Carol Voisin: Why I'm Running

By Carol Voisin of Ashland, 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. We've already heard from Dan Carol and Mac Prichard. Tomorrow, we'll hear from Meredith Wood Smith.

CarolvoisinI’m running for three important reasons...

First, I have broad experience of the Party across Oregon:

Second, I see the DPO as representing all thirty-six counties.

Third, in my first 100 days I will do the following:

Finally, I want to be your state Party chair because I believe in the power of volunteers and I am a leader who listens. I’m ready to lead WITH you and I am asking for your vote.

The DPO must focus on getting Democrats elected to office.

Carol Voisin
[email protected]

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    Thank you for your clear statement, and I believe you are the best candidate.

    I do have a concern, and it is more related to my own political leanings than with your candidacy. There is tension at a state and national level between the old line Democratic Party organizations (including DPO) and liberal progressive activists like myself who want to use the existing Dem majorities in Salem (and Washington DC) to pass laws - some of which may be unpopular with the average voter - that embody progressive ideals. In my world, a Dem legislator who gambles or throws away his/her political future to champion a just cause is a hero, but such action would probably be inconsistent with your goal of electing and retaining Dems.

    Can DPO offer a "home" to progressive activists and their causes while at the same time following a mission to help Dems win future elections? Or do progressive activists fit better in organizations outside the DPO, such as Move On (or whatever).

    Thanks, and good luck.

  • spicey (unverified)

    good luck, Carol. I appreciated your run against Walden and hope that you will consider running against him again in 2008, or finding someone who can beat him. He's a louse.

  • Carol Voisin (unverified)

    BlueNote and Spicey, Thank you for your comments, I appreciate you for taking the time to keep informed on the DPO chair race.

    BlueNote, the Democratic Party needs the Progressives under its tent. We need to get back to our roots - we are the party of the middle class and the advocates for the poor and the seekers of the common ground in divisive issues. To this I am committed. There is a place for progressives and the undeclared in the Democratic Party. Your voices are needed.

    Spicey, Walden has to go. There are moderate Republicans and independents in the 2CD who can be wooed to the Democrats. We have work to do in the 2CD and the DPO needs to be there to support the counties as they organize and grow. As chair I'll see that they receive that support. Carol

  • Gail Beason (unverified)

    From the development of Carol's campaign for DPO Chair, I think you can all see the clarity and focus she will bring to the state party. Carol's dedication and willingness to learn what went before in order to build on what can be is one of her greatest assets. This woman does her homework. She may be new to many of you, but she won't be for long. She is not afraid to ask questions, take advice, and then draw a clear bead on what needs to be done.

    I believe that under Carol's leadership, not only will the larger counties gain fresh, new leadership, but the outlying counties will find regenerated incentive to keep on building the Democratic Party where the garnering of every Dem is such uphill work.

    Regarding one of Bluenote's comments: Progressives can work through entities like MoveOn and also bring their passion to the forming of Democratic Party ideals. The Dem platform is rewritten every two years and the progressive energy should always be a part of the platform. My knowledge of Carol is that she will welcome all voices.

    Gail Beason

  • Bert S. (unverified)

    Like Gail, I have also thought about the platform.

    In my questions to Dan and Mac, I was curious about the DPO chair candidates understood the "core values" or "message" of the Party.

    It seems like all the candidates so far are focused on how to communicate but not so much on the substance of the communication. I can definately understand the need to communicate well and effectively in the DPO. But I still decided to search for the platform, and I found it here:

    If Carol could give one short example of how she might lead on the substance of the platform. I would appreciate it.

  • J.M. (unverified)

    I'm very excited by the prospect that the DPO might be lead by a woman with the skills and experience that Carol Voisin brings to the table.

    The current political landscape presents a great opportunity. But to take advantage of it, we need to cross the line that separates urban and rural Oregonians. We can't just count on the I-5 corridor and hope that it's enough to keep a slim majority in the state legislature. And we can't allow the likes of Greg Walden to continue to represent Oregon.

    We need win elections, but we also need to win the argument. And that means going where we are often uncomfortable - the dreaded 2nd Congressional District.

    Through her recent campaign against Walden in southern and eastern Oregon, Carol has created an extensive network of volunteer support, has developed very important relationships, and has gained an understanding of the people and issues in that region that can only be had by working in the trenches. I have great respect for Carol's vision, intelligence, and outright nerve - all characteristics that I think will serve her well as the next DPO Chair.

