Kansas Democrats have elected Wyandotte County businessman Hank Chamberlain as their new national committeeman.
Chamberlain, founder and chairman of Allied Glass Experts in Kansas City, Kansas, emerged from a four-person field to win the position.
Enjoying support from labor unions, Chamberlain defeated former state Senate candidate Larry Dreiling, disability rights lawyer Ben Cohen and restaurant owner Rehan Reza.
He replaces Christopher Reeves, who stepped down from his position so he could have more freedom to work on campaigns. Reeves had endorsed Reza for the position.
“It is my intention to do the best work that I can as your national committeeman,” Chamberlain said during a virtual meeting broadcast Tuesday on YouTube.
“I am grateful to all the union groups that honored me with their endorsements,” he said. “I always want to defend the interests of working people.”
Chamberlain wants a more effective Democratic Party, emphasizing that while it elected a president it still struggles to pass legislation on its agenda.
“Republicans have been portraying us as extremists, leftists, socialists and communists for a long time now,” he said.
“We are going to have to point out the evil of their policies and actions,” he said.
He questioned why Democrats were reluctant to knock on doors during the pandemic last summer and fall.
“During the pandemic, we were told we could not knock on doors while many people were desperate for human contact,” he said.
“It didn’t take much talent to put on a mask, knock on a door and step back six feet,” he said of a tactic employed Republicans last year.
“Democratic candidates who did that won in majority Republican districts.
“Most of those who sat at home and relied on social media and TV lost to Republicans who knocked on doors,” he said.
Chamberlain won with support from the Tri-County Labor Council of Eastern Kansas and the AFL-CIO United Auto Workers-Central Region.
He also had support from Democratic state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau of Wichita.
“As I ran for this office, there was a discussion about how much experience I have,” Chamberlain said.
“Experience is valuable, but not very impressive. Experience is what we get when we can’t avoid it.
“We can still avoid bad experiences in 2022 and 2024 if we do enough work now,” he said.
“If I do any good in the DNC, it will be as an advocate for Kansas and an advocate for truth, clarity and diligence. I am grateful for your faith in me. I have great faith in you
“Let’s go to work.”