2021 Candidate Statements

  • Co-Chair (2 elected)
    Trey D., Nadia E.
  • Membership Chair (1 elected )
    Sean D.*
  • Secretary (1 elected )
    Benjamin H.
  • Treasurer (1 elected )
    Lauren O.
  • Treasurer Trustee (1 elected)
    James P.
  • At-Large (2 elected )
    Patrick D., Allison T.
  • Delegates (9 elected )
    Jeff B., Joseph C., Frances G., Benjamin H., Jack R.S., Emilie S., Emmanuel S., Allison T., Mandi W., Sean D.*

* No Statement


Trey D.

I’m Trey D. (he/him), and I’m excited and humbled to be running for co-chair as a part of Slate ‘21. Slate ‘21 is the first slate to contest elections in our chapter, and we’ve come together to develop a platform for the next year for the chapter, one founded in our collective vision of New Orleans DSA as a working-class threat to establishment power, and a model for working-class self-organization. I hope this slate will be an important next step for the chapter’s development, fostering more democratic openness and further developing the collective decision-making process so central to our project.

I’ve been a member of New Orleans DSA since 2017, first through the Tech Committee, where I helped lead development of the chapter website and branding, as well as designing the Voter Guides; I later (‘18-’19) served as Membership Chair, where I started our first mobilizers program; and last year, as a rank-and-file member, I helped organize our Chapter Convention, as well as helped draft a number of successful structural reforms. Most recently (since October) I have served as the Local Council representative for the Comms Admin Group.

There are a number of larger, longer-term crises which I think now face our movement: the practical strategies for gaining power which we have inherited are largely inadequate to the present; climate catastrophe looms, inevitable; profound political instability perhaps no less so; and much of the politics which we will need is yet to be written. We have, I hope, at least begun to acknowledge these crises in our Slate ’21 platform, and we can and must address them, together, in the future. But to close I’d like to touch on one more issue, which is the immediate and pressing challenges our chapter will face in transitioning to post-COVID life.

I think we must recognize that the transition back to in-person organizing – or whatever form organizing may take post-COVID – is going to be nearly (if not equally) disruptive to our work as going into lockdown was; and that all of us have endured what was, at best, an utterly impossible situation for organizing. It will be crucial over the next few months for the chapter to strive to act with intentionality and foresight, and ensure that moving forward, our work is open and accessible to all working people. But further, I hope that we can together reject the false normality being foisted upon us by a capitalist class solely interested in the resumption of commerce. This year has been a tragedy of an almost unimaginable scale, and the damage wrought will linger for years, if not decades. I think that now, perhaps more than ever, we must strive to build a chapter that supports one another, that looks out for one another, and that fights for one another.

Nadia E.

I’m Nadia E. and I am running for co-chair of the New Orleans DSA and proudly as a part of Slate’21 with an amazing group of comrades that I hope to be working with in elected leadership. Our chapter is an organization that fights for each other. That acknowledges the severity of the issues we face as well as the power that propels us forward. The work that has been done so far is awe inspiring. And the collective that has borne the weight of that work has seen the fruit of that labor. This is not a reckoning. This is a call to arms. This is a question. If we truly believe in our power- shouldn’t we wield it? If we wield it, don’t we have a responsibility- to ourselves and to the working class- to be effective? We must fight. And we can win. In order to achieve our goals, New Orleans DSA must work from a place of stability and accountability. The platform my slate has put out outlines concrete goals and a vision for our chapter that I stand by and believe in.

I believe the work we have done in the past terrible and historic year has strengthened us as an organizing body and the infrastructure we have built can only serve to make us even more of a viable engine for change. Assisting in expanding our group of harassment and grievance officers as well as creating the conflict resolution officer role has given membership a sturdier safety net both of support and accountability. I have seen first hand the importance of political debate and discussion through Town Halls, our political education working group, and the process of creating chapterwide campaigns such as our fight to decriminalize sex work in Louisiana. I have also experienced the challenges in collective organizing and the delicate process of coalition building and collaboration with other leftist groups in our city.

My belief in our collective power is why I want to push for neighborhood organising within DSA and the amplification of hyper-local issues that impact our members and our city. If we are to be a serious organizing body, with real teeth, our decision making and chapter work should be directed by membership with an eye towards being a powerful platform and voice for the majority black city in which we live. Solidarity is more than just allyship. It is us, our members, being by and for the people that call New Orleans home.

