Meredith Wood Smith: Why I'm Running

By Meredith Wood Smith of Portland, Oregon.

Editor's Note: Each of the four candidates for DPO Chair was invited to submit a guest column - and they're appearing in the order received. Earlier this week, we heard from Dan Carol, Mac Prichard, and Carol Voisin.

MeredithwoodsmithBecause I want to see to it that our Party, over the next two critical years, builds on our recent success, and I believe my political and professional experience, plus my involvement in our Party over the last several years, equips me to do that effectively. A partial list of that experience:

And, as your Vice Chair for the past four years, I’ve visited 27 of our 36 counties – several more than once -- to listen, to learn, to help develop training, and to serve as an advocate for Oregon Democrats within the state, and to the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”). I’ve also been privileged to serve on the Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (“ASDC”). I’ve attended every DNC and ASDC meeting, plus the DNC Rural Council and many constituent Caucuses (including, among others, the Native American Coordinating Council, the GLBT Caucus, the Vets and Military Families Council), learning from knowledgeable and talented representatives from all over America.

During my four years as Vice Chair I’ve always been available for assistance and support, and, I’ve:

I understand the challenges in organizing local parties, recruiting and maintaining the volunteer base, and raising the money needed to stay viable and functioning. If elected Chair I will continue to travel Oregon to partner with County Parties, encouraging candid, open conversations, and working to elect Democrats all over the state.

I will demonstrate strong leadership at the state level, working with our elected officials in pursuing the Democratic Agenda throughout our state, being the “attack dog” when the Republicans get out of hand or misrepresent the issues, and working always as a grassroots activist.

I’ve lived in Oregon for 36 years and can’t even imagine living anywhere else. My first Oregon experiences were in Southern Oregon where my commitment and understanding of rural Oregon was honed. In recent years, I’ve lived in northeast Portland, where we raised our children (now all adults living nearby), volunteering in many ways to help make Oregon a safe and supportive place for all children (including our grandchildren).

My promise to you:

In all of this, I’ll never forget our ultimate purpose: making our county, our state, our country, and our world, a better place, and that what matters, over time, is realistically assessing what is possible, and, getting things done.

I ask for your support for Chair of the DPO.

And – I also hope to see you at the Democratic Party Auction at Montgomery Park on St Patrick’s Day. You’ll like it! Go to www.dpo.org for information and your ticket.

Thank You
Meredith

[email protected]
503-318-5043

Comments

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    I think Meredith would be the ideal party chair for two reasons.

    First, in the time I've been volunteering with the DPO, my focus has been helping the DPO more effectively work with the county and CD parties outside the Portland-Salem axis. Meredith has shared my vision and been very supportive. I believe she truly understands how important it is to do long term party building in rural and small town areas. And she has good ideas about how to accomplish those goals.

    She is the only candidate who participated in the Rural Caucus retreat. She is the only candidate who helped organize the Gun Owners Caucus. She walks her talk.

    Second, and most importantly, Meredith has years of experience with the DPO. She has cultivated countless relationships with people in the DPO and partner organizations all over the state. And those relationships are important. They will allow the DPO to hit the ground running. We have a lot of work to do and 2008 is closer than we think.

    The other candidates are capable, passionate, intelligent people. I like and respect Carol Voisin for her courageous run against Walden, and Dan Carol for his Apollo Project, but I think they need to spend a year or so working within the DPO before they're ready to seize the helm.

    This is an important election and Meredith is the right candidate to lead us forward.

  • charlie (unverified)
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    This may be a silly question but who gets to vote in this election. I assume either county chairs or PCPs.

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    Actually, Charlie, it's the state delegates. These are folks chosen by PCPs to represent them at the state level.

    Good question, though. I should work up a post on the process.

  • Dave (unverified)
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    who is Jefferson Smith supporting.

  • (Show?)

    I'm all in behind Meredith, and Bert has stated many of my reasons, so that's a "ditto" (and, off topic, Bert had a great quote over on the Ginny Burdick thread that I pulled, but wrongly attributed to Zack. Sorry about that Bert.)

    <hr/>

    When I first climbed down off of the porch and started nosing around the progressive scene back in '01/'02, I went to the Oregon Progress Forum, Clackamas County Dems, a Summit, and the State DPO.

