NC Democrats to Hold Regional Town Meetings to Discuss and Debate Resolutions, Policies

July 6, 2007

Dear North Carolina Democrat:

Now that the 2007 congressional district conventions have been held and resolutions passed by those districts have been referred to me and the NCDP Platform and Resolutions Committee, we are now at the time when two vital things occur:

(1) The Platform and Resolutions Committee schedules its work session in advance of the August 25th State Executive Committee meeting in Greensboro; and,

(2) As chairman of the Platform and Resolutions Committee, I announce the schedule of Regional Town Hall Meetings. These regional meetings are opportunities for Democrats to gather together to discuss, comment on, and recommend resolutions that were either passed by one or more district conventions, submitted by an NCDP auxiliary group (whether official or unofficial), submitted by the public at large, submitted by the Resolutions Committee, or submitted by the NCDP chairman.

Do note two additional items. First, because there is no State Convention in odd-numbered years and we adopted a thorough Platform last July, this year we will only consider resolutions. No amendments to the Platform will be considered until 2008 in advance of the State Convention. (This is not to be confused with any proposed amendments to the Plan of Organization, which arise through a separate process and committee.) Second, because we only address resolutions this year, then we are able to start a little later with our regional town meetings than in previous years.

These meetings have been quite successful and productive in the recent past. In 2005 and 2006 more than 300 persons each year participated in the meetings all across the State. We also received hundreds of resolutions and proposed Platform amendments, all indicative of a vibrant Party membership resolute in taking a stand and in taking action on matters of interest to them. I have been very pleased with how inclusive and more efficient we have been with the process during these two years. It has also been pleasing to note that our Democratic legislators, State officials, and Congressional leaders have received the adopted resolutions and Platform as well. This is a vast improvement over years past. We have more improvements to make but the key to success lies with you.

Accordingly, the work session of the full Platform and Resolutions Committee is hereby set for 6 p.m., Thurs., August 9 at NC Democratic Party HQ in Raleigh. Attendance is open to the public, as always. We will allow for participation by conference call and email as needed.

As for the schedule of the Regional Town Hall Meetings themselves, the dates and locations are:

July 16
Raleigh

Wake Co. Democratic Party
NC Dem. HQ, 220 Hillsborough St
6:30 pm
Contact: Jan, 919-828-5656 admin@wakedems.org

July 25
Winston-Salem

Forsyth Co. Democratic Party
Southside Library, 3185 Buchanan Street
6:30 pm
Contact: Fred, 336-391-2381 fterry@triad.rr.com

July 26
Asheville

Buncombe Co. Dem. Party
Buncombe Co. Dem. HQ, 951 Fairview Road
6 pm
Contact: Kathy, 828-645-0906, hq@buncombedems.org
tandem9@charter.net

July 30
Charlotte

Mecklenburg Co. Dem. Party
TBD (one of the libraries), Location to be determined by July 12
6:30 pm
Contact: David, 704-579-2006 erdman@charlotte-nc-law.com

July 31
Fayetteville

Cumberland Co. Dem. Party
Cumberland Co. HQ Library,
Pate Room, 300 Maiden Lane
6 pm
Contact: Roberta, 910-484-7936 RWADDLE@nc.rr.com

Aug 1
New Bern

Craven Co. Dem. Party
Golden Corral Buffet & Grill Restaurant
400 Hotel Dr (near Hwy 70 and U.S. 17)
6 pm
Contact: Rachel, rparnell43@suddenlink.net

Aug 2
Greenville

Pitt Co. Dem. Party
Sheppard Memorial Library, Conf. Rm B
530 Evans Street
6:30 pm
Contact: Johnny, 252-321-7743 rousejohnny@hotmail.com

Aug 7
Windsor

Bertie Co. Dem. Party
Bertie Co. Courthouse
Courthouse Square, downtown Windsor
6:30 pm
Contact: Penny, 252-794-2968 dgtptt@earthlink.com

Aug 8
Durham

Durham Co. Dem. Party
Durham Co. Public Library, SW branch
near Orange Co. line; 3605 Shannon Rd.,
http://www.durhamcountylibrary.org/locations/s.php
7 pm
Contact: Kevin, 919-416-0445 kmf@nc.rr.com
Aug 9
Raleigh

NCDP PLAT. & RESOLUTIONS COMM.
NCDP HQ, 220 Hillsborough St.
6:30 pm
Contact: Wayne, 910-997-1301 gwaynegoodwin@gmail.com

Note: At the time of this printing we were still trying to select the best date for the Wilmington regional town meeting. If there is sufficient interest, we may schedule one in Lexington. Furthermore, you will note that one site is still to be determined (TBD), as we await further input from the county or regional party leaders. Regardless, we are “locked in” on the dates. Watch your email and the NCDP website for updates. Feel free to contact me as well as indicated below.

