Jerry Meek is Chair of the NC Democratic Party
You’ve probably heard a lot about the DNC’s “50 State Strategy” lately.
When Gov. Dean ran for National Chairman, I voted for him in part because he promised that Democrats wouldn’t give up in any State and that State Parties would be true partners with the DNC. He’s keeping his promise, and it’s paying off right here in North Carolina.
After his election, Gov. Dean sent a team to North Carolina to find out what we needed as a State Party. Ours was the first State in the nation to which a team was sent. And, as a result of this assessment, North Carolina now has three new regional political directors – paid for by the DNC, but managed by the State Party – who are traveling the State, training local party leaders and helping to build local organizations.
I asked Kristen Ward, our Central Political Director and one of the DNC organizers, to tell you about her position:
As one of the three Regional Directors, I was charged with helping county parties build infrastructure. Better infrastructure means increased ability to meet goals. Generally, this means working towards effective and sustainable year-round local parties; moving away from an election based system of operation. Outside of the election cycle we focus on building the democratic community.
Now that we're gearing up for the 06 general, the focus is shifting towards Get out the Vote (GOTV). What does this mean for the Regional Directors? Well, we will work diligently to support races targeted by the State Party, but beyond this we will work with county parties in this state to gain sophistication and independence with their GOTV efforts. Independence?
Many county parties have depended too heavily on the state party to supply resources for the GOTV effort. In this year of relatively little financial resources for North Carolina we see a great opportunity to help county parties continue to learn to stand on their own two feet: set goals, create a GOTV plan, raise money to support it, recruit people to help, and see it through successfully.
Setting goals is crucial. For one county this might mean sweeping every seat, while for another it might mean increasing turn-out. Progress can be made in every county in our state, and where there are Democrats willing to work against the odds, we will be there to support them.
Central Political Director
North Carolina Democratic Party
The North Carolina Democratic Party is growing stronger. New people are joining the ranks, and local parties are more sophisticated and more active than at any time in recent memory.
Both the DNC and the State Party have an obligation to work towards long-term development of the Party, in every State and every county. We can’t just myopically focus on the next election – we need to be investing in ways that will strengthen the Party, both in the short term and the long term. Gov. Dean’s “50 State Strategy” is helping our State Party grow. And the work that he is doing will inure to the Party’s benefit for decades to come.