By Michael Sainato
In 2012, Barbra Caspar Siperstein broke new ground as the first elected transgender member of the Democratic National Committee. A few days ago DNC Chair Tom Perez decided to remove Siperstein from her position on the DNC Executive Committee. Siperstein supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but voted for Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) in the February 2017 DNC Chair election.
“I am disappointed Babs was not reappointed as a national At-Large DNC member, she is a true leader in the LGBT community and a friend,” New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie wrote in a statement. “Her presence on the DNC was a true positive for New Jersey. I have reached out to the DNC to express my displeasure with their decision.”
Siperstein noted on Facebook she was given no reason for the removal, but cited that the chair doesn’t have to provide one. New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley added on Facebook, “While I respect that Tom can do as he pleases, Babs’ dumping strikes me as odd. A number of other at large members who supported Keith were reappointed.” Buckley was also removed by Perez from his DNC position.
While Perez ousted Silperstein, some of his appointments have been highly questionable. He recently chose Daniel Halpern to serve as co-chair of the DNC Finance Committee. As Chairman of the Georgia Restaurant Association, Halpern aggressively opposed minimum wage increases in Georgia, and played an active role in shutting down a bill that would have increased Georgia’s State Minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Despite CNN severing ties with Donna Brazile after leaked emails revealed she helped the Clinton Campaign cheat during the 2016 Democratic Primaries, Brazile was appointed a DNC At-Large-member and to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Former lobbyist for the private prison GEO group, Jeff Berman received an appointment as a DNC At-Large member.
Jaime Harrison, a former lobbyist who received help from Perez in paying off his campaign debt accrued from his own bid for DNC Chair after Harrison endorsed him, was appointed an Executive Committee At-Large Member. Clinton insiders Minyon Moore and Maria Cardona,senior officials at the lobbying firm Dewey Square, also received an Executive Committee At-Large and DNC At-Large member position.
Perez’s decisions set off even more alarms to his brief tenure as head of the Democratic National Committee. Fundraising has lagged far behind the Republican National Committee in both small and wealthy donors. He was criticized for accepting a teaching position at Brown University after opponents to Keith Ellison’s DNC Chair bid who supported Perez argued that running the DNC should be a full-time position. He’s made little to no progress in establishing unity within the Democratic Party, and refused to support progressive policies like Medicare For All. Perez deflates enthusiasm within the Democratic Party. He opted to maintain the corrupt super delegate process, and has no interest in re-enacting the ban on corporate lobbyist and PAC donations to the DNC. His leadership has made it clear the party establishment has no intention in enacting reforms or changes, instead is predicated on maintaining the status quo against progressive pressures from within and outside the party.