Don’t sit on the sidelines

Democratic Candidates will begin filing to take back our State House and Senate and to keep the Governor’s office in less than 14 months. At stake is a better education for our children, a fairer society and a better quality of life for all of our citizens, not just a select few. We must take back the Legislature and keep a Democratic Governor in November of 2012. Failure would have devastating effects on our State for decades to come.

Today I announced that I am running for North Carolina Democratic Party Chair because now is not the time to sit on the sidelines. The stakes are too high for any of us to sit back and allow the Republicans to destroy the progress we have made.

If elected, I will focus on increased communication between the State Party and local activists, a reorganized approach to elections, a laser beam focus on redistricting, and a commitment to recruit and train quality candidates at every level in all 100 counties.

Over the coming weeks I will be reaching out to SEC members and Progressive activists from across the state. As part of that effort my campaign team has already asked for a live blog here on BlueNC and at Pam’s House Blend. I have begun laying out some of my ideas about the qualities the next party chair needs to have, but I want to begin this campaign by asking you some questions.

What role should the State Party play in the coming fight?

What does the State Party need to do to support your county party?

What resources are your County Party missing that can be provided through the State Party?

What did we do right and what did we do wrong in 2010?

Thank you for being involved. Now is the time to get off the sidelines and get to work. I look forward to getting to know you.

Bill

Comments

Welcome, Bill

We're working toward a live blog on January 10th ... and looking forward to it. In the meantime, thanks for introducing yourself and starting the conversation.

Resignation

Does this mean that you will be resigning your seat in the N.C. House if you win?

"A point in every direction is the same as no point at all" - Pointless Man

No Plans to

Bill doesn't plan to resign his seat.

In talking to some about who our next chair should be I was told that we have had a sitting legislator as chair before, but it was before my time.

I know other states have done it and it has worked extremely well in helping the party fundraise while out of power. We have to recognize that the days of getting money from this powerful group and that powerful person simply because we are in charge are gone.

"Keep the Faith"

Resignation

I think there is a great advantage to serving in the House while chairing the Party. I will know what the Republicans are doing long before it finally becomes law. I will be in a position to expose what is about to happen, and perhaps blount some of the bad that is about to happen.

I will continue to serve in my House seat.

I will certainly have a lot more time in a Republican lead House. Currently I chair the Ways & Means and Broadband Connectivity Committee, I vice chair Public Utilities, Judiciary III, and Agriculture. In addition I serve on both Finance and Insurance. Moreover, I serve on the Stimulus Oversight Committee. Further, when out of Session I currently chair the House Select Committee on High Speed Internet and Broadband Connectivity in Rural and Urban Areas, and serve on the House Select Committee on 911 Funding and House Study Committee on Expansion of Life Sciences Industry and Related Job Creation. I do not anticipate chairing or vice chairing committees in a Republican lead House, nor serving on many if any study committees.

Bill Faison

Hi Everyone

I haven't posted in a while, but I am throwing my two cents in to let you know I will be helping Bill.

We haven't got a website put together yet and are working on pulling together all the information that everyone wants, but I am looking forwarded to a spirited debate about what the State Party should be doing and what we need to fix if we are going to win in 2012.

If anyone out there has questions or wants Bill to come to an event in your area please send me a message. We plan on touring the entire state over the next few weeks.

"Keep the Faith"

If I recall correctly you were the

... lone democrat to vote against the cigarette tax increase that passed a few years ago. To me that shows a conservative, 20th century mindset that seems ill suited to running a (hopefully) progressive 21st century state party.
Big Tobacco ruled this state for far too long, got away with far too much and has killed far too many people.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

To each his own perhaps

but i would be perfectly happy to see tobacco taxed until it dies. I do consider 440,000 deaths per year including nearly 50,000 from second hand smoke a pretty big sin.

So every 4 days or so the death toll equals the total from 8 years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. War has nothing on tobacco.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Thank you for the lengthy reply

Nice to see that level of engagement. Cheers.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

hold on

I thought there were restrictions on what fundraising a sitting legislator can do while the GA is in session.

Am I wrong?

If so, how would Mr. Faison undertake to lead the Party in fundraising - which is among the Chair's most important duties, without violating such a provision?

I ask this without any pretense of having an answer, or any position on which declared chair candidate is better. I'm legitimately curious.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Restrictions

Lots of folks have asked about this.

In part the answer is that legislators are restricted from raising money from state PACs for their campaigns while the legislature is in session. However, my reading of the law is that they are allowed to raise money for the party if it goes to non-candidate specific things (like polling, GOTV, payroll etc).

So the restriction doesn't apply to when they are not in session, and doesn't apply to raising from non PACs. And lets be honest, money from PACs is going to dry up significantly now that we have lost legislative power.

"Keep the Faith"

hold on

Limitations on Legislator fund raising during a legislative session are contained in NCGS 163-278.13B. There is an exception under NCGS 163-278.13B(c)(5) as follows:

(5) No limited contributor shall solicit a contribution from any individual or political committee on behalf of a limited contributee. This subdivision does not apply to a limited contributor soliciting a contribution on behalf of a political party executive committee if the solicitation is solely for a separate segregated fund kept by the political party limited to use for activities that are not candidate‑specific, including generic voter registration and get‑out‑the‑vote efforts, pollings, mailings, and other general activities and advertising that do not refer to a specific individual candidate.

What this means is that during the Legislative Session I am free to raise money for the parties executive committee so long as the funds are segregated and used as set out in the statute. I can raise unlimited funds so long as they are not candidate-specific including generic voter registration and get‑out‑the‑vote efforts, pollings, mailings, and other general activities and advertising that do not refer to a specific individual candidate. Between Sessions I can raise candidate specific money.

Sessions are long and short. The long session is in the non election year (odd years) and runs from the end of January until ususally some time in July. The short session convenes about a week after the primary (even years) and runs through some time in July. During a two year term, this are 24 months when I can raise money that can help all candidates and 15 months within which I can raise money to help specific candidates.

