Sunday, October 13, 2013

Georgia Dems it's Time: Make 2014 the Year of Women

As Georgia Democrats, we have become a bit too cynical about the road ahead. By road ahead, I don't mean the "promised" years of 2016 or 2018. Yes I'm excited to see what a possible Clinton '16 could mean. I am also watching the favorable demographic projections for 2018. However, when I speak of the road ahead, I'm talking about next year folks - 2014.

It seems the politerati don't have high expectations for our party next year. I think the underestimation gives us room to do the unexpected. We have a golden opportunity to do something special and transformative with the upcoming election cycle. This could inspire the base, make the independents take a real look at our candidates and it will totally blow the opposition out of the water. I believe this is our best chance to claim some if not all of the statewide seats. It's bold. It's forward thinking and it makes sense.

So with no authority or standing to do so, I am proclaiming 2014 the Year of Women for Georgia Democrats. That's right! I want there to be a Democratic Woman in every statewide ballot slot. Can you imagine it? Think of the message Georgia Democrats would send to our voters and really to the nation. Think of the story we would have to attract funds, media attention and the crucial youth vote. Think of what that coordinated campaign would be like - wow! Spread the word and let's make it happen. rj

Friday, August 2, 2013

T-R-U-S-T > The 5-point renewal plan for DPG

As we work together to bring our financial picture back from the brink and refocus on finding/electing good Democrats, I'll be talking about rebuilding T-R-U-S-T as a discussion point and planning guide. I will elaborate on each point with my proposals and initiatives in the days ahead, but the overview is for us to rebuild our...


Let's face it. Without enough Democrats serving in office and/or loads of active volunteers on the ground, it makes it very challenging to raise funds. What do we have to offer the high-dollar donor? How can we inspire the small contributors? I think we can answer these questions and right the ship with a multi-prong approach that engages Democrats internally as well as those outside of the organization. There must be lots of initiative and involvement from a large group of Democrats to make this effort successful in a short period of time. While certainly not everyone can/will contribute in this way, we must be careful not to leave our financial stability in the hands of a small group of donors.


We've got to mend fences with donors,volunteers, candidates/elected officials, volunteers and ultimately our voters. Relationships are built on two-way communication so we'll have to take positive steps to listen and welcome them all back.


North GA Mountains Democrats, Atlanta Democrats, Southern Democrats - you name it we've got many ways to split up and divide ourselves up. For the sake of our state, we'll have to accept our differences and find a concept that we can all get behind like - GEORGIA FIRST.


We are a statewide organization and have statewide structure already in place. The problem is that we don't take advantage of a communication system that links county activity, district activity and ultimately state-level activity. When we begin to share information and resources across the entire state we will see our success and effectiveness increase across all of Georgia. 


Affiliate organizations are our friends and we have to start acting like it. These partner groups share complimentary views and create additional pathways to reach and engage our voters. We have to come up with new ways to connect as a team with these like-minded entities. With 2014 just around corner, we must make it clear that DPG stands with open arms to embrace organizations that align with our goals.

How will we do it? I'll talk about each point in separate posts ahead and I'm also looking forward to hearing from you. rj

RJ Hadley, Candidate for DPG Chair
(404) 274-9281

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Georgia Democrats means GEORGIA FIRST

So here we go. Qualifying has ended and we look toward the August 31st special election. For me, it can't come soon enough. As an organization, this election is actually a perfect time for self-reflection, self-renewal and self-determination. Yet I've seen it create even more division and in-fighting just when we desperately need to come together as an organization. In my numerous travels all over our great state, it's been my honor to meet so many great Democrats. Of course we don't all want exactly the same thing in exactly the same way, but at our core we all believe that our party has the better path forward for our state. I offer myself as Chair to bring us together and get us focused on a basic theme with simple targets for surprising results.

At the foundation of our actions, we should all be mindful of two simple, but powerful, words - GEORGIA FIRST. Georgia First must be a destination and Georgia First must also be a promise. Georgia First as a destination means our party promotes initiatives and legislation that seek to move our state from the bottom to first in areas such as educational opportunity, economic security and individual freedom. Georgia First as a promise means our party leaders make a commitment to put the needs of our citizens ahead of private gain, personal ambition and purely ideological battles.

As we reinforce our party, evaluate new leadership and chart a course for victory in the coming elections, I ask each of you to think, make and keep GEORGIA FIRST. rj

RJ Hadley, Candidate for DPG Chair
(404) 274-9281

Thursday, June 6, 2013

GA Democrats: Don't panic. Stay focused. Get ready for a difficult road back.

With all the talk lately, there's plenty to get dismayed by and distracted from when it comes to the DPG. You guys know I'm a "glass half full" kind of guy, but I can't sugarcoat it. It's been a challenging two years and the picture right now isn't pretty. Finances, organization, planning, morale: all indicators are on red. Still we can't lose sight of our main objective. Remember, we exist primarily to find and elect good Democrats to office at the local, state and national level. Period. There's a huge amount of work ahead for us to rebuild the foundation and relationships that will make us a viable organization, vital to the future of Georgia. I implore each of you. Don't panic. Stay focused. Stay determined.  There's heavy lifting ahead and we'll need each of you to do it. It won't be easy and it certainly won't be handed to us by the gods of demography.

