DNC Member Election

DNC Member Candidates

Janet Bewley

Martha Love

Christine McDonough

Delegates to this year’s convention will vote on Wisconsin’s four elected DNC Members, to serve four-year terms. For a list of frequently asked questions on the DNC member election, click here.

Candidate Biographies


Janet Bewley

It is my privilege to stand with Andrew, Khary and Martha to seek reelection to the DNC.   Our backgrounds are different yet complimentary. I appreciate the chance to tell you about mine.

I was born and raised in Cleveland, a lower middle-class neighborhood of scrubby yards and no gardens.  In the pre-Title Nine era, girls married after high school.  Somehow, I got the idea to go to college, and I did, although I had to pay for it. My parents believed that only boys needed college.

I kept on, driven by curiosity and a need to learn.  I kept on in college, curious and irritated that rich kids had great clothes, bad grades, and all the opportunities.   I kept on as an export agent, shipping cargo to ports like Dubai and Yokohama, curious and furious to accept lower wages and sexual harassment.  I kept on in graduate school, curious but stronger, in northern Maine, where women made the difference in families enduring generational poverty.  And I kept on, curious but confident, in Ashland as Dean of Students at Northland College in 1977

Fast forward, 2007.  A third career in community development, still curious, I ran for Ashland City Council.  I served to two terms in the Assembly and am in my second term in the Senate.  I recently became Democratic Leader. In 2016 I was elected to the DNC.

The DNC is highly nuanced, the engine room of the party.  It took two years to understand how it works, how to navigate through its layers.   My colleagues and I found our niches.  Since rural policy was anemic and the delegate selection process broken, I dug into these.

Martha, Andrew and I are proud of our service and want to keep on and become even more effective in the DNC.

Martha Love

Dear Fellow Democrat,

It is a tremendous privilege, to be elected by my fellow Democrats, to serve with State Senator Janet Bewley, Khary Penebaker, and Eau Claire Councilman Andrew Werthmann as your representative to the DNC. Working together, we fought vigorously to protect voting rights, fought agains voter suppression and so much more. I am more energized than ever to continue the fight to move our progressive agenda. 

It would be an honor to have your support in my re-election campaign to the Democratic National Committee at the Wisconsin State Party Convention this June 12, 2020. My history serving the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the DNC, I have been fortunate to serve as the former Chair and 1st Vice Chair of the State Party, and Chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party. As an activist with Local Labor, Women’s causes, and outreach to democratic Party Members Statewide. Which have broadened our awareness of Human Sex and Labor Trafficking.

Like many of the civil rights we champion, the work we have done gives voice and opportunity to those most often underrepresented in our political process. I like the opportunity to continue this work of fighting for our progressive values and amplify our progressive agenda on behalf of Wisconsinites. 

I ask for your vote. 


Christine McDonough

Christine (aka Chris) McDonough is a retired mother, grandmother, wife and former Information Analyst on the State of Wisconsin’s Medicaid Management Information System. 

Chris is a firm believer in creating a better, more equitable future by changing the political process to ensure that Not Me, Us, is not just a catchphrase, but a reality. As a lifelong Democrat, Chris is proud to have represented the 2nd Congressional district as a Bernie Sanders 2016 delegate. 

In 2018 Chris was elected as Co-Vice Chair of Progressive Caucus. As Co-Vice Chair, Chris has been working to create better communication between the caucus executive team and members. Chris is currently working on the web presence for the caucus to implement a regional strategy to make the caucus stronger, more effective and to enable members to more fully participate in caucus activities. 

Chris has been a member of Wisconsin Grassroots Network task force since 2011 and also serves as their communication coordinator. The Wisconsin Grassroots Network brings politically active people from across the state together at our yearly festival to educate, connect and energize members. 

Over the past year Chris traveled to Iowa, New Hampshire and Washington, DC to bird dog presidential candidates on Medicare for All, Supreme Court Reform and the CARE act. These bird dogging actions resulted in four seated Senators, then presidential candidates, signing onto the CARE act, a harm reduction act to deal with the Opioid crisis. 

Chris also traveled to Washington, DC six times over the past year lobbying and protesting for Medicare for All, LGBTQ rights, Voting Rights, Climate Justice, Education, Impeaching Trump, Court Reform and Reproductive Rights.