I have tried to always be explicit and direct about my politics both within DSA and beyond. Some of those beliefs don’t mesh very smoothly with holding an elected position, or maybe even with some of the goals of other comrades. That’s ok with me. More than anything, I believe that we cannot do this alone. And that the working class deserves to be its own champion. I am excited to continue the work of representing the will of the membership. I also hope to drive us both forward as well as to the left. I want the DSA to be a nightmare to our enemies and bring solace to those looking for a way to make a difference. That difference can never be borne out of half measures or concessions. I am not interested in reforming the capitalist system we are forced to participate in. I will fight for the end of the oppression we to varying degrees have struggled to survive under. And I believe for the DSA to be a part of that, we must plant our flag in the place we only dream to achieve. As Louise Michel wrote, “It is absolutely impossible to obtain justice for all in any other way than by destroying institutions founded on force and privilege.” To paraphrase and close out- I am proud to fight alongside you all, sorry that we have to, and look forward to the day when the flag I carry will no longer be necessary. Solidarity forever.


Benjamin H.

Last year my candidate statement for Co-Chair of this chapter started, “I’m Benjamin (he/him). I’m an unemployed service industry worker, a comedian, and a lifelong leftist… I stay in the 7th Ward. I’ve been an active member of New Orleans DSA since its creation in 2017.” That still checks out. It’s been an honor serving as a Co-Chair this year. The accomplishments of this chapter over this past year are truly impressive considering the genuinely awful circumstances of us all going through the pandemic. Despite not being able to meet in person, and because of the labor of our comrades, we are a larger, stronger, and more experienced chapter than we were a year ago. We have a responsibility to build from our work, deepen the bonds of solidarity we hold, and fight alongside the working class of this city to build power for workers and dismantle racial capitalism and it’s ruling class. The challenges we face are increasingly dire. Cops, bosses, and landlords still hold power in our city. Our country is still in a perpetual state of war against the workers of the world and the planet itself. We can not and must not accept that! The power to build a better world is in the hands of the workers. I believe New Orleans DSA can and must become a stronger instrument for the working class. As Secretary, and alongside my comrades, I will work to strengthen our chapter by:

  • Prioritizing accessibility of minutes in a succinct and transparent manner of chapter business
  • Making resources of both the chapter and the national organization known to all members, specifically by collaborating with the Membership Admin Group and Mobilizers in this effort
  • Training other members to provide accurate and accessible minutes during meetings
  • Encouraging a chapter culture that values the labor of note takers, and makes note taking an approachable task for people with limited prior experience
  • Being a motivating presence on Local Council in regards to democratic input of the General Membership
  • And using experiential knowledge gained in serving as both a Committee Steward and Chapter Co-Chair to provide solidarity and practical support to my comrades on Local Council


Lauren O.

I am Lauren O (she/her) and I would like to serve as chapter treasurer. I am a New Orleans native and lifelong resident currently in transition between the LGD and bywater. I have been a member of DSA for the past year and am on the finance committee as well as contribute to the AfroSoc caucus where possible. I joined DSA because I think that collective power and organizing are the most meaningful tools we have to exact change against systemic inequality. Moreover, I joined the finance committee because I would like to use my MBA and professional and non profit finance experience for positive change. I am excited and encouraged by our chapter’s organizing in local politics and I think now is a crucial time in the city for us to stand up and push policies that benefit groups that are typically marginalized. If elected, I promise to take a progressive approach to funding org activities and work closely with the experienced treasurer trustees and the rest of Local Council to ensure we can be as effective as possible. Thank you for your consideration!

Treasurer Trustee

My name is James P. and I am a candidate for Treasurer Trustee. Originally from Florida I moved to New Orleans in 2009.
I joined New Orleans DSA in 2016 and I currently serve as Treasurer.
If elected Treasurer Trustee, I look forward to continuing the work of the Finance Committee and supporting our new Treasurer so that we can keep growing our chapter’s membership, our collective knowledge and our power!


Patrick D.

My name is Patrick D (he/him) and I’m a relatively new member of New Orleans DSA. I joined at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020, and to be honest, organizing with DSA has been the only thing that has given me hope in the past year.

