BlueNC, what’s been your experience with Progressive Dems of NC?

Hard to believe, but we’ve only been around 3 years this month.

So, what’s your impression? Some of you must have bumped elbows with this group at some point. It’s been a struggle at times including the caucus or not a caucus question, but some good things have come out of this organization so far.

Where do you think we have a place in the fabric of this state?


I haven't had any experience with you

commie pinko hippy liberals. :)

Honestly, haven't run into anyone down in Meck claiming to be a member. Glad you're bringing more attention to PDs of NC here at BlueNC.

If you could pick one item that is top on your agenda, what would it be?

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

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


a hardcore, active progressive caucus.

I hope to see a lot more from the group.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

Well, that's a good question...

My personal preference would be energy independence but I don't think the group has been asked lately so I'm not going to try and guess that one.

We have had a summit meeting where that should have been decided I just don't think they did.


I don't have any experience with y'all. Is there an Asheville/western chapter? Who would I contact about that?

Scrutiny Hooligans -

I will collect info

on the chapters and post it next week. I believe there is one in your neck of the woods. We had our state meeting in Asheville last fall.

Well, there's a reason for that . . .

Given that I used to be head of the Asheville chapter, I suppose I have something to do with the fact that you've never heard of us. But we've still got one -- it's headed by Susan Oehler, and it meets quarterly.

I've been to one meeting

and played a lot of email tag on some Stop the War issues. Beyond that, I've heard of PDNC and have been eager to have you take over the world!

My experience at the one meeting was a little frustrating. The focus seemed to be more on organizational and turf issues (between "state" focused people and Orange County folks). After having been on the town council for two years and a bunch of committees after that, my patience for organizational stuff is pretty much zero. I know someone has to do it, but I'm also glad it's not me.

I echo BlueSouth's comments above about the need for an identifiable and active caucus that has some clout. It doesn't take a lot of number to be a bloc of votes . . . but it takes more than we have.

I'm working toward the day when moderate Democrats need progressive Dems to get legislation passed.

My experience: painful and pointless

I went to a couple of meetings of the caucus, which in its past form I understand to be defunct. For those that don't know the history, it orginally formed as two parts, PAC and caucus. From what I know, the PAC never raised any serious money, the caucus fell apart due to incredibly poor leadership (that doesn't refer to just the very top as this was a 'bottoms up' organization) and zero organizational capacity.

Part of PDNC's problem was the election of Jerry Meek. It was such a coup that it took all the air out of PDNC's chute. Part of the reason it orginally formed was to put small 'd' democratic principles back into the Democratic Party. This, of course, is incredibly boring stuff (Robert's Rules, meetings every other weekend, etc), albeit necessary, and tore the group in two between what I would call Constructionist Progressive Democrats and those whose true love was the issues (them and the Kucinich supporters, at least).

I'm unclear as to what the PDNC is these days, but they don't seem to have much influence. Ask the handful of progressives in the House or the very small handful of progressives in the Senate who PDNC is and you will get mostly blank looks and answers that start with, "Um...".

from these posts

it seems like you are right to say that the people who you thought did a poor job of leading are not there.

I think this group is vital for the state and our party in the future, so I hope we can keep the discussion alive.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

That's what this Monday night drill is about

I've invited the PDNC to use the BlueNC living room as a forum for for their discussions on Monday nights - and I'm hoping those who have been more or less connected to the organization will plug in and get activated with us. Lord knows, we need all the help and energy we can get from folks who want to make a difference.

That's what was afraid of

Ask the handful of progressives in the House or the very small handful of progressives in the Senate who PDNC is and you will get mostly blank looks and answers that start with, "Um...".

If they don't know us, then they don't there is anyone who's got their backs.

I know some of the people in PDNC.

I think they could be a tremendously important group, but I don't think they are yet.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

What I would like to see

What I would like to see in a Progressive Caucus.

We need a group with two purposes.
The first is legislative. There must be an organization dedicated to pushing a progressive agenda. Ideally this would be a cooperative partnership with specific, progressive legislators, to put pressure on legislators to make sure a progressive agenda was getting passed. The best way this would be done would be legislators willing to "take suggestions" on bills to file, and a group capable of mobilizing a ton of letter writers and phone callers.

The second is electoral. The problem for progressives in NC is that our House and Senate Caucuses are set up with one simple goal. Maintaining their majorities. We have 68 in the House and 31 in the Senate, and while those might expand, we are never going to have a veto proof majority, so their goal is to maintain and protect. There is nothing wrong with that, we need that to protect against Republicans. However, it also means that there is very little support for Progressives running in "Red" districts and Progressive challengers in Purple districts. If a Progressive caucus made a concerted effort to elect progressives, through the small use of a PAC, but more importantly through exposure and volunteers, we could see the number of Progressives skyrocket. This is especially true looking towards 2008, when it looks like there will be a larger than normal amount of open seats that we will have to protect.

This is a great year for a Progressive Caucus to come out strong, make a big mark, and become a player in NC politics for a long time.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

In my limited understanding on the issue of the caucus

we where told that because we did not have, and this is going to sound rough because I don't know the correct terminlogy, but, physical characteristics of a caucus, i.e. we are not all women, we are not all black, we are not all anything but progressive, we could not be considered a caucus.

I still don't see why there could not be a defacto caucus though. A group that votes as a progressive block.

And there is a PAC. I can't imagine it's going strong but again I don't know.

There is

being a caucus and there is being a caucus. Nothing that I said is dependent upon you being a "caucus", either within the legislature or within the party structure.

If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck but you call it a goose ....

