What’s the state of the party, 238 days till Nov 6? Are we still headed in the right direction? Or are we already there?
L-R DA DNC Members Martha McDevitt-Pugh (Netherlands), Orlando Vidal (UAE), Julia Bryan, DA International Chair (Czech Republic), and Adrianne George (Sweden)
These were questions I asked myself as I flew to DC last week for the DNC Winter meeting. Since October, we’d seen stunning wins in Virginia and Alabama and an unprecedented number of candidates running for election in every district across the US. The Unity Reform Commission had submitted its report on party reform for consideration, and the DNC had expanded and strengthened its staff across all departments. But we’d heard this news from a distance. What would the party look like up close and in person?
Since our last meeting in October, the DNC has come a long way. New staff in October are veterans by now, seasoned through their in-state work in Virginia and Alabama. They know the state parties too, thanks to the visits they have made to each as they prepared for grant allocations and got to know the state parties better.
The DNC wants to make sure its leaders know what we’re working for. They organized their messaging across speakers and repeated it often: we cannot accept the status quo, we must work for change, we must fight for health care for all, get out the vote among millennials, and keep our eyes on our voter base. They noted that voter protection is crucial, and partners are key to success and engagement. Their aim for 2018: to take back the House and Senate and reach 50 million Americans.
We also got to see just how deep the bench was this year. We met the newly elected mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and heard from Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Doug Jones. We also heard from state level politicians from county clerk to mayors and state legislators. The message was clear - every zip code counts.
Because there is so much opportunity in 2018 to pick up elections in red and purple districts (yes PA18!!!!), opportunities for Democrats Abroad to make a difference are huge as well. Many races will not be won by a wide point spread and every vote will count. Our DA DNC team worked all week to spread that message, making sure states knew that we were ready to be the margin of victory in their tight elections. State parties took note, and Tom Perez heard our message too: he mentioned Democrats Abroad in his Chair's report during Saturday's General Meeting, thanked us for our wins in 2016 and noted that he was looking forward to us helping win victories in 2018.
I’m excited by what our team achieved this last week. I’m also making a list of all that we have to do in the next few weeks as we follow up with states and the DNC and scale up the projects we have started so that we can truly be the margin of victory this year.
A few highlights of what our DNC team accomplished in DC:
Democrats Abroad presented our targeted state outreach project during the general meeting of the Association of State Democratic Committees (ASDC). We were the only state party given time on the agenda.
We met with 40+ state parties to discuss DA’s state outreach project.
We met with College Dems to finalize their state-side partnership on our study abroad outreach program.
We met with many DNC staff to discuss our SPIF grant proposal and address their questions. The proposal is now submitted and ready for final review.
As a member of the DNC Tech Committee, we successfully lobbied to have "absentee voter" added to every US canvasser's digital survey, helping us more easily find these potential voters in future elections.
Our DA DNC team met with Chairman Perez to discuss our 2018 plans and opportunities for this year.
During Saturday’s General Meeting and in his Chair’s report, Chairman Perez thanked Democrats Abroad for our work and specifically noted our wins from 2016.
During the General Meeting, we spoke in support of the Unity Reform Commission’s recommendations, noting that Democrats Abroad had already undertaken many of these in 2016, leading to a 50% increase in voter participation. Our comments met with support from a wide circle of DNC members.
We came home with a list a kilometer long of follow-ups with states and DNC members, and a wonderful amount of goodwill.
L-R DA International Chair, Julia Bryan, DNC Deputy Chair, Rep Keith Ellison, DA DNC Member, Adrianne George
Many thanks to Adrianne George, Connie Borde, Ken Sherman, Martha McDevitt-Pugh and Orlando Vidal for their fantastic support. I couldn’t be more thankful for all their work and outreach and proud to be part of such a fantastic team.
All the best,
Julia Bryan, International Chair
Winter DNC Meeting Recap
Dear DNC Member, It was wonderful to see so many of you in Washington, D.C. for our winter DNC meeting this past week. I left feeling energized about the work that we are doing as a party to organize, mobilize and win. Thank you for all that you are doing to ensure our success in 2018 and beyond.
