To me there are a number of things that I would like to see in our next Party Chair. A commitment to grassroots politics, an ability to fundraise, and a continued commitment to competing in all 100 counties are all essentials for most people. But what is even more core, and is in fact so essential that it never seems to be mentioned is Democratic values.
There have been and will always be arguments over what it means to be a Democrat, and what sort of values our party has. But at its very core, the Democratic Party is about putting people first. It is about standing up for the voiceless at all times. And right now I am not convinced that David Young will do that. Right now David Young seems to be the consensus pick. He has the support of the Governor and Jerry Meek and a long list of very important and influential people, many of whom I have a great amount of respect for. But there are some very serious problems. In 2004, at a County Commission meeting Young said the following:
Keever commented: "Certainly we would like to keep businesses here. But if we err, I would hope we would err on the side of those who are most needy." Young shot back, "I would hope we would err on the side of business."
http://www.mountainx.com/news/2004/0728county.php Those are certainly not words that I want to see come out of any Democrat, let alone a Democrat running for Party Chair. But then just a few weeks after the May primary, he very forcefully said that there was no benefit to reversing the law on collective bargaining in this state. http://www.ncacc.org/perspective/young/young09.html At the base of his argument is that collective bargaining in the private sector is a useful counterbalance to a company’s push for profits (and other things). In his opinion, because county government jobs are more stable than private company jobs there is no need for collective bargaining. Because apparently so long as the government keeps someone employed minor things like good pay and respect in the workplace don’t really matter. Ignoring the misguided assumption that collective bargaining is only about pay, the bigger problem here is the idea that governments have little to no responsibility to their employees. In Mr. Young’s opinion, because the state outlawed smoking at work there is no other concern that employees could possibly have, and certainly no concern that would justify granting employees a right to speak as a group if they so wished. In both these articles there is something deeply disturbing. I would call on Mr. Young to unequivocally repudiate his past statements that business should come before people and that government employees in North Carolina don’t deserve the right to collectively bargain. Further, I call on Mr. Young to support Collective Bargaining for state employees, and to promise that if elected Chair he will do everything in his power to make sure that our party and our state will always put people first.