In 1996 Michael Heffron, joinedthe national staff of Democratic Socialists of America, as Midwest Organizer. He had just graduated from Ohio University, where he majored in Political Science and minored in Spanish.
Heffron was the co-chair of the DSA-Youth Section chapter for three years and was also involved with other organizations, such as Women's Affair's Commission of Student Senate. He also worked at the DSA office as an intern, and was the corresponding secretary of the Youth Section leadership for a year.
In 1996 Heffron's most recent efforts have focused on forging links between DSA and the AFL-CIO's Union Summer campaign by having DSAers conduct intensive Campus Labor Institutes for Union Summer participants. "Campus Labor Institutes are tools to educate youth about the new, energized labor movement. They're an opportunity to bring youth face-to-face with labor-to dispel a lot of myths about unions and to show the significant improvements unions bring to the lives of working people,".
DSA support for Clem Balanoff
In 1996 Democratic Socialists of America sent six staff members into the field for the final weeks of the campaign. These staff and DSA volunteers "contributed to the re-election of Senator Paul Wellstone, Congressperson Maurice Hinchey (D-upstate NY) and aided in the narrow victory of pro-labor John Tierney (D-MA) over "moderate" Republican Pete Torkildsen in Massachusetts. DSA also contributed to the near-upset victories of first-time Democratic challengers Joe Hoeffel in suburban Philadelphia and Clem Balanoff on the Chicago South Side and southwestern suburbs.
According to DSA member Michael Heffron;
- Altogether, the district spans a large area of Illinois that ranges from city to suburb to farmland. It was in that six percent that is Chicago-proper where I and a few other DSA volunteers concentrated our work to try to elect Clem Balanoff, a progressive Democrat, to Congress.
- As I joined the campaign in late October, Balanoff was down by about 20 points. The gap narrowed as the election approached. Despite being redbaited (partly because of DSA's involvement, but more viciously because Clem's uncle had run for alderman as a Communist back in the 40's), and hippie-baited (due to his spending time in California in the 1980's, ind registering with the Peace and Freedom Party there), Clem slowly began to gain ground, and was only fight points down three days before the election. However, Balanoff was being outspent by two-to-one, so it was the volunteers who played the most crucial role...
- In such a race, union support is vital, and Clem received endorsements from every major labor organization in his district. Many of the volunteers 1 worked with were from unions such as the Teamsters for a Democratic Union or SEIU.
-  DSA website 1997, accessed May 27, 2010
- Dem. Left May/June 1996
- [Dem. Left, Nov./Dec. 1996]