Growing our party and moving forward
Three short months ago I was elected to lead the IDCCA as its President. Leading this great organization is something that I had been giving serious thought to for some time. Not because I was unhappy with our current or past leadership. We have had excellent past President’s and Executive Board’s. I wanted to lead this organization because I wanted to take the opportunity to work with excellent County Party Chairmen from all across our great state. I wanted to help build something statewide that would be enduring, sustainable and make our Democratic Party stronger.
Some have said that this organization is viewed as the Chairmen’s Brunch and not much more. We know that this organization is much more than that. We know that we have been the difference in many statewide elections. As involved as we have been, we also know we can do more. We must do more because we cannot stand a second term of our current Governor Bruce Rauner.
Since last November we have been hard at work to build our organization. Here is a brief summary of what our Executive Board has done:
- We developed a statewide 3-year strategy for the IDCCA. This strategy has the support of our party’s statewide officials and candidates. The strategy also includes our inclusion in the development of the 2016 & 2018 Coordinated Campaigns.
- I have appointed two great leaders to our Executive Board and promoted two outstanding At – Large Executive Board Members to Vice President positions. We have added Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Berrios and Richland County Democratic Party Chairman Brandt Patterson as At – Large Executive Board Members. Chairman Berrios’ leadership and vision will help us realize our goal of being a true statewide organization. Chairman Patterson has made outstanding strides in the southeast part of our state. Chairman Patterson has also hit the ground running since being appointed to the Executive Board. He will be heading up our Chairman’s Raffle that was championed by Chairman Joe Woods for many years. I have also promoted Hardin County Democratic Party Chairman Dennis Austin and Mason County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Briney to Vice President positions.
- We have hired a new Executive Director Dan Kovats. Dan has the campaign skills and vision to take us to the next level.
- We have created a statewide newsletter to better communicate and train our members. Our newsletter will focus on our vision, our candidates, our issues, new campaigning techniques and about our activities.
- We have also expanded our fundraising activities to include nationally respected advisor Nancy Kohn and her associate Caryn Pavlak.
But there is much more to be done as we move forward in the future. You can expect to hear more about:
- Diversifying our party and the IDCCA by expanding our ranks. This includes adding additional diversity in race, gender, and age to all levels of our organization. I have experience with doing this in Rock Island County. This is how we will be successful statewide and in many local, county, and targeted House and Senate races. We should look to add to our ranks for all positions including Chairman, County Party leadership and Precinct Committeeman.
- Opening up our central committee meetings to be more inviting to others outside our normal committeeman structures. We are not a secret society and the general public should not feel that we are closed off to them. By being more open and transparent we will insure that all voters feel welcomed into the big tent that is the Democratic Party.
- Filling vacant precinct committeeman positions to bring in new energy and enthusiasm for our party.
- Train committeemen in their responsibilities of voter registration and canvassing their neighborhoods. We need to communication more about our candidates and what is at stake in the coming elections.
- Train Chairman to work in concert together to strengthen a multi county candidate chances of winning Congressional, State House, State Senate or Judicial races. This includes executing the statewide Coordinated Campaign, organize canvases and GOTV -Get Out The Vote efforts.
- Implement a field plan of support staff for chairman in highly targeted areas.
This is where we have come in a short time as well as where we plan to go. As you can see, there is much more to do! Please embrace our sense of urgency because it infuses our organization with energy. The time for action is now and we cannot afford to be complacent any longer!
Chairman, Rock Island County Democratic Party