After a hard fought battle — and a dramatic special election — former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected to be the new Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in late February.
He took the reins from interim chair Donna Brazile, who left CNN to take the position following the very public downfall of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose attempts to steer the party away from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2016 Democratic primary were exposed by WikiLeaks.
And Perez has hit the ground running — according to NBC News, he has asked every single member of the committee to resign:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has launched a major overhaul of the party’s organization, which has been stung by recent crises — and the DNC has requested the resignation letters of all current staffers be submitted by next month.
Party staff routinely see major turnover with a new boss and they had been alerted to expect such a move. However, the mass resignation letters will give Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC’s headquarters from scratch. Staffing had already reached unusual lows following a round of layoffs in December.
Immediately after Perez’s election in late February, an adviser to outgoing DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile, Leah Daughtry, asked every employee to submit a letter of resignation dated April 15, according to multiple sources familiar with the party’s internal working.
Perez is currently taking meetings all over the country, engaging in “active listening” and working to repair and rebuild his party.
He told NBC:
“What we’re trying to do is culture change. We’re repairing a plane at 20,000 feet. You can’t land the plane, shut it down, and close it until further notice.”
Toward that end, Perez has enlisted former rival Keith Ellison (D-MN) to be his deputy chair — a move that could help to smooth any rifts between Perez and Ellison supporters Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Perez has also created a transition committee to help him fill the empty seats.