Saturday, January 8, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
How can we hope to build a strong party if we don't stand by our principals and show supporters that they can trust us to be on their side? The Republicans will always be better at courting the wealthy, our strength and moral certitude comes from representing those who aren't wealthy, those who have no other source of power. We need to communicate clearly that we are on their side and that we will work tirelessly on their behalf to make their everyday lives better and then convince them to get out and vote. That's the Democratic Party I want to belong to.
Vice Chair, Putnam County Democratic Party
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I attribute much of the operation improvements to Jennifer Buck Wallace and her larger team who were pulling 20 hour days making sure all the volunteer walking and calling data was uploaded daily. During early voting, early voting data for over 50 counties was removed daily helping us to narrow our focus. Volunteers and TNDP employees were loyal to her because she was always in the middle of the grind with them and made sure they understood that their efforts were important. Jennifer was excellent at identifying the abilities of volunteers and then soliciting additional hours of assistance from them with her kind words and efforts.
The fact that Tennessee Democrats were surprised to lose so many seats is undisputed. It is also undisputed that most mid-term elections after a Presidential Election are almost always detrimental to the party in the White House. Add the Tea Party and a well-meaning but weak Gubernatorial candidate at the top of the ballot to the mix and its a recipe for disaster. Maybe the improved data operations and volunteer efforts didn't help but the current blame game over the losses is hindering productive dialogue about what did and did not work better than in previous election cycles.
I support any and all efforts to find and promote democratic candidates, develop additional funding to democratic candidates, determine an effective message and improve the operations and available data to help elect more Democrats statewide. I am not sure what the answers are but I hope Sunday, January 9, everyone involved in this debate will put their differences aside and focus on how to turn the tide back in Tennessee Democrats favor in 2012.
Fellow Executive Committee Members:
After serious consideration of all of the candidates for Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, I have decided to cast my vote for Chip Forrester. We as a party are fortunate to have several qualified candidates to lead us. They each possess different and complementary skill sets; these should be utilized to further our successes no matter who is elected in Nashville. However, I believe that retaining Chip is in the best interest of our party at this time.
I supported Chip’s election last time, though I was not a member of the Executive Committee. He has always been someone I respect and admire as a role model and party leader. Like all of you, I am extremely dismayed at the 2010 election results. It would be easy to blame our chair, but that would lack a lot of critical insight. In relation to other states, Tennessee was about average. Some states saw more Democratic losses; some saw less. We cannot fully combat a national ideological movement, but we can solve issues that hold us back in Tennessee. Those include inconsistent messaging, party unity, & stability. Simply choosing someone new as Chair will not change our situation.
It has become popular to state that we lost because of message. That is fairly agreed upon, but there is no consensus for how to be more effective. I believe that our message must be more universal. We often fail to see the difference between governing and communicating with voters. The average voter does not have time to keep track of bills in Congress and complex issues. Instead, they vote for the candidates that most closely reflect their personal values. According to their propaganda, Republicans support families, freedom and prosperity. We of course know that they only really support families who look like theirs, a few cherry-picked freedoms from the constitution, and prosperity for the upper class.
How do Republicans convince voters of things that are not true? Because they are better at having a consistent, coherent message than we are. “Democrats are for jobs.” It has to be that simple in order to gain back the power we need to improve this country and this state. We cannot change it to “Democrats are for jobs, provided that A,B, & C…” I believe that Chip Forrester has provided the leadership and framework to get out our message. We simply need to be a unified force in order to get that message to the people. There is too much division within our shrinking ranks. If you run as a Democratic candidate, you should act and speak like one. If you are a Democratic donor, you should support the party and ideals no matter who is Chairman. And if you are an Executive Committee Member, you should support the winner of this race regardless of how you voted.
Reelecting Chip will give us greater stability by ending the practice of near-total turnover every two years. We reinvent the wheel every other January and then expect the new chair to instantly turn things around. That is not an effective way to run an organization. I would like to see Chip and his staff continue in their roles. They will then have the opportunity to learn from our missteps and build upon our successes.
I look forward to working with whomever is elected chair on January 8, but I sincerely believe that Chip is the best person for the job. Please consider joining me in my support for him. But more importantly, please support and work for whomever is chosen for the sake of our party and for Tennessee.
TNDP Executive Committeeman, District 10
Former President, Tennessee Young Democrats
Former National Executive Vice President, Young Democrats of America
My name is Beth Thompson and I am the Chair of the Putnam County Democratic Party. I would like to take a moment and voice my support for the reelection of Chip Forrester as TNDP Chair. Chn. Forrester has always shown himself to be a sincere Democrat with the best interests of every Tennessean at heart. He has been instrumental to the success of the County parties; Putnam County now has a beautiful permanent office and a colorful, user-friendly website due to the support and encouragement of the State party under Chn. Forrester. Our party officers have had the opportunity to attend invaluable trainings sponsored by the TNDP and have come away with helpful information on Votebuilder, fund raising, media, candidate recruitment, etc.
