2022 Chapter Leadership Candidates

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The following candidates are running for various positions in the Twin Cities DSA 2022 Convention this September. Descriptions for each of the positions can be found here.

Co-chair
Recording Secretary
Technology Coordinator
Treasurer
Political Action Coordinator
Operations Coordinator
Political Education Coordinator
Members At-Large

Co-chairs (2, at least one may not be a cis male)

Arianna F.
she/her
Hi, I’m Arianna (she/her). I have been involved in Twin Cities organizing since 2013 and officially joined DSA in 2021. My experience is primarily in housing organizing, I worked with Inquilinxs Unidxs/Renters United for a little over 5 years and have worked on a variety of housing struggles in Minneapolis before and after that as well. I currently work at Seward Co-op and am a member of UFCW local 663. I am excited to run for co-chair with TCDSA because I see so much opportunity to continue building a strong, multi-racial, worker-led socialist movement in the Twin Cities.

As the right and white nationalist movements continue to organize and strengthen across the country and Minnesota, I know that we need a powerful socialist movement that is prepared to respond and organize on the left and I believe that in the Twin Cities that movement can lie with TCDSA. I am committed to working with DSA leadership and members to bring our great potential and great energies into more focus. I want DSA to be known for running focused, energized and well-coordinated campaigns that have sustained commitment and boots on the ground involvement.

I hope to contribute my skills and leadership to building TCDSA as reflected in the resolution “On the Direction for the Future of TCDSA”. I am excited to work with and develop leaders in TCDSA that want to organize strong and effective campaigns for democratic socialism in the Twin Cities.

Kip H.
he/him
My name is Kip Hedges and I’m excited to be running for TCDSA co-chair. I was a baggage handler for 28 years for Delta Air Lines until 2015, when I was fired for union organizing. I was one of the lead organizers for 15 Now in both Minneapolis and St. Paul in the campaign to bring a $15 minimum wage to both cities. I’m currently a school bus driver in St. Paul and a member of Teamsters 120.

My TCDSA career began in 2019 when I joined the Labor Branch. That has been my main focus in DSA since then. I’ve tried to build the Labor Branch into a group that has strong ties to the real struggles unfolding in the Twin Cities, including the MFT strike, the nurses contract battle and the unionization fights at Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and Amazon. I’m currently the co-chair of the Labor Branch.

Here’s why I’m running for co-chair. The right wing is serious about taking power and instituting a fascist regime. I don’t say this lightly. The Corporate Democrats are cowards and will do little to actually stop the right. There is a labor resurgence in the working class, but no force strong enough on the left to unite and lead the multi-racial working class that fears for the future. That’s where we come in. TCDSA (and DSA nationally) has the possibility of being that organization, an organization that brings together hundreds of thousands of workers to fight the billionaire class and the fascists.

Of course that means TCDSA needs to have a clear orientation to the multi-racial working class, the unions, to working class struggles from UPS, Starbucks and Amazon to rent control and the fight against police violence. We should not be orienting to the non-profits and left liberals. It means that we will need structures capable of recruiting and retaining working class fighters. If you’d like to learn more about my ideas, please use this link to the resolution I submitted for the TCDSA convention: Resolution 3: On the Direction for the Future of TCDSA.

Recording Secretary

Jory F.
they/them
Nominated from the floor, no submitted statement.

Technology Coordinator

Eugene B.
he/him
Hi there! My name is Eugene, and I am running for my third (and according to our bylaws, FINAL) term as technology coordinator. Over the past year, I have continued maintaining our tech infrastructure, including our Spoke texting platform, self-hosted wiki, and website. I have also started working towards splitting tech and ops-related projects into separate groups, such as the website redesign group. I am also working on a help desk tool to make it easier to respond to routine requests from members. If re-elected, I hope to continue this work, increasing the opportunities TCDSAers have to help our chapter function more effectively.

Treasurer

Tim H.
he/him
I have been in Twin Cities DSA for two years, the Treasurer for the last year, as well as the Electoral Co-chair. I have a background in auditing and accounting, and over the last year I’ve handled the tax and campaign finance reporting, managed and tracked chapter expenses, and have been a resource to the steering committee for managing our funds. Over the next year I would like to continue to support the smooth operation of the chapter, help develop policies for long term sustainability of the chapter, and to assist in fundraising as needed for chapter activities.

Political Action Coordinator

Luke M.
he/him
Hi! I’m Luke. I joined DSA in 2016. I’m a former UNITE HERE member and helped lead Rossana Rodriguez’s 2019 campaign in Chicago’s 33rd Ward and Robin Wonsley’s 2021 campaign in Minneapolis’ Ward 2. TCDSA has the opportunity to fill a vacuum of mass membership, working class organizations in the Twin Cities, as outlined in the resolution “On the Direction for the Future of TCDSA”. I’m excited to develop TCDSA leaders who can run for office and collaborate with our current elected officials to advance a legislative agenda created by our chapter.

