Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thank you!

Thank you everyone for your support! Chip was re-elected with 38 votes!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dan Lawson, Democratic Executive Committee Member, District 8

Thank you, Barbara Wagner!
This subject has been thoroughly aired, to say the least. So, I will proudly add one resounding AMEN to the very sensible and thoughtful words of my good 8th District colleague.
I would add one well-worn quote of Ben Franklin as we gather for this very important weekend to the Tennessee Democratic Party: "We must all hang together, or we shall all hang separately".

Jeanette Jackson, Democratic Executive Committee Member, District 18

I support Chip and I believe that he will bring some new blood into the party and hopefully our other two candidates will be willing to put their experience to work with the TNDP if they do not win the chair position. Unity can be achieved and I'm certainly willing to do my part to make sure that it is attained.

Janet Moore, Vice-Chair Putnam County Democratic Party

I applaud Chip's efforts to grow the party county by county, to increase our connectivity and visibility. I also applaud all the Tennessee Democrats who have stood up to say that the Democratic Party needs to get back to traditional Democratic values: fighting for the working man, minorities, and those Americans who have no one else to speak for them. Some of the Democratic candidates who have run for office in Tennessee seem so similar to the Republicans that I wonder why they even call themselves Democrats. But when this point was raised at the Mont Eagle Summit, those who asked about getting stronger Democratic candidates to run were essentially told to sit down and shut up by those challenging Chip's leadership now. They were told that Tennessee had to run the kind of Democratic candidates who could win in Tennessee, namely those who were willing to abandon Democratic ideals when they needed to. I completely disagree.

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.

Janet Moore
Vice Chair, Putnam County Democratic Party

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Melissa Javors, TN Democrat

I'm impressed with how the Democrats in Tennessee have held together over the past two years. We certainly held on to many seats in the State legislature, and did not crumble under the ascendency of the Republican Party! We need to stay consistent in our support for what is right for the people of our state. Chip Forrester has the capacity to present reasoned arguments for our positions, and to unite our most progressive members with our more traditional Dems.

Melissa Javors

Krissa Barclay, Former DCDP Chair

Here is what I would like people to know about improvements at TNDP during the last two years: the operations and data were significantly improved due to the extra TNDP resources that were employed for a longer time instead of the usual six months prior to the elections. This was a trial effort that had been suggested for years and only time (and funding) will decide if it should be permanent. The tools that campaign coordinators and volunteers needed were readily available and more people were trained to use these tools all across the state. Volunteers with skills were vital since Tennessee was not a state in play this year. This meant that national money didn't flow as it has in years past and previous funding sources like Democratic congressman, state senators and state representatives needed every dime they raised to fight for their seats.

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.

Krissa Barclay
Former DCDP Chair

Barbara Wagner, Democratic Executive Committee Member, 8th District

I have resisted the temptation to respond to the massive number of emails on the subject, up till now. As a second term Executive Committee member that has been involved locally for nearly 20 years I could not agree with Mike more. Thank you MIKE!

I FULLY and COMPLETELY support Chip Forrester for Chair of TNDP and will cast my vote as such on Saturday (providing I can get there).

I do believe Matt and Wade have some good ideas and a reasonable level of experience, and hope to see them active and working with us in the future. They each have skills and assets that would certainly benefit the Party. I also hope to see the College and Young Dems involved in ways that have yet to be put on the table. The future is in our young people!

One thing is absolutely certain, the circular firing squad approach will not work to achieve our goals.
I do not believe that mistakes have not occurred. I believe there is always room for improvement - and Chip has a history of listening and being quite open to suggestions, new tactics and improvement. Just look at his record! Chip is not to blame for the tidal wave that took our whole country by storm. Many words of wisdom on this have already been said, so I will not lament. I will repeat - Chip is NOT to blame for the losses. What we saw in November was the country catching up with slide to a deaply red Tennessee that has been in the making since Al Gore left the US Senate.

Unity could not be more important - regardless of the outcome of the vote.
Real Democrats will be by the winer's side - working, financially supporting, learning and mentoring.
Barbara Wagner
8th District

T. Robert Hill, Madison County Democratic Party Chair

I wish only to say, amen and amen! Thank you Mike [Hampton] for speaking out for all Democrats who have felt displaced by the pro-business agenda. We can start the recovery in Tennessee only by being real Democrats for the first time in three decades and winning the hearts and minds of Tennesseans. I encourage the Party leaders to unify behind Chip Forrester as our Chairman and you’ll see what this man can do. Thank you, Democrats.