I would like to see Chn. Forrester have more than 2 years at the helm.
Beth Thompson; PCDP
Sylvia Woods; Democratic Executive Committee Member, 6th District; TNDP County Development Committe Chair
Ben Vos, an unimportant nobody in Nashville
Paige Burcham Carlton, Obion County Democratic Party Chair and Executive Committee Member, District 24
Mike K. Hampton; Executive Committeeman District 1, Tennessee Democratic Party; Chair, Unicoi County Democratic Party
For the last two years, and the first time since I can remember, the State Party, under the leadership of Chip Forrester has provided everyone (including east Tennessee) with the tools we need to build strong county parties. He has done this across the state. Anyone willing to work for the Democratic Party has exactly the kind of support and technology they need to effectively organize the counties and implement a strategic plan to spread democratic principles. President Obama taught us this winning strategy and Chip was wise enough to embrace it. The foundation has been laid.
I am friends with several of the candidates running for the office of chair, but I am concerned that a change in leadership now, without any justification, at this critical time, will result in a change in focus away from a strong foundation that I believe has been laid and will rebuild our party stronger.
The middle class and poor of Tennessee need a champion, historically it has been the Democratic Party and it will be the Democratic Party again. There are many good men in this race but there is only one strong proven candidate for state chair and that person is Chip Forrester.
Mike K. Hampton
District 1, Tennessee Democratic Party
Chair, Unicoi County Democratic Party
As a first time county chair I have been given information, training, and support every time I phoned or emailed Nashville.
Either Chip or one of his administration took the time to support me. What they have done in training is remarkable!
I can not vote for Chip, but I surely would if I could. I feel he has done well and has the skills needed to continue our uphill climb.
Unity can only be accomplished if all Tennessee Democrats support the elected Chair, not just your chair-of-choice.
Dixie Damm, Chair, Loudon County Democratic Party
A.D. Maynard; Secretary, Putnam Co. Democratic Party; President of Tennessee Tech's College Democrats chapter
I know messaging has been a problem for the state party, and I do agree with those that say we need to focus on a unifying message. However, Chip knows this as much as anyone. I believe firmly in his statement that his plan is a 4 year plan instead of a 2 year - we need to continue off the groundwork that has been put in place and use it to help communicate together and shape a message.
It is time that the Tennessee Democratic Party remember that it needs to stick with the working people of our state. Speaker Pelosi said it well today: “We extend the hand of friendship to create jobs, grow the middle class and reduce the deficit. We look for common ground to solve the problems of the American people: their health, their housing, their jobs, their savings, their children’s education.” “But where we cannot find common ground we must stand our ground on behalf of the pledge we take every day – ‘for liberty and justice for all’ – and that includes economic justice for all.”
I believe Chairman Forrester can continue his 95 county strategy and build up the Tennessee Democratic Party. We can continue going after small-donor dollars, as well as receiving the sustainable large dollar donations. Chairman Forrester has shown that he can do this, and I hope he gets at least another two years to expand his vision.
Alvis "A.D." Maynard
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I am pleased to endorse Chip Forrester and ask for your support of his re-election as chairman of the TNDP. As Mayor of the Town of Signal Mountain and a former Democratic candidate for State Representative for District 27 in 2006, I know the importance of having a strong party at the state and county level and the result when leadership fails.
Chip Forrester is the only party chair in my experience to promote a 95 county strategy for our state. He is the only party representative to call not just for money but for input. He is the only chair to actively visit each county to meet with party activists to discuss our party’s direction and seek advice. He is the only party chair to unabashedly promote true Democratic values. This is the kind of chair we need to bring unity to the party and rebuild a Democratic majority in the state.
Our party’s decline has been measurable over the last ten years, but most significantly from 2000 to 2008-the 2010 election cycle was a train wreck in waiting. From losing the state for Al Gore in 2000, to losing our majorities in the General Assembly, we have endured party chairs and functionaries who promoted only targeted races at the expense of some very capable candidates and thus we find ourselves in the minority. To rebuild our majority will take a capable party leader with a solid vision, a commitment to the values that make Democrats great, and the willingness and experience to do the hard work necessary to get us there. We need to recruit great candidates for every race in our state, from school board to town council to county commission to the General Assembly and show everyone in the great state of Tennessee that Democrats know how to govern, and with the well being of our residents in mind.
Republicans made this same kind of commitment some ten years ago and it may take us as long to accomplish our goals. It worked for them and it will work for us; but not without the kind of leadership offered by Chip Forrester. Please give Chip your support this Saturday.