    What I mostly got from the self styled Big Kids, was a lot of "Who the hell do you think you are?!" and variations of the old Chevy Chase Line "Hi. I'm Dee Pender, or Sid Viscious, or Phil Quisling, or whatever and your not." None of my ideas had merit, and my questions were so simplistic, that a pat on the head and a smirk were deemed sufficient responses to my manifest naiveté.

    The ruling Zeitgeist for Dems was a bunch of placeholders defending their turf as the Senior Rep, the Union Rep, the Veterans Rep, the Minority Rep, the Enviro Rep, etcetera. The leadership presided over this Balkanized mess seemed quite happy to have the proles squabbling ineffectually beneath them, as they had free rein to do whatever the heck they wanted to without any semblance of input, much less opposition. Almost everyone knew what they knew and were quite happy with the extant paradigm.

    Over time, of course, I realized that there were small groups and individuals that saw the need for an internal revolution.

    The most prominent of these folks within the party structure was Meredith, and although we've had some great disagreements and arguments, she was the one that was willing to engage this newbie, look for ways to use the energy, and nudge me into activism that was a good fit for my own psychopathology.

    This is the talent that sets Meredith ahead of an admittedly very talented group of candidates. She can do a cold assessment of anyone who's willing, and hook them into the machine where they'll do the most good. She's never dismissive and always open to ideas. If she doesn't think that your initiative has merit, she'll offer alternatives and explain her thinking, thus naturally maximizing the effectiveness of the organization.

    To quote Jim Edmonson:

    "The purpose of the Democratic Party is to get Democrats elected to office."

    In my not so humble opinion, Meredith is the Gurl for the job.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I submitted my evaluations of and experiences with the Candidates to Baker County Democrats steering committee. I had nothing negative to say about the qualities of the candidates and in certain respects I am torn. I have friends in this campaign and that makes things difficult. I have the greatest respect for every candidate, but I've tried to make one thing clear and it's a huge deal.

    The DPO is not a cohesive organization, there are a lot of different ideas competing within it. There are times that the majority opinion in DPO does not well serve the Party and there are times a vocal minority does not well serve the Party, it takes careful leadership to defuse these situations and it takes knowlege of the participants and the processes. Bluntly put, it takes old fashioned politicing, knowing who to go to, knowing how to fashion the arguments for each individual and area.

    I do not believe that DPO Chair is a good place to start out in DPO, there is a learning curve if one wishes to be effective and the only real place to learn is in the SCC. It is of vast importance that the county parties believe they have a friend in DPO's hierarchy, and the smaller the delegation the larger that need is (essentially rural counties).

    Meredith has done the foot work inside DPO, she has shown her abilities and commitments. I have watched and listened to the leadership of DPO very carefully and Meredith has always been a stand-out in consensus building, openness to ideas, and willingness to listen and build partnerships. She has visited our county several times. I whole-heartedly support Meredith Wood-Smith for Chair.

    I'd also like to encourage the other cadidates to step into the operation of DPO and learn how this thing works. DPO has shown some very real successes over the last couple years and these can be built upon and improved with dedicated members, new blood is of great import. I really wish there was some way to fold all these candidates into leadership. Thanks, Chuck

  • (Show?)

    As a mere alternate to the DPO convention, I know it's unlikely I'll actually have a vote in this, but I also support Meredith. In addition to everything everything else said about her, I do think it is important to say that she seems to be the only one who understands how to support a 36 county strategy.

    She is literally the only candidate for the job who has even bothered to go to a Washington County meeting. And we're one of the largest delegations in the State; I can't imagine what it's like for counties farther out from the cities that form the heart of Democratic power. Have you seen any of the other candidates ourside their local area?

    Howard Dean's 50 state strategy, and our 36 county counterpart, depend heavily on grassroots effort. But it also depends on leaders who understand that -- no matter how well meaning you are -- you can't coordinate people from a distance. Thinking politics is only a money game is the way we got into trouble.

    Chairman Dean shows he understands this by flying all over the country, not just to woo the bigwig donors, but to go to State meetings. And Meredith does too, by travelling to the county parties.

    She doesn't just talk the talk of Neighbor to Neighbor. She walks the walk. And for that she's earned my support.

  • (Show?)

    I join Bert, Pat, Chuck and others in supporting Meredith and I'd like to provide two different perspectives on why.

