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Democrats come to Detroit to talk about their future

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

National Democratic Party leaders will gather in Detroit today to discuss the party’s future direction.

Party leaders are still assessing their setbacks from the 2016 election, and looking ahead to 2018 and beyond.

The forum will feature several candidates for the party’s open chairman seat. Among them is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana

He thinks the party needs a fresh start, by focusing more attention on local and state-level politics.

“There are a lot of issues, even if we had won the White House, we would be in trouble,” says Buttigieg, “Now’s the time for our party to really look to the future.”

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez is another candidate for national party chairman at the forum.

He says the party needs to do a better job of reaching out to rural voters.

“There are many, many voters in rural America who believe the Democratic Party is the party of elites, and has not only ignored them, but looked down at them,” says Perez.

Others vying to be party chairman say the national Democratic party needs to focus on local and state campaigns.

National party leaders will pick the party’s next chair later this month.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.