Robert Hill, Madison County Democratic Party Chairman

Chris Anderson; Executive Committeeman District 10, Former President TN Young Dems

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.


Chris Anderson

TNDP Executive Committeeman, District 10

Former President, Tennessee Young Democrats

Former National Executive Vice President, Young Democrats of America

Beth Thompson, Putnam Co. Democratic Party Chair

Dear TNDP Executive Committee Members:

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

I have been a member of the Ex. Committee over 20 years and have struggled every two years with new leadership. Most of the time the "big boys" make everybody get out of the race which leaves the Ex. Com. to take whoever they want. It ends up being a training field all over again. I have asked each new chair to at least keep office employees so that we don't have to start from scratch each time. Vionne worked under three chairs, but she was never used in such a way that she was told about the operations of the committee. Chip used her in an outreach area which is what she requested. The training she received there increased her skills that led to an offer of a better job, so she left.

When we elected Will Cheek years ago, it was over the objections of some. But we thought since he had been on the board for years, he would understand the need for ex. com. members to receive some respect and input. I was disappointed with the progress we made.

When Doug Horne ran for Chair with opposition, we again worked with Doug to gain respect for the committee. He did respect us and tried to include us, but very little was done in the field with training, etc.

Each year same o, same o.

When Sasser said he was not going to seek reelection, we began seeking someone to run who we did not have to train to be more open to the ex. com. We encouraged Chip Forrester to run as he was on the ex. com. and he once was executive director of the TNDP. I have been most impressed with the work that has gone on the past two years in bringing training for the ex. com. and for county chairs, and anyone else who wanted to help. All the new technologies have been brought up to date, Save our State Trainings have gone on all over the state, we have had fund raising events several places in the state, Chip has raised more money than Sasser (I have not researched further back), Chip has a conference call with his officers every week to keep them in the loop and gets advice. Two great Jackson Day events with Pres. Clinton, and VP Joe Biden. Don't know how he is going to top that. He has traveled to County events all over the state and never charges the TNDP for hotel rooms in order to keep travel expense at a minimum

I chair the County Development Committee and have been appointed to that position under four or five chairs. This term is the first time our committee has actually been used to research and make important recommendations. The finance Committee is finally doing their job and getting information and recommendations to us as never before.

We had great candidates recruited from all over the state. I keep hearing about the need to recruit good candidates, and I wonder how that makes our candidates feel, when they worked hard. Losing is never fun, but with the national media telling lies and the 24 million outside dollars coming into our state to beat us, I don't know what else we could have done. Look around and see that the Republicans elected some really poor candidates, so quality must not have counted.

We are strong, we are looking forward, we are working on our own media for Tennessee and not waiting on the national DNC to get their act together.

As you can tell, I am very much in support of not making a change when we have come so far under Chip's leadership

Matt, Wade, and Justin might be fine fellows, but I have not seen anything they are proposing that is better than what we have.


Ben Vos, Citizen

See, here's the thing. I'm not an Executive Committee member. I'm not a Finance Council member. I'm not a corporate bigwig. I'm not an elected official. I'm a husband, a father, a therapist, and a citizen.
That's why I write in support of Chip Forrester today.
Chip Forrester has been tremendously active, responsive, engaged, and inclusive over the past 2 years. He has said to me, from Day One, "This is your party. Our office is your office. Come, organize, mobilize, do what you need to do. We want you to be here." And he has been active in organizing Democrats all over the state, wherever there is a willingness to join the party.
There were tremendous failures and setbacks in 2010, and painful losses. Having invested all I did, it's easy to think, "It was a waste of my time and energy." Two years after I sat in the State Capitol and watched Chip Forrester give his acceptance speech as the new chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, I feel that we have made little or no progress against the onslaught of lies, deceptions, distortions, distractions, and divisions from those who are more interested in winning the food fight than ending the food fight.
It would be easy for me to give up after this kind of experience. I know many of my dear friends have given up long ago, and ridicule me for continuing to be a "hopemonger". Unemployment is at 10%. We are still addicted to foreign oil. And an oil company executive is now our governor.
I know many major donors to the state party have threatened to walk out on it if Chip Forrester is re-elected. I find those kinds of threats repugnant. To turn your back on the Tennessee Democratic Party in 2011 is to turn your back on the last best hope for our state to restore its sanity and rediscover its greatness. To turn your back on the party now is to allow the haters to win. And if the haters win, then tolerance loses. The democratic experiment fails. We are not E pluribus unum.
I'm watching my Republican friends sharpen their knives against Muslims, Methodists, and Mexicans. I'm watching them bow to lobbyists who are more interested in personal gain than shared responsibility. Instead of cutting waste, they're cutting corners. And they are more interested in destroying our Commander in Chief than in assuming their responsibility to lead.
Chip Forrester will survive if he loses his position as the state party chairman. But I'm not sure it makes sense to scapegoat him, or to allow him to be an excuse for continuing divisions that existed before I was ever born.
My humble request to those with the power to make a difference is that you remember nobodies like me when you cast your vote. Whatever happens, there needs to be a place for "the least of these" in a winning coalition. Chip Forrester understands that.