    First, a few weeks ago I had the chance to spend time with Meredith at the DNC Winter Meeting in DC. Through observing her interactions with other DNC members, I saw how connected and well-liked among Democratic leaders across the country. As DPO Chair, I know she will ensure Oregon's interests are protected at the national level.

    Second, there are a lot of barriers young people like myself (I'm 18) face when trying to get involved in party politics. We are often immediately disregarded and given a back seat on most projects. I know firsthand that Meredith is committed to breaking those boundaries. Ever since I was 13 or 14, she has made sure that I have the chance not only to observe but also to participate and play an active role in local Democratic politics.

    I urge all state delegates to support Meredith.

  • (Show?)

    Meredith, that's a great post and I have to add that my personal observation is that you have worked tirelessly for the DPO over these past few years, and that you are very adept at reaching out to less-involved voters. That's a very desirable skill set for a person in this gig.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I've put a bit up on my Blog, my name links to it.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    One correction -

    Bert leads off this thread stating that Meredith was the only candidate at the Rural Caucus Retreat. Yes she was there, but so was Carol Voisin. I know, I organized that meeting.

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    The one thing I think that really did it for me, having known and worked with Meredith over the past five years, is that she does much more than just "show up." In almost every meeting or event I've been at where Meredith was, she was a voice of reason, common sense and strong leadership.

    There are four great candidates, but for my money, I support Meredith.

    And while I live and work in Portland, I grew up in Oakridge on a ten acre spread that is still in our family with the Willamette National Forest as a backyard. I watched as that community lost two major sawmills in less than ten years, so I have a lot of empathy and concern for the rural-urban divide and its another reason she is well-qualified.

    Meredith is concerned for the rural Democrat, long before it was popular to blog about, yet is still pragmatic enough to know that the tri-county area around Portland is the true Oregon Democratic Party stronghold, like it or not.

    Building the Democratic party and having a voice in every county is going to take more than rhetoric, it is going to be very, very hard work. Meredith, in my opinion, is the right person for the job.

    • Mark Schwebke Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee District Leader HD38-41.
  • Meredith Wood Smith (unverified)
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    OK I am going to try this again--I wrote it- Posted it but it did not show up So here we go: Thanks for all your comments. I just returned from all day meetings, had dinner and am ready to respond.

    Bert, Pat, Chuck, Steven,

    Thanks for your support and comments (and I might add, points I need to remember). I look forward to working with all of you in the next couple of years

    The challenge before us is to bring rural, suburban and urban Oregon to work as one in enacting the Democratic Agenda (health care--including mental health facilities and care--, education from K through post secondary, living wage jobs, viable and sustainable energy policies and economic opportunities, workable and just land use laws, honest and truthful government, and civil rights for all Oregonians) and to elect good Democrats who will restore the social contract that has been broken by a Republican-controlled Legislature and Congress. We have allowed the Republicans to seize the conversation and create a further divide between us, and we need to say "No More". Yes there are different solutions in creating a better life for all of us and our geography presents some very unique challenges, but I believe we can do it if we all work together. We have a great beginning with the leadership already demonstrated by the Governor’s budget and the actions of our Democratic Legislature. I was thrilled by the leadership shown by Senate President Peter Courtney and Speaker Jeff Merkley at today’s City Club luncheon.

    Charlie People who vote in the election for State Party officers are delegates elected from the county parties—each county gets two delegates plus one additional delegate for each 15,000 registered Democrat residing in the county… so…. it’s our job to get more Democrats registered and to have all of us on this blog become involved in our county parties!

    Andrew, Thanks for your comments and support and remember I am counting on you to help us involve more young people in the Democratic Party and you keeping your promise to return to Oregon so I can someday vote for you for Governor.

    AND FOR EVERYONE WHO READS AND COMMENTS ON BLUE OREGON—I HOPE I WILL SEE ALL OF YOU AT THE DPO’S NO-SPEECHES DINNER AND AUCTION ON MARCH 17TH (ST.PATRICK’S DAY). GO TO WWW.DPO.ORG -- SEE YOU THERE.

  • Meredith Wood Smith (unverified)
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    Thanks Mark I appreciate your support and the work you do--I know you make the Multnomah County newsletter happen and we all appreciate the hard work you do--thank you!

    Meredith

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Steve:

    I don't recall Carol Voisin being at the Rural Caucus Retreat, but I think your memory of the retreat is more reliable than mine. I retract the statement that Meredith was the only candidate at the Rural Caucus Retreat.