Reid M.
he/him
I’m running for this position since I feel it’s the best fit for my education and skillset. I have a double major in English and Political Science from Hamline, and some of my classes there included Campaign Management (taken in fall 2016), Critical Digital Media Theory (taken fall 2014), and practicum in Media, Ethics, and Public Advocacy. I bring a perspective of an autistic man raised in a very progressive household. If you need someone who can think different, that’s literally what I do! I was a communications intern for governor Dayton’s office and the DFL for campaign 2018. I’m also part of the DFL’s Democratic Socialist Caucus, all of this meaning I have connections within the party. My ideal vision could be described as a “progressive heel turn.” Essentially, the mainstream DFL line has been”we’re not the GOP,” but in the process they’ve abandoned the idea of being in favor of something. How many of us vote against Republicans more than we vote FOR DFL candidates? Why is that? We know they’ll be milquetoast leaders unwilling to make big swings, but we know the Republicans will not be the same. We have a strong message. We have the popular support. We need to make that message better known. I believe we can learn from the Fetterman campaign in using memes to great effect. I will admit that I do not have strong experience with the DSA, but I also have consistently paid my dues all the times asked.

Political Education Coordinators (3, no more than one white cis male, highest vote receiver is on SC)

Brooke B.
she/her
I am a newer member of DSA. I am running because I believe political education is incredibly important for our current members and to expand our membership. I have a few years of experience with education in my job as a nurse, both to patients/families, and also educating new and experienced nurses.

John H.
he/him
I am asking for your vote to be a political educator coordinator. I am president of my AFT local 6504 at the University of Wisconsin River Falls where I have worked to raise political education and encourage union membership and activism. In 2015 and 2016 I helped to organize political education events for the Twin Cities DSA. We met at various locations in the metro area from libraries to restaurants to community rooms and spaces and invited a diversity of speakers. I also served as Treasurer from 2016 to 2017 and in an interim role as political education coordinator. My goal for political education would be to organize regularly scheduled political education events where we invite members and speakers to hold discussions and talks that reflect the diversity of political views within TCDSA. These events can be in-person, virtual or a combination of both. I envision political education events where we invite a speaker or invite people to discuss contemporary and historical events to inspire members to action. I would work with other elected members political education coordinators to ensure that we encourage educational events where all feel welcome. We can have events where speakers make a presentation followed by a question-and-answer period followed by a collective plan to action. Political education can be a valuable tool to recruit members to TCDSA in addition to spurring activism among members. We can educate the greater community to embrace democratic socialism as the successor to capitalism.

Inviting people from a broad background from elected officials to everyday members of the working-class must be a staple of political education. We can have political education events where elected officials can be held accountable.

I firmly believe that political education must represent the diverse ideologic views within DSA which is a big-tent organization. Views that reflect the diversity of TCDSA from revolutionary socialism to evolutionary socialism must be presented and discussed. I ask for your support in creating educational events that range from reading groups to Socialism 101 to happenings that ask the big questions and call us to action in creating a Democrat Socialist society. In summary political education is a broad endeavor from Socialism 101 to vigorous debates that allow all views and members to be heard and call us to action. Thank you.

Michael W.
he/him
I am running for a Political Education Coordinator role because I am a newly activated DSA member. Fresh in my mind are uncertainties I had about what Twin Cities DSA is, how we operate, and who does what and when. There can be a lot about DSA that can feel overwhelming for a rogue leftist looking for their comrades. My communication style is that of “uncertainty reduction” and it would be a joy to bring clarity to new members in Socialism 101 and introduction meetings. I feel well suited to help direct interested members to the many exciting facets of DSA while weaving the common thread of the intersectionality of oppression in capitalism. I also cherish being a lifelong learner, myself. I find that my own leftist educational moments become more crystalized when I can articulate and dialogue with others. Just as importantly, I know how to show up, follow up, and follow through. I am able to effectively identify what I don’t know, and I realize that socialism is about us leaning on each other. I am comfortable asking questions and creating spaces for others to grow with me. I don’t know all the things. You don’t know all the things. But WE have a world to win!

Mike M.
he/him

I can bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the political education position. I have degrees in education and politics and been active in organizing education and training programs for secondary and post secondary faculty. I worked for the Minnesota Department of Education for 20 years as an Education Specialist. In that position I was also a MAPE Union Steward. During my working life in the UK I was an elected union steward at the age of 18. I have also been a Student college Vice President.

As an education specialist I planned annual teacher conference across the state and facilitated discussion groups on a variety of topics. My approach is to deliver what the audience needs rather than taking a top down approach. At the same time recognizing my responsibility is to make sure that I have done my own homework on the subject matter. I view political education as an ongoing process rather than just a means to a specific end.

I believe that DSA is the vehicle to make a difference in the life’s of working people. The immediate task is to ensure that DSA members old and new are empowered to make it a reality. Joining a socialist organization obligates the organization to provide an orientation and education addressing the questions of What is Socialism and What can I do to bring it about? I strive to make a difference.

