Democrats appoint lesbian chief to loosen Donald Trump’s grip on power

Jessica O'Connell

The Democratic National Committee has appointed a lesbian chief executive.

Jessica O’Connell, a long-time activist for LGBT rights, has predicted “a wave of Democratic wins” to claim back power in Donald Trump’s America.

Since taking office in January, Trump has consistently undermined LGBT rights, revoking protections for transgender students and staying silent about the gay purge in Chechnya.

O’Connell has joined the Democrats as part of a rebuilding process after the party lost the presidency, House and the Senate last year.

She served as Hillary Clinton’s National Director of Operations during her presidential campaign, which ended with the Democratic candidate winning three million more votes than Donald Trump.

The Maryland resident, who married her wife Holly last year, was previously an executive director at Emily’s List, an organisation whose goal is to elect pro-choice Democratic women into office.

“Every single day we are witnessing unprecedented activism and excitement across our nation,” O’Connell said in a statement.

“I am thrilled to join the fight at the national party to make sure we translate this moment into a movement, and a movement into votes.”

She said there was every chance the Democrats could strike back against the Republican Party’s stranglehold on the US government.

“The DNC has incredible potential and, under the leadership of Chair Perez, I’m ready to jump in and help make this organisation more inclusive, effective, and influential,” she said.

“We are poised to build a foundation for a new Democratic Party in every state to jump-start a wave of Democratic wins from school board to Senate nationwide.”

Tom Perez, who was elected DNC Chair earlier this year, said he was “honoured” that O’Connell had agreed to “lend her talents to rebuilding our party and electing Democrats.

“She knows that we as a party need to get back to basics.

“We need to organise in every zip code and better communicate our message of inclusion and opportunity.

“We know what happens when Democrats don’t win, because we are bearing witnesses to the chaos and harm to working families that results with Republicans at the helm.”

And he said that O’Connell’s skills would help the Democrats to achieve their aims of breaking the monopoly which Trump’s party currently has on governmental power.

“Jess’ experience as a grassroots organiser and as a leader who has helped hundreds of Democratic candidates win up and down the ballot will be particularly valuable as we gear up for critical elections in 2017, 2018, and beyond,” he said.