    Are the other candidates good candidates? I believe so. But the question that needs to be answered is what does the DPO need right now? I believe the answer is Carol Voisin's leadership.

  • Adam (unverified)


    From your concise post, it looks like you're committed to making a difference in Oregon and have a clear idea of what needs to be done. My question is this: Is running for DPO chair the best way to do that?

    Based on everything I've read so far, it seems to me that any of the four candidates would do a great job if elected. However, when it comes to finding a viable candidate to go after Walden's seat in 2008––which is clearly a top priority for you––you are both the most likely to run and, indeed, the most likely to win.

    I may be making too big of an assumption by suggesting that you'll make another challenge, but from the supporting comments that you've received, it looks like your most avid supporters are alive and well––and ready to saddle up for another race. It seems like a win-win scenario (for you and Oregon) if a top political consultant like Dan Carol could use a position with the DPO to put some serious muscle behind your '08 race and you could focus all of your time and resources on beating Walden in 2008.

    (full disclosure: I was one of Dan's students at UO and would be happy to see him as DPO chair. I would also be happy to see Carol Voisin unseat Walden in '08.)

  • GARY Moore (unverified)

    I have read all the candidate's letters, vision statements, guest columns and blogs in order to make sure my vote for the DPO chair goes to someone who can bring a change in direction to our party in Oregon. While everyone says the right things, my decision boils down to Carol's recent experience running for the 2nd Congressional seat in an area where her contacts and network will play a key factor in the next election cycle. Talking the talk is important, but working in the election trenches will bring a depth to her leadership of DPO! I am also impressed with someone who teaches ethics, which is a new concept for politics...

  • Carol Voisin (unverified)

    Bert S., I wrote a response to you over an hour ago and couldn't get my internet connection. It is really snowing here in Ashland. Our power is off and on. I hope that this gets to you! I think that our platform is a good one. As a candidate I agreed with it but needed to fine tune my own platform. Every candidate must have that freedom to determine his or her own platform. To this I'm committed.

    To answer your question with some substance - Section 5, subsection "Energy & Transportation: Practicing Conservation While Tapping Human Ingenuity to Fuel the Future" is critical to act on. I believe that Oregon can become a green state. With the leadership of our governor we are on the way. However, we need to add an "urgency" button. As chair of the DPO I would challenge the chairs of our 36 counties to find ways to really conserve energy and to work for and encourage renewable energy across our great state. We need to end our dependence on Middle East oil in order to ensure the security of our homeland. Democrats can and will lead the way. Call me and we can discuss this and the other sections in detail. Carol

  • (Show?)

    We need to organize everywhere.

    All the candidates for the DPO Chair position are qualified, two with long metropolitan histories and one with DNC staff national experience going back to the days of Ron Brown. Carol is the only candidate who has run for office. She brings both an "insider and outsider" point of view as a PCP, the Vice-Chair of the 2nd Congressional District Democratic group, and loyal member of the Jackson County Democratic Central Committee as well as the candidate who ran against Greg Walden.

    Senator John Tester, an organic farmer from nowhere Montana is now serving his state. An unknown governor from a remote and small state became the DNC chairmen. Isn't it amazing what can be accomplished when you organize everywhere.

    Carol learned that local Democratic leaders know their lay of the land best when it comes to important decisions. I believe Carol can rekindle the entire state by helping 36 county organizations design their on-the-ground needs. Carol Voisin is the person ready to plow new ground with a stonger people powered expansion of the DPO.

    There are many future DPO Chairs in the wings from Ontario to Brookings who will strengthen the DPO as the years fly by. We simply cannot continue to follow the same path.

    It is time for bottom-up! The more Democrats are involved across the state the stronger the Democratic Party will become. I think a good slogan for Carol Voisin just might be, "Change To Win."

    Paulie Brading Chair: Jackson County Democrats

  • Carol Voisin (unverified)

    Thank you all for your support and your good questions. I appreciate your interest in my candidacy and in the election of the DPO Chair. We are four qualified candidates. The delegates have a choice and it is good to know that they are doing their homework. I look forward to meeting my opponents and to reconnecting with my supporters in Salem on March 10. All the best to Dan, Mac, and Meredith. Thank you Kari for this opportunity to engage in conversation. Carol Voisin

  • Tom Mathieson (unverified)

    I worked closely with Carol during her campaign for Congress, so its no surprise that I'm a strong supporter of hers.

