GLENDALE - Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy, a longtime Democrat, is seeking to lead the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
Kennedy is the only candidate so far to challenge Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson Martha Laning for the position. The selection of the next state party chairperson will be made by party leaders at the annual state convention June 2-3 in Middleton. For the next several months, Kennedy will meet with county party leaders around the state.
“After watching us lose the state in a presidential election, fail to win back Russ Feingold’s U.S. Senate seat, and lose yet another Assembly seat and another State Senate seat, I decided that it was time to take my history of winning elections and put it to use serving the party,” Kennedy said.
Bryan Kennedy was elected mayor of Glendale in 2015, after being elected three times to the Glendale-River Hills School Board. He was also the Democratic Party’s nominee to challenge Representative F. James Sensenbrenner in 2004 and 2006. He garnered 37 percent of the vote in 2006.
Kennedy holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He held a faculty position at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2001-11. He served three terms as state president of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, from 2007-13.
In order to turn the Democratic Party of Wisconsin around, Kennedy believes county parties should be empowered to make decisions, similar to union locals. He believes county parties should look to the state party to provide training, staff and guidance.
“After the startling political changes of the last few years, it is time to do things radically differently than we have been,“ Kennedy said.
Kennedy was also a pledged delegate for Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention this past summer. Kennedy said he was inspired by Sanders’ vision for a fairer and more equitable society. After the convention, Kennedy endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
If Kennedy were to win the state chairmanship, he said he would give up his consulting business but would continue to serve as mayor of Glendale, which is a part-time position.