Fund raising obviously does not depend on the efforts of one person. Effective fund raising involves the concerted efforts of many people. As party chair I will more than do my part in our collective fund raising efforts. Working together we can raise the funds needed to effectively combat the effect of wealthy Republican donors like Art Pope whose family alone is reported as contributing more than $2 million dollars to Republican candidates, some of which was used to bombard our Democratic legislators with negative campaign peices contributing to their defeat.

Bill Faison

How will you handle?

Bill, I think many of us would appreciate answers to the below questions. Thank you in advance.

1. How can you devote the time needed for this role, which is a problem many of us see has plagued past Chairs, when you are a lawyer, a legislator and then adding this role? That is three full time jobs if done well.
2. Past Chairs have also been plagued by inability to speak out when the GOP speaks out; how can you do this with your job as an attorney and won’t that cause issues with you as a sitting legislator?
3. Will you keep Andrew Whalen and the staff he assembled? There are issues there. His performance is as lackluster as the current Chair and he hired district representatives who “suddenly” became Democrats over lifelong Democrats. They need to go.
4. Are you going to be another puppet of Scott Falmen?
5. The Democratic Party took a rather hostile stance against very qualified candidates running against incumbents this round – not the stance was not “formal” but it was there. This is wrong and this is against the ideals of our Party which should provide for opportunities for everyone. How will you address this issue next time around?
6. How will you recruit more women and minorities to run at every level?
7. How will you repair the relationship with SEANC, Chambers of Commerce and other groups? While SEANC dealt with Holliman, it appears the Democrats in the House are holding this against state employees. This rift needs to be addressed and the “blame SEANC for no money” position needs to go.
8. How are you going to address public perception that the NC Democratic Party is corrupt with so many issues over the past 5 years and still ongoing?

While I think you do a good job in the House, you would be a more impressive candidate for State Party Chair if you were willing to give up your seat. This looks to be more about you than the Party and that is what is wrong with NCDP at this time. David Young was more concerned about his job than the Party so he did not speak out when he needed to and even the night of the elections there was no comment from him.

Durham Dem

Thank you in advance. 1. How

Thank you in advance.
1. How can you devote the time needed for this role, which is a problem many of us see has plagued past Chairs, when you are a lawyer, a legislator and then adding this role? That is three full time jobs if done well.

I am blessed with a natural high energy level. Moreover, I am particularly well organized. I am good at managing and maximizing the use of my time.

I am currently serving as Chair of Ways & Means, Vice Chair of Public Utilities, Agriculture and Judiciary III, and I serve on Insurance, Finance, and Stimulus Oversight. In addition, while not in Session I serve as Chair of the House Select Committee on High Speed Internet and Broadband Connectivity in Rural and Urban Areas, the House Select Committee on 911 Funding, and the House Study Committee on Expansion of Life Sciences Industry and Related Job Creation. Serving on 10 committees while chairing 2 and vice chairing 3 takes time. In the Republican regime I will have a much lighter load and plenty of time to devote to service of our Party and its active members.

I will devote the time needed to get the job done well.


2. Past Chairs have also been plagued by inability to speak out when the GOP speaks out; how can you do this with your job as an attorney and won’t that cause issues with you as a sitting legislator?

I intend to set the tone of the debate with the Repubs. I plan to be at the table with the idea and the message first. I intend to put them on the defensive and keep them there.

I am particularly good at messaging, reducing complex issues to simple ideas, and communicating those in ways that people both get and remember.

One of the advantages for our Party is my service in the Legislature. I will be in the sausage factory and aware of what is afoot long before a new law is passed. I will be in a unique position to criticize what they have in mind long before they get it done, and perhaps by shinning the light of day on what they are about, cause them to alter some of the worst they intend.

3. Will you keep Andrew Whalen and the staff he assembled? There are issues there. His performance is as lackluster as the current Chair and he hired district representatives who “suddenly” became Democrats over lifelong Democrats. They need to go.

Many people are critical of the staff. I intend to keep Sallie Leslie if she will stay. I intend to interview with interested candidates for the other positions, including those folks who are currently employed if they wish to be considered for continued employment. I intend to involve other folks in our party in the interview process. Then I intend to offer positions to the people we believe will best get the job done.

4. Are you going to be another puppet of Scott Falmen?

I am very independent and yet I successfully build consensus to achieve goals. Ask around. There are plenty of folks both inside and outside of the Legislature who can confirm both for you.

5. The Democratic Party took a rather hostile stance against very qualified candidates running against incumbents this round – not the stance was not “formal” but it was there. This is wrong and this is against the ideals of our Party which should provide for opportunities for everyone. How will you address this issue next time around?

I am sure Representatives Sutton, Jones and Mackey will be very interested to learn of this since all three lost in primaries. In every election cycle that I can recall, some incumbents have been defeated in primaries by challengers. I think the role of the Party is to support and elect the Democratic nominee and to defeat the Republican nominee. I do not think the role of the Party is get involved in primaries.

6. How will you recruit more women and minorities to run at every level?

I will appoint women, minorities and Hispanics to our candidate recruitment committee to serve in prominent positions. We will recruit a diverse group of candidates across the State.

7. How will you repair the relationship with SEANC, Chambers of Commerce and other groups? While SEANC dealt with Holliman, it appears the Democrats in the House are holding this against state employees. This rift needs to be addressed and the “blame SEANC for no money” position needs to go.

I am familiar with SENAC’s agenda (http://www.seanc.org/legislative/priorities.aspx) . It is generally supported by Democrats. It is not supported by Republicans. SENAC just spent lots of money to defeat a moderate Democrat in favor of a conservative Republican. Moreover, with one exception SENAC set on the sidelines in the most important legislative election in the past decade. SENAC may not have been happy with the Democrats because their funding priorities in favor of education and Medicaid were not where SENAC wanted the money to go, but if SENAC was unhappy with the democrats wait until the Repubs get done with them.

I do not understand SENAC’s strategy. If there was one, I would say it backfired.

I am always glad to work with anyone, including SENAC.

Chambers of Commerce vary widely in their view of the world, from that held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to that held by small town chambers of commerce in our State. Again I am always ready to work with folks who will help us get Democratic candidates elected.