The noise level right now is so high that we've forgotten the folks we are here to fight for; our elderly, our veterans, our youth and the disenfranchised. First, we've got the media/blogs pumping us up with these articles about the good weather ahead for us. HuffPo, Roll Call, DailyKos, you name it, they're saying the numbers are looking up, the environment is ripe for a turnaround and GA Dems are in a prime position to strike. Pay no attention to it! Really. It's like being on that doomed Carnival cruise ship before all hell breaks loose. The weather ahead may look great and the waves may be favorable, but it means nothing when the toilets are overflowing and the ship is listing to one side. While it does appear that Georgia is trending toward more potential Democratic voters, we've got to have the financial resources and sweat equity to actually get them out to the polls. Sorry to break it to you, but we've got a long, long way to paddle before we can even begin to see that port.

Then, we've got the endless naysayers who say it's all hopeless right now. They say we should just lay dormant for a decade or so. Wait until the numbers catch up, then put our good stuff out there. Are you kidding me? What in the world are we doing if we're just going to sideline it for the next few election cycles? Pay no attention to it! There's plenty to be said for fighting the good fight. There are times when you, against the odds, put your best plan forward and charge, head down, into the breach. I guess sitting out a couple of elections is one way to go. I'm a worker. I'm a fighter. I'm for gathering up the best candidates we can support and fighting the good fight. Governor Deal I'm talking directly to you and your "free pass" friends.

So again I say let's tune out the noise and get ready to do something that will be near impossible to do in the time that's left to do it. We've got to rebuild our treasure, rebuild the troops and most importantly rebuild TRUST. People have to trust us with their hard earned dollars. People have to trust us with their precious time. They've got to trust that Georgia Democrats, at every level, have a plan to improve the economy, increase educational opportunity and create an equal playing field for everyone. Yes, trust can be broken, but trust, with very hard work, can be renewed. I'm going to start on Monday by signing up to make monthly contributions to the party via the Yellow Dog Club. I trust you will join me in doing the same. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair
Congressional Districts and County Parties
(404) 274-9281

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Barely 16 and standing his ground!

Well I was already hyped up after last night's JJ and seeing so many good friends from around the state. Then I got this awesome response in the Dalton Daily Citizen from our Whitfield County Chair, John Anthony.

Christian Hurd is not even 16 yet and he's already calling out the Republicans for their foolishness and double-talk. This is exactly the kind of response we need to push for in every county. Heading into 2014 elections, we've got to call them out for every lie and half-truth.

I'm already making moves to get Christian down to the Young Dems Convention in Atlanta April 12-14. I challenge each of you to send a young Democrat from your county to this event. Great job Christian! rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Make the Most of It!: Strategic Planning for County Parties

Let's face it - as a county party leader, you're working with limited dollars and a constantly shifting volunteer base to find/elect good Democrats. Often you're working in a very challenging political environment and, by the way, you only have a 2 year term to get it all done!   You need something that will help you set priorities and focus your committee's energies on common goals. You need a Strategic Plan.

If you haven't already discussed it, please make this a topic of your next Exec. Committee meeting. If your next Exec. isn't scheduled until after March 31st, call a meeting. County parties rarely engage in strategic planning and it lessens our statewide effectiveness.

You'll find lots of resources on strategic planning, but some of them are a little cumbersome. Check out this County Party Strategic Planning Resource as a starting point. The breakdown of steps:

1. Identify Who Should be Involved with the Planning (Stakeholders)
2. Establish Short and Long-Term Goals
3. Determine the VISION and the MISSION to Achieve It
4. Analyze your Internal Strengths/Weaknesses
5. Analyze your External Opportunities/Threats
6. Develop your Strategic Objectives
7. Writing the Draft Strategic Plan
8. Communicating the Plan for Feedback
9. Writing the Final Strategic Plan
10. Execute and Constant Evaluation for Effectiveness

Of course, you will adapt these steps to the needs of your particular county. The important thing is to at least begin the discussion. We'll dive into each step over a series of future posts. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Useful Grassroots Handbook from Texas Dems

I volunteered for President Obama with the Texas Dems in Austin and learned a lot from my time there. I've always admired their commitment to the grassroots.  Check out their Texas Democratic Party Grassroots Manual to get your party jumpstarted in the right direction. Let's start talking strategy over the next series of posts. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Letters to the Editor that work

County committees must constantly look for ways to promote the party and Democratic ideals. Letters to the Editor can be used to highlight important issues, call out Republican false claims, recruit new members/candidates and also increase fundraising potential.

Success here means finding party members who are good writers and tasking them to daily/weekly search for opportunities to get published. It really comes down to a numbers game. To increase your chance of publication, you will have to increase your submissions. In addition, you have to build relationships with your local editors even if they are right-leaning. To get you started, here are some good links with best practices.

