New DNC chairman pledges to repair, unite party

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 26, 2017 at 2:10 p.m.

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ATLANTA (AP) — Newly elected Democratic national chairman Tom Perez is pledging to unite a fractured party, rebuild at all levels from "school board to the Senate" and reach out to chunks of rural America that felt forgotten in the 2016 election.

Speaking in television interviews Sunday, Perez described a party focus that will emphasize protecting Social Security, Medicare and "growing good jobs in this economy."

The former labor secretary in the Obama administration acknowledged that swaths of the U.S. had felt neglected, saying he had heard from rural America that "Democrats haven't been there for us recently." He promised to mount grass-roots efforts in all 50 states.

Perez said he and his runner-up for the chairmanship, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, will work hard to put out an affirmative party message while opposing President Donald Trump's policies. Ellison has agreed at Perez's invitation to serve as the Democratic National Committee's deputy chairman.

Perez spoke on CNN's "State of the Union," NBC's "Meet the Press" and ABC's "This Week."

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