Yesterday, I had a cordial and productive 80 minute meeting with Mark Owens, longtime Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. One outcome of the meeting will be the establishment of a “Strategic Planning Committee” that will be “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.”
The new MCDP Constitution talks the “pro-democracy” talk. The purpose of the Strategic Planning Committee will be to make recommendations of how these high-minded words can be translated into a long-range action plan.
- The new preamble says that the MCDP should seek to be “a strong party organization that empowers representative democracy within our party and throughout the county.”
- The new statement of purpose says: “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, and by advancing candidates of the people who are dedicated to public service, and whose values align with the principles of the Democratic Party.”
These new additions to the MCDP Constitution indicate huge pro-democracy goals that, if accomplished, would make the Democratic Party in Montgomery County a true grassroots organization. The Strategic Plan that is needed would show how to engage within the Democratic Party organization many more of the 58,000 registered Democrats in the county than the small number of county Dems who are now engaged.
A huge issue for the MCDP is simply getting Democratic voters to turn-out and vote. Regardless of yeoman efforts by the MCDP, strong Democratic precincts have a turn-out much smaller than the county average. This problem of Democratic turn-out is a state-wide and national problem. There seems to be a GOTV ceiling. Unfortunately, it seems we are reaching the limit of what can be done through knocking on more doors and mailing more literature efforts to break that ceiling. The new preamble and statement of purpose point to a different strategy — one of building grassroots communities where voting is highly valued.
It was because of Mark’s recommendation that the goals for the MCDP outlined in the new preamble and statement of purpose in the MCDP Constitution were approved at the quadrennial “Reorganization Meeting” last June. Now, I am encouraged that Mark supports taking the next step and establishing a plan for implementing these goals. Advancing these goals, points to a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) for the MCDP. The more that the MCDP can accomplish these goals the more it will become a model of the exemplary — dynamic, twenty-first century — Democratic Party county organization so strongly needed throughout the state.
One evidence of a “pro-democracy” MCDP would be an active and committed Central Committee. Mark agreed to place on the agenda of the next Central Committee meeting proposed changes to the MCDP Constitution that, if approved by two-thirds in attendance, will make the Central Committee a stronger group. (See below)
Anyway, it was a good meeting and I am encouraged that there is an avenue open for the MCDP to grow into the strong organization that it needs to be to organize and empower county Democrats. And, I’m encourage to see how I can make a good contribution to the MCDP efforts to prepare for the crucial 2020 elections.
Proposal to Amend Section 7-4 of the MCDP Constitution:
Email notice of Central Committee meetings shall be provided to all Central Committee members who have email service. Written notice by U.S. mail shall be provided to all members who request such notice. Members shall receive notice of meetings at least five days prior to the date of the scheduled meeting. This notice shall contain an agenda of the meeting and shall include minutes of the previous meeting.
Proposal to Add to MCDP By-Laws:
- Minutes of Central Committee meetings shall include a record of all members in attendance at the meeting and shall identify the precinct that each attending member represents.
- Each Central Committee meeting will include a review of the minutes of the previous meeting for changes and approval by vote of the Committee.
- Each Central Committee meeting will include a Treasurer’s report.
- Each calendar year, the Central Committee will discuss, vote on changes, and approve the MCDP budget for that year.