Democrats select new leaders for the state party

DOVER — Delaware Democrats on Saturday elected Erik Raser-Schramm as the new party chairman.

The Democrats attending the party’s annual state convention also voted in a new vice chairwoman, national committeeman and national committeewoman.

Mr. Raser-Schramm, who has previously served as the party’s executive and the House Democrats’ chief of staff, succeeds John Daniello.

Mr. Daniello had been the party’s chairman since 2005.

“The hard work starts today,” Mr. Raser-Schramm said in a statement. “And it starts with helping our legislative leaders in Dover balance our state budget responsibly, in a way that preserves funding levels and critical core services that our students, educators and working men and women deserve.”

Delaware’s Republican Party also recently chose a new leader, electing Mike Harrington Sr. in April after former chairman Charlie Copeland announced he was stepping down.

Betsy Maron, the former chairwoman of the New Castle County Democratic Party and daughter of Mr. Daniello, was selected as vice chairwoman, replacing Lisa Goodman. Kristin Dwyer and Sean Finnigan replace Karen Valentine and Bob Gilligan as the national committeewoman and committeeman, respectively.

Linda Cavanaugh was re-elected as secretary, while Helene Keeley was selected once again as treasurer. Jim Hussey, vice chairman since 2004, earned another term in the position.

The chairman, vice chairwoman, national committeeman and national committeewoman all serve as superdelegates to the national party with a vote in the Democratic presidential nominee selection process.

The party’s platform, drafted over the course of a year, was approved Saturday. The party claims it is “the most inclusive platform” in Delaware history.
The core elements include:

* Raising the minimum wage from $8.25 at the state level and $7.25 at the federal level to $15 an hour

• Fighting the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United case, which allowed greater spending on campaigns by outside groups

• Combating “income inequality”

• Ending Super PACs, groups that are not restricted by the government in how much they can spend on political campaigns

• Establishing equal pay for everyone, regardless of gender, age, race or any other criteria

• Incarcerating fewer people

• Lowering the cost of college

• Expanding “green energy”

• Reforming mental health and substance abuse treatment

• Placing greater limits on Wall Street

“Throughout the course of the platform process, we were thoughtful in representing the wide range of views held by Delaware’s Democrats, tied together by the common themes of inclusivity and opportunity,” Ms. Maron said in a statement.

“We have a lot of work to do to bring our country back together, but I have unwavering faith in our ability to engage and empower Delawareans to help us fight to ensure our economy works for everyone instead of just those at the top as well as to overcome these divisive times.”

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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