Brent Welder

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Brent Welder is a Kansas labor lawyer.

Congressional run

Brent Welder ran for U.S. House, 3rd District Kansas in 2018.

Incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder has voted with Donald Trump’s agenda more than 90 percent of the time. His campaign contributors include the payday loan industry, banking and accounting firms, pharmaceutical companies, and the Koch brothers. But here’s a twist: The district went for Hillary Clinton by a point in 2016. That makes it a strong test case for Democrats’ ability to pick up purple seats in ruby red states. Specifically, if progressive Brent Welder, 36, wins the nomination and goes up against Yoder in the general election, he will test the power of a muscular left populism in a district that includes parts of suburban Kansas City.

Welder, a labor lawyer who represents workers and was the national field director for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is making Yoder’s corporate cash (and his own refusal to take corporate PAC money) a major theme of his campaign, along with expanding workers’ rights to organize. This race would be a stark battle pitting loads of corporate cash against grassroots organizing and activism. Yoder raised about $1.8 million in 2017 and had about that much on hand at the end of the year. Welder, meanwhile, raised about $256,000 and had $179,000 on hand. He intends to close the gap, as he told The Young Turks Network, by running “the biggest grassroots campaign of any congressional district in the country.”

Endorsed by Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, National Nurses United, Our Revolution, Progressive Change Campaign Committee.[1]

Background

Brent Welder was raised a few hours from Kansas City in a small town in Iowa. When Brent was young, his parents worked hard to support their family. After the bills were paid, the family survived on hotdogs for nearly every meal because it was all they could afford. During Brent’s high school years his mother, a social worker, took heating assistance to get her and her five children through the cold Iowa winters.

Welder later worked his way through college, pouring concrete in scorching summer heat, and waiting tables on nights and weekends. Now a labor lawyer and national worker’s rights advocate, Brent keeps these memories close, and has spent his entire life fighting for working families in Kansas and across the country.

Welder organized an event for Obama in 2008

Welder held key positions with Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Patrick J. Murphy, the first Iraq Veteran elected to the U.S. Congress. As National Field Director for the Teamsters Union, he organized over a million union members for better wages, benefits, and workplace safety. After law school, instead of joining a big corporate law firm, Welder continued with his passion—supporting workers’ rights as designated legal counsel for a national labor union. In these roles, Brent worked with local and national leaders to create better paying jobs, revitalize small businesses, and achieve better access to good healthcare.

Brent and Barack Obama, after a campaign event that Brent organized for Obama’s first presidential campaign.

Brent’s wife Kristie grew up in Johnson County, Kansas. She graduated from Olathe South High School before going off to college and becoming a labor lawyer. Kristie served as Latino Outreach Director for the Kansas Democratic Party in the 3rd Congressional District, helping to elect Congressman Dennis Moore and Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

After their two daughters were born, Brent and Kristie moved home to Kansas.

Brent and Kristie first met 14 years ago while working as community organizers fighting block by block for higher wages and health care for all.

In early 2015, Brent began leading the grassroots campaign to win Kansas’s 3rd Congressional District for Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary. Senator Sanders nominated him to the Democratic National Platform Committee, where Welder wrote an amendment to ban corporate money from elections. He worked with other national leaders to pass the most progressive party platform in history.[2]

Union man

Welder has unions in his corner: He’s a committed union man.

His union backers include not just his own unions, the Teamsters and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees/Teamsters. Also in his corner: The Bricklayers, the Boilermakers—headquartered in Kansas City—Ironworkers Local 10, the Painters, the Laborers, National Nurses United, the Service Employees, and SMART Transportation Division (the old United Transportation Union).

After graduating law school, Welder’s career, until 2016, was in the labor movement: He was a lawyer and National Field Director for the Teamsters after graduating law school, using that job, he says, to organize more than a million workers for electoral campaigns. Before that, he worked as a congressional aide and in the 2008 Obama campaign while in college and law school.

In 2010, Welder became national legal counsel BMWE through 2015, when he joined the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt.[3]

Platform

Welder’s platform includes a $15 minimum wage, debt-free public college tuition, and Medicare For All. He also strongly opposes so-called “right to work” laws, which unions and workers term “right to work for less” laws. RTW is legal in Kansas and on the August 7 ballot in neighboring Missouri.

“Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will pump billions of dollars into local communities, and ease underpaid workers off government assistance. In order to do this, we need real, actual change in Washington,” he says.

“Brent is sick and tired of big corporations calling the shots,” his campaign platform adds. “He is committed to fighting for hard working Kansas families, not Wall Street CEOs. That’s why he won’t accept corporate PAC money.” That’s also why he’s against right to work.