8. How are you going to address public perception that the NC Democratic Party is corrupt with so many issues over the past 5 years and still ongoing?

The democrats have led the charge for ethics reform. When we found a member of the Legislative body violating his public duties we turned him out. Democrats have done it right. We need to get this message out there, and we can.

While I think you do a good job in the House, you would be a more impressive candidate for State Party Chair if you were willing to give up your seat. This looks to be more about you than the Party and that is what is wrong with NCDP at this time. David Young was more concerned about his job than the Party so he did not speak out when he needed to and even the night of the elections there was no comment from him.

Our party needs a Chair who can craft and deliver our message. I can. We need a Chair who understands what it takes to win a political fight. I do. We need a chair who understands the challenges facing our candidates and how to help them win in this environment. I won.

I do not need another title, job, or position. I need a society that cherishes and protects certain values and rights. I need Democrats to win all across this State and to set the Legislative and Administrative agenda. I am willing to make sacrifices to help achieve these goals.

Skill sets evolved over many years as a successful trial lawyer are needed at this time by our Party. Service from our Chair to our activist in the field and in support of our activist’s efforts are needed now more than ever. I am dedicated to providing that service.

Bill Faison

Thanks, Bill

Your interest in engaging with folks here is heartening, and even if you don't win the Party Chairmanship, I hope you will continue to engage with us.

And thoughts on your questions

What role should the State Party play in the coming fight?

The State Party needs to be an outspoken advocate for the people in the Party and do so in a way to bring those back who have left the Party to become Independents. The State Party Chair needs to speak up about legislative agendas, proposals, and our ideals that make us a Party.

What does the State Party need to do to support your county party?

Not try to control it but coordinate the county parties to be unified. State House and Senate candidates did NOT support county candidates. In some cases, they were told by their Caucuses not to hand out slate cards and get caught in county political struggles. This needs to change.

What resources are your County Party missing that can be provided through the State Party?

Help with fundraising. Help recruiting good people to serve.

What did we do right and what did we do wrong in 2010?

Right - not much.
Wrong - did not speak out, did not coordinate the coordinated campaign, caused divisions in primaries, did not lead, did not provide a vision, did not provide a message.

Durham Dem

My take on what we should be looking for in a new chair

Only pick someone who has a real resume of experience in the party as a officer at the precinct, county, district or state level - which would include SEC and DNC members. No more elected officials or candidates with no party organization experience - no matter who endorses them.

Look for candidates for all offices that have no ties or umbilical cords between any campaigns or elected leader - from Obama, through congressional candidates, down through Bev and other state elected public officials.

This also means no more covering up for ethics problems or front men for the money laundering operations.

We need someone who will follow the NCDP Plan Of Organization to the letter, and if the plan needs to be re-written to make it clearer and easier to follow, let's do it. Then we can tweak it from time to time to suit situations as they come up. No more ignoring the Plan.

Legislators have been using and abusing the volunteer base of the Democratic Party for years. I don't see the wisdom of having the NCDP chair come from a group of people whose leadership (the caucuses) have told candidates not to hand out party slate cards, or from folks who claim that the Party has no business crafting a message - only the candidates can do that. That's liked putting the inmates in charge of the asylum!

We need someone who can work full-time for the grassroots party volunteers, officers and activists - not the candidates, campaigns or the consultants. The Republicans paid Fetzer a full-time salary and he gives them their money's worth, even though he takes his marching orders from Art Pope & Co. Someone who is already a part-time legislator and a full-time lawyer doesn't really need to add yet ANOTHER responsibility to his plate. And after what happened in Wake County since 2009, I for one will not be voting for any candidate for chair who plans to be running for an elected public office in 2012.


We should be working hard to get folks elected to public office who will work to turn our party platform into public policy - not make campaign promises to get us to work and vote for them, then break them when the lobbyists knock on their doors!
I don't see that there is any way that an elected public official can or should be running the state party. I don't care how it was done in years past. We are not living in the same times.

Yes there is more money to be made by sucking up to the big-money donors, but the other side is going to win that fight. We need someone who can assemble and inspire the troops to get out the vote for every Democratic on the slate - not just the well-financed ones. We need someone who can go on camera and deliver our message as often as possible - not someone part-time. And we need experienced staff who know the state and the people in it - and who are known by the party activists! We have enough great active Dems in the state who have earned the job more than any out of state folks who have no party experience whatsoever!

It's time to tell the big money donors that we need them to fund the same network of foundations and non-profits to support and market the Democratic Party that Art Pope is doing pretty much single-handedly. OrgFA should have been doing part of that job, instead of just blindly getting folks to support the President's "agenda du jour".

No offense to anyone in particular, but these last 2 years were a nightmare. For me it began in June 2008 when ObFA began to tear down the DNC's 50 state-strategy across the country, and tore down the NCDP's 100 county-strategy here in NC (does anyone remember "Constructing Victory"?). It continued when ObFA promised the Wake Dems (and I am sure other county parties) the list of ObFA volunteers after the election if the parties gave information to the campaign - then went back on their word, claiming since some vols weren't Dems and only supported Obama (Plouffe estimates this at 20%), we couldn't have any of the names.

Come on now - we all know what this was really about. The Obama campaign wanted to keep those names for themselves, so they could turn their campaign volunteers into their own private army of advocates - who would not have any other distractions to keep them from doing exactly what they were told to do, and nothing more (like support someone else who supported the things on Obama's original agenda after Obama began deviating from it). Then in 2011, OrgFA would turn itself back around into ObFA to run the president's re-election campaign. But whatever you call it - OFA has a miserable track record of election losses for anyone other than President Obama. Clearly what works for the "One" doesn't work for everyone else down ballot - and that's a significant losing record that some Obamaniacs blame on a weak party, weak candidates, etc. How they can blame the Democratic Party for those losses after 2006 and 2008 is beyond me. 2008 was great for some Dems, but we only got 60 votes in the Senate and too many of them were Blue Dogs easy for the lobbyists to buy off!

