Note To A Disappointed Young Democrat On The Montgomery County Democratic Party Strategic Planning Committee

In April, Mark Owens, the Chairman of the MCDP, asked that I chair the MCDP Strategic Planning Committee. I wrote a letter distributed at the June MCDP Central Committee meeting inviting any interested Central Committee member to join the committee. One person who signed up expressed strong disagreement with the fact that goals have already been established for the committee and in an exchange of several emails urged that a new process for goal identification be initiated. Yesterday, I finally had an opportunity to meet this individual in person. I was surprised by the stubbornness with which she maintained her point of view. I sent her the following note as a summary of our discussion.

I am glad that you want to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee and I understand your disappointment that you had no voice in a key aspect of the committee — the establishment of the goals for the committee.

It is important that you understand that the goals for this Strategic Planning Committee were established in the 2018 MCDP Constitution and that this Constitution emerged from a democratic process. You were not part of the process because you were not active in the party in 2018. You missed out on the opportunity to work on the Constitution Committee that recommended the new Preamble and Statement of Purpose for the 2018 Constitution. You missed out on the opportunity to serve as delegate to the 2018 Reorganization Meeting where the Preamble and Statement of Purpose in the 2018 MCDP Constitution were approved.

I agree, as you point out, that often a Strategic Planning Committee starts at ground zero in goal identification — spending a lot of time and effort in surveying the membership, developing consensus, developing ownership of the process, etc. I understand that in some circumstances this is an appropriate and valuable process and a good use of time. But you need to understand that the goals for this committee are already established and that the committee will not discard these established goals and initiate a new process of goal identification.

I can only conclude that your demand that new goals be established stems from a strong conviction that the established goals are weak and inappropriate. I understand that a person passionate that the party be more successful may feel that a goal like “to empower representative democracy in the party and in the county” is so ethereal that efforts to build a strategic plan to advance such a goal will be a waste of time. Please be patient. The four goals established for Strategic Planning will empower the committee to address all of the specific concerns that might be troubling you — how to improve Democratic vote turn-out, how to develop stronger candidates, how to raise more money, how to engage the youth, etc.

The Strategic Planning Committee, as indicated in a letter approved by Chairman Owens, is “charged with developing recommendations for discussion and action in the Central Committee concerning how the MCDP can advance the goals established in the preamble and statement of purpose established in the MCDP Constitution.” I get the fact that you might disagree with the goals, but certainly you want to be team player in the party and certainly you want to show respect for the democratic process that produced the goals — and show respect for our Chairman who established this committee and who asked that I chair this committee.

It was so nice finally to meet you in person — by the content of your emails I had expected a much older person. I think it is wonderful that the Democratic Party is attracting passionate and capable youth like yourself who are eager to advance the success of the Democratic Party. You obviously have a lot to offer to bring success to this committee and to the whole party. I am looking forward to our becoming friends and to working productively together.

Thank you. — Mike Bock

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