Please pass the word to members of your respective county Party membership, especially precinct chairs and officers. We would like to equal or exceed attendance this year as we prepare for the August 25th State Executive Committee meeting where we will act on the work done by the Platform and Resolutions Committee. If you have any questions or concerns or resolution suggestions, then please feel free to email me at gwaynegoodwin@gmail.com or call me at (910) 997-1301, or you may fax me via the NCDP at (919) 821-4778 (remember to put my name on the fax). For your convenience I have also enclosed a copy of the material on how to construct a resolution, as found in the NCDP County Chairs Handbook.

In closing, let us recall that resolutions are how we as Democrats collectively express ourselves on issues of the day – whether they concern our Nation, our State, or our own local community. They are ways to educate and inspire; more importantly, resolutions are calls to action.

Thank you for your dedicated service to the North Carolina Democratic Party, and answering this call to action!

With warmest personal regards, I am

Very truly yours,

WAYNE GOODWIN
Chairman, Platform and Resolutions Committee

Enclosure

Comments

Thanks, Wayne

Looks like a good plan that will spur some lively discussion.

Recommended.

Good work party, now will it make a difference?

Hon. Goodwin,

First let me say thank you for all the hard work you've done for our party and state. Seeing the Resolutions schedule on BlueNC shows me that the party is not still stuck in the days of secrecy and complacence. Again, thanks.

One question I continue to have about the Resolutions process is does it make a difference? The two major possibilities I see is that it shows "us" what "we" "stand for" and that the party then works to turn these resolutions into policy.

But does the process actually achieve either of these, or any other purpose? From my participation, it seems like it does inform others what the majority of Democrats (who participate in the party) care about, however with a lot of hot air. As for policy, I assume the party passes these resolutions on to its elected officials, although that doesn't always seem to be the case. For instance, did the party actually tell anyone that its State Executive Committee passed a resolution to impeach Bush, Cheney, and Gonzales? But does just informing the legislators of the resolutions passed qualify as trying to turn them into policy? I know the party is supposed have a Policy Committee, but does the Speaker, the Pro Tem, or any other Democratic official in a place of power come to any meetings and talk with the party about policy?

I feel dismissive of the process, but am excited to hear what you have to say about it.

With an open but skeptical mind,

O

Thoughts and appreciation for Obidiah's reply

Obidiah,

Thank you for your post and sharing your opinion!

One of the reasons I was asked by Jerry Meek to chair the Platform and Resolutions Committee in 2005 was to address in great part the concerns you've raised. We've made great progress over the last 2 years, but we have even more work to do. To support this point, please consider the following:

We had 12 Statewide regional town meetings in 2005 and at least 11 in 2006, giving every corner of the State a chance to interact, amend, edit, write, opine and organize around resolutions and amendments to the Platform. This year we will have at least 10 town meetings.

Over the course of those town meetings, 300+ people each year participated - many of whom may not have been able to attend a State Convention or State Executive Committee meeting of the NCDP.

Starting in 2005 and expanded even more so this year, amendments and resolutions may be submitted by email, by fax, in person, by U.S. mail, or by blog.

With that expanded openness and participation, the level of discourse improved and the number of submitted amendments, etc., skyrocketed!

To the great pleasure of thousands of folks, we posted on the NCDP website in 2005 and 2006 (and we'll do the same this year) the proposed Platform and resolutions weeks in advance so that transparency was maximized.

Having all of these regional town meetings also helped expedite the State Convention and State Exec Committee meetings with their business. A recurring complaint by Democrats between the late 1990s and a few years ago is that we get bogged down with the amendment process, etc. Having interaction and perfection of amendments and resolutions early in the process streamlines matters for when we all gather collectively and have large amounts of business to complete besides resolutions and Platform amendments. (It also diminishes the quantity of "hot air" that naturally emanates and pervades any convention hall when passionate debate on any subject arises. The "hot air", as it were, is distributed evenly across the town meetings, to the great pleasure of folks who attend the State convention or Executive Committee meetings!)

On to your most important 2 points in my opinion: Do resolutions matter? Do our elected officials know about our debates and preferences regarding resolutions and Platform amendments?