This pandemic has revealed the state’s abandonment of the people at every turn — failures to keep workers safe and healthy, failures to keep people housed, failures to provide adequate healthcare, failures to keep people fed. All the while, capitalist owners exacerbated inequalities, the filthy rich got filthy richer, and we are more precariously situated than ever before. And yet, after a year of these revelations, of uprisings, of upheaval, of racial reckoning, and a call to abolish the systems that created this precarity – namely capitalism, the police, rent – it seems we are already sliding back to a “normal” that I do not want to return to. A return to “normal” is running toward death. Our survival is dependent upon organizing the working class.

While we have learned much in the past year about the crumbling, corrupt systems that govern our day to day lives, this knowledge is inert unless we act upon it. Organizing is what happens in that space between knowledge and action.

I am in awe of the breadth and depth of the work that this chapter is doing, from teach-ins and voter guides, to direct service and campaigning. I also recognize that sometimes, especially as a new member, it is incredibly daunting to find a way in. As an LC member, one of my priorities will be to make sure that all members are encouraged and supported to find their own power as an organizer within our chapter. I believe in the power of a strong rank-and-file membership, and am committed to staying engaged in my own rank-and-file capacity, no matter the results of this election.

Finally, while I am still naive about much of the work to be done, I believe housing is at the intersection of many of the issues that we continue to face. I believe that as a chapter, if we are truly to support the working class people of this city, we must focus on protecting renters and tenants. We all face rising housing costs (while housing conditions do not improve), and are all threatened by some of the least renter-friendly laws in the US. Evictions are rampant, evictions are violent. The disaster capitalist response to the pandemic only continues to accelerate displacement of our most vulnerable neighbors. Developers and landlords must be defeated. We can only do it together.

Allison T.

I’m Allison Tebbe (she/her), and I am running to be one of your at-large representatives on Local Council. I was born and raised here in New Orleans, have been an active chapter member since summer 2017, previously sat on Local Council as the Health Justice Committee’s steward for over 2 years, and am currently one of our chapter’s Conflict Resolution Officers. I am the Finance and Accessibility Officer of DSA’s National Disability Working Group, and also led the process of creating our own chapter’s accessibility guidelines which have now been used as a model by other chapters around the country. In my job I work as a rehabilitation counselor and brain injury specialist, running a community integration program for veterans with TBIs, PTSD, and other neurological conditions.

The next year will no doubt present new challenges as we transition back to in-person work, and I know we can use these opportunities to learn, grow, and strengthen our chapter’s structures and processes. I feel very well suited to support guiding that transition process not only as someone with administrative and logistical leadership experience, but as someone accustomed to assessing and adapting environments to maximize accessibility and participation.

I believe that by committing to DSA, we have accepted a responsibility to be more than an activist group or supplementary support to other organizations. If we believe in the possibility of a better world (which can be easy to lose belief in – hope is a discipline, as Miriame Kaba says), we have to organize to become a disciplined force able to play a commanding role in movements, and ultimately to take power. To do this, we need strong internal democracy and a broad working class base that is viewed as a credible vehicle for political activity. While our chapter has demonstrated an ability to lead on coalition campaigns and partake in meaningful mutual aid work, we are not yet this credible vehicle in New Orleans. To become a multiracial working class movement, we need intentional and administratively robust recruitment, and we need a meaningful assessment of what the working class of New Orleans is experiencing, needs, and wants. I support the upcoming Deep Canvassing Resolution as a means by which we can begin this process both for relationship and base building around the city, as well as essential information gathering so we don’t rely only on the experiences of our largely transplant and white membership when choosing organizing priorities. As an at-large council member I plan to help lead building out stronger administrative structures for onboarding and activating members in general, as we have had massive chapter growth on paper yet shrinking meeting attendance over the past year (no doubt in part due to Zoom fatigue). There are great examples from chapters around the country I want to study and learn from to help us improve – and in general I want to help ensure we are using all of the resources available from National that are relevant to us. I also support the upcoming Building an Internationalist Chapter Resolution, which I view not only as part of a smart local intentional recruitment strategy, but an essential step in fighting capitalism and imperialism globally.

