Democratic National Committee: Launches new Organizing Corps 2020 program

Today, the Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in partnership with 270 Strategies and The Collective, announced the launch of Organizing Corps 2020, a program to recruit and train students expecting to graduate by June 2020 and place them as field organizers in key states.

Organizing Corps 2020 will help build the grassroots infrastructure needed to defeat Donald Trump, while investing in the next generation of Democratic leaders — focusing on students from communities of color who have been traditionally underrepresented among political campaign staff.

With a structured college-to-career pipeline for organizing, Organizing Corps 2020 will recruit juniors in the spring of 2019 from local colleges, including HBCUs, in a number of states where Democrats fell short in 2016 and need to be competitive in the 2020 general election. These students will work on state party priorities in an eight-week, on-the-ground training program with campaign veterans, who will teach them critical organizing and campaign skills such as voter registration, data analysis, and digital organizing. After the training program, Corps members will return to their campuses and communities to put their organizing skills to work. By May 2020, nearly 1,000 Corps members will graduate ready to help elect the Democratic nominee and Democrats up and down the ticket in several key 2020 states.

“We know that the key to defeating Donald Trump in 2020 is to organize early and put the best team in place to motivate Democratic voters to make their voices heard,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “Organizing Corps 2020 will build a powerful pipeline of young talent — energized Democrats who reflect the diversity of their communities. This new organizing program will help us recruit organizers who will become our future leaders and grow the party, win more elections up and down the ticket, and build the organizing infrastructure our nominee will need to take back the Oval Office.”

“The pace of the primaries typically leaves no time for training or skill building in preparation for the general election campaign,” said Meg Ansara, CEO of 270 Strategies and a veteran of the presidential campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. “The Organizing Corps 2020 program will give us a skill advantage in online and on-the-ground organizing, data and voter engagement by training homegrown field organizers well ahead of the general election in must-win states.”

“It’s critical that young people of color are engaged as not only a core Democratic voting bloc but as pivotal organizers needed to mobilize their communities to the polls in 2020,” said Stefanie Brown James, Co-Founder of The Collective and former National African American Vote Director for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. “Through a culturally rich curriculum and relevant training from respected community leaders, Organizing Corps 2020 will help propel the young people in the program to make a significant contribution to the Democrats’ success in 2020 while preparing them to hold increasing positions of influence as campaign staffers and within the Democratic Party structure.”

‘Organizing Corps 2020’ will be led by campaign veterans: Executive Director Rachel Haltom-Irwin, Chief Program Officer Jonae Wartel, Chief Operating Officer Naoko Kudo, and Senior Development Advisor Yolanda Magallanes.

The Organizing Corps 2020 program is only one piece of DNC’s battleground plan, but a key part of the infrastructure the DNC and state parties have been developing to support the presidential nominee and Democratic campaigns all across the country. The program builds on state party organizing and DNC investments in all 50 states that led to historic Democratic victories in the midterm elections. Just last week, the DNC announced a data and tech overhaul that will help Democrats reach and communicate better with voters all across this country.

BACKGROUND

  • Organizing Corps 2020 will be led by campaign veterans:

    • Rachel Haltom-Irwin, Executive Director. Rachel got her start in 2002 organizing on a state Senate race in Massachusetts. She has worked on issue and electoral campaigns as well as spending five years working in K-12 education. She was GOTV Director for Jon Tester in 2006, the Iowa Youth Vote Director in 2007-08 for Senator Obama, the General Election Director in Indiana in 2008, the White House Internship Director in 2009, and the National GOTV Director in 2012 for President Obama.

    • Jonae Wartel, Chief Program Officer. Jonae began her career as an organizer on Barack Obama’s 2008 & 2012 campaigns. One of her earliest national roles was as the training director and then executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairs where she lead party-building efforts for the Democratic National Committee; engaging all 57 state parties. In her role as training director; she developed and led the Democratic National Committee’s first ever national training program for state parties.  Most recently she served as Southern Regional Director for the Democratic National committee, developing regional strategy and managing electoral investments in 13 states. Originally from Marietta, GA; she has had the great fortune of living and working all over the country.

    • Naoko Kudo, Chief Operating Officer. Naoko started her career in the private sector as a financial planning analyst with Gap Inc. before leaving to join Senator Obama’s campaign, serving as a field organizer at Temple University and in North Philadelphia’s 20th Ward. Naoko has spent the last 10 years working in the education and non-profit sectors serving as a school leader, operations leader and most recently, as a founding team member at The Primary School, a new program model in East Palo Alto, CA that weaves together education, health and family supports .

    • Yoli Magallanes, Senior Development Advisor. With over a decade in fundraising experience, Yoli has worked with advocacy groups and political candidates to raise the resources needed to run effective campaigns, both at the major donor and grassroots level. Yoli has worked for Organizing for Action, the 2012 Presidential Inaugural Committee, Obama for America, and launched her career with The Ashmead Group directly supporting Governor Ted Strickland, Senator Mark Udall and Congresswoman Doris Matsui.

  • Corps members can earn $4,000 gaining valuable career skills in leadership, project management and communication while experiencing the exciting and rewarding field of campaign work.

  • The program kicks off with a five-day national training led by campaign veterans, where corps members will learn key skills in field and digital organizing, and data analytics.

  • For the remaining 7 weeks, corps members will, with the help of a coach, return to their home communities and work with their local Democratic Party to turn their training into on-the-ground learning through action – organizing neighborhoods and registering voters. In the process, corps members will build a powerful network of like-minded peers and mentors from across the country that will last beyond 2020.

  • The summer 2019 corps experience will give young people the skills and tools to organize their community and – importantly – get a great first job fighting to win across the country in 2020.

  • Organizing Corps 2020 will recruit students from seven states that are crucial in providing a pathway to 270 with four key characteristics — these are states that are not a focus in the primary season; have had close margins in the past; will benefit from skilled field staffing; and have an expanding electorate.

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