New DLC Chairman Promises 'Positive Agenda'

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:31pm EDT

( - Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack Friday said he will pursue a "positive agenda" as the new chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, which seeks "to modernize the progressive tradition in American politics for the 21st century."

"I'm proud and delighted to assume this new role," Vilsack said. "In my new capacity, I look forward to advancing reforms that will keep our country safe, give every American a chance to get ahead and reconnect our party with heartland values.

"There is nothing wrong with our country or our party that a positive agenda won't fix," he added. "I want all Americans who believe in security, opportunity and responsibility to feel they have a home in the DLC and the Democratic Party."

The ninth DLC chair, Vilsack became the first Democratic governor of Iowa in more than 30 years when he won the office in 1998.

According to a DLC press release, Vilsack is "the nation's senior Democratic governor" and is recognized as "an innovator on children's, economic and health-care policy and making government more efficient and accessible."

During the organization's "National Conversation" in Columbus, Ohio, on July 25, Vilsack will replace Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) in the post.

The DLC is also getting a new vice-chair: Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who said he also looks forward to "advancing a positive, reform-based agenda for Democrats as we head into the 2006 and 2008 elections.

"Democrats need to define ourselves by what we're for, not simply by what we're against," Carper said. "I look forward to making sure voters across this country know Democrats are committed to a bold reform agenda that will strengthen America at home and around the world."

Carper has served in public office for almost 30 years, serving Delaware as Congressman, governor and now senator, as well as deputy whip for Senate Democrats. He replaces U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), who has served in this role since January 2001.

"We're thrilled that Gov. Vilsack and Sen. Carper will assume leadership roles with the DLC," said Al From, CEO and founder of the organization. "Under their leadership, the DLC will continue to drive change in our country and our party by advancing a national agenda of security, opportunity and reform that can win the support of a majority of Americans."

According to its website, the DLC describes itself as "advocates of activist government." The movement considers itself "a progressive alternative to the worn-out dogmas of traditional liberalism and conservatism."

The DLC was founded in 1985. Past DLC chairmen include former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri.

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