Theory is not yet my strongest suit, and I am committed to learning and listening as a chapter leader. I will use my strengths such as identifying others’ talents, facilitating clear and productive communication, administrative organization, and event/project management to serve the good of our chapter, and think such skills are well suited to this position since it is a role that can take so many forms. I promise to do all I can in the coming year to help realize the best, most powerful version of New Orleans DSA with this incoming Local Council and our growing membership, and hope you will vote for me for your At-Large Council Member.


Jeff B.

Greetings comrades. My name is Jeffrey Barrois, and I’m running for delegate to our national convention.

I’d like to first give some background on myself. I was born and raised in St. Bernard Parish, and currently live in Metairie. I’m a teacher and a proud member of my union, Jefferson Federation of Teachers.

I’ve been a member of DSA New Orleans since 2017, and I was the inaugural co-chair of our Labor Standing Committee, now known as Worker Power Louisiana. I am a member of the Collective Power Network as well and intend to support resolutions and NPC candidates that align with both the CPN platform and are interests locally.

When it comes to the national convention, in my view DSA needs to have a strong orientation towards the labor movement. As socialists, working class power lies in the work that we do every day. As such, we need a national strategy towards labor in DSA that includes direction and resources for local labor formations like Worker Power Louisiana. As delegate this will also be my focus. I want to build the labor movement and DSA is a big part of that picture. We need to be organizing in our workplaces, strengthen our existing unions, and contesting for space in our state and local labor councils.

Please consider voting for me as delegate to our National convention.

Joseph C.

I, Joseph A. Colón is a bisexual, Los Angeles native with a Puerto Rican background and upbringing, with a wide-range of working class experiences from background acting, call center customer service, architecture, to currently working as a urban planning civil servant in the City of New Orleans. There, he not only tries his darndest to ensure land use development protects the health, safety, and welfare of New Orleanians, with a focus on equitable design and community engagement, but is intimately involved in the labor organizing work of unionizing City Workers via the New Orleans City Workers Organizing Committee.

But his work is not limited to the bounds of a paycheck; with a Christian upbringing, he has been involved in service, volunteer, and organizing efforts to make the world a better place, particularly through environmentalism, performing arts, and religious stewardship. His wide range of experience in New Orleans includes being a project leader with the Young Leadership Council’s YLC Recycles project, founding the annual Mardi Gras Recycling Initiative (having successfully completed its fourth year). He is also dedicated volunteer to the Compost NOW food waste collection program hosted at various branches at the New Orleans Public Library. As it relates to performing arts, he has been a member of New Orleans first Latin American dancing krewe, Ritmeaux Krewe and presently sits on its Board as the Creative Arts Director; as well as being in the First Grace United Methodist Church Drama Ministry, where he has acted and directed one-act plays and hosted arts & talent Shows. In addition, he is currently serving in the First Grace United Methodist Church Council. To round out his organizing experience, he is a founder of the New Orleans chapter of The Architecture Lobby.

But as we’re all here for and likely most concerned about, his experience with Democratic Socialists of America is comparably wide-ranging. While joining relatively recently in 2018 per the invitation of friend and mentor Suzanne Mobley, he officially became involved in the chapter in January 2019, first joining the then Socialists of Color Caucus. Besides the valuable social space provided in that Caucus in-and-of-itself, he also helped organize the successful Comrades of the Caribbean education and community event in May of 2019; after the Caucus revived in January 2021 as the BIPOC Caucus, he has been instrumental in its revival, such as the formation and passage of Caucus Bylaws, as a Caucus Co-Chair. He has also been involved with the national AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color in June 2019, a DSA for Bernie Organizer from November 2019 to April 2020, and the EcoSocialists working group. Perhaps the most New Orleans-wide work Joseph has been integrally involved with is the Save Your NOLA Library Campaign, which went up against the mayoral political establishment and won at the ballot in December 2019 to save jobs and programming for the public and is still active in the organizing for this years election. To round out his involvement, he is in the top 100 recruiters for the Democratic Socialists of America during the 100K member recruitment drive.

Now, this full ego-centric resumé might be off-putting to members but is used as an instructive overview of the actual actions Joseph has done to show the values he lives by. You can expect this level of dedication, perseverance, and unique perspectives to the DSA National Convention and beyond. Joseph is thankful to God, his friends, and comrades for all the ways they support and keep him accountable throughout the years. He has passionate commitment to serve others and achieve a world of racial liberation, environmental sustainability, and social & economic justice and knows that involvement with the DSA is a way to do just that.

