Democrats for Neighborhood Action (DNA) was born in the aftermath of the 1992 general election. Ending 12 years of conservative Republican domination of national politics, the election of that year put Bill Clinton in the White House and sent both Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to the United States Senate. Unusually high voter turnout in Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Silver Lake and Los Feliz had enabled Senator Boxer in particular to win a narrow victory over a better-known, better-financed Republican opponent.
Volunteers from the United Democratic Campaign office in Silver Lake/Los Feliz had seen firsthand how neighbor-to-neighbor voter contact could turn the tide in close races. These volunteers decided to continue the momentum of their successful Get Out the Vote efforts by creating a permanent neighborhood-based Democratic club to foster citizen involvement in the democratic process, and to improve communication between elected officials and the people they serve.
DNA was founded in the first months of 1993, with a stated mission “to contribute to the influence, growth and progressive direction of the Democratic Party” and to develop new leadership for the party at all levels. In pursuit of this goal, the club lent crucial support to the first City Council and State Assembly campaigns of Jackie Goldberg, Antonio Villaraigosa, Paul Krekorian and Adam Schiff.
In the early 1990s, Los Feliz and much of Silver Lake were represented in Sacramento by extremely conservative Republicans, at odds with the views of these progressive communities. Alongside our allies in the labor movement, and our sister Democratic organizations in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, DNA worked to increase voter registration and participation in the electoral districts we share with our neighboring communities. In 1996, these State Senate and Assembly districts were won by DNA-supported Democratic candidates. Long considered reliably Republican, these seats are now rated as safely Democratic. DNA and DNA-supported candidates contributed to a long-term Democratic wave throughout the area. In 2000, Adam Schiff was elected to a seat in Congress that had been held by Republicans for most of the 20th century.
In 2006, DNA’s founding president, Paul Krekorian, was elected to the State Assembly; he now serves on the Los Angeles City Council. Another former President of DNA, Adrin Nazarian, now serves in the State Assembly. Other members of DNA have served on the Central Committees of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, and on the Central Committee and Executive Board of the California Democratic Party. Chartered by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, in full compliance with the bylaws of the California Democratic Party, DNA participates in the state party’s endorsement process through the biennial Pre-Endorsement Caucus system.
In addition to supporting our local Democratic candidates, DNA continues its mission to inform the community about pending legislation and ballot initiatives. Through candidate forums and public discussion, we seek to give fair consideration to all opinions. In the words of our bylaws, “while retaining the right to independent thought and action” we continue to “promote the fundamental tenets of the Democratic Party, including equality of opportunity, civil rights, reproductive choice, protection of the environment, economic justice, the dignity of labor and the empowerment of the powerless.”
Now, as always, our membership is open to all registered Democrats, and to young people and new Americans who intend to register as Democrats when they become eligible to vote. We invite you all to join us as we seek to elect Democrats throughout California, to regain Democratic control of the United States Congress in 2018, and to elect a Democratic President in 2020.