Democratic Governors Association
|Chair||Gina Raimondo (RI)|
|Vice Chair||Phil Murphy (NJ)|
|Headquarters||1225 Eye St NW Suite 1100,|
Washington, D.C., 20005
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The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is a Washington, D.C. based 527 organization founded in 1983, consisting of U.S. state and territorial governors affiliated with the Democratic Party. The mission of the organization is to provide party support to the election and re-election of Democratic gubernatorial candidates. The DGA's Republican counterpart is the Republican Governors Association. The DGA is not directly affiliated with the non-partisan National Governors Association. Elisabeth Pearson is currently the Executive Director of the DGA.
Founding and early years
Previously known as the Democratic Governors Conference within the Democratic National Committee, the DGA was founded by Virginia Governor Chuck Robb as an independent institution in 1983 with the help of Democratic National Committee Chairman Chuck Manatt. The purpose of the committee was to raise funds to elect Democrats to governorships and to improve the partnership between Democratic governors and the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate. Prior to its current formation in mid-1983, they met in a Democratic Governors Conference.
The DGA played a pivotal role in the election of Bill Clinton to the Presidency in 1992. Under the leadership of DGA Chair and Hawaii Governor John Waihee, the DGA helped organize Clinton's "winning the West" campaign tour through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California. Republicans had handily won in all but Washington and Oregon the previous three elections. According to The Washington Post, it was "all but unthinkable to Republicans that the GOP could lose such stalwart pieces of the party's electoral base as Wyoming and Nevada." Clinton lost Wyoming but carried Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and California.
Democratic Governors have served in various other government positions after their tenure. The following list provides recent positions from the DGA's formalization in 1983.
Democratic Governors elected as President:
Democratic Governors appointed to the U.S. Cabinet:
- Reubin Askew of Florida: Trade Representative, 1979–1980 (Carter)
- Bruce Babbitt of Arizona: Secretary of the Interior, 1993–2001 (Clinton)
- Richard Riley of South Carolina: Secretary of Education, 1993–2001 (Clinton)
- Andrew Cuomo of New York (served prior to governorship): Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 1997–2001 (Clinton)
- Bill Richardson of New Mexico (served prior to governorship): Ambassador to the United Nations, 1997–1998 (Clinton)
- Bill Richardson of New Mexico (served prior to governorship): Secretary of Energy, 1998–2001 (Clinton)
- Gary Locke of Washington: Secretary of Commerce, 2009–2011 (Obama)
- Ray Mabus of Mississippi: Secretary of the Navy, 2009–2017 (Obama)
- Janet Napolitano of Arizona: Secretary of Homeland Security, 2009–2013 (Obama)
- Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas: Secretary of Health and Human Services, 2009–2014 (Obama)
- Tom Vilsack of Iowa: Secretary of Agriculture, 2009–2017 (Obama)
Democratic Governors appointed to Ambassadorships:
- James Blanchard of Michigan: Ambassador to Canada, 1993–1996 (Clinton)
- Ray Mabus of Mississippi: Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1994–1996 (Clinton)
- Dick Celeste of Ohio: Ambassador to India, 1997–2001 (Clinton)
- Mike Sullivan of Wyoming: Ambassador to Ireland, 1998–2001 (Clinton)
- Gary Locke of Washington: Ambassador to China, 2011–2014 (Obama)
Democratic Governors elected Chair of the Democratic National Committee:
Democratic Governors elected to the U.S. Senate:
- Fritz Hollings of South Carolina, 1966–2005
- Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, 1975–1999
- Wendell Ford of Kentucky, 1974–1999
- David Boren of Oklahoma, 1979–1994
- J. James Exon of Nebraska, 1979–1997
- David Pryor of Arkansas, 1979–1997
- Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, 1985–2015
- Bob Graham of Florida, 1987–2005
- Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, 1989–2001
- Chuck Robb of Virginia, 1989–2001
- Evan Bayh of Indiana, 1999–2011
- Zell Miller of Georgia, 2000–2005
- Tom Carper of Delaware, 2001–present
- Mark Dayton of Minnesota (served prior to governorship), 2001–2007
- Ben Nelson of Nebraska, 2001–2013
- Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, 2009–present
- Mark Warner of Virginia, 2009–present
- Joe Manchin of West Virginia, 2010–present
- Tim Kaine of Virginia, 2013–present
- Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, 2017–present
The leadership of the DGA consists of elected Democratic governors.
|Chair||Gina Raimondo||Rhode Island||2019|
|Vice Chair||Phil Murphy||New Jersey||2019|
List of current Democratic Governors
There are currently 23 Democratic governors:
In addition to governors of U.S. states, the DGA also offers membership to Democratic governors of U.S. territories.
|Current Governor||Territory||Past||Took office||Seat Up|
|Lolo Matalasi Moliga||American Samoa||List||2013||2020 (term limited)|
|Lou Leon Guerrero||Guam||List||2019||2022|
|Ricky Rosselló||Puerto Rico||List||2017||2020|
|Albert Bryan||U.S. Virgin Islands||List||2019||2022|
List of DGA Chairs
Current and former DGA Chairs.
The DGA reported raising over $20 million in 2011, almost doubling what it raised during the comparable 2007 election cycle. "Because of our strong efforts in 2011, we will have the resources to aid Democratic candidates in targeted states and continue to fight for our core priorities: Jobs. Opportunity. Now.," DGA Chair Martin O'Malley said. Executive Director Colm O'Comartun added, "There is no doubt that we will face a challenging electoral environment in 2012, but our victories in 2011 showed that we know how to wisely and strategically deploy our resources. We are delighted with the continued support of everyone who believes in our mission of creating jobs and expanding opportunity now."
Notable staff alumni
Several former DGA staff members have gone on to hold prominent positions in the government and in the private and non-profit sectors.
Former Communications Director Jake Siewert served as Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton for four months from 2000 to 2001. From 2001 to 2009, he worked for Alcoa Inc. In 2009, he became an advisor to then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Former Policy Director Sheryl Rose Parker was Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is currently Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Former Policy Communications Director Doug Richardson served as Director of Public Affairs at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Obama administration. He is currently Public Relations Director for R&R Partners.
Former Executive Director Katie Whelan served as a senior advisor to (Republican) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is currently Senior Public Policy Advisor for Patton Boggs LLP.
Former Executive Director Nathan Daschle is the founder and CEO of Ruckus, Inc., an online political engagement platform. He is the son of former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle. In October 2010, Daschle was recognized as one of Time magazine's "40 under 40" rising stars in politics.
Former Executive Director Mark Gearan was director of communications during the Clinton administration and served as director of the Peace Corps. He is the current president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.
Founding Executive Director Chuck Dolan is a Senior Vice President at kglobal and was appointed by President Clinton as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He is a lecturer at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs.
- Devroy, Ann, "Clinton Takes His Case to GOP's Western Stronghold", The Washington Post, October 22, 1993, accessed August 8, 2011.
- O'Malley, Martin. "DGA Continues to Break Fundraising Records".[permanent dead link]
- http://www.whorunsgov.com/Profiles/Jake_Siewert?loadTab=0[dead link]
- "Pelosi Names Senior Staff To Speaker's Office". The Washington Current. February 10, 2007. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
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- "R&R Partners | Public Relations". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- "Patton Boggs | Professionals | Katie Whelan". Archived from the original on April 10, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- "Nathan Daschle". The Public Squared. Archived from the original on 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- "HWS: Office of the President". Hws.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- http://smpa.gwu.edu/faculty/people/27 Archived May 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine