State Executive Committee Meets; Meek Re-Elected NC Democratic Party Chair Submitted by NCDP on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 5:55pm. Press Releases Might I add, "Woo-hoo!" Undercover Blue's blog Comments pretty straight forward article in the N&O today HelpLarry.com "Keep the Faith" Congratulations, Jerry. Your first job is to level the playing field in the capital press corps. It's not hard to be re-elected when there is no opposition. Today was my first time as a delegate to the State Exec. Committee, and it was ...interesting, to say the least. I was curious as to why there were so many "Jerry Meek" campaign buttons when there was no competition. Call me bitchy if you want, but why spend that money if it's not necessary? We tried to attend the Progressive Democrats Auxilliary Meeting, but the room assigned to us was too small, and after standing in the hall for a while and not being able to hear, we went downstairs to watch people. I was disappointed when officers spoke of how we will "take district 8" and "district 5", and with no mention of district 6. Who, exactly, has Howard Coble slept with that they think he is untouchable? It was a pleasure to see Larry Kissell there, nominating Dannie Montgomery for First Vice Chair (she won). I had a brief chance to speak with her - and she seems to be an honest to god feet on the ground get out the vote champion. I was also impressed with her opponent, Sheila Adams, and think that the Party would have done well with either one as 1st vice chair. My husband and I enjoyed talking with Zeb Smathers, Pat Smathers son. He's committed to making the web presence work,and understands that BlueNC can be a key for his dad. They really do want to hear from the netroots, and hear the ideas. Zeb said "No politician has all the answers. That's why we have to talk to everyone and get their ideas." That appeals to me. Pat was there as well, "pressing the flesh", and getting to know people face to face. I like the way they're campaigning. I think the Lt. Gov's race will be interesting. There sure are a lot of people running! Current Lt. Governor Bev Purdue spoke at the beginning of the meeting. This is the first time I've heard her speak. She may be good at governing (I don't know), but she was not an inspiring speaker in my book. Very wooden covered in plastic, with a side of "meh" sauce. Congressman Brad Miller was there - and I'll say it again. I would love to have the opportunity to vote for him. (Are you reading, Mr. Miller? We need for you to consider running for US Senate in 2008.) I also enjoyed seeing some BlueNCers there - it's great to have that kind of connection. Nice conversation with Zhabouti, and a quick hug from LeslieH. I saw Chartreuse Dog across the room but didn't get to speak to her. Unfortunately, we had to leave shortly after the election of officers because of prior commitments, so I'm not sure how the day ended, and which amendments to the Plan of Organization passed or didn't. I doubt that those things matter much to most of the people who read here. At any rate - sorry for the scattered post - just my thoughts on an interesting day. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi Thanks for the roundup Dannie Montgomery is everything she seemed to you and more. I saw her work during my time with the Kissell campaign and I have to say, she is simply amazing. I dont know anything about her opponent, but it is a very, very good thing that she got elected. Did you meet any of the other LG candidates? Was Moore there? HelpLarry.com "Keep the Faith" I didn't see Moore - but as I didn't see Moore - but as I said, we had to leave early. I know that Hampton Dellinger was there, as was Dan Besse, but I didn't get to speak to them. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi Excellent summary Thanks. I wish you could have stayed to give us the entire blow-by-blow. I love your independent minded take on things . . . and your critical eye. Nice work! Dannie Dannie was going to get my vote primarily based on the fact that Stella Adams, the "environmental activist" as she called herself in one speech, wasted a bunch of trees to have postcard fliers made for her campaign. Then Dannie spoke. She, and anyone else, is entitled to their faith but it doesn't belong as part of what your vision should be for all of the party. This, combined with how she continued on with her speech for almost a full minute after being signaled to stop, made me begin to change my mind. After all, if you are going to be in that position, rules (even parliamentary) are to be followed. I was not pleased with either candidate. Sorry we couldn't connect I didn't even see you - would have loved a chance to talk with you for a bit. I was very favorably impressed with both candidates for 1st vice chair, I think Stella Adams should think about running for Congress or something. I was glad to hear Dannie speak of her faith, I don't think the other side is entitled to "own" God or Christian values. Somebody like Dannie speaking up the way she did helps demonstrate that being a Christian does not rule out also being a progressive Democrat. We are still, as far as I know, the "big tent" party, with room for people of all faiths. I think it's a big mistake to profess a belief one doesn't own, but I also think it's fine to talk about one's own belief, whatever that may be - just not to try to force it on others or enact it into law. Stella's comments about the right to choose - abortion or not - were so cogent. Her remarks that choice should not be limited to those who can afford it cut both ways. Abortion services should be available to the poor, and health care and affordable child care should be available as well. (I'm not sure what that had to do with being 1st vice chair, though.) Yes, I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you but it felt like seeing "family", even though I've only met you and Leslie one other time. I think Stella Adams should think about running for Congress or something. She was terrific, actually. I cast my ballot for her on the strength of the vision she articulated. I think she would be a dynamic elected official - energetic and positive. I'm keeping her in my mind as someone to vote for if I ever have the chance. That list is getting longer and longer! Stella's comments about the right to choose - abortion or not - were so cogent. Her remarks that choice should not be limited to those who can afford it cut both ways. Abortion services should be available to the poor, and health care and affordable child care should be available as well. (I'm not sure what that had to do with being 1st vice chair, though.) I think it might have a lot to do with being first vice chair, actually. Party officials are often called upon to speak for the Party. 1st Vice Chair not nearly as much as Chair - but it's still worth noting that Stella would have been able to hold her own on the issues that matter. Dannie is just as well-spoken, and will be a terrific First Vice-Chair. In fact, I think her experience "on the ground" may be more valuable to the party at this point in time. As for the religion thing - I totally agree. We are the true big tent, and it shouldn't matter. I often feel as if the assumption is that we are all one faith, and that was how Dannie's speech sounded to both my husband and me, but we tend to be particularly sensitive to that issue. Overall - I'm energized and excited; I'm looking forward to the strategic planning process in the county, and I've just perused the local elections for 2007. Every race, every time. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi Disappointed, Dejected, Disgusted This will not be a popular opinion. But I am going to give it anyway. No, I did not stay to attend the whole SEC meeting, as lcloud mentioned. In fact, I left the meeting before she did for a few different reasons. As much as they tried (and I applaud those who tried) the venue was far too small for those in attendance. (And yes, I understand that they had more in attendance than expected but doesn't it make sense to plan for everyone to show?) Many who were there as members and proxies had no place to sit or even stand. In fact I saw at least 10 people within my own field of vision taking seats that were for those with votes. And I can count many more than that, often elderly, who were struggling to stand and write on their hands. I couldn't even get into the Progressive Caucus meeting, nor could about a dozen others who were standing in the hall. And when I was able to hear the proceedings, it was campaigning by the candidates for 1st Vice Chair. Saturday's SEC meeting was essentially nothing more than a giant self-congratulatory, masturbation fest. So many of the people with whom I conversed, and those I just overheard were all touting how great their county is and how great they are, personally. The more I listened, the more I heard how great everyone thought they were. Even the 1st Vice Chair speeches were filled with "I am a better Democrat than she is." (okay, it was a campaign) Jerry Meek, who, while most likely doing an honorable job in many areas of the state, failed to support district 6 and, more specifically Moore county. He ran unopposed and was treated as a deity by most in attendance. If you are unopposed, why the need for campaign buttons? How about not overlooking, nay, shunning a district and a county that is trying to rise from the ashes? How about being a STATE WIDE chair and not a "Oh, this one has a shot" chair? (Yes, I am bitter) I left with the distinct feeling that this group has lost it's focus on what people need overall. That they were more concerned with pumping and pimping Jerry Meek and telling one another how fucking awesome they are. Meanwhile, calls for financial assistance from counties go ignored. Calls from county chairs go unanswered. Support for candidates evaporates. Disaffection grows. Sounds miserable Explains perfectly why going to political events is like going to the dentist for me. I actually enjoy those Exec. Committee Meetings for the first 2-3 hours any way. ;) God bless the quorum caller. I will say this -- for the first timers and new county Democratic party members (I'm fairly new myself, Jan.05) -- Jerry Meek gets standing ovations at all NCDP meetings because, y'all ... the man deserves it. It's that simple. To know how much better things in the Democratic party are now (grassroots & bottom-up), we really need perspective on how bad (top down) it was before. Jerry Meek can certainly defend himself, but there are specific things I know about that make me stand up and cheer and clap for the man. He pushed ownership, leadership and communication down to the local party level in ways that were never even dreamed of before. He has monthly conference calls with county chairs and sends out a weekly NCDP email update to anyone who signs up for it. His primary goal across NC has been precinct organization -- building the army of activists available to pound the pavement during election season and make the party an active party that people want to be a part of. The state party now has dedicated precinct trainers and canvassing training materials. This year the NCDP will REQUIRE at least one county officer to attend a training session. He's supporting county parties financially through the 50-50 donor program. Do we all participate in that program? I understand what things looked like to new folks yesterday. Please don't think I'm a hero worshipper or that I'm fussing at anyone. Trust me, I've been where you are now. You don't have to tell me how great more state party involvement in county campaigns would be, especially when about 3 people seem to do all the work in your county party. I'm a Democrat from Johnston County. See if this sounds familiar to you folks in Moore County: I've got zero representation on the Board of County Commissioners, zero representation in the NC House, zero representation in the NC Senate ... and in the past couple of years the R party has drawn-a-bead on Democrats on the Board of Education -- a supposedly non-partisan Board. We do have Bob Etheridge representing NC-02 in the US Congress. For the yellow dogs and blue dogs in NC-02, that is perfect and wonderful, but for some of the progressive Progressives in these parts... even that causes consternation from time to time. [Don't worry. We'll always love you, Bobby!! ;-)] I'll end my effussive gushing with this: Under Jerry Meek's leadership, the state Democratic party has gone from a damn-near private club at the local and state level to a truly democratic Democratic party. That is what everybody cheers for. That is why everyone stands and claps and that is why some, me included, "w00T" enthusiastically when somebody gets up and talks nice about Jerry Meek. Just my take on one aspect of yesterday's activities. Also... I met and talked to Pat Smathers for several minutes. (I think there are 4-5 Democrats running for Lt. Gov. in 2008). I was totally impressed. Mostly because he's been in local county gov't for a while -- Mayor of Canton and in other elected positions -- and his goals centers on giving local governments more authority over how to raise revenue and manage their counties and towns. That's exactly what I want to hear from every state official who expects to get my vote. Pat Smathers impressed me and won my vote yesterday. He's my guy, now! "They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." the key part I know Jerry doesnt think the party is perfect. Far from it. But things are a lot better now than they were, and there are people more and more involved who are committed to making the important changes. HelpLarry.com "Keep the Faith" Yeah - it sounds pretty much like Moore Co. except that we don't have even the luxury of a Congressman with a (D) next to his name representing us in congress. A small portion of the county is respresented by Joe Hackney, but when he came here to "campaign" last fall, he didn't visit that part of the county. He went to Southern Pines, not Cameron. I enjoyed it, too Leslie, much more than my husband did. I have issues with the lack of support the NCDP gave (or didn't give) to our county and district, but understand that it's a growing, ever-evolving process. I love stuff like that. (I apologize for getting Stella Adams' name wrong in my original post about this.) I have no doubt that Jerry has done a good job in many ways. What I object to is basically rubberstamping forgone conclusions - only one nomination, money spent on campaign buttons that weren't necessary - that's the bad side of politics, and I don't like to see it at the top of our party. At any rate - it was a good thing that there were more people than there were seats - that's a good problem to have at any political meeting. And yes - I'm extremely impressed with Pat Smathers. To have someone in that office who actually understands the needs of local communities and can be a bridge between state and local government is terrific. I didn't get to speak to him as much as I talked to Zeb, but in my book, Pat is the front runner. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi Thanks for the kind words Leslie, thanks so much for the kind words. As for gcloud's comments, here are just a few responses: 1. I'm not sure if you were at the meeting at which I was initially elected, in 2005. If you weren't, you probably wouldn't know that those are the same buttons I used in 2005. (The vast majority of the SEC members would probably know that and would recognize the symbolism of their return). I had about 500 extra buttons sitting in my house and I thought it was better to use them than to throw them away. Plus, anyone can be nominated from the floor (there is no "filing period"). So, you never know whether you are unopposed until the nominations are closed. 2. I'm not sure the purpose of your diatribe about deification. But, I certainly am honored by the support of the SEC members. When you do this 60 hour a week volunteer job, you're constantly under attack by Republicans and occasionally by Democrats like yourself. So, one day of applause every two years is certainly appreciated. 3. As for Moore County, it is true that we did not provide get-out-the-vote (GOTV) funding for Moore County last year. Frankly, with limited resources, we have to focus those last minute resources on highly targeted areas. In the past (i.e. before my election), the State Party invited certain counties -- and only certain counties -- to submit proposals for GOTV funding and counties like Moore never even got an opportunity to request funding. We changed that. Starting in January of 2006, in my monthly memo to the county Chairs and 1st Vice-Chairs, I asked them to create written GOTV plans and submit them to us. This request was repeated in every monthly memo up until the election. Moore County only submitted such a request a couple of weeks before the election. It was one of the very last counties to do so. I told the County Chair that we could provide funding only if we got unexpected funds (which we did not). Because Moore County was so late in submitting a request, it was the only county in the state to submitted a request and not get funding. Anyway, as always, I enjoy reading the posts here. Thanks to all who came to the meeting yesterday. Here's to a great 2008! Jerry You're more than welcome, Jerry. And Congratulations on winning another term! Hope you'll be coming down to Johnston County again sometime. I hesitated before I wrote anything ... pretty sure that you could probably handle it best yourself, but I just had to toss in my twopennies. Thanks for the added information, though. I did not know those were buttons from the storied 2005 election. I woulda grabbed one. argh. [hand slaps forehead] But, thinking this election would be no biggie ... I didn't get one. :( ...shoot. Congratulations to Dannie Montgomery, Delmas Parker and Courtney Crowder, too. I was impressed with Stella Adams, too. Please, Ms. Adams ... run for the Lege. NC could sure benefit from your voice, brains and passion in elected office. "They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Jerry, Thanks Thank you for your response, and clarification, Jerry. Neither my husband (gcloud)nor I were at the meeting in 2005 when you were initially elected. What you read here are SEC neophytes' comments. Speaking only for myself, I was surprised by the campaign atmosphere, and a little taken aback, but you know, it's all a learning experience. We are not, however, neophytes in Moore County,and we worked our butts off during the campaign, for local races, and for the District 06 congressional race. I am asking you now to help us build in 07 and 08. We need to get our infrastructure to the point that the Republican plurality in our county is not as menacing as it seems. I don't know how often you read here - and if you'll read this response, but know that any and all comments made are out of deep passion born of building the party in Moore County and giving voice to the 17,000 or so Democrats here who right now have no representation beyond a few mayors in small towns. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi Appreciate the reply Jerry, Thanks for the response. I appreciate the time you took to respond and, while it doesn't entirely change my opinion, it does go a long way to help me understand some things. I wish you the best. Thanks for the support Thanks to all of you who took the time to share such kind words of support at this weekend's meeting and here on BlueNC. I hope you'll continue to stay in touch as the campaign progresses. I appreciate hearing all comments, good and bad, as I'm relying on my fellow committed Democrats to provide me with constructive criticism. It was wonderful to meet so many BlueNCers this weekend. I look forward to reading your future blog posts and seeing you again soon on the campaign trail. "Local leadership, statewide"