    P.S. Who would have thought that one of the dominating topics in the party chair election would be rural and small town democrats? Yay, our team!

  • (Show?)

    What about the Young Democrats?

    Many in the party get excited about recruiting younger party members, but in my year trying to reorganize the Young Democrats of Oregon no one had any realistic input. I tried meeting with you, but that never panned out. I'm just not sure how you envision the party becoming a sustainable force without intense investment in our young people.

    How will you recruit <35 year olds?

    How will you retain <35 year olds?

    How much time and attention will you give to the Young Democrats?

  • Meredith Wood Smith (unverified)
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    Jensen, I am sorry we never did hook up. I would like to try again so I would appreciate an email from you and phone number so we can find a time to meet.

    About young people, as we work on the Outreach Diversity Plan for the 2008 Democratic National Convention Delegate Selection Plan we will have some specific goals and strategies to create more opportunities for youth participation. During the last meeting of the DNC we had active involvement of the Young Democrats and there is specific consideration language in the Delegate Selection Plan. If elected chair I would hope to make this a permanent committee that can work with all the officers and our Constituency Director in meeting these goals. Participation on the DPO's committees and having young people intern in our office are other ways we will be engaging youth. Many of the staff at the DPO are under age 35.

    We also need to actively engage with young people in our Community Colleges and Universities and by listening, find the best ways to create the opportunities for their participation.

    We currently have an article about the College Democrats up on the DPO front page and I also encourage you to contact Ben Lenet, the chair of the College Democrats to see how you can work with him in involving more young people. His information is available on www.dpo.org communities page.

    Please email me so we can talk about some very specific details off line.

    Thanks for asking the question about youth involvement. I look forward to working with you during the next two years. My email is [email protected] Meredith

  • (Show?)

    Meredith--

    You know, I've been thinking for a while that a youth caucus might do some good. Right now there's not much available, unless you're in college. Many of us work with the Bus Project, but that's not the same as working in and with the Party.

    I've not really been involved in the caucuses until recently, so I don't know much about them, how they run, etc. But I do look forward to getting a better idea on March 10th and continue as the Women's Caucus gets going strong.

    Jenson--

    I'd definitely be interested in working with you. I know last time there was something going on to get young dems together it was either during my pregnancy/c-section time or during the year I was sick and ended up needing surgery. I'm back and more involved than ever, and I'd love to see more young people involved. It's always strange to be one of the few under 30 people around at meetings. Of course I can't say that for much longer since I'll turn 30 next year. ; )

  • (Show?)

    Please explain why, after the Oregon delegation informed Howard Dean's people they would be supporting Howard Dean for the Chair of the DNC, you broke ranks with your own delegation and voted for Donnie Fowler for Chair of the DNC?

    It was clear that the Oregon delegation had told Dean they would withhold their vote until the round where they voted for Howard Dean.

    Many DPO delegates need to understand why you voted against Howard Dean for Chair of the DNC.

    Thank you.

  • (Show?)

    Er.......Gee Paulie, did you do your due diligence on this one?

    Having spent zero time inside Meredith's head, I can't speak to your question, but really think that with both Fowlers, father and son, firmly in the Dean Camp this is not a relevant question to the current situation.

    Yeah, the old man was DLC and supported his son in the early rounds, but they are both firing on the DLC now, and are working with Dean inside the DNC.

    If Howie's satisfied that they are useful to the goals that we seem to share here in Oregon regarding 50 state and rural outreach; and Meredith actually has the record of rural and moderate outreach predating the Dean candidacy, Where's the Beef?

  • (Show?)

    Meredith wrote here on Blueoregon,"Yes, in the Executive Committee vote of the Association of State Democratic Chairs I did vote for Donnie Fowler."

    The rest of the story is every other Oregon DNC delegate voted for Dean to become Chair of the DNC per a preplanned agreement. The agreement was to withhold their vote for another round and then they would all support Dean. I want to know why everyone on the Oregon team stayed with the agreement and voted for Howard Dean except for one delegate who voted for Dean's opponent in the early round. Meredith did finally vote for Dean in the final round.

    No beef Pat, just trying to understand.

  • Meredith Wood Smith (unverified)
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    Paulie I think it is important that I give a little background to your question.