Frances G.

Hi everyone! My name is Frances (she/her). Thank you for considering me as a candidate for national Convention delegate. I want to attend the national Convention as a delegate with the goal of advancing, within the organization, a vision of DSA as the most viable vehicle for mass working class power. This is a political responsibility that we must take incredibly seriously. However, even as the stakes rise, it becomes more and more difficult to chart a clear strategic path forward through the current political moment, which is a genuinely demobilizing and disorganizing one. We are still in the midst of profound economic and political chaos and looming societal collapse and on the heels of a global pandemic. In order to cut through the chaos and stay laser-focused on building working class power, we need to have crystal clear lines of strategy with regards to our major arenas of work. We need a mass movement labor strategy, thoughtful and strategic engagement with electoral politics, a systematic approach to intentional recruitment, structural solutions to interpersonal conflict, an orientation towards organizing at the point of housing, strong relationships with the international left, and a concrete plan to dismantle the carceral state which props up racial capitalism.

To that end, I am interested in running for delegate to support the following resolutions:

  • “Committing to Internationalist Solidarity”
  • “Empowering DSA’s Abolition Work”
  • “Prioritizing Tenant Organizing”
  • “Beyond 100K”
  • “Building Worker Power to Win Socialism
  • “Toward a Mass Party in the United States”
  • “Building Transformative Justice”

Full disclosure, for those who don’t already know! I am moving to Los Angeles between now and Convention. While I have been deeply involved in this chapter for four years now, and I would commit to representing the chapter’s political priorities at Convention, I also would understand if folks want to prioritize sending delegates who are staying locally, so I want to be up front about the fact that by the time I get to Convention I will (sadly!) no longer be a New Orleans DSA member. However, I have been to Convention before and can commit to providing guidance to my fellow delegates who might be attending Convention for the first time!

Benjamin H.

My experience in DSA started off somewhere in between skeptical optimism and downright pessimism. I’d been in other activist spaces that never seemed to accomplish much. After joining DSA, I quickly began to see that a truly democratically run, member funded organization with a commitment to fighting capitalism was absolutely different from those other spaces. I’ve seen New Orleans DSA grow from a few dozen members to a force to be reckoned with in New Orleans political reality. My experience as a rank and file member who eventually served as one of the chapter’s Co-Chairs has made it abundantly clear that the success of our work locally is directly bound with the strength of DSA nationally. I’m running to serve as a delegate at this year’s national convention to work alongside my comrades in ensuring that decisions made at convention specifically work toward building power in The South, fighting against the threatening wave of racist voter suppression happening in The United States, building a stronger internationalist movement, and growing DSA’s membership in significant and strategic ways.

Jack R.S.

I’m Jack Reno Sweeney (he/him) and I am running to represent our chapter in the 2021 National Convention. I have been part of the chapter since early 2020, and both before and since I have been primarily involved in local and state electoral issues and environmental advocacy. My relatively short time in the chapter has pushed me miles farther in my development as an organizer than otherwise would have been possible. As a lifelong Louisianan, I have been amazed by our chapter’s quick growth and expanding impact on local politics, and have been grateful to be a part of it. It would be a true honor to represent my city and state as a delegate, and to have the chance to advocate for our chapter, as well as chapters across the south and in rural areas, where socialists are organizing in numbers not seen since the 1930s.

Our organization finds itself at a pivotal moment going into this convention. We have grown exponentially to nearly 100,000 members, with our chapter among the fastest-growing in the country, but national support infrastructure for locals remains in much the same place as before, at the expense of chapters outside of the large, metropolitain core areas that dominate organizational affairs and discourse. Small, rural, and southern chapters understand the unique context and culture of their communities best, and are therefore best suited to develop the solutions and strategies necessary to succeed; regional organizations can accordingly guide new chapters and build strength among existing ones in parts of the country less familiar with socialist organizing and provide a meaningful and effective conduit between locals and the national organization. However, the success of both the national organization and that of southern chapters is contingent on building an organization that is truly multiracial and anti-racist, and eliminating practices that promote tokenization instead of true solidarity; I accordingly support intentional recruitment practices and the formation of a national Multiracial Organizing Committee. Furthermore, mobilizing to protect voting rights on a national scale will be key for every southern and rural chapter’s success and survival. Recent efforts to roll back democratic rights represent an assault on working class power, especially among workers of color, on a scale not seen in decades.

