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Raymond Buckley is currently serving his fifth term as chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. He is recognized as a national leader in the LGBT community, serving on the DNC LGBT Caucus and the National Stonewall Democrats. He also currently serves as president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, a position he was elected for in 2009. He is the first openly gay politician to serve in that position. Buckley is often viewed as someone who understands the political process and who can identify what needs to be done to make necessary changes.
Buckley served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for eight years. Before that, he got his start in politics organizing for Jimmy Carter in 1976. Since that campaign, he has been involved in every presidential campaign in New Hampshire, and has served as a campaign manager on various New Hampshire races, including contests for governor, US Senate and House, and the state senate.
When he announced his candidacy for DNC chairman, Buckley emphasized a need for change within the committee, as well as the crucial importance of downticket races.
“Make no mistake, if I am elected chair there will be radical reform of how the DNC operates. You and every member of the DNC will be called on to fully participate in the governance of our party,” Buckley wrote. “The DNC will be a team effort unlike what we have seen for many years. Every voice should be respected, every face reflected in the Democratic Party. The party cannot just be about winning the White House. We have thousands of other races, including state, county and local races, that we need to win as well.”
While serving as a state legislator, Buckley successfully supported the repeal of a law banning homosexual couples from adopting children. He also sponsored anti-bullying legislation and a bill seeking the repeal of hospital taxes.
Buckley’s judgment has been called into question when a video surfaced in 2007 that appears to depict him making controversial and obscene statements, some involving Hitler. Prior to the video, a state Republican accused Buckley of possessing child pornography. The state attorney general investigated and found no evidence of wrongdoing. Buckley discussed the matter on an episode of the public radio show “This American Life.”
Buckley promises a refocus on grassroots organizing if he is elected chair. He says he will focus his energies on supporting the success of state parties across the country. He offers a 15-point plan as a potential means of accomplishing this. These points include such measures as the institution of a weeklong training program for up to four staff members per state at no cost to the state parties. He endorses using the newly authorized DNC building fund to institute permanent state party offices. Furthermore, he supports increasing staff support of the DNC voter protection department to defend against voter suppression attempts.
Buckley is endorsed by all four members of his state’s congressional delegation: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. and Sen.-elect Maggie Hassan, Rep. Ann Kuster and Rep.-elect Carol Shea-Porter. Together they make up the nation’s first all-female delegation. In a letter of support, they praise Buckley’s passion for grassroots organizing.
By Peter Schelden
(Image credit:CaptnCarl (own work) by CC by SA 4.0)