    In 2003 I was elected to the Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (“ASDC”) to represent the Western States Caucus. The Executive Committee and the whole ASDC met in Orlando in December 2004, and voted to ask any candidate for DNC chair to agree to certain conditions if he or she wanted our support. (The ASDC represents the largest “block” of votes on the DNC. I believe all the candidates for Chair spoke to us in Orlando.) The most relevant parts of that agreement were: 1. That the candidates for DNC Chair would travel to the four DNC regional caucuses and participate in a panel for ASDC and DNC members and the general public. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that such candidate panels had been conducted around the country for DNC Chair. Many of the candidates for the DNC Vice Chair positions attended as well.

    The Western Caucus meeting was held in Sacramento—I did not attend as I had a prior family commitment but if I remember correctly, the rest of our DNC Delegation did—I had, however, listened to all the candidates at the Orlando meeting.

    1. That they would work with us in developing a 50+ 6 strategy in which there would be an investment in all the states and territories, that none would be left out. As Oregon was considered a "swing" state in 2000 and 2004, we had benefited from both candidate and DNC monies; many states had not. (Montana for example received only $5,000 in national money, yet changed their Governor and Legislature to Democratic while still voting for Bush.) We, all 50 states and 6 territories, knew the only way we could build our Democratic Base was to invest in every state and territory.

    2. That the DNC would develop and honor a revenue-sharing agreement with the states. This was particularly relevant in the “Big money states” (CA, MI,NY,FL,MA etc) but many of the smaller states watched the DNC come into their state, raise a lot of money and leave with it all (and we have had that experience as well).

    I read a lot of materials, and had phone conversations with the candidates and many of their supporters (many more than once) between the meeting in FL and the ASDC Exec Committee Meeting in NY in late January 05. After careful consideration, I voted (non binding) for Donny Fowler at the ASDC Exec Committee meeting because I thought he would bring new young energy into the DNC and he had excellent skills and knowledge. (Just as an FYI Donnie Fowler and Howard Dean had both agreed to the ASDC “conditions.”) When the final vote came for the full ASDC endorsement for “our ASDC and Oregon” candidate I voted for Howard Dean, and at the vote that counted (the one at the DNC) I voted for Howard. Note that I was the only member of Oregon’s delegation on the ASDC Executive Committee, and on that Committee I represent not only Oregon, but all the Western States, so I was not “breaking with our delegation.” (I was also the only voting member of the ASDC present at the Orlando meeting, where we first met all the candidates.) To my knowledge, I, we (Oregon) have not been “punished” for my vote (at the ASDC Exec Com mtg.) as we continue to have excellent support from the DNC and I enjoy a positive relationship with the Chairman and the staff.

    Since becoming Chair of the DNC, Howard Dean has followed through with every Commitment and more with the state parties and I am thankful that he is our Chairman.

    The following Feb 1, 2005 post on Blue Oregon and DPO Press release may be instructive: As the DNC chair race reportedly boils down to Gov. Howard Dean, Rep. Martin Frost and Donnie Fowler, the Oregon delegation has cast its lot with Dean. Here's the announcement... “...The delegation had been holding off on a public announcement while waiting for the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC) to make a recommendation. The ASDC voted this morning to endorse Dean. Portland resident Meredith Wood Smith, vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon and ASDC executive committee member said, “The ASDC is enthusiastic about Dean’s candidacy. He’ll be a strong advocate for state parties and grassroots activism. “State party organizations had expressed concerns that the DNC was too focused on the presidential campaign and targeted states, leaving state and local parties struggling to provide much of their own resources. The ASDC based its recommendation on how the candidates promised to better support state and local parties.”

    I will not “hold it against:” any delegate who votes for my opponents in this DPO Chair race and if I am not elected, I will ask my supporters, along with the other DPO Chair candidates and their supporters, to continue to support and work with the Democratic Party of Oregon and to continue to build on our recent successes. What more can I say? Meredith AND I HOPE I WILL SEE ALL OF YOU AT THE MARCH 17TH (ST. PATRICK’S DAY) DINNER AND NO SPEECHES AUCTION—GO TO WWW.DPO.ORG FOR YOUR TICKETS

  • (Show?)

    Well said, Meredith.

    Meredith's willingness to look at Donnie Fowler and appreciate his energy & skills is something that bodes in her favor, not against her.

