New National PAC with Connecticut Roots Launches to Support Democrats with Public Service Backgrounds
A new national political action committee (PAC), Democrats Serve, is being launched to support Democrats running for office – at the federal, state, and local levels – with civil and public service backgrounds. The initiative is being led by Brett Broesder, a Connecticut-based veteran communications strategist who has spent over a decade working for Democratic campaigns and elected officials – at the federal, state, and local levels – including Connecticut’s Lieutenant Governor and Mayors of Bridgeport and Hartford.
Broesder’s extensive experience also includes serving as campaign manager and then chief spokesperson for Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, who had been a police officer before winning a competitive campaign. The new organization will include recruiting, training, and supporting Democrats with backgrounds serving communities in government, including police officers, firefighters, first responders, social workers, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, educators, and more.
Broesder, who lives in Milford, said that Democrats with public service backgrounds connect strongly with voters but often lack access to the built-in fundraising networks of other candidates. The new PAC is being established to close that gap.
"For public service pros, strengthening their communities isn't just a job; it's a way of life," said Broesder. "Their first-hand experience with the real-life impact of policies makes for compelling campaign narratives and effective legislation. Unfortunately, Democrats running for office with these backgrounds often fall short due to a lack of financial support and strategic guidance. That's why we're launching Democrats Serve: to help recruit, train, and financially support candidates with public service backgrounds."
Former Bridgeport mayor and Connecticut State Senator Bill Finch, who also served as director of the NY State Thruway and director of Bridgeport's emergency services department, said “As a former emergency management administrator, I know first-hand what it takes to mitigate the impact of natural disasters. That's why I'm supporting Democrats Serve and their mission to support candidates with public service backgrounds. Because the best and most responsible policymakers are often public service pros, who have seen first-hand how policies directly impact folks in their communities."
Broesder noted several candidates who meet the criteria for Democrats Serve support and are running in high-profile races this year and more who are running or preparing to run major campaigns in 2022.
"We will be taking a hard look at the New York City mayoral race as Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, and Kathryn Garcia, who began her career as an intern at the NYC Department of Sanitation and worked her way up in the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, each have deep backgrounds in civil service," said Broesder.
Although the group has made no official endorsements yet, Democrats Serve criteria-meeting candidates include: Norwalk mayor and former police chief Harry Rilling, Stamford mayoral candidate and State Representative -- and a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security official -- Caroline Simmons, and New London mayor and former firefighter Michael Passero.
Broesder added: "Democrats like former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley running for US Senate in the Tar Heel State, former police chief and current Congresswoman Val Demings considering a run for US Senate in the Sunshine State, and former federal prosecutor and current Congressman Conor Lamb who reportedly is likely to run for US Senate in the Keystone State, have proven records of civil and public service and are strong contenders."
Democrats Serve will soon announce details about a summer training program for candidates and potential candidates for all levels of public office, and the organization posted an application for the training program at www.democratsserve.org/run-for-office.
Achim Bergmann, a top Democratic strategist and founding senior advisor to Democrats Serve, said that the group will make a concerted effort to recruit diverse candidates with experience in public safety and the justice system. Bergmann led direct mail efforts for Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in his successful 2018 campaign. Another Connecticut connection is Kari Chisholm, a senior advisor to the group, who has worked on digital and email marketing for Democratic campaigns including Fourth District Congressman Jim Himes.
“There are so many outstanding public servants out there who will make great policymakers, and with more public safety officers and justice system professionals stepping up to run as Democrats, the effect of Republican scare tactics will be weakened," said Bergmann.
The new organization has quickly earned the backing of officials across the country.
Former Nevada Assembly Speaker, congressional candidate, and fire captain John Oceguera (NV) said, "Serving as a firefighter motivated me to step up and serve my community, and made me a better legislator. I'm enthusiastic about Democrats Serve because our frontline public servants make great community leaders, and often need the help to make the leap." Former Portland mayor, police officer, and police chief Tom Potter (OR) said, "We need more elected officials who know what it means to serve the public and deliver results. I'm looking forward to helping Democrats Serve recruit and support a diverse field of public servants ready to step up to elected office in their communities."
Officials indicate that Democrats Serve is structured as a Carey Committee (also known as a hybrid PAC). It contains two accounts: a traditional PAC and a super PAC. Therefore, the group can raise and spend funds, coordinating with and contributing directly to Democratic candidates.