12-point plan to revive the Democratic Party in New Milford
These are steps the party chair should implement -- or have been doing all along. Support the New Milford Democrats for Change slate and it will happen.
Come to the caucus on Jan. 9 at the John Pettibone School cafeteria at 8 pm. Make yourself heard!
1. Improve fund-raising. We need to hold at least three events a year and bring in people outside the . The events should appeal to Democratic supporters in town who want to feel included and are willing to contribute a few dollars. Why not bring In Sen. Murphy or Blumenthal for a fund-raiser at someone’s house? How about a summer barbecue at the home of someone with a pool? A dinner with Gov. Malloy?
Bottom line is the party can’t win a local election without at least $5,000 in the bank. We need at least two mailers, more signs (to show people we’re still alive), a real phone bank and maybe a headquarters if we run a mayoral candidate. We also need to make sure DTC members pay their dues.
2. Continually recruit candidates. We can’t start looking for candidates a couple of months before the July caucus. Recruitment for the next election must start immediately after the previous election. In 2011, I recommended we form a Nominating Committee that would report monthly on its progress in finding candidates to run for local and state offices. It was promptly ignored by party leadership.
3. Communicate with party members. Keep ALL Democrats in town in the loop with regular e-newsletters on activities and/or through Facebook, Twitter and a website. The party’s website should be updated more than once every two years. Reach out to the rank-and-file and invite them to DTC meetings instead of discouraging new members. Publicize a phone number to reach party officials. Basically making the party more inclusive. Establish “associate memberships” for those who could then become first in line to become members when vacancies arise. In short, make the party more inclusive.
4. Make better use of technology. Actually, ANY use of technology
would be an improvement considering the party does not make use of the
Connecticut Dems CT VAN database of all New Milford voters, a gold mine
of information for organizational, recruitment and GOTV (get out the
vote) purposes. When we call on voters, in person or over the phone, we
need a mechanism to keep track of whether they support us, how willing
they are to donate money or volunteer their time. And the party
chairman MUST have e-mail.
5. Devise a media strategy. Basically, we need a plan that consists of more than throwing our hands in the air and saying, “The Spectrum hates us.”
6. Launch voter registration drives. New people are moving into the community every day. We need to contact them immediately, acting as a sort of Welcome Wagon, to show why they should support us. We can work with local colleges to register young voters, get Sen. Murphy, Rep. Esty and other regional politicians to speak at New Milford High School to encourage voting.
7. Have the party chair regularly campaign with candidates. The head of the party should be out front in the community and lead by example, knocking on doors, showing up at the post office, etc.
8. Sponsor charitable events/campaigns/crusades. The party should sponsor fund-raisers for local charities or groups in need. This idea was raised in committee last year … and promptly abandoned. In fact, we need to follow through on ideas raised at the DTC. This is the party chair’s job: to make sure things get done.
9. Give out awards. This is an oldie but goodie. Handing out awards to local groups earns you good publicity in the newspaper and good will in the community.
10. Work more closely with other town committees and the state committee to make New Milford a more influential town in regional and state politics. First, the local party has not even attempted to make use of the “Tools for Towns” strategies and materials the state committee designed to help local parties; doing so is a must. Second, we need to coordinate our efforts with those of state and federal candidates by assisting where we can, as well as providing them with local knowledge and volunteers. The other DTCs, especially those in our area, are a resource we need to take advantage of. We should exchange ideas, information, etc. with them on a regular basis.
11. Reach out to state and federal elected officials on a regular basis instead of waiting for them to come to us. If we establish a better relationship with them they will campaign for us in local elections and help us raise money. Once we win local office, these relationships can bring pay dirt in the form of assistance with grants, etc.
12. Create an active Executive Committee. The party chairmanship should
not be a dictatorship. An Executive Committee composed of officers and other members should meet regularly to
discuss strategies and toss around ideas to bring before the full