Mazel Tov Debbie Wasserman Schultz, new chair of the DNC!
Yesterday the Democratic party announced that President Obama chose Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the incoming chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, making her the first woman DNC chief in 15 years and the third in history. Considering that the first two women to lead the DNC only served temporary stints, Wasserman Schultz’s appointment is extremely significant. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the second Jewish woman to hold this post after Debra DeLee, who served as DNC chair from 1994-5.
As the DNC chairwoman, Wasserman Schultz will lead the party’s fund-raising and organizational efforts as we head into the 2012 election cycle. In an email to DNC members, Vice President Joe Biden wrote, “In selecting Debbie to lead our party, President Obama noted her tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit and her ability to overcome adversity … President Obama expressed great admiration for her as a leader, and he was honored that she accepted this important challenge on behalf of the Democratic Party.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said in a statement: “Since she was first elected to Congress in 2004, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has emerged as one of the most outspoken leaders in the Democratic Party.” He could not be more right. In her short career, Wasserman Schultz has made great strides representing the Jewish community and speaking out on women’s issues.
In 2005, Rep. Wasserman Schultz introduced a resolution with Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to designate a month to honor Jewish American culture and heritage. Thanks to her advocacy, May is now Jewish American Heritage Month. In February of this year, Wasserman Schultz was the first congressperson to speak out against the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which would make Hyde Amendment (which currently prevents federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother's health) permanent and further limit abortion access by making it harder for abortion to be covered by private insurance and also limiting the rape exception to "forcible rape." In part because of her outspokenness, the GOP soon dropped the “forcible rape” language from the bill.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also an incredible figure in her personal life as a breast cancer survivor and mother of three. A close friend to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Wasserman Schultz was by her side through her recent ordeal.
We could not be more pleased to see Rep. Wasserman Schultz recognized for her dedication and chutzpah. Mazel Tov!
Jewish women have a history of working with the DNC. Learn more >>
**This post has been corrected to reflect that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the second Jewish woman to hold this post after Debra DeLee.