Celeste R.
she/her
My name is Celeste and I’m running for political education coordinator. I worked on the Fight for $15 in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. I am a former Unite Here Local 17 member and steward. During the summer of 2020, I helped start the Seward Abolition group and lead the successful Block the Third Precinct campaign. I was the campaign manager for Robin for Minneapolis, which successfully elected Robin Wonsley as the first independent Democratic Socialist. Now I work as a Policy Aide to Robin in City Hall.

I’m running because I completely agree with the analysis laid out in the Resolution “On the Future Direction of TCDSA.” Every day in City Hall I see opportunities that DSA could use to play a decisive role in the city and advance our shared political agenda. Too often I see those opportunities slip away because a lack of internal organization means we aren’t nimble enough to meet those moments. At the same time, I see that the right wing is not here to play games. They have well organized money, people, and positions of power. We need to have that too. I hear TCDSA members hungry for ways to take action. I want DSA to grow into a massive, focused, coordinated, and energized organization where members strategize, do meaningful work together, and win. I want to help get DSA in fighting shape.

I bring experience with organizing groups of people to create and execute plans- we made the Robin for Minneapolis campaign from scratch, without DFL infrastructure. I also bring insight into the inner workings of city government and a broad understanding of the local political landscape that we’re operating in.

Members At-Large (3, no more than one cis male)

Cynthia S.
she/her
Hello! I’m Cynthia (she/her) and currently work at Cub Foods-Uptown as a cashier and member of UFCW local 663. I joined TCDSA in early 2021 as a volunteer on Robin Wonsley’s campaign. Before that, I’d been actively involved in organizing around anti-racism, public safety, and poverty through various organizations, faith communities, and in my neighborhood. I now see that the only way to advance equity — and avoid climate catastrophe (an umbrella issue to me) — is by kneecapping the billionaire class that benefits from controlling and extracting resources (including human ones). It’s evident to me now that the Supreme Court/policy is a blind alley for stopping corporate greed; socialism and labor are our only hopes for restoring human dignity and our planet.

So I’m excited to be running for At-Large with this vision in mind and as laid out in “On the Direction for the Future of TCDSA.” My background is in secondary education, teacher education, and professional development, with a focus on radical and equity pedagogy. Today I use these skills, along with web design and organization development ones, to help transform organizations into more equitable and collaborative places. I look forward, therefore, to working with folks across the chapter to build a culture within TCDSA where the young, multiracial, and gender-fluid workers currently unionizing their workplaces across the Twin Cities might feel a greater sense of ownership and belonging as new members.

That’s one reason I am excited to be chatting with workers at Trader Joe’s about collaborating with DSA artists to create memes and graphics based in Joe Burns’s Class Struggle Unionism for use in organizing their workplaces. I can picture this project expanding into a partnership with, say, Internal Organizing or Comms: to help us galvanize inactive members, or draw new ones into the labor movement and chapter. Ultimately, though, I look forward to hearing your ideas and collaborating with you to build socialist labor power!

Dan T.
he/him
Over 25 years ago as a college sophomore in Buffalo, NY, I went to a meeting titled “Do you hate your boss?” My answer was a resounding YES! and I’ve been a socialist ever since. Along the way I’ve learned a lot but realize I mostly have a lot to learn and have a lot of questions. Like how are we going to arrest climate change in time to ensure the habitability of the planet? Or how can we win real police reform and racial justice that gets to the root of racism? And how can we get the huge numbers of DSA members active in the struggle for socialism?

One thing I’ve realized in all my years of activism and organizing is that when trying to talk to people about radical ideas, like socialism, it is easiest to do so when they are facing particularly harsh conditions under capitalism, and EVEN MORE so if they are actively resisting those conditions. I’m a member of the MInneapolis Federation of Teachers and as a leader of our recent historic strike I was disappointed by DSA’s relatively minimal participation in our strike actions. A strike is one of the most radicalizing experiences someone can go through under capitalism. It was a huge opportunity for the DSA to recruit workers whose strike activities have far-reaching impacts in the city. WE CAN AND MUST DO BETTER.

With the recent defeat of the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, the acceleration of union organizing and the outpouring of anger around the murder of George Floyd, we have a moment before us. We cannot let it pass. I am running for the steering committee of TCDSA with a slate centered around the Resolution “On the Future Direction of TCDSA,” because we NEED real conversations in the chapter to start to actively fight exploitation, oppression, and all the horrors of capitalism in Minnesota. Socialists must be actively engaged in those fights. As Karl Marx said, “Philosophers merely interpret the world, the point is to change it.” Lets get out there and get to it!

Qananni O.
she/her
A top priority for me as a member at-large would be to make our political education program accessible to workers, communities of color and those who are newer to socialist politics. I also believe our political education needs to align with our organizing efforts. For example, with an emphasis on the developing class struggle we need to be examining how workers in the past have succeeded. We need to explore the fights that have taken place to overcome race and gender divisions in the working class. With the fight around abortion rights, exploring the history of that fight along with an examination of the different strategies today should be on the agenda for pol. ed. In short, our educational efforts should augment our organizing efforts.