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#DNC14 Winter Meeting – A Year of Action

The Democratic National Committee just concluded an excellent three days of meetings, which featured new data, voter, and communications initiatives, and exhoratory words from President Obama, Vice President Biden, Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other leaders.  I posted on @demrulz (and FB) as we went along, but here are some highlights.

  • Project Ivy – The DNC announced a new data and technology initiative that will make the Obama campaign’s voter and volunteer targetting and management tools, including call and sharing tools, available to state Democratic parties and candidates.  Many of these tools were used in Virginia’s 2013 election.  The DNC will also give state parties access to the Obama volunteer database.   You can go to the ivy.democrats site to get involved and see here for more information. 
  • Voter Expansion Project – the DNC will expand its Voting Rights Institute efforts to make it easier for Americans to participate in their democracy.  The DNC will continue working with state parties, including the DPVA, to protect the vote from restrictive legislation and administrative decisions, but will broaden its focus to encourge voter registration, voter participation, and accurate counting.  See here for Bill Clinton’s video launch.  I look forward to working with the DNC”s Pratt Whitney and DPVA on this project.
  • Communications Rapid Response – The DNC Communications shop has a new program to enable quick – and factual – responses to GOP criticisms and advance the Democratic position on issues – you can sign up to be “factivist” here.
  • President Obama and Vice President Biden – it seems like it as much fun for these guys to talk to the DNC as it is for us to hear them – positive, excited, unapologetic and focused on winning in 2014 – a year of action.  The President’s remarks are here, report here and a report on the Veep’s speech here
  • Association of State Democratic Chairs – on Wednesday conducted a training for state party chairs, vice chairs, and staff.
  • Rules and Bylaws Committee – interesting meeting in which member Elaine Kamarck reviewed the history of our nomination process – I strongly recommend her book Primary Politics for more details.  The RBC discussed the recent GOP calender changes, which likely will result in a June or July 2016 GOP Convention – (See FHQ for explanation of the GOP process).[Also check out Eric Appleman’s new Democracy in Action P2016 Blog].  The RBC will meet May 2-3 in DC to start drafting the 2016 Delegate Selection malerials.
  • 2016 Convention – the DNC is receiving bids from cities seeking to host the 2016 Democratic Convention – the city of Columbus put on a great reception headlined by Sen. Sherrod Brown and made a very positive impression.  Follow DemConWatch for more details on both parties’ Convention selection processes. 
  • Resolutions Committee – adopted a number of resolutions – I will post the final versions when I receive them from the DNC Secretary’s Office.
  • Credentials Committee – I am honored to begin my second term as a member of this committee, which consists of a diverse group of great Democrats including Cong. Tulsi Gabbard.  The Committee hears challenges to the elections of DNC members – there being none (fortunately), it was a short meeting.
  • Southern Region – spans from Virginia to Texas, heard from the always inspirational Cong. John Lewis, congratulated Virginia on our wins in November, and discussed critical upcoming Sen and Gov races in NC, Ga, SC, Fla, Texas, Ark, Va and elsewhere.
  • Caucus/Council meetings – the Women’s Caucus, the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, the Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, the LGBT Caucus, the Small Business Council, the Youth Council, the Seniors Coordinating Council, the Ethnic Coordinating Council, the Veterans and Military Families Council, the Rural Council, the Native American Council, and the brand new Labor Council met and discussed goals and organizing.
  • Meeting/learning/drinking –  one of the best parts of the DNC meeting is talking to Democrats from around the world (Democrats Abroad is a very well represented group) and learning about how they are building their parties and electing Democratic candidates.
  • Kudos to Virginia – many at the DNC have known Gov. McAuliffe for a long time and they and others, as well as the DNC itself, provided assistance to the Virginia Democratic campaign in 2013, and they recognized Virginia’s successful election results.
  • Next meeting – late summer, TBA.
  • Reinventing the DNC meeting –   I suggested, to anyone who would listen, that we really need to reorganize the meetings and have shorter council/caucus meetings; more formalized workshops and forums with sharing of experiences, goals and views; and more new initiative education sessions (like Project Ivy, Voter Expansion, and rapid response).
  • Thanks to the excellent DNC staff including new CEO Amy Dacey and Virginians (or semi-Virginians) Lindsey Reynolds, Patrice Taylor, Maureen Garde,and Alicia Dyer for putting on a great meeting.
  • And thanks Virginia Democrats for giving me the opportunity to serve.