Lavora Barnes is the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. Elected in February 2019, Barnes is the first Black woman to hold this post. Prior to being elected Chair, Barnes was the Chief Operating Officer for the MDP, a post she held since 2015.
A political veteran with extensive experience in field, communications, and fundraising, Barnes has implemented and grown a year-round, full-time organizing strategy in every corner of Michigan. She is chief architect of MDP’s Project 83, started in 2017 and named for the 83 counties in Michigan. Project 83 is the blueprint for a successful organizing model now being adopted by other states in the country, following Michigan’s lead.
Barnes is a sought after political consultant on a national level, and has appeared on MSNBC, C-Span, CNN and all of the major news networks. She has a strong network of colleagues on the national stage and is one of the go-to Democratic leaders in the country for sound and sincere advice. Former Chair Brandon Dillon said, “If you want to talk, you can call anyone, if you want to win, you call Lavora.”
Barnes is committed to expanding and solidifying the permanent party infrastructure in Michigan for which she has been such a strong advocate. Recognizing that while campaigns in so many ways will remain seasonal operations, the permanent infrastructure of the party will be the determinative factor in close races moving forward.
Barnes is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Born in North Carolina, her family moved to Virginia where she spent the majority of her childhood. The mother of 3, Barnes lives with her family in Ann Arbor.