And while not having the Obamaniacs questioning the direction he was taking, they also had to deal with the Democratic Party activists who still had the means to make significant changes on their own independent of Obama or his campaign - through electing their own officers, and voting on their own platform and resolutions. Problem is - Obama or OFA couldn't just shut the doors and change the locks - so they starved the party of leadership and resources. Over at Goodwin House, I'd say that we were about 5-7 warm bodies short of being up to full strength - which is about the same number of paid staffers statewide over at OrgFA.

So what did we have after the 2008 win? Jerry Meek knew he was on his way to a real full-time paying job, marriage and kids (though still no answer on the diaper duty yet). Progressives and other party activists wanted to find someone who had Jerry's background in party activism and commitment to the grassroots. Several people indicated an interest in the job, including Jim Neal and perennial favorite David Parker (who again deferred to the Governor's wishes) when Bev Perdue endorsed David Young to be NCDP chair. Following a whilrwind campaign for the job funded by Nexus Strategies, David won - beating out longtime party activist and Congressional District Chair Luke Hyde and former Kissell campaign manager Danni Montgomery.

What happened next? Within days after losing big time in 2008, the GOP was claiming that 2012 began the day after the election, and they meant it. ObFA sat on their asses for months, before deciding to be absorbed into the DNC to preserve it for Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. In our state party, we did nothing. Most of the staff from Jerrys' term had left shortly after the election to get new and hopefully better paying jobs in the new administrations. Only Kristen Ward and Jerimee Richer were left over, and their days were numbered. David didn't hire a new Executive Director until April or May when he hired someone from Heath Shuler's staff (who was dating former ED Caroline Valland). His next hires were Kerra Bolton, brought back to Goodwin House after working a few months for Janet Cowell. He hired Jon Lucas as the State Political Director, and C. Payne Lucas as state field director (from ObFA and his dad's relationship with Obama in DC). Jon and C. Payne were going to hire 5 regional field directors, and proceeded to hire a crew of people who were mostly working on the Obama campaign who came in from out of state. There was really only one person in those hires who had any real party experience, and word is that one of the hires wasn't even registered as a Democrat before the 2008 election. All 5 were produced at the late August 2009 SEC meeting - and 3 of them were dispatched to Charlotte to work on the Anthony Foxx campaign that the party threw $750K at to win. By the time of the 2009 general elections, both Jon and C. Payne Lucas were gone, and we lost one RFD. There was still no real effort to build the party in 2009, or really get out the vote for the critical 2009 local elections at the state level and in many counties.

There was no effort to build the party in 2010 - it was all about winning elections. What happens when we don't win elections AND we don't spend time building the party? We get doubly screwed!

We need a chair who worked for the party like Jerry Meek did. The gov's last choice for state party chair was a bomb - we now have to undo the damage caused over the last two years. We need a full-time chair who will work for the Party.

And I will be honest - in my mind, so far there is no ideal candidate that meets all my requirements. That means I have to make some decisions on what I will be hearing from the candidates. But I for one will not be voting for any sitting elected official nor for someone who plans to run for elected public office for chair of the NCDP or my county party, and I urge my fellow Democrats to follow my lead.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Legislators have been using

Legislators have been using and abusing the volunteer base of the Democratic Party for years. I don't see the wisdom of having the NCDP chair come from a group of people whose leadership (the caucuses) have told candidates not to hand out party slate cards, or from folks who claim that the Party has no business crafting a message - only the candidates can do that. That's liked putting the inmates in charge of the asylum!

I agree with you. The Caucus specifically told candidates to distance themselves from county candidates. So much for a unified or coordinated campaign. Candidates for legislative offices said this at the polls. Those folks did not hand out slate cards. So why did we have slate cards if they were not going to hand them out?? Legislators who "think" they are the ones with the message better look again - they got creamed because they had no message. And, frankly some of them changed their message so folks had no idea if they were even Democrats. Desparation to get yourself elected is not criteria for Party Leadership.

Perhaps one of Bill Faison's friends can get him on here to answer these questions. He was on for his blog and then disappeared. Frankly, I appreciate someone who stays engaged.

Durham Dem

Bill's live chat is not until

Bill's live chat is not until January 10, when he will answer all your questions. Let me know if you would like to setup a meeting or time to talk with him.

Legislators have not been using.

If the Caucus is intended to refer to the House Democrats Caucus, I want to let you know that no one from that group has ever attempted to give any advice regarding support for any other Democratic candidate to me or to the Caucus as a whole in any meeting I have attneded. In this election just past I openly supported Senator Forriest and DA candidate Eckles. Moreover, DA candidate Eckles did a Robo call for me. I supported the candidacy of my Democrat Sheriff and my Democrat County Commissioner candidates in Orange County .

In addition, where needed some of my poll workers handed out party literature and at other polls where needed other candidates' poll workers handed out literature for me.

I cannot speak to what the Senate Democrats Caucus may be doing.

Bill Faison

One of the Wake House candidates

spoke out at the candidates election post-mortem and stated that they were told by the House Caucus that they shouldn't hand out slate cards.

I don't know what they told you and I don't really care. What I do know is that the House Caucus interfered with the Wake Dems GOTV plan. All the other campaigns interfered with it also. Part of that was having a County Party chair who was also a candidate for office and not able to provide the leadership that we needed to protect the County Party GOTV plan and our volunteers from being screwed with by all the other groups who wanted to have their say.

SO I don't really care about consensus with any other groups (consultants, campaigns, non-profits) than the Party. We operate under Roberts Rules of Order. That requires majority votes - not consensus. Consensus is a nice-word that really doesn't mean anything.

We've had things we voted on in the past that the Chair never implemented. So far I am not seeing or hearing anyone who seems to care about the same things that I and many other Dems I've spoken do want to see in our new Chair.

I for one don't care about the Democratic legislative agenda. What good did that agenda do when you guys were the majority? You couldn't get collective bargaining for public employees, you couldn't reform the state employee health care plan, etc. You never paid attention to the NCDP Party Platform and Resolution process. My own House member still can't give me a rational explanation why he supports IRV. So please tell me one good reason why I should care about the Democratic Legislative agenda when most of our elected public officials don't care about or pay attention to the NCDP Platform?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

House Caucus

Individuals running for the House in quite a few locations told local candidates that they had been "told by the House Democratic Caucus" not to engage with local or County candidates, including passing out slate cards. So somewhere, at some time, an individual legislator supposedly representing the Caucus told these folks not to work with local candidates.

