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Will The Montgomery County Democratic Party At Its Reorganization Meeting Choose To Be Transparent?

Nan Whaley, Dayton mayor and a big influence in the MCDP and Mark Owens, MCDP Chairman

I had a good meeting this morning with Mark Owens, Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, concerning nine motions I am making to change the MCDP Constitution. At the Reorganization Meeting on June 6, only a majority vote is needed to change the constitution.

I emphasized that the newly elected Central Committee must deal with Ward / Fairchild debacle. How did the party make such a bonehead decision that it should choose one qualified Democrat over another — and then proceed to spend party funds to tell Dayton Democrats how to vote?

The big problem is transparency. There is no record of how the decision was made to endorse Rev. Ward. There is no record of how Central Committee members voted. In this Ward / Fairchild matter, the MCDP acted like a secret society of insiders, rather than a representative body looking after the interests of all Democrats. Sarah Greathouse, Executive Secretary, wants to defend the action of the group by saying that the MCDP follows Roberts Rules, and that nobody asked for a roll-call vote. Yes — exactly. Nobody in that group wanted the vote concerning Ward / Fairchild to be on record and to be made public.

Roberts Rules says a motion to vote by roll-call, in order to be approved, requires a majority of those voting. I told Mark that, concerning all proposed changes to the Constitution, I would be making a motion for a roll-call vote and I asked if he would support such a motion. He refused to commit and said he would not make a recommendation to the Central Committee. I think it is important that he and other party leaders, like Nan Whaley, speak out in support of this motion for a roll call vote.

I said that Getting Out The Democratic Vote is a number one concern of the Democratic Party and that as a party we need to do some soul searching as to why so many Democratic voters are refusing to vote. I said we need to consider the possibility that some Democrats are not voting because they are mad at the party, they’ve lost faith and trust in the party.

A commitment to transparency as a party is one way to build trust. The elected members of the Central Committee, I believe, should make a change to the MCDP Constitution to make sure that in the matter of endorsement, that the party meet a high standard of transparency. I now have a list of nine proposed changes to the constitution — modified somewhat from the list of ten I shared in a previous post. For the first four there seems general agreement. The ninth proposed change is the key — a commitment to transparency.

At the Reorganization Meeting, my motion will be for a roll-call vote concerning changes to the constitution. I’ll be disappointed and somewhat amazed if a majority of the members of the Central Committee in attendance defeat the motion. I’m hoping that by wide consensus, the Montgomery County Democratic Party At Its Reorganization Meeting Will Choose To Be Transparent.

Proposed Changes to the MCDP Constitution

  1. PREAMBLE: “WE THE REPRESENTATIVES of the Democrats living in Montgomery County — in order to form a strong party organization that empowers representative democracy within our party and throughout the county — do establish this Montgomery County Democratic Party Constitution.
  2. A New Name: “The Montgomery County Democratic Party.”
  3. A New PURPOSE: “In accordance with the provisions of Section 3517 of the Ohio Revised Code, this organization shall be the “Controlling Committee” of the Democratic Party of Montgomery County. The purpose of the Montgomery County Democratic Party is to represent and to serve Montgomery County Democrats. The MCDP advances this purpose: by connecting Montgomery County Democrats within an extended MCDP community where every member has a voice, by advancing candidates of the people who are dedicated to public service and whose principles align with those of the Democratic Party.
  4. An expansion of MEMBERSHIP: “The MCDP welcomes all Democrats registered in Montgomery County to become a member of the MCDP organization.”
  5. Endorsement recommendations by the Screening Committee shall be announced at least three days prior to the Central Committee meeting at which the recommendations will be acted on.
  6. Central Committee members may register their vote with the MCDP Secretary at any time during the three days prior to the Central Committee meeting.
  7. During the Central Committee meeting, any endorsement recommendations made from the floor, and seconded, will be communicated to Central Committee members not attending the meeting. Voting on these recommendations will occur via communication with the MCDP Secretary and voting will be concluded after 48 hours.
  8. The endorsement of Democratic Primary candidates shall occur after the Board of Election deadline for Democratic candidates to file for the primary.
  9. Central Committee votes on all motions for endorsements shall be by roll-call or by paper ballot with the member’s signature, or by registering the vote with the MCDP Secretary. For each endorsement, a record showing each Central Committee member’s vote shall be posted online.
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Proposed Change To MCDP Constitution —All Endorsements Shall Be By Roll Call Vote Of The Central Committee

With its endorsement of Democrat Rev Ward over Democrat Rev Fairchild, the Montgomery County Democratic Party further eroded confidence in the party. The Selection Committee’s decision to endorse was not based on the competence and character of the two candidates. It was all about party politics. Evidently, Rev. Ward had more friends than Rev. Fairchild on the Selection Committee. There is no record of how this decision was made. The constitution calls for all endorsements to command a 2/3 support in the Central Committee. The problem is, there is no transparency. There is no way that I can discover who on the Central Committee voted for the endorsement and who voted against and who failed to vote.