Ben Vos, an unimportant nobody in Nashville

Tracey Wilkes, Hickman County Democratic Party Chair

I agree with everything Todd stated... and there is no question that I endorse Chip Forrester for another term as TNDP Chairman.
The training, support and assistance made a big difference in our ability to connect with voters in this mostly rural county. Chip attended all of our local events and he did this for every county when asked. He is the consumate professional and we need his background and experience to keep moving forward.
Tracey Wilkes
Hickman County Democratic Party

Todd Sharp, Williamson County Democratic Party Chair

Dear fellow Democrats,

I have held the Chairman’s position in Williamson County for a little more than four years and have been an active member of the Williamson County Democratic Party for about seven years. I offer these observations along with my full fledged endorsement of Chip Forrester for TNDP Chairman.

Naturally, after the beating we suffered on November 2, 2010 there would be talk of changing the guard. But can we place blame on state party leadership? I believe that we have seen a trend in Tennessee which has been a long time in the coming. November 2010 was a nationwide catastrophe for all Democrats. It would be unfair to lay blame to Chip Forrester’s chairmanship for the Tennessee result. On the contrary - I believe that under Chip’s guidance the Tennessee Democratic Party has begun a metamorphosis – and it is time. Not to take anything away from the previous TNDP administrations, the progress made in the past two years is considerable.

Considering the past two years; we should all examine what we did right and what we did wrong. In all honesty, I see where our state party did a great deal right and not a whole lot wrong. In fact, I think we all learned something new this year – All Politics is National. I do hope that all politics will become local again - and soon! Because this is our work and we must continue to build our Party – locally.

I believe that Chip Forrester’s leadership of the TNDP offers all of us the best opportunity to continue the mission. Chip has brought the ground up community organizer model of Respect, Empower and Include to the TNDP. The growth and quality of staff: Devin, Ben, Jennifer, Kate, Elisa, Matt, Lee, Janet, Keith, Kathy, Claudia, Cyrus, Jack (and others whom I have less regular contact with) represent a dynamic team of progressive, smart, hard working people. The effort put into this past election – under Chip’s chairmanship was extraordinary. I am proud of all of them for their dedication and for the progress our Party has made.

The Tennessee Democratic Party is growing into the 21st Century. We have a plan in motion to put virtual headquarters in all 95 counties – and it is time! 95 party connected interactive websites with RSS feeds, data collection and sharing capabilities. In my view this is huge – by Chip’s leadership.

The S.O.S. and on-line trainings that have taken place in the past 2 years are unprecedented to my knowledge. The tools available to all of us with interactive technology are tremendous. Understanding their capabilities and using them is another story. Votebuilder is a national party project, but the ramp up to bring all 95 counties on board in Tennessee has been much accelerated in the past two years – by Chip’s leadership.

The monthly conference calls have not always been terribly exciting – but terribly necessary. We Democrats need to be better organized and synchronized. And we are getting there – by Chip’s leadership.

The Monteagle Summit marked a new direction for all of us. Chip spoke at our WCDP Potluck Dinner last month and laid out a vision for expanding that model. Bringing the entire party together; chairs, activists, executive members, DNC members, candidates and elected Democratic representatives. Holding a summit possibly a few times a year – maybe even quarterly? Great idea – a Chip Forrester idea.

Chip Forrester has proven himself to this county chairman. I have found him to be well experienced, well capable, focused, reasonable and available when I have a concern or an idea to discuss. I believe he has made an effort to travel the entire state, and get to know every county chair and committeeman. His fundraising abilities and the Jackson Day events speak for themselves.

What a great amount of progress we have forged in the past 2 years. As all of us know - building a Party takes time - certainly more than two years. I appreciate that Chip Forrester gets this. Chip has seeded a great deal of growth and it seems to me that we are just getting started. Chip Forrester deserves another term as TNDP Chairman and I do hope that the State Executive Committee agrees.

Doug Veum, Knox County Democratic Party Board of Governors

I endorse Chip Forrester to continue as the State Tennessee Democratic
Party Chair. I am a member of the Knox County Democratic Party Board
of Governors and spent many hours this fall knocking on doors and
making phone calls for the campaigns of Mike Dockery, Randy Walker and
Sam Alexander.

The State Party officers provided us with exactly the kind of support
we needed to effectively organize and implement the canvas methods
that will make possible the election of Democrats again to the county
offices as well as to the State Legislature. I am concerned that any
change in leadership will result in a change in focus away from the
ground level support that Chip and his staff have provided over the
past two years and which I believe to be the most important role for
the state party to be doing. I have never had support for this kind
of activity from the Democratic Party since I worked precincts in Cook
County Illinois in the 70’s. Chip Forrester has figured out how to
build a strong base of precinct support for the Democratic Party but
that effort is only beginning. To change the focus of the State Party
at this point makes no sense to me from the perspective of a precinct
worker. I don’t hear a commitment to that focus from any of the other

I also committed to joining the Finance Committee for 2011. I am
holding my commitment until I know the results of Saturday’s election.
When Chip is elected I will go forward with the commitment to join
the Finance Committee. Should you elect another chair I will wait to
implement my commitment until I see tangible evidence that a different
chair is committed in time, resources and leadership to building a
state wide organization that provides leadership and resources for a
broad and deep voter canvas and who will spend his/her time helping
County Democratic Party Officers recruiting, training, motivating, and
supporting them with the voter canvas. Force me to keep my commitment
by electing Chip on Saturday.

I know I can count on my 5th District representatives on the Executive
Committee, Sylvia and Harold Woods, to make the right choice here. I
plead with Gayle Alley and Bill Owen to make that same choice for Knox
County and urge the other 62 of you to also vote for Chip so that he
can continue with the party building he has started so effectively in
the past two years. .

By the way, I am 68 years old and am interested in the under 40
involvement in the party. My suggestion to the younger generation is
to make sure that your first involvement in politics includes actually
voting and if you want to work in the Democratic Party as leaders to
then vote exclusively in the Democratic Party Primary as well. I am
only going to be doing the canvas for a couple more election cycles.
However, I am concerned that the generations behind me are not taking
the responsibility to vote in each election seriously and I am also
concerned with those who wish to lead the party to be supporting
people for office through contributions and votes who are not
Democrats. The other party does not need us to either stay at home or
vote in their primary or for their candidates to receive votes from
those who aspire to leadership in this party.

Paige Burcham Carlton, Obion County Democratic Party Chair and Executive Committee Member, District 24

Dear Executive Committee members,

I'm writing to ask for you to vote to re-elect Chip Forrester as Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party. My reason is simple - in the ten years I've been Chair of the Obion County Democratic Party, Chip is the first Chair to put someone on the ground in West Tennessee. Thanks to him and his staff, we were able to mobilize and get people involved like never before. On election day, members filled our headquarters and turned it into a central location for phone banking and election protection issues. Even though our candidates lost, I've seen a renewed interest in the County Party and increased attendance at meetings. Why? Because they realized the State Party treated them as part of a team, not just a means to an end or people to show up at events.

Two years ago, I supported Charles Robert Bone for Chair of the TNDP, but Chip Forrester has made a believer out of me. He has a work ethic that is hard to come by nowadays. Chip put his entire life on hold for two years for the good of Tennessee, and despite criticism at every turn, he wants to spend the next two years doing an often thankless job. We cannot succeed without help on the ground, something Chip already has in place and will continue to build upon. If we elect a new Chair, there is no guarantee the people hired willl work as hard in the field or forge as many relationships as his current staff. Yes, we suffered losses, but what ever happened to the old adage, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again"? If we manage to look past our anger and devastation to view the election objectively, we'll admit this was a near impossible year for Democrats to win - as evidenced by the losses across the country on November 2. It's easy to put all the blame on one person; it's more difficult to acknowledge our own part in the losses and ensure we do everything possible to prevent it from happening again.

I wear both hats as a County Chair and State Executive Committee member, and both hats are off to Chip Forrester for a job well done. Not electing Chip again will reset the clock and start everything over agai,n rather than continuing to build on what we've been doing for the past two years. He has my vote not just for the work he's done but for the work he will continue to do. Please join me in supporting Chip on January 8, 2011.