Durham Dem

BTW - Herbert L Hyde brother

BTW - Herbert L Hyde brother of Luke Hyde and cousin of Wallace Hyde was Chair of the NCDP. He was elected to the NC Senate and House. He served as Chair of the 45th precinct and the 11th Congressional District. So he would have been a legislator, lawyer and chair.

Doris

and in what years was Herbert Hyde doing all these things?

It really doesn't matter what someone did 10 or 15 or 20 or more years ago in terms of having the time to do all these things.

I just don't think that a sitting part-time legislator and a full-time lawyer can or ought to be NCDP Chair. We need someone who will work for the Party full time.

In 2009, our state party took forever to hire a new ED - I don't believe that Andrew's hiring was announced until May 2009. They didn't hire C Payne Lucas, John Lucas, or Kerra Bolton until June, and the 5 RFDs didn't get hired/announced until August.

So please tell me how you are going to do all that interviewing and hiring while you are a sitting member of the Legislature and a lawyer with a practice?

I will not be casting my vote for anyone who is either in the Legislature or working on a campaign or a consultant. You have all read the things I want to see in a new party chair. If I don't see those things in a candidate, they won't get my vote.

How does "none of the above" sound?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Questions

The questions are posed. Rep. Faison can answer or not. They were put together by a group of about 20 people so they are there for the live meeting or otherwise. He was previously answering questions.

Herbert L Hyde brother of Luke Hyde and cousin of Wallace Hyde was Chair of the NCDP. He was elected to the NC Senate and House. He served as Chair of the 45th precinct and the 11th Congressional District. So he would have been a legislator, lawyer and chair.

Different people have different talents. This is a different time, a different era with many suspicions about fundraising, conflicts, a need for the use of social media (which is not advised for lawyers) for the Party to engage people ... so a different time with different challenges calls for different leaders. Would like to hear how Rep. Faison can balance the three roles given today's conflicts, issues.

Durham Dem

Different times but we have stepped back 100 years

Faison has proven his talent, and after winning his last election is well aware that it is a different time/era. I will agree that there are some trust issues caused by other leaders of the NCDP but why make a new leader carry that baggage. The last election set us back 100 years. Herbert Hyde was one of the most influential leaders of North Carolina and fought for issues that were not popular in his time. Maybe we need another strong leader in our time that understands the challenges we face now.

Doris

Great

Then let's hear from Bill Faison as to how he is the leader for us all now.

Everyone is waiting to hear. Winning election as a legislator is not the same as leading the Party, imo. And there are many Dems out here who do not know Faison. I am in Durham so he is nearby but still not well known.

No one is asking him to carry any baggage for anyone else. We are simply asking him how he will be different, how he will balance his roles, how he will handle potential conflict, how he will lead. All fair questions to be asked of him to answer. People running for office get asked questions, do they not? And, presumably, he is the one who will need to answer.

I am told that Wake County had someone running for office while leading the County Party and that resulted in conflict with fundraising and message so there is at least one example rolling through the emails as a comparison that did not turn out well.

Frankly, many of us want to see something entirely different from the Party. Like Ken Lewis leading the Party .. and some may still nominate him from the floor.

But Rep. Faison has announced so let's hear the answers - Jan. 10 is a long time from now to wait. Minds will be made up.

And we have questions for David Parker as well. He will have to balance two roles and some of the same potential for conflict can occur there so we would like to hear from him on all the same questions posed earlier.

Perhaps someone can get him on here as well.

Durham Dem

No offense to Ken Lewis...

...but after David Young we really don't need a chair who doesn't know anything about the Democratic Party. Other than being a county commissioner, I do not believe that David was ever involved in the Democratic Party as a precinct chair or officer, a county party officer or delegate, or an SEC member.

What has Ken Lewis done for the Democratic Party other than run in the 2010 Senate primary?

Sorry - these times call for someone who has some experience in the Democratic Party to lead. We don't need just another pretty face or someone who ran for office statewide and has name recognition and no real tested skills.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Who do you have in mind ...

If you are saying no to David, no to Bill and no to Ken ... who do you have in mind??

Durham Dem

Invite him to your 20 people group

Maybe you could do like the Northern Wake Dems and invite them to speak to your group before Jan 10th.

Doris

Thanks, we thought of that and already emailed him

But when someone puts it out here on this forum, it would be nice to see a response as I am quite certain others have become interested beyond our "20 person group" as evidenced by emails noting the same questions.

Durham Dem

Durham Democratic Party

wants to hear from David Parker and Bill Faison, and any others. Call us to come speak.

Durham Dem

Thank you in advance. 1. How

Thank you in advance.
1. How can you devote the time needed for this role, which is a problem many of us see has plagued past Chairs, when you are a lawyer, a legislator and then adding this role? That is three full time jobs if done well.

I am blessed with a natural high energy level. Moreover, I am particularly well organized. I am good at managing and maximizing the use of my time.

I am currently serving as Chair of Ways & Means, Vice Chair of Public Utilities, Agriculture and Judiciary III, and I serve on Insurance, Finance, and Stimulus Oversight. In addition, while not in Session I serve as Chair of the House Select Committee on High Speed Internet and Broadband Connectivity in Rural and Urban Areas, the House Select Committee on 911 Funding, and the House Study Committee on Expansion of Life Sciences Industry and Related Job Creation. Serving on 10 committees while chairing 2 and vice chairing 3 takes time. In the Republican regime I will have a much lighter load and plenty of time to devote to service of our Party and its active members.

I will devote the time needed to get the job done well.

2. Past Chairs have also been plagued by inability to speak out when the GOP speaks out; how can you do this with your job as an attorney and won’t that cause issues with you as a sitting legislator?

I intend to set the tone of the debate with the Repubs. I plan to be at the table with the idea and the message first. I intend to put them on the defensive and keep them there.

I am particularly good at messaging, reducing complex issues to simple ideas, and communicating those in ways that people both get and remember.