The MCDP has lost legitimacy. I believe many Democrats are refusing to vote because they have lost confidence in the Democratic Party. To gain legitimacy, the Montgomery County Democratic Party Central Committee must uphold high standards for itself as a representative body. Of the ten proposed changes to the constitution, at the June 6 Reorganization Meeting, the one most crucial to find agreement on is number nine — calling for all endorsement votes to be by roll call and for this record to be made available to all Montgomery County Democrats. In addition to making a commitment to transparency, the MCDP must make a commitment to full participation. There is no good reason to maintain the rule that only those present at a meeting should have the right to vote. We need to make it easy for Central Committee members to participate in endorsement votes. Change number five calls for a period of five days for members to record their endorsement votes

 

1. Proposed Change — Addition of the following PREAMBLE, that will articulate the purpose of the Constitution:

WE THE REPRESENTATIVES of Montgomery County Democrats — in order to form a grassroots Democratic party organization that empowers representative democracy throughout the county — do establish this Montgomery County Democratic Party Constitution

2. Proposed Change — A New Name that will indicate that the MCDP is an organization of all Montgomery County Democrats, not just the Central Committee.

“The Montgomery County Democratic Party.”

3. Proposed Change — A New PURPOSE, that tells what the party seeks to accomplish.

The purpose of the Montgomery County Democratic Party is to unite Montgomery County Democrats within an extended MCDP community that nurtures, prepares and elect candidates that are of the people, for the people.

4. Proposed Change — An expansion of MEMBERSHIP so that the MCDP welcomes all Montgomery County Democrats, not just the Central Committee, into membership in a MCDP community:

The MCDP welcomes all Democrats registered in Montgomery County to become a member of the MCDP community. Every person who joins a local Democratic Committee also joins The MCDP. One reorganization goal is, by 2022, to create a large MCDP online community of at least 15% of Democrats registered in Montgomery County.

5. Proposed Change in Endorsement to increase the number of Committee Members who vote on Endorsement recommendations:

Endorsement recommendations by the Selection Committee must be announced at least five days prior to the Central Committee vote and Central Committee members may register their vote with the MCDP Secretary at any time during those five days. A vote of two-thirds of those voting is needed for endorsement.

6. Proposed Change in Endorsement to increase the number of Committee Members who vote on on Endorsement recommendations:

Endorsement nominations made from the floor, and seconded, will be communicated to Central Committee members not attending the meeting. Voting on these nominations will occur via communication with the MCDP Secretary and voting will be concluded after five days.

7. Proposed Change to prohibit early endorsements that suppress Primary participation:

The endorsement of Democratic Primary candidates must occur after the Board of Election deadline for filing for the primary.

8. Proposed Change in Endorsement to require the Endorsement of Primary candidates to command a super majority vote in the Central Committee:

To endorse a Primary candidate requires a vote of 75% of Central Committee members voting.

9. Proposed Change in Endorsement to show, as a representative body, transparency in Central Committee members’ votes:

All votes on endorsements will be by roll call. This roll call record, showing the action of each Central Committee member, will be posted on the MCDP website.

10. Proposed Change in STRUCTURE to undergird the present structure with a network of interconnected grassroots communities led by MCDP Central Committee members..

Democratic Caucuses for each of the five Ohio House Districts in the county.
Democratic Committees in each of the county’s sixteen political jurisdiction.

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Elected Precinct Leaders At The MCDP Reorganization Must Advance A Plan To Build Respect And Support For The Party

In the eyes of many area Democrats the MCDP eroded its legitimacy with its high-handed endorsement of Rev Ward over Rev Fairchild for the vacated seat on the Dayton City Commission

One central issue that the June 6 MCDP Reorganization Meeting must deal with is how to build respect and support for the Democratic Party. We must deal with the core reasons that so many Democrats stay home and refuse to vote. We must deal with the fact that the party has lost legitimacy. At the June 6 Meeting, I’m proposing ten changes to the MCDP Constitution. I believe that in order for the Democratic Party to gain respect and support it must address: Its Purpose, Its Structure and Its Legitimacy.

PURPOSE

I’ve look at a lot of county constitutions, mostly from counties in Ohio, but in other parts of the nation as well. Almost all constitutions fail to state the mission of the organization. A few say that the mission of the county organization is to elect Democrats, a few say that their mission is to advance a progressive agenda.

Under PURPOSE, the current MCDP Constitution has these cryptic words: “In accordance with the provisions of Section 3517 of the Ohio Revised Code, this organization shall be the ‘Controlling Committee’ of the Democratic Party of Montgomery County.”

