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AEA operatives spend weekend getting schooled by progressive community organizers


Alabama Education Association (AEA) political operatives, including AEA chief Henry Mabry, spent this past Saturday and Sunday in Birmingham attending Democracy for America’s “Campaign Academy,” a workshop for liberal-progressive community organizers.

Democracy for America (DFA) was founded in 2004 by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

According to Wikipedia, “Democracy for America has helped elect over 600 progressives into office, including President Barack Obama, while building their membership to over a million like-minded progressives across all fifty states.”

Other candidates DFA has heavily backed in the past include Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who narrowly missed being named the U.S. Senate’s most liberal member by the National Journal, and the U.S. Senate’s first self-proclaimed socialist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Here is some background on a few of the DFA representatives who were brought in to train the AEA:

Matthew “Mudcat” Arnold:

According to his bio, Mudcat has “designed sophisticated organizing operations for MoveOn.org, the Sierra club, and a host of other non-profit and labor clients.”

Michael Cook:

Cook is a former member of Bill Clinton’s campaign staff. He has also been executive director of the Arkansas Democratic Party and chief of staff to a Democrat Lt. Governor of Arkansas.

Franco Caliz

Caliz’s bio proudly states that he was “a passionate progressive even at age 14,” at which point he cut his teeth in the “world of political organizing with John Kerry’s presidential campaign.”

Breakout sessions during the workshop included finance strategy, developing a campaign message, targeting your universe, get out the vote (GOTV).

The AEA’s partnership with Democracy for America comes on the heels of their decision to work with Obama’s political operation to help them turn out voters in legislative races in 2014, even in Republican primaries where AEA is actively recruiting and funding candidates.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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