In the wake of a year that saw the unceremonious end of the 2020 Sanders campaign, a national uprising against racist police brutality, and of course an international pandemic, our national organization must provide the structure and direction necessary to allow budding chapters and new members to thrive. I believe chapters like ours are well-placed to play an important role in developing this structure and propelling DSA forward.

Emilie S.

I’m a local writer who works at the library. I’m new to DSA and have learned so much in the last year, with the Save Your Nola Library Campaign. I see the Convention as a way of learning even more about how DSA operates and can win the fights we take on. Because the SYNL Campaign took so much of my energy, I also see being a delegate as an act of service for my DSA community.

Emmanuel S.

Hey y’all. I’m Emmanuel (he/him/his), I’m from Louisiana and plan on organizing in the south forever. I’ve been in the service industry in New Orleans since 2009 and have been involved in union work since 2013. I joined DSA at the end of 2017 because my experience with labor organizing taught me that without a mass working class party our efforts will not be able to scale up in the way that we need.

It’s important as a southern city to organize and help shape the national organization. While many of the southern cities lead the country in the 100k drive, many southern chapters and OCs are struggling to find their footing in harsh terrain, and many in our own chapter have no idea what national is doing and it feels removed from our day to day work. This disconnect is to everyone’s detriment.

Our experiences here absolutely need to shape a socialist program for the country. Whether it’s constant anxiety for an ever growing hurricane season, and the need to have structures and formations within DSA to facilitate both mutual aid and to even have a space to develop a program to go on the offense against these oil and gas companies. Or the deep victory of neo-liberalism in our city that is constantly being “exported” elsewhere, and the need to have organizations willing to take a chance by defending the dismantling of a public good as we did with the Library campaign. Or the long deep history of white supremacy and capitalism, which the south is a great bulwark of reactionary politics which the Right all over the world hold to esteem.

As someone who has mainly organized in the south, it gives me a lot of energy to participate in convention because I feel like I can bring my experiences as a unionist and active participant of the New Orleans chapter to convention. Without a coherent and streamlined national organization the ability to grow power in the south sets us up for even greater challenges.

Allison T.

I’m Allison Tebbe (she/her) and I am running for chapter delegate to the 2021 National Convention. I have been an active member of New Orleans DSA since summer 2017, near its inception, and a member of DSA as an organization since 2016. I’m involved with DSA on the national level as Finance and Accessibility Officer of the National Disability Working Group and am a member of the Collective Power Network, a national caucus focused on building DSA into a mass organization capable of acting as a powerful force for socialism here and abroad. National convention is a time semi-annually where we as members have our voice heard as the highest decision making body of DSA, and I would be honored to represent our chapter this August at this gathering. If elected I will ensure that my fellow delegates and I communicate the issues on the floor to the chapter, garner input from chapter members, and ensure that how a given issue at convention affects small city chapters and southern chapters is considered. I believe in our organization as the best chance we have to fight the tides of capitalism, imperialism, racism, and the many other ills of our society, and I view the chance to help make DSA’s decisions on a national level essentially important and will treat it as such.

Mandi W.

My name is Mandi Wood, I use she/her pronouns and am currently one of the co-chairs for our chapter’s Labor committee, Worker Power Louisiana. Over the past year, I have worked to push forward our labor committee’s efforts to develop space for New Orleans workers to organize together. If elected as a delegate, I would support discussion, policies, and changes that put workers first. As we continue to struggle through a pandemic-laden world, working conditions have never been worse. However, it is out of these circumstances that we have seen a wave of labor power and optimism growing in our country- with the fight for the PRO Act, union drives by Amazon workers, and the countless victories of smaller workplace union victories. Winning labor power is the key to building a better world for the working class in all avenues and will be crucial in our fights for police abolition, racial justice, just transition of economy in the face of climate crisis, and healthcare for all. I would be honored to use my experience as a labor organizer to communicate and advocate for the needs of Louisiana workers at the National Convention this year. If I’m elected as delegate, I look forward to collaborating alongside our comrades to continue building power and represent the needs of our city.