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Tom Perez wants to 'redefine' the Democratic Party's mission

Newly elected Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Tuesday that his party needs to "redefine" its mission and focus more on electing Democrats "up and down the ballot." (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

Newly elected Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez wants to change his party's focus.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday morning, Perez said it's time for the Democratic Party to "redefine our mission."

"The DNC's mission has to be to elect people up and down the ballot — from the school board to the senate," the former labor secretary said. "Not simply electing the president. The best way to do that is to build strong parties everywhere."

Perez admitted that the DNC has "neglected zip codes" recently — pointing specifically to areas in Wisconsin which former President Barack Obama won in his election.

"There's a tremendous amount of energy out there, and I think one of our challenges — really, I call it an opportunity as a party — is to channel the energy at a grassroots level," Perez said, adding that President Donald Trump is a "unifier" in that effort.

And in addressing the criticism of Democrats not appealing enough to white working class voters, Perez contended that Democrats have a "false choice" between choosing between white working class voters or minorities.

"What we have to do is talk to every voter in every community," Perez said. "What we need to do is talk directly to [voters'] fears and to their hopes. When hope is on the ballot we win, and when fear is on the ballot we lose."

"The message of economic opportunity — jobs, good jobs, retirement security — that's a message that resonates in every zip code," he said.

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