One of the advantages for our Party is my service in the Legislature. I will be in the sausage factory and aware of what is afoot long before a new law is passed. I will be in a unique position to criticize what they have in mind long before they get it done, and perhaps by shinning the light of day on what they are about, cause them to alter some of the worst they intend.

3. Will you keep Andrew Whalen and the staff he assembled? There are issues there. His performance is as lackluster as the current Chair and he hired district representatives who “suddenly” became Democrats over lifelong Democrats. They need to go.

Many people are critical of the staff. I intend to keep Sallie Leslie if she will stay. I intend to interview with interested candidates for the other positions, including those folks who are currently employed if they wish to be considered for continued employment. I intend to involve other folks in our party in the interview process. Then I intend to offer positions to the people we believe will best get the job done.

4. Are you going to be another puppet of Scott Falmen?

I am very independent and yet I successfully build consensus to achieve goals. Ask around. There are plenty of folks both inside and outside of the Legislature who can confirm both for you.

5. The Democratic Party took a rather hostile stance against very qualified candidates running against incumbents this round – not the stance was not “formal” but it was there. This is wrong and this is against the ideals of our Party which should provide for opportunities for everyone. How will you address this issue next time around?

I am sure Representatives Sutton, Jones and Mackey will be very interested to learn of this since all three lost in primaries. In every election cycle that I can recall, some incumbents have been defeated in primaries by challengers. I think the role of the Party is to support and elect the Democratic nominee and to defeat the Republican nominee. I do not think the role of the Party is get involved in primaries.

6. How will you recruit more women and minorities to run at every level?

I will appoint women, minorities and Hispanics to our candidate recruitment committee to serve in prominent positions. We will recruit a diverse group of candidates across the State.

7. How will you repair the relationship with SEANC, Chambers of Commerce and other groups? While SEANC dealt with Holliman, it appears the Democrats in the House are holding this against state employees. This rift needs to be addressed and the “blame SEANC for no money” position needs to go.

I am familiar with SENAC’s agenda (http://www.seanc.org/legislative/priorities.aspx) . It is generally supported by Democrats. It is not supported by Republicans. SENAC just spent lots of money to defeat a moderate Democrat in favor of a conservative Republican. Moreover, with one exception SENAC set on the sidelines in the most important legislative election in the past decade. SENAC may not have been happy with the Democrats because their funding priorities in favor of education and Medicaid were not where SENAC wanted the money to go, but if SENAC was unhappy with the democrats wait until the Repubs get done with them.

I do not understand SENAC’s strategy. If there was one, I would say it backfired.

I am always glad to work with anyone, including SENAC.

Chambers of Commerce vary widely in their view of the world, from that held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to that held by small town chambers of commerce in our State. Again I am always ready to work with folks who will help us get Democratic candidates elected.

8. How are you going to address public perception that the NC Democratic Party is corrupt with so many issues over the past 5 years and still ongoing?

The democrats have led the charge for ethics reform. When we found a member of the Legislative body violating his public duties we turned him out. Democrats have done it right. We need to get this message out there, and we can.

While I think you do a good job in the House, you would be a more impressive candidate for State Party Chair if you were willing to give up your seat. This looks to be more about you than the Party and that is what is wrong with NCDP at this time. David Young was more concerned about his job than the Party so he did not speak out when he needed to and even the night of the elections there was no comment from him.

Our party needs a Chair who can craft and deliver our message. I can. We need a Chair who understands what it takes to win a political fight. I do. We need a chair who understands the challenges facing our candidates and how to help them win in this environment. I won.

I do not need another title, job, or position. I need a society that cherishes and protects certain values and rights. I need Democrats to win all across this State and to set the Legislative and Administrative agenda. I am willing to make sacrifices to help achieve these goals.

Skill sets evolved over many years as a successful trial lawyer are needed at this time by our Party. Service from our Chair to our activist in the field and in support of our activist’s efforts are needed now more than ever. I am dedicated to providing that service.

Bill Faison
.

Bill Faison

I will devote the time needed

I will devote the time needed to get the job done well.

Former Wake Dems Chair Doris Weaver told people (me included) that she spent 40 hours per week as Chair outside of the election season and 60 hours per week during the election season.

You stated that you will be able to devote the time needed to get the job done. Can you explain how, during the Legislative Session, you will be able to devote 40 and possibly 60 hours to the NC Democratic Party on top of youir work as a lawyer, a legislator - and in 2012 - a candidate for elected office?

One of the advantages for our Party is my service in the Legislature. I will be in the sausage factory and aware of what is afoot long before a new law is passed.

Not sure exactly how that will be an advantage when we don't control the committees. I've been to the Legislature and have attended committee meetings and I know that you can't reveal the language of the new bills to the public or even to our party before the legislator sponsoring the bill or the new language allows it to be made public.

And even if it wasn't a conflict for you to reveal that new language, you will be in the minority - who will you reveal that new legislation to other than your fellow Dems in the Legislature and what will they be able to do since you aren't in control anymore?

Many people are critical of the staff. I intend to keep Sallie Leslie if she will stay. I intend to interview with interested candidates for the other positions, including those folks who are currently employed if they wish to be considered for continued employment. I intend to involve other folks in our party in the interview process. Then I intend to offer positions to the people we believe will best get the job done.

This goes to the issue of how much time you will be able to spend as Chair if you are also a lawyer and a legislator. How much time do you think it will take to do all this interviewing of current employees and new candidates while the NCDP is supposed to be up and running in 2011? When do you plan to have this interviewing process done?

This also avoids the issue of whether or not you feel that the general direction and strategy taken by the Party is worthy of being continued. Do you feel that the current staffing is adequate for the needs of the Party? And do you feel that hiring so many people who have worked on campaigns is healthy and even advisable for the NCDP if we need to be concentrating on building the Party?

When asked: Are you going to be another puppet of Scott Falmen?

I am very independent and yet I successfully build consensus to achieve goals. Ask around. There are plenty of folks both inside and outside of the Legislature who can confirm both for you.

You still didn't answer the question. Either a "yes" or "no" would have been a better answer. Do you plan to keep Scott around to do the "books"? If so, you don't have my vote.

