The Idaho Democratic Party is honored to welcome United States Congressman Keith Ellison as the Keynote Speaker of their flagship event, the Frank & Bethine Church Gala March 11th, 2017 at the Boise Centre in Boise, Idaho.
Congressman Keith Ellison has represented Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives since taking office on January 4, 2007. His policy agenda is based on four key priorities—peace, prosperity for working families, environmental sustainability, and support for civil and human rights. He is currently serving his fifth term.
The Fifth Congressional District encompasses the city of Minneapolis as well as surrounding suburbs including St. Louis Park, Richfield, Golden Valley, Columbia Heights, New Hope, Crystal, Robbinsdale, Fridley, St. Anthony, Spring Lake Park, Hilltop, Fort Snelling, Hopkins, Brooklyn Center, and portions of Edina. It is known as the most vibrant and ethnically diverse District in Minnesota. Keith is one of Congress’ foremost progressive leaders. He is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a position he has held since 2011. He has consistently fought for job creation, progressive tax rates, health care for all, workers’ rights, a clean environment, quality education, fair trade, strong consumer protections, protecting the right to vote, equality and justice for all, and greater investment in infrastructure. Keith is committed to strengthening our neighborhoods through community organization and advocacy. His entire adult life has been spent bringing communities together, particularly helping give a voice to communities who might not otherwise be heard. His philosophy is one of generosity and inclusion – because there are enough resources in our communities for everyone to prosper. Born and raised in Detroit, Congressman Ellison graduated from Wayne State University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
He moved to Minnesota in 1987 to attend the University of Minnesota Law School where he earned his law degree in 1990. Keith currently lives in North Minneapolis. Upon completion of his Juris Doctor, Congressman Ellison practiced law from 1990 to 2006 in both the private sector and as executive director of the Legal Rights Center. In 2004, he was elected to the state legislature from District 58B in North Minneapolis. He became a strong advocate to protect Minnesota children from dangerous pesticides and chemicals, promoted legislation to restore the voting rights of ex-offenders, and successfully advocated for an increase to the state’s minimum wage. When long-serving Fifth District Congressman Martin Sabo announced his retirement after 28 years in Congress, Keith jumped into the race. He quickly established himself as a formidable candidate by winning a first ballot Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement in a multi-candidate field of former and current office holders. Keith was challenged in the DFL primary by six candidates, and won by ten percentage points. He went on to win the general election with 56% of the vote in a four-way race. Since Keith’s first election in 2006, his campaign has focused on engaging current voters, while also working to expand the number of voters above the previous election cycle. This effort has caused a dramatic turnaround in voter participation in the 5th Congressional District, which led Minnesota in voter turnout in 2012.
The 2017 Frank & Bethine Church Gala marks the 23rd Anniversary of the event. The Gala kicks off with a weekend full of workshops, other events and camaraderie of Idaho Democrats.