    Carol is an inspiring leader. Her honesty and her vision attracted a great staff of volunteers, and her boundless energy kept everyone motivated throughout the campaign. She really cared about the people of the Second District and the problems that they face. Despite the overwhelming odds against her, she worked tirelessly to bring a discussion of the issues to every county in the district. Her campaign slogan was real and heartfelt: Let's take our country back.

    Carol is exactly the right person to be the new DPO Chair. I'm certain that she will be very successful in her efforts to make the DPO an effective partner and resource for all the county parties and for every Democrat running for office throughout Oregon.

    Tom Mathieson

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    A question for Carol -

    I have spoken with or conversed via email with several delegates. Generally you and Meredith are thought of as the top candidates. The one concern about you that has come up a couple of times is the perception of inexperience with the actual operations of the DPO. So, the question is, "What is your experience with the DPO, and if you have a deficit in that area, how will you address it?"

  • Carol Voisin (unverified)

    Steve, I've been asked this in my phone conversations with delegates. I don't have experience with the DPO. I have the experience of a candidate and a candidate in the 2nd CD. I don't see this as a deficit, but as an asset. However, I understand how you might not.

    I'm an "outsider" to the DPO like you and many delegates I've spoken with. I am part of the grassroots who are rising up to say "no more top down" party. No more "insider/experience over against an outsider". We are in this together and we all need to feel ownership of our party. To that I'm committed for the DPO.

    Steve, can you tell me whether the concern about my lack of DPO experience is concern about understanding and functioning in the culture of the DPO or is it concern about skills in managing the organization. Or is it both? I'll assume that it is both.

    My professional experience prepares me for working with complex cultures. At Duke University and the Graduate Theological Union I was a manager of programs and pastors in theological education. Nothing can be more complex or challenging than holding together men and women from three catholic orders, six protestant denominations, a Buddhist sect, and Greek Orthodox interests. Volunteers with very different understandings of the same symbols (except for the Buddhist). I worked very successfully with them because of my skills.

    The set of skills that I bring to the DPO are managerial skills with attention to detail and followup, leadership in decision-making and delegating, and respect for all views that lead to common ground. These are transferable to the responsibilities of the DPO Chair and the culture of the Democratic Party. Now add to this the rich and deep experience of running for public office and you have me as a candidate for the DPO chair.

    Thanks for the question, Steve. Carol

  • (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'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?

  • Carol Voisin (unverified)

    Jenson, I've not read how my colleagues have answered your question, even if I had it wouldn't change my answer.

    The youth of our country are our future. I tell my students this and because of this responsibility they must be able to think critically or ethically. My work is to prepare college students to keep democracy alive through their skill to think critically. To this I am committed.

    To recruit the youth of Oregon to the Democratic party we must listen to hear their issues and concerns. We need to assist them in finding avenues for action, where they can make a difference. One avenue that I will provide is this - at every institution of higher education there will be a young Democrats club. I'll ask the chair of every county that has such an institution in their county to assist in growing those clubs that are established and to organize one if there isn't one. I will personally assist in seeing that this happens providing training and funding for organizations throughout the state.

    Then with our county chairs we'll find ways for the youth to have a voice and vote in the DPO. Retaining youth is simple, provide ways for them to be players in decision making and planning. But with voice and vote comes responsibility, to that I will hold you accountable. The DPO is not a playground for special interests, it is a community committed to taking back our country. To this I am committed.

    From inviting and encouraging participation in the party, we move to finding ways to work together to get Democrats elected to office.

    I've let you know from where I'm coming, what are your interests and issues? How can the party leaders and representatives engage you more deeply? We need your input and leadership. Carol

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Good answer to my question Carol, but I think you sell yourself a little short.

    You were at the Rural Caucus retreat in Nov. 2005 with many delegates of the DPO.

    You were at the Summit in Sunriver in Oct. 2005. Besides all the speechs by our elected officials you met lots of DPO delegates and got a good flavor of the complexities of the DPO.

    Having been "in" the inside of the DPO the last couple of years serving as a delegate from Crook County, serving on the Platform and Resolutions Committee, and being involved with the Rural Caucus - and having met you and helped you with your campaign in the Second CD (in other words, having seen both worlds) - I can state that I for one have no fears that you will be able to serve effectively as Chair of the DPO should you win the election.

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