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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.  

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