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