005 to the present.

Karen Kornbluh will be the Principal Author of the Platform, while on leave from Senator Obama's Senate office where she serves as Policy Director. Previously, Kornbluh directed the New America Foundation's Work and Family Program, where she published articles in the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times and Washington Post calling for new policies to support families in the global economy. Kornbluh served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Treasury Department and Director of Legislative Affairs at the Federal Communications Commission.