To prove it, Welder’s platform says he used a Democratic National Platform Committee spot in 2016 to insert a ban on corporate money from elections into the party platform. “He will fight to end Donald Trump’s corporate welfare. Brent wants to wipe out corrupt tax loopholes for giant corporations and billionaires, so we can invest in our local communities and small businesses,” his platform adds.

Racial justice, women’s pay equality, “fair and comprehensive immigration reform that doesn’t break up families and provides a pathway to citizenship,” LGBTQ equality, increased veterans benefits and services, rejoining the Paris climate accord, and championing renewable energy are also parts of his platform. So is gun control.

“Gun violence is a serious threat that cannot be ignored any longer by Congress,” his platform says. “Brent will stand up to the corporate gun lobby and demand that we pass strong, sensible restrictions on firearms. This should start with immediately reinstating the assault weapons ban, outlawing bump stocks, increasing background checks, stopping suspected terrorists, stalkers, and domestic abusers from buying guns, and enacting federal legislation putting in place Extreme Risk Protection Orders.”[4]

Socialist intern

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In April 2018, Brendan Davison was an Intern at Brent Welder for Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez support

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is deploying members of her growing campaign staff to help another liberal upstart seeking to unseat a longtime Democratic incumbent.

Early July Ocasio-Cortez this week decided to send at least three paid campaign staffers to Delaware to help Kerri Evelyn Harris, an Air Force veteran and community activist who is challenging three-term Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, in a Sept. 6 primary.

Harris, a political novice based in Dover, Delaware, began her campaign in February, seeking to run to the senator's left. She is only the second Democrat to challenge Carper since he joined the U.S. Senate in 2000.

There is no reliable polling to gauge Harris' viability in Delaware, where just a few thousand Democrats voted when Carper faced a primary challenge in 2012. If she wins, Harris would be Delaware's first biracial lesbian woman to serve in Congress -- and the first-ever to serve in the U.S. Senate.

At least three of Ocasio-Cortez's paid staffers will move temporarily from New York to Delaware by next week to help Harris ahead of her Sept. 6 primary against Carper, according to Corbin Trent, an Ocasio-Cortez spokesman. Another New York-based staffer will help with Harris's digital outreach, according to Drew Serres, a spokesman for Harris.

The spokesmen acknowledged that the move is partly a thank-you to Harris and five members of her campaign team who traveled to New York to campaign for Ocasio-Cortez in the closing days of her primary against Crowley.

In the weeks since her victory, Ocasio-Cortez has leveraged her newfound star power and influence to endorse like-minded liberal Democrats running for office up and down the ballot. Among others, she has endorsed Brent Welder, a congressional candidate in a Kansas City-area district challenging GOP incumbent Kevin Yoder; Abdul El-Sayed, a Michigan gubernatorial candidate running for an open seat; and Julia Salazar, of Brooklyn, is hoping to unseat incumbent Democratic State Sen. Martin Malave Dilan.[5]

Rally

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Brent Welder has some big-name socialist backers supporting him. Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York congressional candidate Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez both spoke at his July 20 rally in Kansas City.

The senator and Ocasio-Cortez drew a capacity crowd for a Welder rally in Kansas City on July 20. Indeed, it was so oversubscribed they had to move from a 1,400-seat hall to a 5,000-seat arena.

“What we fight for is not just popular in Vermont, Queens, and the Bronx, it’s popular everywhere,” Sanders tweeted before that event.[6]

KC DSA Medicare For All

Kansas City Democratic Socialists of America shared a photo. July 16 at 11:49 AM.

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Help make Medicare For All a reality! Donate to support the Medicare for All Townhall Event. All funds donated will go directly to KC DSA Medicare for All working group. Join us in this effort to bring health justice to the Kansas City area and the country as a whole!

Speakers Ed Weisbart Physicians for a National Health Plan Missouri, Winston Apple Congressional candidate, Missouri, Brent Welder Congressional candidate Kansas.

Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC

March 22nd, Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC (CPC PAC), the political arm of the 76-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced its endorsements in 4 races for the House of Representatives.

The CPC PAC is proud to announce its support for the talented candidates in the following races:

Justice Democrats

Brent Welder KA 03 was endorsed by Justice Democrats for 2018.

Endorsements

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [https://www.cbsnews.com/news/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-deploys-campaign-staff-to-help-another-liberal-democrat/CBS News ED O'KEEFE CBS NEWS July 12, 2018, 5:00 AM Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deploys campaign staff to help another liberal Democrat]
  6. [5]
  7. [6]