Key Players in the Bernie Sanders Campaign on a Nationwide Tour to Elect Progressives to Congress
Brand New Congress was co-founded by Saikat Chakrabarti, the former Director of Organizing Technology on the Bernie Sanders campaign, who launched a nationwide tour for the BNC team, that started June 2 and continues through September 9. But while the presidential primaries may have ended, BNC is actually way ahead of the game.
In 2018, 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs, and the BNC plans to elect an entirely new group of Progressives candidates excited to continue Bernie’s fight for the 99%.
"The idea is to pull in people who have not necessarily been involved politics before, people who are not willing to compromise their principles, people who truly believe that we can regain our democracy,” Yolanda Gonzalez, a BNC Core Team Leader told AlterNet.
Gonzalez was the Latino Outreach Coordinator for the Bernie Sanders campaign and has spent a large part of the past year volunteering for campaign events in the Southwest. Gonzalez voted in the California primary shortly before heading to Bernie Sanders’ last presidential campaign rally in California at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica last night. But it’s just the beginning. Gonzalez and the team are now on a nationwide tour, inspired by the relentlessness of the Sanders’ campaign volunteers.
“Zach Exley [founding organizer of BNC and] a senior advisor of the Sanders Campaign had a vision having worked with so many volunteers across the country; These same volunteers [that] are often dismissed by campaigns are super organized and passionate about the political revolution,” Gonzalez explained.
But does the Brand New Congress have appeal for just Democrats?
“In some very red districts, we may have some Republicans who really have progressive viewpoints; who really can help to alter the way we’re looking at party lines. Because in the conversations we’ve had, we do have quite a few people [interested in BNC] who, on paper, are Republicans and if we want to promote a progressive platform that may very well include overturning some myths.”
Gonzalez has been a teacher for 20 years and a Bernie Sanders presidential campaign supporter since Sanders visited the Los Angeles area where she lives last July. And after nearly a year campaigning for the presidential candidate, Gonzalez finally met Bernie.
“It was in Las Vegas, Nevada and I had been rallying the crowd and I had my megaphone,” Gonzalez recalled. “They came running to me to say, ’He’s going to address the overflow crowd, the people who couldn’t get in, can he borrow your megaphone? I said, most certainly he can, I’d be honored,” Gonzalez exclaimed. “But if he could sign it it’d be even better."