I am proposing a change in the constitution so that this is the statement of PURPOSE:

The purpose of the Montgomery County Democratic Party is to unite Montgomery County Democrats within an extended MCDP community that nurtures, prepares and elect candidates that are of the people, for the people.

The current constitution has no PREAMBLE. Here is the one I am proposing:

WE THE REPRESENTATIVES of Montgomery County Democrats — in order to form a grassroots Democratic party organization that empowers representative democracy throughout the county — do establish this Montgomery County Democratic Party Constitution.

The strategy of the Democratic Party, I believe, should be to empower representative democracy. It should be our mission. We must walk the walk in how we operate as a political organization and do our best as an organization to engage and represent county Democrats. Empowering democracy is a brand that Republicans can’t compete with. The Democratic Party has a big advantage in this single issue. We must challenge Republicans to work with us to help inform and engage the citizenry. Let’s challenge them to make it a county-wide goal to increase the rate of voting in every precinct. Let’s challenge them to work with us to provide opportunities for in-depth civics education for our youth.

STRUCTURE

The way that the MCDP is organized is very out of date. It uses a military structure that was very effective when the party controlled hundreds of patronage jobs. It was this power of patronage that brought discipline to the party organization. The Party had a hierarchy of authority — each stage of the hierarchy enjoying different privileges. At some level, if you had enough pull in the party, you could get your brother-in-law a good job working on the road crew. Being an active precinct leader and aggressive ward leader paid off and so there was competition for those positions.

Rather than being structured as a military organization, my proposed changes to the MCDP Constitution supports the type of structure appropriate for a volunteer organization. My suggestion is that the MCDP learn from successful volunteer organizations like the Kiwanis Club and structure the MCDP as a network of independent local groups — a Kettering Democratic Committee, a Miamisburg Democratic Committee, etc. These groups would be united in a common purpose and constitution, but each would have its own officers, budgets and projects. The MCDP Central Committee, then, would consist of the local leaders of these local groups who also are the jurisdiction’s precinct leaders. Young people would have a path to leadership with the party through their participation in their local Democratic Committee.

We need a grassroots structure attractive to volunteers where local leadership is inspired and nourished. Montgomery County has at least sixteen political jurisdictions with a council and school board. I’m hoping that the members at the Reorganization will agree with me that it would be wonderful if each of these jurisdictions had an active Democratic Committee exerting a positive influence in the jurisdiction — advancing civics education, positively engaging the youth, increasing voter turn-out, etc.

LEGITIMACY

The other suggested change to the Constitution deals with the general topic of legitimacy. The Central Committee is suppose to represent all of the Democrats in the county, yet in this election 60% of the positions on the Committee were left unfilled. This failure to fill the representative body with representatives undermines our legitimacy as a party.

Also undermining the MCDP legitimacy it its history of endorsements. A party is taking a huge responsibility when it chooses one Democrat over another Democrat. I very much opposed the decision of the Central Committee to endorse in the contest between the two Darryl’s. The decision of the MCDP to exert its will on Democrats and to tell Democrats to vote for Rev Ward, rather than Rev Fairchild, convinced many Democrats, particularly Fairchild supporters, that the MCDP is not a fairly run group.

If I thought such a bonehead decision came about from a deliberative process — a Central Committee fairly representing the Democrats in the county — I’d complain about the result, but not about the process. The problem is, I suspect that only a tiny fraction of the small membership of the Committee voted. I’d like to know how Kettering’s Central Committee members voted, but there is no record of the vote. If we are to have legitimacy we need to have transparency. I’d like to know who voted for the endorsement, who voted against it and who failed to vote. I believe that the MCDP Constitution should require such transparency.

I believe the elected members of the Central Committee at the June 6 Meeting must make Constitutional changes to deal with the PURPOSE, STRUCTURE and LEGITIMACY of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. I’ve written ten specific changes I’d like to see in the MCDP Constitution with the purpose of stimulating discussion and the hope that these changes can be modified as needed to get the needed support at the Reorganization Meeting.

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Ohio’s Medicaid Expansion Has Provided 700,000 Citizens Good Insurance And Has Made A Big Positive Impact On Recipients

In 2014, Ohio opted into the Medicaid Expansion made available to states through the Affordable Care Act. By May 2016, a total of 702,000 individuals were eligible for and received Medicaid coverage made possible by this Expansion. In 2016, at the request of the Ohio Assembly, The Ohio Department of Medicaid in cooperation with Ohio State University, conducted an in-depth study of the result of this Expansion. The information in this post comes from that study.

Medicaid expansion allowed most Ohioans age 19 through 64 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to become eligible for Medicaid. Prior to January 1, 2014, Medicaid eligibility for adults was limited to those with certain qualifying characteristics such as parenthood or disability, and the income limitation for most Medicaid eligibility groups was lower than 90% of the FPL

This Medicaid Expansion has made a huge difference in the number of low-income citizens in Ohio who have health insurance. In Montgomery County, 11.9% of all adults ages 19-64 are enrolled in the Medicaid Expansion. In total, 21.8% of adults in that age group are enrolled in Medicaid.

