Today we will have a general session, regional caucus meetings which will elect officers (Virginia is in the Southern Caucus), and the DNC Executive Committee meeting.
Last night , we did make it to down town Austin for BBQ and a tiny bit of bluesy funk. Then we closed down the hotel bar. This morning, folks did their 2 hours of community service, which for me involved cleaning up trails in an Austin city park (“Austin – A City within a Park”). It was nice to get out of the hotel and the parks folks appreciated our help.
GENERAL SESSION – There were several very good presentations including a speech on the resurgence of the Democratic Party in Texas. The state is turning bluer (i.e., becoming more like Austin). For example, the state house has only a 76-74 GOP majority. The DNC’s coming here is evidence of its continued 50-State Strategy (although with modifications). There was a commemoration of Senator Edward Kennedy (including the very moving video from the 2008 Convention). White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard recognized the efforts of the DNC, State Parties, and OFA in moving President Obama’s program forward. He spoke about the importance of winning elections in Virginia and New Jersey. He also talked about how Obama turned things around at key points in the campaign and can and will win the fight for health insurance reform and other efforts.
Chairman Kaine talked about the state is turning bluer (i.e., becoming more like Austin). For example, the the state house has only a 76-74 GOP majority. The DNC’s presence in Texas is evidence of its continuing commitment to build success in all states, as part of the 50 state strategy. Gov. Kaine used Virginia as an example of a state where Democrats can turn things around. He reminded the group that Obama’s election was not the change we sought, but only gave us the opportunity for change. We have increased staff, improved communications and media efforts, continuing to partner with state parties so they can higher additional staff. Organizing for American now has staff in 47 states and will have in all 50 states shortly.
Governor Kaine talked about how President Obama inherited the worst economic crisis since FDR took over. Obama saw the need to take action and has stemmed the economic decline – in his first seven months, he has enacted the recovery act is turning the economy around, Obama has provided a tax cut for 95% of America’s working families, a new budget including medicare funding, appointment of Justice Sotomayor, expanded health insurance for children (SCHIP), the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay for women act, and comprehensive credit card reform. Republicans are saying no, heckling, spreading false rumors, hoping the President fails, and even objecting to him telling kids to stay in school. President Obama will keep moving forward and health insurance reform will happen this fall. Americans with insurance will get more security and consumer protections; 46 million unisured will be allowed to purchase insurance, companies will not be able to deny coverage for preexisting conditions, or cancel coverage, and the program will cover preventive care. He spoke movingly about the free health clinic held in SW Virginia. Inaction and delay are no longer an option – we will make this happen.
Kaine addressed the 2009 election and praised Creigh Deeds as the problem solver we need to get Virginia moving in the right direction, and foil Bob McDonald’s right win g social blue print for taking Virginia backwards. The DNC is investing in the race and we will win in Virginia. He also spoke about hte need to keep Gov. Corzine in New Jersey. Then we head into the challenges of 2010 – and work to produce more partners for progress for our president.
“When people ask you what you do at the DNC, tell them you change America – that’s what we are doing.”
General Session business — The DNC:
Adopted a resolution honoring Senator Kennedy, and the report of the Resolutions Committee (which I will post shortly);
Adopted the Credentials Committee report which recommended seating Georgia DNC members;
Adopted the Rules and Bylaws Committee propsed rules for elections and report on charter changes (as discussed in yesterday’s posting). A concern about need for greater geographical balance in at large and committee appointments was referred to the RBC.
NC Democrats announced that Charlotte will make a bid for the 2012 Convention.