Rock Your Party: Finding Our Voice in the DFL

Saturday I attended the Minnesota Young DFL event, “Rock Your Party: Finding Our Voice in the DFL” at Hamline University in St. Paul.

The morning Keynote speaker was Gregory Gray, who, MDFL notes, was the “6th African American to ever serve in the Minnesota legislature (1999-2002), and the 2nd African American to receive the endorsement from the DFL for a statewide race. He is currently a consultant to the Minneapolis Urban League and is president of the Minneapolis Library Board.”

The late afternoon keynote speaker was Pakou Hang, who lives politics as a “doctoral student at University of Minnesota in the Political Science department studying political identity and the electoral process.” She also was a “research assistant with the Center for Citizenship and Democracy and was a community and political organizer with Progressive Minnesota. In 2002, Pakou worked as a deputy political director on the Wellstone for Senate campaign and was the campaign manager for Eastsiders for Mee Moua,” Minnesota, and the nation’s first Hmong legislator.

In the afternoon, Brian Elliott fought technical problems and made it to the conference for his breakout session on Clean Water and the Environment. Brian is on the board of Progressive Minnesota.

I ran into Rep. Mike Nelson and Sen. Steve Kelley mixing with the young DFLers, Mike hosted a booth with information about the Carpenter’s Union and their political action group. A couple months ago, Rep. Nelson spoke with our Belle Plaine group about union and worker issues and running for office.

Here I am with Kara Nelson, a senior at St. Olaf, who also happens to be President of the College Democrats.

I also attended a “Strategic Planning Sessions” in Sundin Music Hall led by Jeremy Kalin of Young Progressives who was the one who organized the Faribault Javalive event.

Afterward, the young DFL’ers went on to ‘Rock the Caucus,’ sponsored by the College Democrats of Minnesota in conjunction with MYDFL, where they spread the word about caucuses, featuring mc’s Rep. John Lesch and Rep. Aaron Peterson.

Caucuses are on March 2, 2003, MYDFL will hold training sessions, free and open to anyone (and I’ll let you know about other training sessions that I hear about, I attended one in Faribault sponsored by AFSCME last month):

2/16/04 St Paul Caucus Training
7-9 pm
St. Thomas University
O’Shaughnessy Education Center
2115 Sumit Ave.
St. Paul, MN

2/17/04 Rochester Caucus Training
7-9 pm
Government Center
151 – 4th St. S.E.
Rochester, MN 55904
Co-sponsored by the Olmstead County DFL

2/24/04 – TC Caucus Training
5-7:30 pm
Coffman Union, Room 323
300 Washington Ave. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Co-sponsored by UDFL

2/26/04 Minneapolis Caucus Training
6:30-8-30 m
Holy Trinity Church
2730 E. 31st St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

For further information on this caucus training, contact Minnesota Young DFL or Minnesota College Dems. or Young Progressives.

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