Kaplan was exploring a bid as early as May with a neighborhood association visit, and two weeks ago her supporters said they were launching a drive to get 1,000 signatures on a petition to add her to the District B ballot. On Wednesday morning, Kaplan’s campaign announced that the petition drive would continue, but that she was confirming her intention to run.
Kaplan will face two other announced candidates for the seat, Broadmoor Improvement Association president LaToya Cantrell and former Stacy Head chief of staff Eric Strachan. The seat is currently being held until the Nov. 6 election by Diana Bajoie, who as the interim council member cannot run.
The official qualifying period for the Nov. 6 election is Aug. 15 to 17.
The Kaplan campaign’s official news release follows in full:
Dana Kaplan to Run for City Council District B
Dana Kaplan announced today she will stand as a candidate for the New Orleans City Council, District B.
Kaplan’s candidacy is a direct result of a grassroots, voter-driven signature gathering process that is still underway. New Orleans city officials said it has been at least 15 years since a candidate has qualified for the ballot by signatures from voters.
“I am deeply humbled and overwhelmed by the response to the efforts of the Draft Dana Kaplan community group,” said Kaplan. “I care deeply about the future of District B and the entire city of New Orleans. I want this campaign to capture the energy and optimism reflected in the draft movement.”
Kaplan, a homeowner in the Irish Channel, is Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL). Prior to joining JJPL, Kaplan worked for the Center for Constitutional Rights where she assisted in the development of the Safe Streets/Strong Communities initiative. Through work with the City Council, Dana helped create the Office of the Independent Police Monitor to provide accountability and independent monitoring to the New Orleans Police Department.
“I would hope that my campaign can capture the energy that comes from the diversity, hopes and dreams of the people of District B,” Kaplan said. “I want to take the voices of the people into debates about creating jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure and ending the vicious cycle of violence that leaves no neighborhood untouched. I want to be a part of making New Orleans a place where everyone can live, work, study, teach, and play in peace and harmony.”
Kaplan concluded, “New Orleans is a city accustomed to storms. We have faced storms from the Gulf, storms of violence, storms of hate and indifference, and storms of corruption. But storms pass and, afterward, the sunshine and the rainbow are there for all to see. I believe in the power of collaboration and consensus. By working together, we can send a message around the corner, to City Hall, across the nation and around the world that we have weathered the storms and that we have emerged stronger, united, and full of hope and confidence.”
Kaplan said she would encourage the Draft Dana Kaplan group to continue gathering signatures and that her campaign would work to help the group gather the 1,000 signatures required to put her on the ballot.
Dana Kaplan Biography
Dana Kaplan is a proven reformer who is committed to making our community stronger and safer. As a candidate for the New Orleans City Council, District B, Dana will draw upon her experience as a leader in criminal justice and bring fresh perspective and an independent voice to city government.
In her role as Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), Dana has lifted up young people and their families and supported the community through commonsense crime prevention strategies. Placing focus on youth opportunities, Dana developed a leadership program in Central City serving youth from across New Orleans. With Dana’s collaborative leadership style, JJPL partnered with four other youth organizations to form a citywide collective focused on positive youth development.
Prior to joining JJPL, Dana worked for the Center for Constitutional Rights where she assisted in the development of the Safe Streets/Strong Communities initiative. Through work with the City Council, Dana helped create the Office of the Independent Police Monitor to provide accountability and independent monitoring to the New Orleans Police Department.
At the national level, Dana has advised organizations including the National Education Association (NEA) where she developed curriculum for teachers and The National Resource Center on Prisons and Communities.
Dana is an active member of the community, serving as a member of the Children Youth and Families Planning Board, the Mayor’s Strategic Command to Reduce Murders Community Provider Action Team, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and the Independent Women’s Organization. Dana is a board member of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association.
Dana earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a recipient of the John Gardner Fellowship for Public Service. She went on to achieve a master’s degree from the City University of New York.
On the New Orleans City Council, Dana will work to bring meaningful jobs to New Orleans and improve and strengthen neighborhoods, while continuing her effort to reduce crime and make our streets safer. Encouraged by supporters in the community, Dana has been drafted to run for the council through a voter-driven signature gathering process. Dana is the first New Orleans candidate in a generation to qualify for the ballot in this manner.