Thursday, November 27, 2014

Links worth a thorough read

The Democratic Party Must Find its Core Values

“People yelled and carried on”: Howard Dean tells Salon how he remade DNC — and Dems’ new path forward

The Solid South Will Rise Again

Delusions of the Democrats

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where it all began for me: Collaboration, Planning and Goal Achievement

I have had some inquiries into my work background so I've linked to a resume below. Others have asked about my social activism history as well. So let me tell you a story...

After graduating from Dartmouth in 1991, I went home to southern New Jersey and worked with my father's non-profit. He called it the Atlanta Rural Development Coalition. He asked if I would start a Summer Youth Initiatives programs to keep the community kids active and positive during the summer. ARDC served a low-income population in the "sticks" of the NJ Pine Barrens. Recreation for the kids was an overgrown baseball field and a ragged basketball court. I started out with about 8 kids and asked them what they'd like to see happen in the neighborhood. Sure enough they wanted the ball field and courts to be fixed up. We wrote up a game plan. The community came together with some local businesses and together we had achieved that goal in 6 weeks.

Then they decided they wanted to go to Six Flags before school started back up. This was a REALLY big deal for them to travel nearly 2 hours to Six Flags Great Adventure. I had to figure out how to get a bus, food and ticket money in a very short period of time. The group, which had grown to about 20 kids, raked leaves and cleaned the streets to raise money. With donations and some negotiation with the school system, we took that trip to Six Flags. I still remember the look on their faces when we arrived at the park. Many of them had never been to Six Flags before. It was as great a moment for me as it was for those kids. I share that story because I want you to understand where it all began for me. This is where I developed my pragmatic, optimistic belief in the power of a people united.

That summer experience led me to work with a local youth drug prevention program which then opened the door to public service as a social worker in juvenile corrections. I would later volunteer as a court appointed youth advocate with CASA. My social activism was further developed as a certified Neighborworks affordable housing counselor. When I became Rockdale Chief of Staff in 2009, one of my first actions, was to write & secure a federal grant for nearly 3 million dollars to stabilize our foreclosure ravaged neighborhoods. That initial grant has helped create new housing for over 30 Rockdale families.  I am currently a mentor with Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and a summer programs volunteer with 4-H.

There's plenty to be cynical about in the world and certainly in Georgia as a Democrat. However, I live my life with an eye toward possibility and potential not impossibility and limitations. I've always found success in working together with a plan toward a common goal. As your next Chair, that's what I want us to focus on as we shift our party back to the needs of the people. rj

RJ Hadley for DPG Chair - Professional Background

Friday, November 21, 2014

Back to Basics: Communication, Inclusion and Engagement

There is no getting around the frustration and major disappointment of the recent elections. There have also been no shortage of experts and pundits to tell us what we did wrong. There's certainly value in reviewing past failures, but I want to talk about how we start doing what's right. The reason we have so much discord and rumor-mongering now is because trust within the organization is low. For nearly a decade, I have fought for more transparency and better communication throughout our entire organization. If we did this, we could begin to work as a unified body with a unified message. This would guide our candidates, our party activists and most importantly our voters at election time when it counts.

So it's critical that we tune out the noisy chatter and go back to basics by coming up with a game plan for local, ground-based wins next year. This means that no part of the organization can operate in a vacuum. We have to have clear points of communications and clear times to expect that communication. When elected in February, I will distribute a meeting calendar for the next two years. Back to basics means we must become a training organization.We already have the necessary skills within our ranks. Never again will we meet as a state organization and not have training available in addition to our party business. Lastly, we've got to power up our committees, caucuses and county parties to improve voter engagement so that we can get more of our presidential voters to activate during the midterms.

We have to become an organization that works. I won't ask you to do anything I'm not willing to do myself. I told you last time that this campaign is not about me. My goal is not to be seen at this event or pictured with that person, because that does nothing for the average citizens who need us to fight for them. This campaign is about bringing all hands and all voices to the table. That means you! Come join me and let's work our way back together. rj

RJ Hadley for DPG Chair 2015