Mike K. Hampton; Executive Committeeman District 1, Tennessee Democratic Party; Chair, Unicoi County Democratic Party

For years, the state party virtually neglected east Tennessee. It was seen as a lost cause, but what many failed to realize was this allowed Republicans, who ran unopposed, and were amassing large amounts of money, to send this money into middle and west Tennessee. Look where this failed and short sighted policy has lead us? Republican control of our state! A few democratic leaders (Ned McWherther and Bill Clinton) knew all too well, the key to winning Tennessee... win the whole state!

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.

Democratically yours,

Mike K. Hampton
Executive Committeeman
District 1, Tennessee Democratic Party

Chair, Unicoi County Democratic Party

Dixie Damm, Chair, Loudon County Democratic Party

As an involved Tennessee Democrat for 10 years, Chip Forrester is the best TNDP leader I have known.

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 would like to voice my endorsement of Chairman Forrester. I am Secretary of the Putnam Co. Democratic Party as well as President of Tennessee Tech's College Democrats chapter. With Chip Forrester's inspiration and vision, we have a county organization here that we have not seen before. We have many volunteers with votebuilder knowledge, we've began using Facebook for communications, and we've set up online contributions through ActBlue. None of this would be possible without the information garnered from the various meetings that Chip has had or the TNDP Summit at Monteagle. This last November, the PCDP signed a year lease to have a more permanent presence in Putnam County; the first time the county party has had a permanent space. We agreed with Chip's idea that the county party needs to be more visible and have a fulltime office.

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

Gloria Johnson, Chair Knox County Democratic Party

Knox County has been able to build using the new tools and training from the TNDP, training that works in suburban, urban and rural areas as you can adapt it according to your county needs. We were able to organize our Districts and build teams to get out the vote for our candidates. Though we were fighting a tough battle being the hometown of Bill Haslam, our candidates numbers show that this work was effective! We made thousands of calls and knocked thousands of doors and each day of early vote we had updated lists, thanks to the TNDP, as they updated and removed those who had already voted.

Between end of early vote and election day we were able to call/knock every demo who had not yet voted. Our vols became team leaders and brought in more volunteers...we are now able to train them here and get them started. We are well on our way to building our county precinct by precinct, neighborhood by neighborhood and becoming an unbeatable force.

This is all due to Chip, his team, and their commitment to every county. As busy as they are, they are always able to take our calls or get back to us quickly. They helped us create great target lists and assisted with any data issue. As busy as it must have been election day, Chip was able to take time to speak with one of our members who was going on television and within 30 minutes was able to get the state and national talking points to him before he went on the air. There has never been a time we have not gotten immediate help from Chip or his staff.

I wish I could vote for Chip too!

Gloria Johnson, Chair
Knox County Democratic Party

Jeff Brown, Chair, Hamilton County Democratic Party

Fellow Democrats-

I would like to take this opportunity to echo Mayor Lusk's sentiments, and to offer my endorsement as well for Chip Forrester to serve another term as TNDP Chairman.

As I do not have a vote and will be unable to attend the January 8 event, I wanted to wait and allow our Executive Committee members and elected officials to state their preference, but make no mistake that we are united in Hamilton County behind Chairman Forrester.

As we continue to rebuild our party, I believe that continuity of leadership is important. I remember back to President Clinton's last trip to Nashville, when in describing the state of the economy, he said the first step was to stop digging. Under Chip's leadership the past two years, we have stopped digging, and I look forward to working with him and all of you to keep filling up the hole.

Kind regards,

Jeff Brown
Hamilton County Democratic Party

Bill Lusk, Mayor of Signal Mountain, TN and former Democratic Candidate

Good evening,

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.

Best regards,

Bill Lusk

Mike Dockery, Democratic Candidate and former chair Jefferson County Democratic Party

I endorse Chairman Chip Forrester for re-election to the Chairman's position in the TNDP. My qualifications for this endorsement are two years service as Jefferson County Democratic Chair and service as a Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 2010 elections. During this time, my experience of the TNDP under Chairman Forrester has been, overall, very positive. I have found a very aggressive and professional approach to the different facets of politics. From fundraising to grassroots organization, communications and software utilization to media management, I was given more than adequate instruction and training opportunities. A central theme to all this was the urgency of the Democratic position in our state and the fact that we party members could make a difference through organization and hard work.
Chairman Forrester, as the rest of his staff, has always been personally available to me for advise or direction. All calls and emails drew timely responses.
I do feel that Chairman Forrester has set a direction for the Party that will serve us well in the years to come. A well trained and well organized party is the only way that we can proceed into the future. Now is NOT the time to change leadership.
Thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact me.
Sincerely, Mike Dockery.