Pushkin elected Democratic Party chair

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Democrats elected a Jewish chair and an African-American vice chair to lead the West Virginia Democratic Party for the next four years on Saturday in Bridgeport.

Mike Pushkin, D-37, one of the more liberal members of the Democratic House caucus since his first term in 2015, was elected chairman. He had served as party vice chair since January of this year. He replaces Belinda Biafore, who decided not to seek re-election after serving as chair for seven years.

Danielle Walker, D-51, who has served in the House of Delegates since 2019, will serve as vice chair.

A year ago this month, turmoil erupted among those in leadership roles with the party following a raucous livestreamed meeting to establish an affirmative action plan. As reported by MetroNews at the time, members of a newly established Affirmative Action Committee complained that they were stonewalled and didn’t get a chance to actually form the plan that was being submitted to the Democratic National Committee.

Biafore called the plan a placeholder that needed to be submitted on deadline to the national party. She said the state plan could be adjusted and pointed to Affirmative Action Committee meetings scheduled for later in June of last year.

But rumblings were already being heard about Biafore’s leadership, with some, including Pushkin, pointing to the Democrats’ abysmal performance in recent elections, turning their majority hold on both the Senate and House of Delegates to super minorities.

“I believe in a Democratic Party that fights to make sure no one gets left behind,” Pushkin said, “a party that is inclusive and not exclusive, and a party that knows you can’t lift others up by tearing some down.

“From expanding education opportunities, fighting for a living wage, improving workplace safety, to working for quality affordable health care, Democrats lead the way.”

Pushkin added, “I’m honored to have the support of so many Democrats from around the state and I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve with my friend Danielle Walker.

“Together, we’ll work hard to make West Virginia a place of hope and opportunity for all our people.”

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