As we do after all of our DNC meetings, we’ve prepared a short report for you on our busy week where we came together for a General Sessions, an Executive Committee Meeting, four Standing Committee meetings, and a cumulative 19 Caucus and Council meetings!
As always, we are looking for your feedback on the meeting as we continually strive to improve them for members.
Here are some updates about things that happened during the 2018 winter meeting:
During Saturday’s General Session, we heard welcome remarks from the Mayor of Washington, D.C. Muriel Bowser and from candidates who personify the DNC’s “School Board to the Oval Office” strategy to ensure we are focused on elected Democrats at every level. Those officials shared their story of how they won their race and the impact of their party in their victory. Speakers included Iowa City Councilwoman Mazahir Salih, Austin City Councilor Gregorio Casar, Hamilton County Court Clerk Aftab Pureval and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.
In addition to hearing from these speakers, we watched several inspiring videos created by the DNC. Those videos included a look at recent victories in Oklahoma, to a 2017 look back & 2018 look ahead and a We are Democrats video.
Finally, National Finance Chair Henry Munoz, Treasurer Bill Derrough and Assistant Treasurer Lorna Johnson shared an update on the Party’s finances.
The DNC also considered several reports from our Standing Committees at the Saturday session. Those reports included:
Resolutions Committee Report
The Resolutions Committee considered a number of resolutions submitted by members, which were a combination of messaging and commemorative resolutions.
Among the Resolutions adopted by the DNC were resolutions calling to end gun violence and hold our elected officials accountable, celebrating the Democratic Party’s 2017 electoral successes, upholding and honoring the role immigration has played in America, and more. In addition, we passed a number of commemorative resolutions honoring individuals such as Paul Booth, James Brady, Janice Enright, Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, Mayor Edwin M. Lee and more.
Rules & Bylaws Committee Report
Rules & Bylaws Committee Co-Chairs Jim Roosevelt and Lorraine Miller reported out on the hours of work that the RBC has done to review the Unity Reform Commission report and begin to make recommendations. The RBC met for nearly eight hours during the DNC meeting, as well met for two days in January and two days in February. The RBC adopted a report that was presented to the full membership on initial recommendations and principles as it relates to the Unity Reform Commission which was approved by the full body on Saturday.
The RBC will now begin working on developing out the actual Call to the Convention and Delegate Selection Rules that will be presented at our summer meeting. As a reminder, these documents as well as any required amendments to the DNC’s Charter and Bylaws will be provided to Members at least 30 days in advance of our summer meeting.
In addition, the Co-Chairs presented three Charter amendments on various topics, including adding the Secretary and ASDC Chair to the RBC, providing the Native American Caucus with all the rights provided to other Caucuses, and amending the sections on disability to remove reference to physical disabilities and instead reference all disabilities. The three amendments to the Charter were approved unanimously by the full body.
Executive Committee Meeting
On Thursday morning, the DNC Executive Committee met and heard more about the #IWillVote campaign and discussed efforts that state and local parties and groups could do to promote the campaign. The Executive Committee also heard remarks from D.C. City Councilwoman and DNC Member Anita Bonds, who provided welcome remarks and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs about the work he was able to win able to win his race at such a young age and what he is doing as Mayor to address the issues in his city. doing in his city and how he was able to win his race at such a young age.
Caucus and Council Meetings
Throughout the DNC meeting, each of our regional caucuses, as well as our constituency caucuses and councils held meetings to discuss their electoral plans for 2018 and beyond. Each session focused on the specific needs of their region or constituency and provided a roadmap for working towards victory.
Several elections took place to fill vacancies in specific caucuses and councils. In the Eastern Region, Tonio Burgos from New Jersey was elected to the vacant Executive Committee Representative position and Joseph Paolino from Rhode Island was elected Treasurer. In the Western Regional Caucus, Marcus Stevenson, Ed Wesley and Ellie Perez were elected as At-Large representatives and in the Ethnic Council Jim Zogby was reelected as Co-Chair and Ali Chalupa was elected as the other Co-Chair.
I was inspired by our Winter Meeting and the opportunities that Democrats have to build on our electoral victories. I am truly looking forward to working with each and every one of you in the weeks, months, and years ahead, as we work to modernize, organize and win.
Have a wonderful week, and I look forward to speaking with you soon. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Democratic National Committee