Volunteers Working For The People


SD49 Democrats is the official local organizing unit
of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party.
We are volunteers who care deeply about our communities, state, and nation.

We are your neighbors working together to elect Democrats. We work to build and support strong and caring communities through service, education, and empowerment. We sponsor community activities. We educate citizens about issues, the legislative process & voter registration. Most important, we are committed to creating a caring community through democratic dialogue and progressive values of gender & racial equity. All are welcome to join us in this mission.

Our organizing unit responsibilities include:
– Recruiting and endorsing DFL candidates to represent our district at the Minnesota Legislature.
– Holding community caucuses and a convention to endorse candidates.
– Electing officers, directors, and precinct chairs of SD 49 Democrats.
– Raising funds to support a community office and presence at community events.
– Keeping the DFL community informed about legislative initiatives and issues.

An Historic Achievement

The election of 2012 culminated in an historic winning sweep for SD49 Democrats after years of being a GOP stronghold. Citizens of SD49 overwhelming elected three DFL members to the Minnesota Legislature: Sen. Melisa Franzen (SD49), Rep. Ron Erhardt (49A), and Rep. Paul Rosenthal (49B). The democratic sweep continued in the 2018 election with Representatives Heather Edelson (49A) and Steve Elkins (49B) joining Senator Melisa López Franzen, all who were re-elected in 2020. We aim to continue this trend in the 2022 elections!

Leadership & Structure


Chair, Ardis Wexler
Vice Chair, Brad Callahan
Secretary, open
Outreach, Linnea Huynh
Treasurer, Carlin Struckman
Communications, Dianne Blake

Leadership Duties

The following general duties are drawn from the descriptions provided in the SD49 Democrats and DFL State Constitutions.

The chair is essentially the chief organizer, executive officer of all SD49 Democrats’ activities. The chair convenes and conducts all meetings of the Senate District executive and central committees; as well as directs the work of the executive committee. This work includes working with the caucus & convention committee on planning and training of volunteers. S/He also serves as a member of the State DFL Party central committee in addition to acting as the temporary chair of all regular and special conventions of the Senate District.

Vice Chair
The vice chair aids the chair and fulfills the duties of the chair in the absence of the chair to act. He/she shall serve as a member of the State DFL Party central committee. Overall, the vice chair works in partnership with the chair to help guide policy and decision making, and assists by filling in holes, so to speak, where needed.

The secretary is responsible for taking and maintaining the minutes, and writing the agenda for the executive and central committee meetings. The secretary notifies members of all meetings and the logistics (whether in-person or online meetings) for meetings and party unit activities, as well as help guide policy and decision making. The secretary also takes on these duties at all regular and special conventions of our organizing unit. S/He works with the outreach officer to develop a plan to expand our membership to include underrepresented communities by educating and recruiting community members who may want to become involved in our local organizing unit. Provide documents in multiple languages as needed.

The treasurer manages the funds and records of all financial transactions. This includes issuing receipts and maintaining records related to the Political Contribution Refund program, sending thank you letters, and working with the fundraising committee. The treasurer also keeps records of expenditures and disbursing of the organizing unit’s funds according to the annual budget, approved by the Executive Committee or chair, or submitted to the Central Committee as recommended by the Executive Committee. Finally, the treasurer maintains and presents an accounting of the budget to the Central Committee in addition to submitting timely MN state reports as required by the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Outreach & Inclusion
At its core, the outreach and inclusion officer is highly involved in relationship building. Some activities include voter registration drives; get out the vote efforts; attending local government, educational & community events; recruiting volunteers for SD49 sponsored events & rallies. Our outreach officer also takes the lead to recruit and encourage underrepresented members in our community to join our leadership team, thus implementing our Senate District’s affirmative action plan.

The communications officer is responsible for the development and execution of the communication strategy that supports our organizing unit activities. This includes writing, editing and publishing a newsletter; updating the website, and working with executive officers and committee organizers to develop and implement a communication strategy for recruitment, annual events, fundraising activities, among others.

Directors shall be elected as gender balanced as possible. Directors take a leadership role in fundraising and Senate District legislative campaigns. In addition, directors take an active role in leading standing and special committees. Directors may be designated and elected to fulfill specific functions.

The precinct is the smallest political unit. It is the place where you raise your voice and vote. It is your neighborhood, the place you are invested in the outcomes of issues that directly affect you and your family members.

The precinct chair and vice chair work together to raise the profile of the SD49 Democrats and DFL values. Some activities include arranging neighborhood meet & greets; getting out the word about Caucus Night; hosting listening sessions to learn about local issues; educating their neighbors about legislation; helping neighbors get to the polls, and more.

These are standing committees of 3-4 people. Special projects, such as rally or educational events may be added, as needed. Ideally each committee is headed by a SD49 director.

  • Summer Picnic Committee
    The picnic committee coordinates the logistics–location, time & date, volunteers, food & beverage offering, entertainment & guest speakers, and children’s activities.
  • Fundraising Committee
    This committee plans and coordinates the logistics of our spring and fall fundraisers. This includes a special guest speaker, venue, volunteers, food & beverages
  • Caucuses & Convention Committee
    This committee works with the SD49 chair, vice chair, and Secretary to develop the smooth operations of Caucus Night and SD49 Convention. This includes reserving a venue, developing a calendar timeline, training volunteers, and more.
  • Campaign & Elections Committee
    This committee works with the outreach & inclusion officer to recruit and train volunteers in strategies to get voters registered and to the voting booth, in addition to recruiting candidates to run for elected office.
  • 4th of July Parade Committee
    This committee reserves a parade spot, recruits parade volunteers, designs the float or SD49 presence, and coordinates activities with SD49 DFL elected officials.
  • Community Outreach Committee
    This committee works with the outreach officer to organize community care events, such as food and school supply drives.