February 11, 2023

DFL Party Elects New Leadership Team

Today, members of the DFL Party State Central Committee gathered to elect new leaders of the Minnesota DFL Party. Those elected leaders include:

Chairman: Ken Martin

First Vice Chair: Marge Hoffa

Second Vice Chair: Shivanthi Sathanandan 

Treasurer: Leah Midgarden

Secretary: Ceri Everett

Outreach and Inclusion Officer: Bahea Manasra

“I am honored and humbled to have been re-elected to lead the Minnesota DFL Party for an unprecedented seventh term,” said Chairman Martin. “I can say with confidence that the Minnesota DFL Party is stronger than at any point in our almost 80-year history. In the past 12 years, we have won every statewide election and secured two trifectas for our party. I am extremely proud of the work we have done to elect good, principled leaders who are making a difference in the lives of so many Minnesotans. In this next term, I look forward to continuing our record of robust fundraising, spirited organizing, and unparalleled electoral success.”

The DFL Party’s Record of Electoral Success: 

  • Under Chairman Martin’s leadership, the Minnesota DFL Party won 20 of 20 statewide elections since Martin’s first election in 2011.
    • These include wins in 2014 and 2022 – both predicted to be rough midterms for Democrats.
    • Under Chairman Martin, the DFL Party has won the governor’s office 4 times in a row, which has never been done before in Minnesota history.
  • Chairman Martin led the DFL Party to the only two trifectas the party has held in the last three decades.
  • During Chairman Martin’s tenure, the DFL Party elected far more people of color and members of historically marginalized communities to office than at any other time in the party’s history.

The DFL Party’s Record of Financial Success:

Chairman Ken Martin

Ken Martin is currently Chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, President of the Association of State Democratic Committees, and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. Martin was elected unanimously to a third term as President of the Association of State Democratic Committees by State Party Chairs and Vice Chairs on January 21, 2021.

Chairman Martin is currently serving his seventh term as chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party. He has held this post since 2011—making him the longest-serving chairman in the almost 80-year history of the DFL.  Under Ken’s leadership over the past 12 years, the DFL Party has seen unprecedented success electorally, financially, and organizationally.  Martin has not lost a statewide election during his time as Chair and there has never been a 12-year period in DFL party history that has seen more electoral success up and down the ballot.

As ASDC President, Martin created a comprehensive strategy to increase our Democratic Party’s support for State Party organizations. The vision was to create a true partnership with the DNC and a real 57-State Party strategy to build durable long-lasting infrastructure, ensuring that no State Party was left behind and that we seized on all opportunities, big and small.  This plan led to robust investment, significant growth, and a greater impact at the ballot box.

Martin has played key leadership roles around the country in political parties, candidate campaigns, issue campaigns and on the independent expenditure side.  Before he was elected Chairman of the Minnesota DFL, Martin helped run campaigns up and down the ballot from Presidential, U.S. Senate, Congressional, Gubernatorial, State Legislative, and local offices.  In addition, Ken led a Minnesota-based donor collaborative where he helped develop, fund, and direct independent expenditures in Minnesota.

In 2008, Martin led the campaign that successfully passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, which to this day is still the largest conservation finance measure to pass in our nation’s history, as well as the highest vote-getter for an issue referendum in Minnesota.

Martin lives in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife Jennifer O’Rourke and their two sons, Samuel and James.

First Vice Chair Marge Hoffa

A former Senate District and Congressional District Chair, Marge Hoffa first ran to serve as the Vice Chair of the DFL Party because she knew improvements needed to be made to the party and she wanted to contribute to this work. Marge is running to continue her service as the First Vice Chair because while the party has made many gains, she knows that work remains to be done to support activists and candidates around the state.

Second Vice Chair Shivanthi Sathanandan

The current Second Vice Chair of the DFL Party, Shivanthi Sathanandan, is running to serve for a second term. Shivanthi knows the future is bright with possibilities, but Minnesota is deeply divided, and communities are searching for unity. As Second Vice Chair, Shivanthi will continue to build coalitions with communities outside of the traditional party infrastructure. The party must invest resources in building authentic relationships, listening to community members, understanding the issues most important to them, crafting messaging that resonates, and getting that messaging to them in effective ways throughout the year – not just at election time.

Treasurer Leah Midgarden

Leah is a Korean born Norwegian-American raised on a 5th generation family farm in North Dakota. Her parents; a public school teacher and a farmer, raised their children to strive academically, to dream big dreams, and to always remember one’s responsibilities to one’s community. Leah is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Leah has a long history in Democratic politics. She interned for former Congressman Earl Pomeroy and served on staff for the late Senator Paul Wellstone. She has held various positions in the DFL; including senate district chair, Treasurer of the DFL AAPI constituency caucus, and a Biden national delegate.

Secretary Ceri Everett

For nearly 20 years, Ceri Everett has been involved with the DFL Party and has served in leadership positions in MYDFL, Goodhue-21 DFL, and SD21, and the CD2 DFL. A veteran special education teacher, Ceri grew up in and lives in Red Wing. Ceri is passionate about organizing in rural communities and is eager to bring her experience to the ticket. As the party’s Secretary, Ceri will ensure a clean and timely line of communication to SCC party leaders; increase the party’s efficiency, particularly in the areas of communication, including the SCC listserv, so that everyone gets what they need when they need it; and be an advocate who is willing to listen, learn, and help.

State DFL Outreach and Inclusion Officer Bahea Manasra

Bahea is a lifelong Minnesotan, born in Fridley and raised in Coon Rapids. As the daughter of two Palestinian immigrants, she learned early on the challenges first-generation Minnesotans face as they seek to build community in new spaces. She faced many “firsts” as her family worked hard to ensure a life of possibilities for her and her 11 siblings.

Over the last decade, Bahea has co-founded two local nonprofits, Run For Tomorrow in 2019, and the East African Empowerment Center in 2020. Both organizations provide community support and essential services to historically marginalized communities. She worked at the State DFL Party, as the Deputy Party Affairs Director, where she served in a critical capacity to expand our state-wide outreach efforts by supporting all of our party units. Bahea supported and staffed the state Outreach and Inclusion Committee and led the restructuring of our outreach and inclusion grant program. She now proudly supports the DFL Asian American Pacific Islander caucus as its Outreach Officer.

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