A little history is in order. I recall that Jerry Meek ran to do any things - and one of them was to get Scott Falmlen out of Goodwin House and not have any responsibility for doing the books. Unfortunately, Caroline was not able to do the books, or couldn't learn, didn't want to learn. So Scott stuck around doing the books. Andrew had the same problem - and so Scott is still doing the books - which is the reason why he was over in Goodwin House all last year working on responses for the Easley hearing with the SBOE.

Furthermore, there was some sort of an internal inquiry within the Party which deals with consultants who work for the Party and also for other candidates. Suggesting that working for both is conflict and advising that if you want to consult for the Party you can't possibly consult for a candidate, campaign or a 527 group.

Taxpayer checkoff money: According to documents I have, Senator Clodfelter indicated that the Senate Caucus requested a change in legislation that changed the way that the taxpayer checkoff money was allocated. That is because the district chairs finally figured out that they had a right to that money and some folks in the party and the legislature didn't want them to have it. Along with statements made by other legislative candidates that indicate the caucuses have been directing candidates not to take part in party GOTV activities (in Wake County once candidate was told by the caucuses not to hand out our county party slate cards) this suggests that the caucuses are not always playing along with the party they are supposed to be a part of.

How do you feel that you being a legislator won't give the caucuses more power over the party than they already have now?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

I will devote the time needed

Hi Chris;

You and I have discussed some of these issues in a lengthy phone conversation. Some additonal thoughts follow:

Effective time management is critical. I surround myself with really bright, highly motivated, talented people. We agree on goals and I help them achieve their goals. Thier goals and mine are the same. Getting the job done well takes as much time as it takes. I will get the job done well, just as I have always gotten jobs done well. You and I have discussed this.

I am glad you have been over to the Legislature and set through a couple of meetings. That experience should help you understand how critical it is for the coming two years that we have someone leading our Party who is involved day to day in the legisative activity and in a position to expose that which the Repubs will be doing as it evolves, rather than waiting until after it is acomplished.

I understand from our conversation that you think the Party should have hired you rather than some of the people the Party hired. I understand that staffing is a very sore issue with you. If you wish to be considered for a postion with the Party you can apply and we will consider your application along with everyone else who applies. We will do our best to select the best person for each position. If that is you I look forward to working with you. If it is someone else, I hope you will still work with us.

It is my goal to have the very best person for each job getting the job done. I will make that assesment in a due and deliberate fashion, with counsel, advice and involvement from others, in a timely fashion. I am not in a position to prejudge any of that and will not make rash, uninformed and unreasoned decisions. In short I need to know more than I now know to make for us the best decision. I hope you will allow me the time to get that done.

Surely you must understand that the House Caucus has no power over the Party. The House and Senate Caucuses and the Party are all three working to elect Democrats. The House Caucus does not dictate to cadidates how to run their campaigns or what to hand out for whom or where to hand out items. It may offer suggestions and provide help if asked.

Bill Faison

Question for Bill

I met Bill for the first time as a chair candidate on Thursday after he gave an impressive and rousing speech to the Uptown Democratic Forum in Charlotte. I am confident that he has the potential to be a great chair.

Bill, if you're still answering questions, I wanted to know what your plans are for re-election. We've had many problems across the state with candidates for public office stepping down from party positions due to the conflict of interest in contested Democratic Primaries, or (even worse) some Democrats that have insisted on keeping their party positions while being involved in a Democratic Primary.

Are you going to plan on not seeking re-election in 2012? Or, if you get a primary challenger, will you pull out of the race instead of resigning the Party Chairmanship?

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Questions for Bill

If I had to decide today, I would be strongly inclined to run again for my seat. However, that is not a decision to make today. The experiences of the coming months will drive that decision which need not be made for more than a year.

It is entirely possible that the Repubs will redraw my seat so that it is not winable. They will most certainly redraw the districts to eliminate as many Democrats as possible, and where not possible they will draw districts with two or more incumbent Democrats in the same district so as to eliminate one or more of them. There is no doubt that serving as Chair will make me a target. Nonetheless, I believe service as Chair merits enduring the special adverse consequences that service will draw. I can better answer your question once we see what the Districts look like following the legal challenge I will help organize the Party to mount.

It is worth noting that I have not had primary opposition since the first time I ran for my seat. I hope this is a reflection on the good job I have done for the folks in my district, and the breadth and strength of my support.

Bill Faison

Thank you!

Rep. Faison,

Thank you for coming back quickly to answer questions as folks start to think about who they will support. Please come to Durham and speak - an email is on its way to you, if not already received.

While it is nice for their to be surrogates out there, nothing can replace you speaking for yourself on the issues. And, we appreciate the time you spent to answer each one. (ps Rep. Goforth also lost a primary)Your candid responses are most appreciated!

There were definitely those in the Caucus and Party interfering in primaries across the State and that has caused splits in the Party. I do not know details about the SEANC issues but I think it has to be discussed sometime and the relationship rebuilt. I only know Fred Foster took on an incumbent in our area.

Thank you again.

Durham Dem

Thank you for your kind

Thank you for your kind invitation. I look forward to meeting and sharing ideas about how the Party can best assist local activist in our collective effort to regain the legislative agenda, maintain our Council of State positions, and expand Democratic office holders across this State.

Bill Faison

Where is the concern about PartyBuilding?

If I don't see a plan to re-implement Jerry's 100 county strategy of party building, and dumping the OFA methodology from our party's play book, you can count me as not being a supporter.

Even before OFA became part of/ran the Coordinated Campaign in 2010, OFA methods only worked for Obama. He had no coat-tails in NC. Can you show me one brand-new candidate who hooked onto Obama's coat-tails in NC in 2008? Incumbents won - Democrats in other situations did not do so well.

OFA methods started failing big time right after the November 2008 election. The GA Senate runoff in December 2008, the NJ and VA gov races in 2009, and the 2010 Mass senate race were all lost by OFA methods because the state parties did not do any party building with the OFA volunteers. OFA was and continues to be basically the President's re-election campaign kept alive and funded by the DNC.

