(Bronx, New York) - Focusing on our party’s urgent need to identify, train and help candidates win local elections and embrace our diversity, Assembly Member Blake has launched his candidacy for DNC Vice-Chair today.
Touting his campaign theme of “Leadership for Tomorrow,” Blake laid out his plans and qualifications to "Build Our Bench. Strengthen Our Party. Embrace Our Future”:
I'm running for Vice-Chair to focus on recruiting local Democratic candidates and winning those elections, strengthening our party's efforts on training on the county, state and national levels and embracing our diversity with a continual focus on constituency vote programs, especially among communities of color, millennials and women.
We must begin to win local races so that Democrats have a seat at the table for critical policy decisions, especially as we prepare for the 2020 Census and the redrawing of legislative district lines. The road to retaking the House starts with retaking state houses.
We need to hear and listen to the everyday needs of everyone, but, we should embrace how progressive Democratic policies such as fighting for health care access for seniors and young adults up to 26 years old to protecting collective bargaining rights to creating opportunities for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises have improved lives.
Our vision is that Democrats across the country are heard, given resources and training to build and supported so that we win.
He will begin his campaign for DNC Vice-chair in Columbus and Indianapolis this weekend, where he will share his vision and plans to win local races and build a consistent engaging vote program with Ohio and Indiana DNC members.
Blake began his career as an intern in the Illinois State Senate. In 2006, Blake was one of ten young leaders selected in the inaugural "Yes We Can" training program by then U.S. Senator Barack Obama to train millennials of color how to manage and win local campaigns. Blake took that training to Michigan where he successfully managed and won three state house races in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Muskegon helping to flip the state house into a Democratic majority.
He joined the 2008 Presidential campaign as the Iowa Caucus Deputy Political Director & Constituency Outreach Director for Senator Obama, successfully bringing coalitions of color, women, youth, veterans, LGBT, faith and rural leaders to caucus for Senator Barack Obama. After Iowa, Blake served in constituency and political roles in the South Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Indiana and Illinois primaries. In the general election, he returned to Michigan as the Deputy State Director and Political Director where his team successfully went seven-for-seven, winning every down ballot race for their coordinated campaign.
Blake served as President Obama’a Deputy Associate Director at The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement focusing on African-American outreach, state and local elected official outreach and Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises outreach, and creating the Urban Entrepreneurship Summit series. After which he joined the President’s 2012 re-election campaign as the National Deputy Director of Operation VOTE. In that role, he oversaw the successful constituency vote programs that helped win nine out of ten battleground states.
Building a winning campaign from the ground up for an open seat from the South Bronx, Blake was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2014. While serving there, Blake’s accomplishments include passage of the “Prompt Pay” bill which ensures Small & Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises who contract with New York State paid are paid in 15 days instead of 30 says. He also helped spearhead the creation of a $20 million My Brother's Keeper pilot program, and secured the Libra group’s American Entrepreneurship Award which will award at least $500,000 to help local entrepreneurs create jobs over the next 10 years.
Blake was born and raised in the South Bronx by immigrant parents who came to the United States from Jamaica in the 1970’s. Michael’s mother, Hilary, a breast cancer survivor, went from being homeless to working 40 years at a manufacturing plant in New Jersey while raising four boys. His father, Headly, was a hospital maintenance supervisor and proud member of 1199SEIU .
He is a graduate of New York City public schools and Northwestern University, where he earned a degree in broadcast journalism before embarking on a career in public service. Blake, a United Methodist Church Certified Lay Speaker, is a Honorary National Co-Chair of the New Leaders Council, training and mobilizing millennials in 44 chapters across the country, an advisory board member of the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, a board member of iVote, to push back against voter suppression efforts in the nation, a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and member of 100 Black Men, Inc.