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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Our 12-Point Plan

Reposted from below to reach new readers. Several points to make first

  • New Milford Democrats for Change did NOT force the primary. If you are unhappy that the town is spending almost $10,000 --- that's a lot of salt -- don't blame us.  We won the town-wide caucus in January on an 83-62 vote over the incumbent Town Committee slate so it was THEIR members' choice to launch a petition drive to set up a primary.
  •  This plan is all about how to start winning elections and becoming competitive again. Democrats have not run a mayoral candidate since 2009.  We failed to field a full slate of Council and Board of Ed candidates in 2013.  That is not acceptable. There is a reason Republicans have publicly attacked us and complimented our opponents. They are scared of us. 

·         More  fund-raising events. We need to hold at least three events a year and feature the party's stars: Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Elizabeth Esty and our state officials. How about a summer barbecue/pool party? A dinner with Gov. Malloy?  Bottom line is the party can’t win local elections without at least $5,000 in the bank. How much do we have now? Don't ask.
·      
           Continually recruit candidates. We can’t start looking for candidates a couple of months before we nominate them in July. Recruitment for the next campaign must start immediately after the previous election. In 2011, I recommended we form a Nominating Committee charged with finding new candidates. Great idea, people said. Party leadership prompted put it aside.

·         Communicate with party members. Keep Democratic Party members in the loop with regular e-newsletters and/or through social media and a website. The party needs to update our website more than once every two years. We need to actively encourage people to attend DTC meetings instead of discouraging new members. Publicize a phone number to reach party officials. 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
.
·         Devise a media strategy. We need a plan that consists of more than throwing our hands in the air and say, “The Spectrum hates us.” 

·         Make better use of technology. Actually, ANY use of technology would be nice considering the party has shunned f the Connecticut Democrats CT VAN database of voters, a gold mine of information for organizational, recruitment, and get-out-the-vote purposes. And isn't about time we have a party chair who has email?

·         Launch voter registration drives. New people are moving into the community every day. We need to act as a sort of Welcome Wagon to show why they should support us. We should work with local colleges to register young voters and convince unaffiliated voters to become Democrats.

·         Have the party chair regularly campaign with candidates. Leaders should lead. During campaigns, the head of the party should be out in the community knocking on doors, making phone calls, actively interacting with voters.

·         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, praised ... and promptly abandoned. This is the party chair’s job: to make sure things get done.

·         Give out awards.. Handing out awards to local groups and individuals would earn the party positive publicity in the newspaper and goodwill in the community. 

·         Work more closely with other town committees and the state committee to make New Milford a more influential town in regional and state politics. The other town committees, 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. There are excellent tools and resources available from the Connecticut Democratic Party that we have ignored. Why?

·         Reach out to state and federal elected officials on a regular basis instead of waiting for them to come to us.  The town committee needs to put itself at the center of state and federal election efforts.

·         Revive the Executive Committee. The party chairmanship should not be a dictatorship. The Executive Committee should meet regularly to discuss strategies and toss around ideas to bring before the full committee.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Who are We?


It's all well and good to advocate change in a lethargic and listless Democratic Party, but who are the people advocating this shift? Voters have a right to know if New Milford Democrats for Change are a group of serious-minded, experienced and skilled group of enthusiasts or just a bunch of gadflies stirring up trouble?

We are you.  We're your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers. The people you see buying paint at Taylor's Hardware, ordering a latte at Bank Street Coffee House.or eating a sandwich at Gaylordsville Country Store.

We're familiar names and faces like former Councilman Peter Mullen, Board of Ed members Bob Coppola and David Shaffer (the former New Milford High School educator and one-time Teacher of the Year).  We're Mary Jane Lundgren, a long-time social activist and Town Councilwoman.  Board of Finance electees Gale Alexander and Barbara Wolf as well as Councilman Walter Bayer.

In fact, our slate includes seven people who New Milford voters elected to public office since 2011.  There are two former mayoral candidates.  Another seven of us (who aren't an elected official) serve as appointees on various town boards and commissions   Several of  us ran in the recent municipal election including Janice Alexander, Adrienne Aurichio, Jackie Marois and myself.

But just as importantly, Democrats for Change has attracted a raft of new, passionate and committed residents who, like you, are tired of seeing the party lose election after election. We are people like local attorney and parent David Gronbach whose wife Vanessa is reopening the Bank Street.Book Nook.  We're activists like Tom O'Brien who has fought tirelessly for bicycle enthusiasts with his New Milford River Trail group. We're teacher Ann Mueller who is tired of seeing our school budget decimated year after year.  We're small business owners like Lacey Wallace, Norman Adler, James Waldorf, Craig Baker and Tonya Tribble Luchford.  

We're retirees on fixed incomes. We have kids in the school system. And just like you, we pay taxes and want to receive decent services for our investment.







Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just Wondering

  • Why are New Milford Republicans weighing in on a Democratic primary? Why is GOP hatchet man Tom Morey praising our opponents? Are Republicans afraid that New Milford Democrats for Change will win and actually make them work for their re-election? http://tinyurl.com/lynlf2p and a sanitized version in the Spectrum.  http://tinyurl.com/mrhezy9
  • Isn't our slate just as experienced as our opponents? Haven't many of our candidates been much more successful in recent town elections? (See below.)
  •  Why are New Milford Democrats for Change the only slate that has offered any solutions for reviving the party and reversing our dour election fortunes? (See our 12-point plan below.)
  •  Why are our opponents complaining about "radical" change on the Democratic Town Committee when some of them turned down our invitation to join our slate -- in effect, run on both slates --  in the Jan. 9 party caucus?  Did the party chair ask these people not to join our slate? Is  "sweeping change" really bad when you are not only losing elections, but failing to be competitive?
  •  Won't we welcome back some of the more experienced and valuable members of our opponents' slate after we win the March 4 primary and some seats open up in the months ahead?
  • If you're losing on the message, shouldn't you attack the messenger? (See below for the ludicrous rumor Republicans -- and perhaps some Democrats -- are spreading.) 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Discredit the messenger, discredit the message

I debated whether to respond to this gossip but it seems to be spreading around town so I might as well nip it in the bud.  NO, I am not running for mayor -- and if you doubt my word, just ask my family. Or my ex-family if I did decide to run.  It's a classic smear tactic. Discredit the messenger, discredit the message.

I have become the public face of New Milford Democrats for Change because an organization needs to speak with a single voice to ensure its message is consistent. I am a former journalist -- a reporter and editor-in-chief -- as well as a onetime public relations executive. I run an editorial services company. So I have a background in media and communications.

New Milford Democrats for Change is about winning elections, becoming competitive in town politics. If "sweeping change" means turning an inactive party into an active one, then maybe we are guilty.  But we are far from a bunch of wild-eyed neophytes. Many members have deep roots in town; Our slate includes eight people who are currently elected officials or were within the past two years -- as well as two alternates plus members of appointed boards and commissions. Scroll below for our full slate.

Including the mayoralty, a party can hold a maximum of 31 seats on elected boards in races that are competitive. (i.e. excluding offices like Town Clerk). We hold 12; the GOP has the maximum

THAT is what this primary is all about. Any other message is just noise.

-Andy Grossman

Our 12-Point Plan

We introduced our 12-point plan for reviving the Democratic Party in New Milford last month, but with the primary officially on it’s time to remind voters that ours is the only slate with an actual proposal to make us relevant again in town politics. THAT is what our effort is all about: winning elections and becoming competitive.


·         More  fund-raising events. We need to hold at least three events a year and feature the party's stars: Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Elizabeth Esty and our state officials. How about a summer barbecue/pool party? A dinner with Gov. Malloy?  Bottom line is the party can’t win local elections without at least $5,000 in the bank. How much do we have now? Don't ask.
·      
           Continually recruit candidates. We can’t start looking for candidates a couple of months before we nominate them in July. Recruitment for the next campaign must start immediately after the previous election. In 2011, I recommended we form a Nominating Committee charged with finding new candidates. Great idea, people said. Party leadership prompted put it aside.

·         Communicate with party members. Keep Democratic Party members in the loop with regular e-newsletters and/or through social media and a website. The party needs to update our website more than once every two years. We need to actively encourage people to attend DTC meetings instead of discouraging new members. Publicize a phone number to reach party officials. 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
.
·         Devise a media strategy. We need a plan that consists of more than throwing our hands in the air and say, “The Spectrum hates us.” 

·         Make better use of technology. Actually, ANY use of technology would be nice considering the party has shunned f the Connecticut Democrats CT VAN database of voters, a gold mine of information for organizational, recruitment, and get-out-the-vote purposes. And isn't about time we have a party chair who has email?

·         Launch voter registration drives. New people are moving into the community every day. We need to act as a sort of Welcome Wagon to show why they should support us. We should work with local colleges to register young voters and convince unaffiliated voters to become Democrats.

·         Have the party chair regularly campaign with candidates. Leaders should lead. During campaigns, the head of the party should be out in the community knocking on doors, making phone calls, actively interacting with voters.

·         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, praised ... and promptly abandoned. This is the party chair’s job: to make sure things get done

·         Give out awards.. Handing out awards to local groups and individuals would earn the party positive publicity in the newspaper and goodwill in the community. 

·         Work more closely with other town committees and the state committee to make New Milford a more influential town in regional and state politics. The other town committees, 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. There are excellent tools and resources available from the Connecticut Democratic Party that we have ignored. Why?

·         Reach out to state and federal elected officials on a regular basis instead of waiting for them to come to us.  The town committee needs to put itself at the center of state and federal election efforts.

·         Revive the Executive Committee. The party chairmanship should not be a dictatorship. The Executive Committee should meet regularly to discuss strategies and toss around ideas to bring before the full committee.