10 Things You Should Know About The New Jamaican American Vice Chair Of The DNC

Author:  NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Feb. 28, 2017: On. Feb. 25, 2017, a Jamaican American New York lawmaker quietly won his bid for vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in the vote among party insiders held in Atlanta that saw another son of Caribbean immigrants, Tom Perez take the helm of the Party as its chair. Here are ten things you should know about the DNC’s new vice-chair, Assemblyman Michael Blake.

michael blake1: Michael Blake was born on Christmas Day in 1982 in the South Bronx, NY to Jamaican immigrant parents who were born in St. Ann and St. Andrew, respectively in Jamaica and who moved to the United States in the 1970’s.

2: His father, Headly Blake, was a hospital maintenance supervisor and proud member of 1999 SEIU. His mother, Hilary, went from being homeless to working 40 years at a manufacturing plant in New Jersey while raising four boys.

3: His parents named him, the youngest of seven kids, after Jamaican heroes Michael Manley and Alexander Bustamante.

4: Blake attended New York City Public School P.S. 79 and went on to attend and graduate from Northwestern University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

5: Blake got a job after college as an associate producer at Comcast SportsNet in Chicago when the network launched. He left and later moved to Michigan where he ran three campaigns for the state House of Representatives; all three were successful. After the Democrats took the majority in the Michigan state House, Speaker Andy Dillon asked Blake to serve on his Cabinet, where he was the Director of External Affairs.

6: In 2006, he attended the Yes We Can leadership program, under then-Senator Barack Obama’s staff in Washington, D.C. In March 2007 Blake accepted a job on the Obama presidential campaign as the Deputy Political Director and Constituency Outreach Director in Iowa. Over the next year-and-a-half, he campaigned for Obama in South Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, finally ending up back in Michigan as the campaign’s Deputy Director and Political Director and was later named Associate Director of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House after Obama won the 2008 election.

7: He served as the National Deputy Director of Operation Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election and served in the White House as the Deputy Associate Director for African-American state and local and elected officials and minority business outreach.

 

8: In 2013, he served as the Campaign Manager for Reshma Saujani for New York City Public Advocate and also helped to found the Atlas Strategy Group, which focuses on policy issues for communities of color.

9: In 2014, he was elected to the New York State Assembly from the South Bronx district despite the fact that The Bronx Democratic Party did not support his candidacy and tried to state he was not actually a resident of The Bronx. Despite the setbacks, Blake won the Democratic primary in the NYS 79th Assembly district over five other candidates with nearly 92 percent of the votes.

10: In 2015, Blake was sworn-in for his first term in the New York State Assembly to represent constituents in the Concourse Village, Morrisania, Melrose, Belmont, Claremont and East Tremont in The Bronx. He currently serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama.

 

11: In 2016, he was named a Fall Fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics and on Feb. 25 2017, he was elected as vice-chair of the DNC with

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