    It means she respects young people, new ideas, and open debate. How lucky Oregon Democrats are to have someone like her running for State Chair!

    Go Meredith!!!

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    I'm for Meredith.

    Regarding the Young Dems, I and others have been involved in past attempts to start a statewide YD's, and it has never really happened in the decade + or so that I have been active in the party. One of the problems from the get go is that some people seem to have their own agendas, and petty personality conflicts sometimes prevent people from unting and moving ahead. That is what happened at the Captiol in '01 when some of us tried to get the YD's going. I also think that a lot of young activists don't want to deal with the parlimentary requirements of a tradition political organizations. That is, they want to do more than just meet.

    Fortunately, a meeting at a PDX pub in late '01 resulted in an organization that has worked hard and effectively at the recruitment of young Democratic voters (or progressive voters, as they would say)- The Oregon Bus Project.

  • (Show?)

    Grant--

    I'm all for the Bus Project. I'm involved in it and donate when I can. However, there is a big difference in what the Bus Project does and getting more young people involved in the Party. In addition to getting more young D/Prog voters volunteering in politics, we need to get them involved in partisan politics. We need their ideas, thoughts, energy, etc. in the Party.

    I do agree, though, that young people don't seem to like all the requirements of setting up a YD organization. I remember all the hoops I had to jump through back when I started a club in Galveston County, TX. However, I don't think it would be near as hard to start a Youth Caucus as it is to start an official YD Club. Maybe it could grow one day into being a YD club. But a caucus is a hundred times better than nothing (within the Party), and could get more young people involved in the quarterly meetings as well. Which would hopefully increase their participation in the platform conventions -- a place where I am regularly one of a few under the age of 30.

    Having young people involved in the Party is extremely important. Their ideas, outlook, experiences, etc. are often times quite different than those who have been involved in the party for quite some time.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Regarding the Young Dems, I and others have been involved in past attempts to start a statewide YD's, and it has never really happened in the decade + or so that I have been active in the party. " Talk to Jim Robison about what th e group did in the 1980s.

  • Lisanne Pearcy (unverified)
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    Before Meredith, I don't know if anyone from the DPO had ever set foot in our rural, "non-targeted" county. Meredith has spent several full days leading trainings and strategic planning workshops for the Polk County Democrats since I began volunteering in 2004. When our organization was in a leadership crisis and we asked for assistance, Meredith was there for us and helped us work out a solution that minimized damage and allowed us to move forward and grow into a larger, more productive party organization.

    As an officer of our county party, I knew I could always count on Meredith for her wisdom and assistance. At the same time, she respects and encourages the autonomy of each county organization, pushing us to do more on our own than we had imagined possible. Now that I am no longer an officer, I STILL know that Meredith is only a phone call or an email away. The communication lines are always open. It's a good feeling.

    Meredith understands how important every voter, every volunteer, and every county organization is to our Party. And she has the experience and the time to be our new Chair. As others have said, we have an impressive field of candidates. But the person we need at the top now is Meredith.

  • PartyLurker (unverified)
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    Ms. Wood Smith:

    With all due respect, what does the "agreement" about when DNC members would endorse (vis-a-vis a recommendation by the ASDC) have to do with how you voted?

    When you answer the actual question from paulie, you seem to be saying you thought really long and hard about your vote, suggesting you read lots of materials and were lobbied by the candidates and their supporters (many more than once.) But then you made the judgment that Donnie Fowler would be the best chair of the DNC, not Howard Dean. (Please, correct me if I'm wrong Ms. Wood Smith.)

    It seems like you're making excuses when you say things like: your vote was non-binding, and you supported Howard Dean in later rounds of the vote (once it was clear he was going to win.)

    Regarding your support for Donnie Fowler: Are you saying, by implication, that you didn't think Howard Dean would bring new "energy" into the DNC and that Dean didn't, in your judgment, seem to have "excellent skills and knowledge"?

    You close by asking: What more can I say?

    I'd just like an honest, succinct explanation of why you didn't think Howard Dean was our best choice for DNC chair when you represented us at the ASDC. (No essay on the bylaws or discussion of the period when you finally threw your support to him, like everyone in the DNC ultimately did once it became clear his election was inevitable.)

    <h2>Why didn't you initially support Howard Dean and in retrospect was your judgment wrong?</h2>
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