Ohioans who have insurance because of the Expanded Medicaid option provided through the Affordable Care Act

Most Expanded Medicaid enrollees were uninsured prior to obtaining Medicaid coverage, either because they had no prior insurance at all (75.1%) or they had lost employer-based insurance (13.9%). The study shows that most Expanded Medicaid enrollees were white (71.5%), male (55.8%), with a high school degree or less (58.1%), unmarried (83.8%), and without a child in the home (82.1%). Employment rates were similar for the Expanded Medicaid enrollees and pre-expansion enrollees (43.2% versus 41.5%)

Key Findings of the Study

  • More than one-quarter of Group VIII enrollees were diagnosed with a chronic condition after enrolling in Medicaid, suggesting a high level of unmet medical needs. Medicaid has enabled those with chronic conditions to obtain evidence-based care… Enrollees are showing improvements in the management of their chronic conditions, including reductions in high-risk levels of blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Participation in Medicaid has made it easier for Group VIII enrollees to pay for basic necessities including food and housing. Medicaid coverage has enabled currently employed Group VIII enrollees to maintain their positions, and it has helped enrollees without jobs to seek employment.
  • Since Expanded Medicaid enrollment, more than one-quarter (27.0%) of participants have been diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition. Many of these chronic conditions would likely have remained undiagnosed and untreated without Medicaid expansion.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Group VIII enrollees (64.3%) reported that Medicaid improved their access to generalmhealth care. Similar improvements were reported for access to care in the areas of pharmacy, vision, and dental.
  • Of Group VIII enrollees with positive screens for anxiety or depression, 44.0% reported that access to mental health treatment had become easier since enrolling in Medicaid, while 5.0% indicated that it had become harder
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The Ohio Assembly Has Mandated Work Requirement For Medicaid — Research Shows This Is A Bad Idea

Interesting report from Policy Matters Ohio concludes that mandating work requirements for Medicaid enrollees would drive down health coverage in Ohio and would be contrary to Medicaid’s stated goals.

Policy Matters says: “Rigid work requirements would not meaningfully improve work participation, but they would kick people off of insurance, many who are working, reversing hard-won progress in Ohio. Physicians groups like the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others oppose work requirements because they impose unnecessary barriers to health care.”

“New work requirements will not meaningfully increase work participation because most Medicaid recipients In Ohio are already working — or, they are eligible to be exempted from work requirements. 61 percent of working-age Medicaid enrollees are employed: 40 percent, full time and 21 percent, part time. Another 22 percent have an illness or injury that prevents them from working and 12 percent are caregivers. Five percent are not working for other reasons: some are students, some retired and some are looking for work.”

Another research group, Community Solutions has lots of good information on this issue. One thing their research shows is how a Medicaid work requirement will result in a big expense to government. They write: “Currently, eligibility is primarily a byproduct of income. With work requirements, all 700 thousand expansion enrollees would have to go through some level of adjudication on the state, local and/or provider level.”

In its petition to Health and Human Services (HHS), this is the list of categories that Ohio is requesting will be exempted from Medicaid work requirement:

  • 50 years of age or older
  • Physically or mentally unfit for employment
  • Participant in the Specialized Recovery Services Program
  • Caring for a disabled/incapacitated household member
  • Pregnant women
  • Parent/caretaker/residing in same house with minor child
  • Applied for or receiving Unemployment Compensation
  • In school at least half-time
  • Participating in drug or alcohol treatment
  • An assistance group member subject to and complying with any work requirement under the Ohio Works First
    (OWF) program
  • Applicant for or recipient of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Limit to counties that have an unemployment rate of more than 10% or do not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individual.
Work Requirement Increases Cost And Size Of Government

Community Solutions states:

“The reality of this and other work requirement proposals is that it will increase the cost of the program as it will increase the size and operational requirements of government. Data from Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania demonstrates this, with governments in those states reporting that the operational costs for implementation would number in the hundreds of millions

In Cuyahoga County alone, it is estimated that nearly 30 percent of the expansion population will have to go through some level of appraisal by a county case worker before eligibility is granted. This new process, which subverts the efficiency of the current, data-driven system to one that is more dependent on human activity, will increase the variable costs of the state and county governments as well as the providers who rely on eligibility to ensure predictable revenue cycles.

Cuyahoga County, in fact, has testified that this activity of appraisal and adjudication will increase their costs in the millions. In its calculations, Ohio does not contemplate the cost of administration on the state or local level. The state also foregoes including how the increase in uncompensated care may increase disproportionate share payments to hospitals, which is also a Medicaid expense.”

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