Donna Brazile Donna Brazile

Nine months before the midterm elections, the leaders of the Democratic National Committee are meeting in Washington this week to mobilize the “ground troops” they say are needed to turn out the base for the party in November.

President Joe Biden spoke at the DNC winter meeting at the Capitol Hilton hotel, and President Obama is expected to address the group. But the heavy lifting is being done by DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and vice-chair Donna Brazile who unveiled the party’s voter expansion project on Thursday.

“We are not only focused on voter protection; we are going on offense,” Wasserman Schultz said in an interview. “We are focused on expanding the vote, registering voters, turning them out and making sure that when they cast their vote, it is counted.”

The voter project calls for voting education and advocating for laws to increase voter participation.

In a year when people are observing the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Brazile is emphasizing that too many people sacrificed and died for the right to vote.

“This is a year we celebrate Fannie Lou Hamer going to Atlantic City to ask for a seat at the table,” Brazile said in an interview. “Because this is a historic year, we are going to motivate people to turn out by reaching them where they eat, where they work, where they play and where they pray. We can [have] an historic turnout of African Americans, if we reach them. If we don’t … they will not turn out.”

D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) is attending the meeting at the Capitol Hilton, where Vice President Biden talked about how the party needs to work harder to preserve the middle class.

“One thing that we have not talked a lot about is the middle class,” Bonds said. “When I look at the District of Columbia and we look at the figures of income attainment, we now know that we are talking about persons who have salaries over $ 65,000. I see being at this meeting as an opportunity to really talk about the District of Columbia.”

While the DNC failed to address the issue of statehood four years ago, Bonds said she will take up the topic. “I want people to understand that we have all the ingredients of being a state,” she said. “We have to continue to chip away at the issue of statehood for the District of Columbia.”