For immediate release
January 31, 2017
Maria Elena Durazo wants a Democratic Party where working people can speak for themselves – not one that speaks for them.
Los Angeles, CA—Democratic National Committee (DNC) Vice-Chair incumbent and UNITE HERE General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights and Diversity Maria Elena Durazo has secured the endorsements of key Democratic, labor and civil rights leaders in her bid for re-election. A dynamic and vanguard voice of the American labor movement, Maria Elena Durazo’s courageous leadership has raised the profile of immigrant workers and advanced the standard of living for thousands of low-wage workers.
“Maria Elena is a true organizer who knows how to build power from grassroots movements,” says Senator Kamala Harris of California, who is endorsing Durazo’s DNC candidacy. “Her efforts have transformed the state of California and she’s just the person we need to help lead the Democratic Party to victory.”
“Maria Elena is a tireless champion for working people,” says Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles. “I know that as Vice Chair she will continue to lead the Democratic Party in standing up for the rights of all workers to live with dignity and respect.”
Maria Elena Durazo is a leading labor figure running for an executive position within the DNC. Maria Elena Durazo has the experience of turning California from red to blue, something UNITE HERE achieved more recently in Nevada, through union organizing.
“As a union organizer, as a feminist, and as a Latina, I am proud to support Maria Elena Durazo for DNC Vice Chair,” says labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta. “No other candidate matches her incredible leadership, experience, and organizing skills in doing the tough, door-to-door organizing work that it takes to grow power and win. Maria Elena has shown us that she can take on Trump. As Democrats we need somebody with that courage.”
During the 2016 election, it was UNITE HERE members – housekeepers, cooks, cocktail waitresses, food servers, bellmen and porters – who led one of the toughest and best-trained grassroots field operations in the country, helping win Nevada for Democrats. Another decades-long effort focused on increasing Latino turnout in Arizona also has shown signs of turning a staunchly red state blue, thanks to organizing diligence.
“Working people don’t need a Democratic Party that speaks for them. They need a Democratic Party in which they can speak for themselves,” says Maria Elena Durazo. “Too many people are spending too much time looking at everything that has gone wrong. I am focused on what has been done right and how we can build on it.”
Prior to her current role with UNITE HERE, Maria Elena was appointed the first woman executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which represents 600,000 workers, many of whom are immigrants and Latinos. She also previously served as president of UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles, which she helped build into one of the most active unions in the county. Her experience as a force for labor and living standards in California has led her to become a thought-leader for the nation.
Among others endorsing Durazo’s candidacy are:
- Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York
- Dolores Huerta, Labor and Civil Rights Leader
- UNITE HERE International Union, and President D. Taylor
- Stuart Appelbaum, Executive Vice President of UFCW and Co-Chair of the DNC Labor Council
- Supervisor Hilda Solis of Los Angeles, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Member of Congress
- John Burton, California Democratic Party Chairman
- Congresswoman Karen Bass, CA District 37
As Congress organizes itself, a new Trump Administration is formed, and the Democrats decide who is to lead their party, we have a choice: learn what works and start to win again, or repeat the same mistakes and end up with more of the same results.
“No one disputes that inspiring people is important. But those of us who were trained by Cesar Chavez know that he didn’t organize people with his iconic ‘Si se puede’ message. Cesar taught organizers to live by other words…’One by one by one.’”