All that frantic phone-banking did nothing but get data for OFA to use in 2012 - it did nothing to win races for Dems. I want to know if any of the candidates are willing to state their views on OFA and their role in NC? I don't want to see OFA or any other candidate's campaign organization have a say in how our party does ANYTHING from now on.

That is why I can't endorse a sitting elected public officer for NCDP Chair. There has been and always will be in my mind a conflict of interest between a legislator who thinks they always have to be about winning elections and the party base who wants to make sure that the leaders they elect will work to turn our Party platform into public policy.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Question for BIll - what about Party building and the Platform?

So far I have not seen any candidate for the NCDP Chair address the miserable failure of the NCDP re party building and the platform & resolution process.

OFA started gutting Dean's 50 state and Meek's 100 county party-building strategy in June 2008. We can all see the results of that action - big losses in 2009 and 2010. What will you do to reverse the destruction of the party-building process started by OFA in 2008 and continued by the NCDP & OFA in 2009, and then joined by the Coordinated Campaign in 2010?

So far you have only talked about the Democratic Legislative Agenda. What about the NCDP Platform and Resolution Process? Over the years, it's become evident that our elected public leaders just don't give a damn about the NCDP Platform and the Resolutions process. You ask us for help in getting elected, but then you ignore the will of the NCDP as expressed through our Platform and Resolution process. What will you do as NCDP Chair to specifically to make the other elected Democratic officials at all levels (federal, state, county and local) pay attention to the NCDP Platform and Resolution process?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

History

History on Faison on this site

http://www.bluenc.com/faison

Durham Dem

Books

A little history is in order. I recall that Jerry Meek ran to do many things - and one of them was to get Scott Falmlen out of Goodwin House and not have any responsibility for doing the books. Unfortunately, Caroline was not able to do the books, or couldn't learn, didn't want to learn. So Scott stuck around doing the books. Andrew had the same problem - and so Scott is still doing the books - which is the reason why he was over in Goodwin House all last year working on responses for the Easley hearing with the SBOE.

Furthermore, there wass some sort of an internal inquiry within the Party which deals with consultants who work for the Party and also for other candidates. Suggesting that working for both is conflict and advising that if you want to consult for the Party you can't possibly consult for a candidate, campaign or a 527 group.

Someone posed the question about Scott but we did not know all of these ins and outs, just that there are conflicts. Number one, a quick scan through the finance reports shows that his firm does work for a lot of candidates including some with contested primaries so that means he works for some Democrats against others, candidates and the Party. What happened to this inquiry? This is one of the reasons that the Party has a bad reputation among the average North Carolina voter. It looks bad and smells bad.

Durham Dem

Books

I am very interested to read your thoughts and comments. This is certainly something to look into.

What is your name? I always find it helpful to know who I am talking with. I see you identified as "BigBlue" and "Durham Dem". There are lots of people who would consider themselves both dyed in the wool democrats or BigBlues, and plenty of democrats in Durham or Durham Dems.

Bill Faison

Anonymity

Rep. Faison, we have many contributors here that, for one reason or another, choose to remain anonymous. The only thing we ask is that they don't misrepresent themselves (ie: claim to be a Democrat when they aren't) or use their anonymity to launch attacks on others that rise to the level of "intolerably obnoxious".

But we also provide a private message and/or filtered e-mail system that allows folks to contact each other off the public grid, as it were, and anonymous posters can reveal (if they wish) their true identities selectively using those methods.

Anonymity

Thanks. I understand. I was just curious who I was talking with. I prefer open candor in discussions, and at least for me, I prefer to know with whom I am having an exchange.

Bill Faison

BigBlue

is not intolerably obnoxious, is a good Democrat, but has seen retribution for voicing thoughts and ideas. I have been in touch with your NCDP campaign person via e-mail so we will talk soon.

Durham Dem

not sure ...

I understand from our conversation that you think the Party should have hired you rather than some of the people the Party hired. I understand that staffing is a very sore issue with you. If you wish to be considered for a postion with the Party you can apply and we will consider your application along with everyone else who applies. We will do our best to select the best person for each position. If that is you I look forward to working with you. If it is someone else, I hope you will still work with us.

I have no idea about the particulars of this topic but I do know that several staff persons were Republicans who flipped for the Obama race and then landed jobs with NCDP. They tell people about it like it is some type of "re-birth" and while I am happy for them that they saw the light, I am not real happy about new-Democrats with no experience organizing actually working for our Party. That looks amateur. And what happens when they flip back or get bought back, our entire strategy lands with NCGOP? I challenge everyone to call 15-20 people you know who are mediocre Dems or Dems who are now Unaffiliated and ask them about the NCDP. They will tell you that the Dems have been in power so long that all they see is back-scratching everywhere - here I will lobby this if you get this person a job doing that - and an elitism that favors no primary choices (even if their person is sub-par). Now, while we all know this goes on inboth parties, the party in power gets it hung around its neck like an albatross. I challenge everyone - make those calls and listen to what people are saying.

Durham Dem

NCBOE hearings?

Given the issue about raising money, one way to avoid a hearing before the State Board of Elections is to get a formal decision from the state BOE --BEFORE the NCDP chair election on January 29th -- on the question "can a member of the General Assembly who is a state party chairman raise money for the party from lobbyists or PACs while the General Assembly is in session? If not, are the state party staff 'real or purported agents of General Assembly' such that they can not raise money either?

NCBOE hearings?

I have already been in touch with the SBOE and will send a letter requesting their position. It is clear that a member of the general assembly can raise money from folks who are not lobbyist and from PACs that do not have lobbyist while the legislature is in Session. It is also clear that the bulk of our Party fund raising is not from PACs with lobbyist or lobbyist. It is clear that a legislator may not raise money from lobbyist or PACs with lobbyist while the legislature is in Session. I think requesting a letter to confirm the permissible Party folks who may raise money from PACs with lobbyist and lobbyist while the legislature is in Session is a great idea.

Bill Faison

Plans for 2012

Bill, do you plan on running for any other office in 2012? If so, will you resign if you have primary opposition? Would you resign under the plan of organization section 10.3 if you're challenged in the primary?

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