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Friday, March 6, 2009

Bruce Reed to succeed Al From as CEO of DLC, Democratic Leadership Council

March 6th, 2009 11:25 a.m.

I just received this email from Washington an hour ago regarding DLC founder and CEO Al From stepping down and Bruce Reed succeeding him.

Use the slider under Al's letter to read the entire thing.

DLC/PPI logo
DLC/PPI logo
After 24 years at the helm, I plan to step down this spring as chief executive officer of the Democratic Leadership Council. Bruce Reed, the DLC's president and former domestic policy advisor to President Clinton, will become CEO. 

I am immensely proud of the DLC's success. The DLC has exceeded the dreams I had for it when I formed it in 1985 with a small group of reform-minded governors, senators, and house members. 

It has played a vital role in resuscitating the Democratic Party, and it has championed ideas that have changed our country for the better. 

For those who were not active in national politics in the mid 1980s, it may be hard to imagine the predicament in which the Democratic Party found itself. Akin to where the Republicans are today, Democrats were wandering in the political wilderness. We were out of power and out of ideas. The Democratic Party hit bedrock in 1984, losing 49 states in the presidential election for the second time in four elections. It was on the verge of political extinction as a national party, and many political observers believed that the Republicans had a lock on the White House. 

We formed the DLC to change our party -- to redefine and rebuild it, to restore its sense of national purpose and its proper place as America's majority party. We believed that if we held firmly to the first principles of the Democratic Party but furthered those principles with fresh ideas and modern means; if we built a modern, progressive, centrist Democratic Party that tackled America's most difficult challenges with bold and innovative ideas, the American people would once again turn to us for national leadership. 

That is what we did, and we proved the experts wrong. In 1992, Bill Clinton, former DLC chair, was elected President of the United States. Four years later, he became the first Democratic President in six decades to be re-elected. 

Our political success was grounded in the ideas we championed -- bold and innovative reform ideas that challenged old orthodoxies. National service (AmeriCorps), an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, welfare reform, charter schools, community policing, expanded trade, fiscal responsibility, and re-inventing government -- all ideas the DLC championed -- have changed America for the better.

Together they came to define a political brand -- identified with values like opportunity, responsibility, community, strength, service and reform. They helped redefine the Democratic Party and breathe new life into progressive politics. 

Now, with a new Democratic President in the White House and strong majorities in both houses of congress and among statehouses, the mission we set out to achieve in 1985 has been accomplished and the first phase of the DLC's work is finished. 

But our party and our country face new challenges. And, in its next phase, the DLC, under the leadership of Bruce Reed, will address them. Today, for all our political challenges, what matters most is coming up with ideas and solutions that work, and the new DLC will be devoted to the battle for reform and ideas, not politics. It will be a reform think tank dedicated to developing, promoting, and enacting an agenda as bold and pragmatic as America's new president. It will work closely with allies in Congress and the administration to make sure President Obama and his reform agenda succeeds. Its efforts outside Washington will focus on grooming the next generation of reformers. And, it will partner with other organizations to develop post-partisan policy solutions to the country's key challenges; build reform coalitions across party lines; produce impartial reports and analysis of what works and what doesn't; and provide a virtual home and online outlet for thinkers in both parties and around the country. 

After I step down as CEO, I intend to take the time I have not had to write a book on political change and to pursue new avenues to fight for the ideas and values for which I have long stood. And, of course, I will always remain part of the DLC. 



Al From

Democratic Leadership Council | 600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE | Suite 400 | Washington | DC | 20003

Bruce Reed's blog at Slate.com, The Has-Been: NOTES FROM THE POLITICAL SIDELINES., is funny, insightful and anecdote-filled: http://www.slate.com/?id=3944&cp=2120447

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