The short answer is: A qualified Yes.

Why a "qualified" yes? Well, before we began improving the process, all resolutions and amendments were disorganized and non-prioritized. State meetings with 500+ delegates might drag on for 5 hours until we lost a quorum and ended up with no adopted Platform or policy positions. Also, before we began improving the process, there was no systematic way to include or notify elected officials as to the policy positions of rank-and-file Democrats. Resolutions matter to the extent they are well-thought out, well-written, relevant, and accurate. They show our elected officials - or should, at least - that We the People have opinions and preferences for which we want our "representatives" to consider and act on.

Now, we are able to better prioritize these matters. We have firmer Rules and open, more democratic processes. We have several legislators more engaged in the process than before (though not as many as we'd like). The NCDP staff, pursuant to a mandate by the State Convention, has also publicized and distributed bound packets of our policy preferences to State and federal officials, and posted these items on the NCDP website for all to see.

Though the next step is for all of us to lobby and persuade our elected officials about these resolutions, the NCDP is considering new and improved methods to do just that. Your suggestions would be especially welcome.

Obidiah, I had not planned to wax so long about this subject but saw it as an opportunity to share this information with a broader audience.

On a related note, unlike years past, we now have - thank goodness! - blogs like BlueNC that will make this process more of a 24-7, constant conversation and not just annual resolutions that we don't think about until a convention. I, for one, applaud the role of BlueNC in the development and motivation of our Democrats for the great cause that is our Party!

We have more work to do, but our Resolutions process and our regional town meetings and technological advances are all vital components to a better-educated electorate.

With the greatest appreciation and respect for your "open but skeptical mind", I am

Sincerely,

Wayne Goodwin
Chairman
NCDP Platform and Resolutions Committee

Good stuff.

Long-winded is good when there's a lot to say!

Good to See You Again, Wayne!

And I also see there is nothing in Johnston again.

You know, we aren't as close to Wake as some people would believe.

And we have a right lot of people these days. Please have someone make a note of it.

>''

Unique

I can see that they need to have these at large regional population centers. I don't know where you are in Johnston - but is it easy for you to get to Fayetteville? I just checked my calendar, and it looks like I can get to that one.

I Thought -

rational folks tried to escape Fayetteville (humour)

Maybe I'll check out a different place (Pitt/Wilmington/Greenville) I like traveling. Not that I wouldn't like to see you but ...

nah. Not Faytvl.

Why is it always, Wake, Wake, Wake. Johnston isn't a burr stuck on the backside of Wake and I'll be skippy ... it's getting old.

We could try Johnston County but...

... the only drawback is that we may have to double-up on meeting nights given the time frame ... For this year we have 11 scheduled and may not have much room for more than one or two new sites.

Ideally, in setting up a schedule for these meetings, we're trying to be no more than 60 or 90 minutes from anyone in the State. When we consider both Platform amendments and resolutions in 2008 we will have a few more locations so I'll add Johnston County to the list of potential add-ons. Please also keep in mind that if there is sufficient interest in a particular county then we'll "go on the road" there too. ...

Though we can't go to all 100 counties, and are trying to maximize participation while minimizing the personal fuel/environmental costs of members of the Resolutions Committee who travel the State to these town meetings, do know that we make our August 9th meeting "live" by toll-free conference call during the meeting, thus maximizing participation for folks in areas who were unable to be hosts to one of the meetings. Here's an idea: Maybe one of our BlueNC friends could attend one or more of these town meetings and broadcast/blog live too! (Hint, hint ...)

Meanwhile, thank you for the kind welcome back, Unique!

Charlotte site for regional town meeting now specified

Morrison Regional Library
7015 Morrison Blvd., Charlotte
Time (6:30) and date (July 30) remain the same as on the schedule.

I plan to attend the Charlotte meeting, but don't know if

I'll be able to live-blog. I will video tape the meeting though and take the best notes I can. I'll let you know if I'm not able to make it.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Johnston Always Goes to Wake

Once in a while it should be the other way around.

Yeah, we do have buildings big enough these days. Uh huh.

Charlotte road trip? mmm.....how many BlueNC ers could I meet there?

:)

Wellll you might meet a couple, but I bet

I'm the only one going to that meeting.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thanks for all this information, Wayne.

As a member of the executive committee, I really appreciate this opportunity to consider and discuss the resolutions beforehand. I will be sure to attend one of those meetings.