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

official auxiliary organization

I was involved with the PDNC from the organizational meeting in 2004 until about a year ago. Durham is already progressive for the most part and didn't really need yet another progressive group.

There was a hope that if the PDNC (or Greendogs as their nickname used to be) could become an officially recognized auxiliary of the N.C. Democratic Party then the prospect of having a vote on county executive committees could increase membership and involvement. If I remember correctly, a vote was scheduled by the State Executive Committee about auxiliary status about a year or so ago, but the PDNC withdrew their request because their bylaws did not meet certain requirements at that time.

I don't know if the group plans to try again for official auxiliary status.

I know there was some strife early on about limiting the membership (and the name) to just Democrats instead of being inclusive of Greens and independents. But again the idea was to become an official auxiliary of the state party, therefore limiting membership to Democrats was required.

Since Durham's group did not remain organized, I fell off the PDNC's radar, although I still try to attend their meetings that occur before the SEC meetings.

I agree.

A group that helps walk prospective candidates through a campaign in districts where NO democrat ever runs.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I like your thinking here so much.

There have to be good candidates in those wastelands of Republican rule. I know we could identify them and possibly win a coalition that way.

PDNC needs a purpose

My "problem" with PDNC was that I never understood its purpose. The Democratic Party already advocates and works for the more progressive of the two choices in an election. PDNC seems redundant.

Blue South above gives some purpose that I would agree with. Particularly a focus on progressives in "red" districts. There is a need there for more help on non-targeted state house and senate races.

PDNC never understood its purpose!

This was part of the problem. It's the whole herding cats issue. When it first met, the idea was to influence the party, not the political scene. To an extent they succeeded in helping elect Jerry Meek. After that, though, they couldn't build consensus. Everyone had their pet issue. Stop the war. Fight for the poor. Engage in electoral activity. No one would put down their respective issue despite attempts to get the group to focus.

I think you're right but,

aren't all "organizations" pretty chaotic in the beginning? When you're trying to make something out of nothing, you don't usually get it right at first.

Granted you have to get beyond that awkwardness though. It's time for some maturity if the group is going to make it. Unfortunately though I've spoken about doing this very experiment with Pete Mac Dowell ( he gave his OK ) and also invited him to join in the conversation he seems absent. His campaign statement included communication as a priority for PDNC but it's been 8 months and that has not happened that I can tell.

I've not been a part of anything official

in politics. I've worked with the Larry Kissell campaign making phone calls and filling out and mailing postcards, and some local campaigns prior to that, but never anything ongoing. I would be interested in being part of a group of progressives from NC that gets together here on this site and occasionally in person to really try to coordinate both progressive legislative and electoral gains for our State.

John Edwards to Republicans: I'm in ur base, takin' ur votez!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

PDNC board rep weighs in

Yes, PDNC is 3 years old this month. In those three years we have evolved from separate entities as a “caucus” and PAC to an organization with one board. We are now officially a 501(c)4 with an affiliated PAC. This structure is both more flexible and efficient.

While PDNC has developed and grown more slowly than some would like, our development has been steady, constructive and guided with thoughtful consideration and intention.

We have accomplished modest though important work in our three years as an organization. We have conducted two candidate trainings (both well received and much appreciated); we have allocated PAC contributions to a number of progressive candidates across the state, many who also took our candidate training, and prevailed in their races, including Mayor Terry Bellamy of Asheville; we have increased the influence of progressives in the NC Democratic Party (NCDP), and have achieved a working and mutually respectful relationship with Chairman Meek; we have written, promoted, and helped to pass many progressive resolutions both through the S.E.C. and at county and district conventions; there is an increasing awareness of PDNC among NC legislators as we actively lobby for progressive policy (we recently co-sponsored the NCDP legislative reception in Raleigh); we were among the first to forcefully and publicly call for Jim Black to step down (see related oped by our policy chair, Chris Lizak, published by the Raleigh N&O, February 23, 2007, “Three steps to a cleaner legislature”); and we are in the process of building important alliances with various groups such as the NAACP (we are a partnering organization with the NAACP for HK on J’s Peoples Assembly). As we have developed, so our mission has been refined. We see ourselves as a political arm for issue advocates and organizations. Where non-profits must keep to education and advocacy, PDNC can help translate issues to policy proposals, legislative initiatives and lobbying efforts. A central goal remains to recruit and help elect progressive candidates to our county commissions, town councils and General Assembly.

We have been aware of the need to improve our communication and have made efforts to to this end. We have sent out several e-newsletters and legislative alerts in the past few months. And, yes, there is still room for improvement. That said...

We must note that all we have accomplished to date has been done with an all volunteer board that is composed of busy, working folk, some also with families, and on a shoe string budget. We are confident that our visibility, influence and effectiveness can and will grow in the coming months and years—but not without support of people like yourselves who visit and support BlueNC.

PDNC has recently launched an ambitious fundraising campaign with a goal if $50,000 by the end of 2007. With this money we plan, among other things, to hire a half time staff member which we need to become the political force we envision. Please spread the word about PDNC, and support our vision for a progressive NC by becoming a sustaining member, or by making a single generous contribution. You can become a member here:

PDNC has the potential to become a real force to be reckoned with in NC politics! Help make it so!

If you have questions or want to form a county chapter, contact Pete MacDowell, President, at or call him at 919-259-3140.

Susan Reed
Outreach Chair

Thanks Susan.

I know you all are very busy and thank you for your hard work. It helps so much to have your input here.

Thank you for the history and information, Susan.

There is a lot of misinforamtion floating around out in the counties. I'm glad to have something directly from "the horse's mouth" (so to speak) about the history, etc. Growth for any organization is slow, and comes in fits and starts. Sounds like you're on the right track.