Sunday, November 19, 2006

"Howard Dean Calls For More Minority Leaders"

HOUSTON -- Howard Dean said the Democratic Party must look beyond its dated goal of getting gays and minorities a place at the table and instead work toward getting them on the ballot.

"We've got to share power, not just responsibility, from now on," Dean told a crowd of about 200 at the International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference Saturday, an annual gathering of gay public officials.

Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said little about gay-specific issues like same-sex marriage and instead addressed broader Democratic agendas like raising the minimum wage.

Flush from big Democratic gains in last week's elections, Dean emphasized that the new Democratic Party reaches out to all citizens out of respect, even those less likely to vote for them.

Dean called it the new "50 state" strategy and pointed toward Democrats sweeping judicial races in Dallas County -- bringing an abrupt end to two decades of GOP domination -- as a sign the plan can work.

Democrats' downfall, he said, had been its acceptance to represent half of the nation.

"We've got to take the attitude: Everyone's our boss," Dean said.

Dean went on to outline the issues he believes the party should focus on now that Democrats control Congress, including increasing college financial assistance and passing an energy independence bill.

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