Election in Focus: Parties select platform committee chairs

Blog Post

This week, both Democrats and Republicans announced the selection of their party platform committee chairs.

The platform committees are tasked with developing the party's platform – the document that lays out wide-ranging policy positions. On the Democratic side, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), a supporter of Hillary Clinton, was tapped to chair their platform committee. On the Republican side, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, will lead the party’s Platform Committee.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), chair of the Democratic National Committee, elected to allocate three-fourths of the platform committee’s seats to the Clinton and Sanders campaigns proportionately based on current vote totals.

Along with Elijah Cummings, the Democratic Platform committee will include: 

  • former California Rep. Howard Berman
  • former DNC official Paul Booth
  • former EPA administrator Carol Browner
  • Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison
  • Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez
  • California Rep. Barbara Lee
  • environmentalist Bill McKibben
  • Native American advocate Deborah Parker
  • Ohio state Rep. Alicia Reece
  • Claire’s Stores CEO Bonnie Schaefer
  • Iran deal negotiator Wendy Sherman
  • Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden
  • African American activist Dr. Cornel West
  • James Zogby, the founder of the Arab American Institute

In a year that has bucked the mainstream and brought some turmoil to the GOP, Republican leaders are turning to a more traditional pick in Barrasso to lead the Platform committee at its July convention in Cleveland.

Barrasso will lead the committee along with two co-chairwomen, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx.

Unlike the smaller committee that drafts the Democratic National Committee’s platform, the Republican platform committee is made up of one man and one woman from each state and territory.

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