The Transformation Needed In The Democratic Party Is Starting Here In Montgomery County

The Democratic Party needs transformation — one from a political boss structure to a representative democracy structure, from rule by clique to rule by representative body, from a party of the few, to the party of the people.

Of the 60,000 Democrats in Montgomery County, only a handful have a voice in the local party organization. The MCDP has operated with a “political boss” structure stretching back to its beginnings. This structure is consistent throughout the party. For example, David Pepper, the ODP Chairperson, was chosen to be the leader of Ohio’s 1.4 million Democrats by a committee of only 148 members. Only 66 of these individuals were elected during a Democratic Primary, the other 82 are party insiders.

David Esrati writes: “The Ohio Democratic Party needs to have a housecleaning — as does the Montgomery County Democratic Party who have let our county go from Blue to Red over the last 10 years thanks to their protection of the ‘Friends and Family’ plan.”

Rather than “housecleaning,” I’d say, a better term is “house restructuring.” We need a house restructuring. The foundation for such restructuring was established in the revised MCDP Constitution approved at the June MCDP Reorganization Meeting. (The MCDP website is not up-to-date. It shows only the expired 2014 document, not the approved 2018 Constitution.) The elected delegates approved a new preamble and new statement of purpose (see below) that state three goals:

  1. Empower representative democracy within our party.
  2. Empower representative democracy throughout the county.
  3. Connect Montgomery County Democrats within an extended MCDP community where every member has a voice

To accomplish these goals will require a restructuring of the MCDP. Coming up with a plan to advance these goals should be the focus of discussion and debate in the MCDP Central Committee. The big news is that largely because of the efforts of Tim and Alison Benford, the membership of the Central Committee has had an increase of more than 70% — roughly from 130 to 225 (I don’t have the latest number) — a great influx of new energy and new ideas. There is reason to believe that the transformation needed in the Democratic Party is starting here in Montgomery County.

Proposed Changes to the MCDP Constitution

At the June, 2018 MCDP Reorganization Meeting, the first four of these proposed changes to the MCDP Constitution were approved with no debate. All of the proposed changes concerning endorsement policy (5-9) were debated and defeated.

  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 made available to all members of the MCDP organization.
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