As a member of the Democratic National Committee, Chris will strive to be the people’s voice on the DNC.  Check out http://chrisfromsunprairie.com/ for more information.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Chris4DNC/
Website: http://chrisfromsunprairie.com/
Email: ChrisFromSunPrairie@gmail.com


Khary Penebaker

Since being elected in 2017 as a DNC Representative for WI, Khary was elected to be the DNC Black Caucus Treasurer and has been serving as a liaison between the National Party and our state and local Democrats, as well as recruiting and training activists to work on behalf of Democratic candidates and Democratic legislative proposals. Khary has also spoken at several events for incumbent elected officials as well as for first-time challengers!

As a DNC Representative, Khary has co-sponsored 13 resolutions that were passed by the DNC’s full voting body. One of the more notable resolutions that Khary co-sponsored was the Resolution Establishing the DNC Environmental and Climate Crisis Council in 2019. Khary also joined the organizing effort in favor of a presidential primary debate dedicated to the climate crisis, and utilized social media to generate increased awareness and support of that effort in favor of single-issue presidential debates and a DNC that listens to our grassroots voters.

As the father of three, Khary understands the impact the Party and his advocacy can have on them and their future. Khary is a proud board member of the health care and advocacy arms of Planned Parenthood of WI, board president of the advocacy arm of WAVE (WI Anti-Violence Effort) and is Everytown for Gun Safety’s WI’s Survivor Fellow. Khary is the former vice-chair of WI’s 5th CD, former congressional candidate of WI’s 5th CD – where he ran against long-time incumbent Republican Jim Sensenbrenner in 2016. Khary is a PROUD Waukesha Democrat!

Khary, a gun violence survivor, is a nationally recognized advocate of commonsense gun reform and has appeared on stages all over America speaking out against the deadly epidemic of gun violence as well as lobbying local, statewide and national elected officials on gun reform policy.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KharyForDNC
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kharyp
Website: KharyPenebaker.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kharyp


Luis Varela

I am from Cali, Colombia, where I grew up, went to school and began working as an industrial engineer. I moved to Madison, WI in 2015 after a career change to education. In 2017, I became a naturalized US citizen just after Donald Trump was elected President. I wanted to secure my ability to stay in the country and become involved in the US political struggle after a devastating November election. I quickly looked for an effective organization aimed at regaining political power for all of us who feel undermined under the current administration and political system.

The same year I became a citizen, 2017, I joined the Democratic Party of Dane County (Dane Dems) and was elected and then re-elected as Dane Dems Vice Chair of membership. I strive to create a more inclusive, engaging and diverse party. I also work in the field of education since I moved to Madison, WI in 2015. I develop and teach curriculum aimed at deeper learning with kids through meaningful educational experiences. I use similar techniques for staff development work with adult staff in schools and some non profit organizations. Applying an engineer mindset to education in a more playful way.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Vote-Luis-103739998032073/?modal=admin_todo_tour


Andrew Werthmann

I grew up on my family’s 600-acre dairy farm in west-central Wisconsin. Elected at age 25, I have served 11 years on the Eau Claire City Council, championing issues of affordable housing, living wages, labor rights, and clean energy. I work for a national non-profit consulting on federal policy including health care, public lands, national parks, flood resilience, clean energy policy, and climate change. I was elected in 2016 to the Democratic National Committee. My wife Kerri and I own a home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with our dog Abbie!

In these past four years, I am proud of the progress we have all made to strengthen our party and elect good people up and down the ballot! Our DNC team, which includes Senator Janet Bewely, Martha Love, Khary Penebaker and myself, together with DPW leadership and staff, and all of you, have been able to:

  • Secure the 2020 DNC National Convention for Milwaukee.
  • Gain support from the DNC to pay more organizers on the ground across Wisconsin
  • Big wins in 2018 with Senator Baldwin, Governor Evers, Lt. Governor Barnes, State Treasurer Godlewski and Attorney General Kaul!
  • Big wins in Spring 2020 with Jill Karofsky elected to the Supreme Court and many local races!
  • Enacting the boldest reforms in generations at the Democratic National Committee – caucus transparency, superdelegate reforms, financial accountability, and more.

We have more to do! I am running for re-election to the DNC because we still have a lot of work to do – not only to win the Presidency in November but to make sure we create a better Democratic Party that welcomes new people, that focuses on empowering those often not at the table, and that is accountable and building trust at all levels.

Paid for by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Ben Wikler, Chair