Wellstone Action campaign group removes senator's sons from the board

They've asked that the group stop using their father's name.
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They've asked that the group stop using their father's name.
Mark Wellstone, speaking at his father's memorial in 2002.

Mark Wellstone, speaking at his father's memorial in 2002.

What's happening?

Wellstone Action, the liberal campaign group set up in the aftermath of Paul Wellstone's tragic death, is removing the former Minnesota senator's sons from its board.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Wellstone Action said it will be taking the "difficult but necessary step" of removing David and Mark Wellstone from the board in the coming days.

"This is not a decision we took lightly, but it was the necessary resolution, after months of negotiation with them, for the healthy continuation of the empowering training and leadership development programs Wellstone Action delivers to stakeholders in communities across the country," the board said in a statement.

Why is it doing this?

Wellstone Action said the actions of the senator's sons over the past year "indicate that they don’t support the long-term vision of the organization, which has always included a strong belief that we must work in community and across lines of difference in order to create the world in which we wish to live."

As a result, these actions have "created an untenable tension over the organization's ongoing emphasis on expanding inclusivity and equity."

The Associated Press reports that the Wellstone brothers have tried to shift the focus of the organization from training progressive election candidates to "more aggressive issue advocacy" since the election of President Donald Trump.

Paul Wellstone was a leading champion of progressive causes to the day of his death in a plane crash in northern Minnesota, shortly before he was up for re-election in the 2002 mid-terms.

Wellstone Action also said former board members Rick Kahn – who famously delivered a political eulogy at the senator's memorial – and Ron DeHarpporte shared similar views to the Wellstone brothers.

Jeff Blodgett, the co-founder and board member of Wellstone Action and Paul Wellstone's former campaign manager, said the brothers have asked the group no longer uses the Wellstone name.

During its existence, Wellstone Action says it has helped train 90,000 prospective candidates nationwide.

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