Community Tool Box: Writing Letters to the Editor

Vermont Democratic Party: 4 Tips for Writing a Good Letter to the Editor

Reclaim Democracy!: Tips on Writing Effective Letters to the Editor

Whether you get published or not, please let me know when you send in letters or post here in comments. We all can learn from reading letters that worked and one's that didn't. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Parliamentary rules: Party meetings that work (part 2)

So I spoke to you earlier about the importance of parliamentary rules to maintain tight, orderly party meetings. Unfortunately, I've sat through plenty of meetings where one or two folks dominate the discussion and nothing gets done. It's a total waste of time and the fastest way to run newcomers off.

Last time, I talked about Robert Rules in Brief as a good resource. Another option is this handy pdf short course on parliamentary procedure. County Chairs READ THIS and DISTRIBUTE to your Exec. Board and committee members. It's no good if only a handful of people have the knowledge of procedure and keep others out of the process. ALSO I highly encourage each county to designate a Parliamentarian to help keep things on track and show membership that following meeting rules matter. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Awesome feeling: New Democratic county parties

As Vice-Chair of County Parties, it's been a real privilege and honor for me to witness the formation of new county committees, the growth of some and the rebirth of others. Take Bryan County. Amy Tavio has been our Party Contact there for years. Sometimes it's hard to get solid activity in a county. The best you can do is just have a Contact there and wait for the environment to swing. Thanks to Amy and our 1st District Chair, Jeana Brown, I'm excited to welcome Andrea Conrad as the new Bryan County Chair.

Congratulations to the new Bryan County Democratic Committee. It's been over 15 years since Bryan County has had a Democratic Party presence, and I am thrilled to have had the support of so many great citizens to make this happen. Wishing our outstanding new Chairwoman Andrea Conrad, her executive committee, and all the great people who stepped up to fill all the county commission district post positions and at-large positions much success!

Maybe you live in a county or near a county that's desperately in need of a Democratic organization, but you don't know what to do. You can always just reach out to me or the DPG District Chair for your Congressional District. We can talk about next steps and I'll outline those steps in a future post.

One county at a time, there are these inspiring stories, like Bryan County, of small groups of Democrats coming together, in long-dormant counties, to push our party forward. I know it's a little corny, but I do get choked up about it. When I make my first visit to Bryan, I'll be sure to keep you posted. Uphill and worth it. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Thursday, February 21, 2013

County party meetings that work

So many of the the local party issues that pop up around the state could be avoided with good meeting procedure that's understood/accepted by those in attendance. I've learned to always carry my copy of Robert's Rules of Order IN BRIEF. Even if a county leader just read and followed Chapter 2 "What Happens at a Meeting", I could reduce my county phone calls in half. Hey that's a great idea for a future training. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Monday, February 18, 2013

Support and encourage our Young(er) Democrats

I had a great talk today with Louis Elrod, President of Young Democrats of Georgia. Their YDG 2013 Convention takes place April 12-14. I think every county party should send and/or sponsor someone to go to this convention.  It is vital to the future of our party that we attract and encourage students and young professionals within the party structure. I'm so excited about this organization, I made my own DSA (Democrat Service Announcement).

 What are you doing to connect your party with future Democratic leaders in Georgia? Have you tried to...

  • Consistently use social media like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc. to promote your meetings/events.
  • Organize mixers/meet n' greets with topics/speakers that are geared toward younger voters.
  • Offer internships/mentoring programs to build skills/experience for students and recent grads.
  • Integrate the use of text messaging, cloud computing, and smartphone apps into party operations.
  • Create opportunities within your party for younger Democrats to take on significant leadership roles.
If you tried some of these ideas, with no result, then try something else. You're not going to get results overnight and it may be a combination of things that bring success. The important thing is to make a consistent effort and if you can't get them to come to you?? You got it. Go to where they are. That's why I look forward to seeing you at the YDG Convention in April. No excuses, get your ticket today or at least sponsor someone else to attend. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Sunday, February 17, 2013

For county chairs/local candidates: Time-tested campaign manual

One of the roles of the county party is to find good local candidates and get them elected to office. I hear from party chairs around the state looking for guidance to help their mayoral, commission or school board candidates. This DNC campaign manual is nearly 20 years old, but it is still a good starting point. Of course, they didn't have the slew of social media tools back then, but the basic approach still holds water. Check it out and tell me what you think. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties

Think you're the only Georgia Democrat in your county? Maybe not.

Excited to know the history of Georgia politics? Then why are you reading this blog? Here's a good read if you're looking for such a book. Now back to my post.

There are 159 counties in Georgia and my job is to have stable, active parties in all of them. If you think your local party needs to be rebuilt or started from scratch, do something for me first. Be certain there isn't already a party in your county. It happens often that people contact me about starting a party in county X, when there's already one there. Perhaps your local party isn't working hard enough to be visible. Perhaps you've been too busy watching Scandal to notice. Either way, you'll have to work with any existing, recognized party organization.

First, check here for a list of party contacts by county. If you see a name listed in your county, that person is or recently was the Chairperson of your local Democratic Party. Send them an email and Cc: me at the email below. Ask them what's happening in your county and the time of the next meeting.If it's blank, then YOU will likely become the next Chair of your local party. (No really. I mean it.) In that case, just send me an email and I'll tell you more. rj

RJ Hadley, DPG Vice-Chair of County Parties