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Ken Martin has spent his life standing up for progressive values in Minnesota and across the country. He was only a senior at Eden Prairie High School when he joined Paul Wellstone’s campaign for U.S. Senate. And as he did for many people, Sen. Wellstone inspired Ken to pursue a political career dedicated to the principle that “we all do better when we all do better.”
Ken has worked tirelessly to rebuild and refocus the DFL around that iconic ideal. Elected as chairman in 2011, he inherited a party deeply in debt and reeling from recent defeats. By sharing the party’s progressive vision for our state, Ken restored Minnesotans’ confidence in the DFL. He made the DFL what it is today—an all-day, year-round organization dedicated to making change from the grassroots, electing progressive candidates, and improving the lives of all Minnesotans.
Given his success as the DFL Party Chairman, Ken was elected to serve as the President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs in 2017. He also serves as a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Through this national platform, Ken empowers state parties across the country to improve their organizations, listen to voters, and elect Democrats from school board to Senate.
Before his election as chairman, Ken spent two decades working to further progressive candidates and causes. He played key leadership roles on various campaigns, including Dayton for Governor in 2010, Hatch for Governor in 2006, Kerry for President in 2004, Humphrey for Secretary of State in 2002, and Gore for President in 2000. Ken led a ballot initiative in 2008 to dedicate funding to Minnesota’s arts, environmental and historical treasures. It is the largest conservation finance measure in the nation to ever become law.
Ken holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Kansas. He and his wife, Jennifer O’Rourke, currently live in Eagan, Minnesota, with their two sons.