The Race for the Chair: The SCC Speaks

The Iowa Democratic Party will select a new Chair on Saturday, January 21st. With only two weeks before the State Central Committee elects their new leadership, PVI reached out to a cross-section of the SCC to ask three questions…

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

The State Central Committee are the only people able to vote in the Chair contest, but they are your elected representatives. Let them know what you’re looking for in the comments below.

If you would prefer a Large Format version of the article click here.

Jonathan “Jon” Green, Second District

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

I think the incoming chair has a responsibility to standardize, normalize and professionalize the IDP, building on the work that Andy and her predecessors have done. While I have significant political disagreements with her, and specific irritations viz her conduct during the primary, she has also done a lot of important work and I appreciate the financial situation she will leave to her successor.

But I hope that in two years’ time we will have a state party that invests and provides for county-level groups, that has good data and systems, and some sort of rationalization for financial decisions.

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

How well I think the candidates can fulfill that brief.

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

I haven’t seen anything that I think is disqualifying. While I continue to weigh the candidates and think some would most certainly be superior to others, I don’t think any of the announced candidates are patently unqualified or unfit. Some have profound differences of philosophy and politics with me, and would take the party in a direction I would rather not see it go, but if that is the will of the SCC I will abide it.

Annaleah Moore, Third District

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

In my view, the role of the chair will be to lead in organizing, fundraising, and making sure the IDP is prepared for the challenges brought on by being the minority in the state legislature.

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

I have multiple important factors, but the main one, for me, is the incoming chair’s openness to new ideas and ability to organize.

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

As far as disqualifying goes, being a Republican.

Holly Herbert, Third District

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

The role of the chair is going to be multifaceted. We need someone who is going to be able to recognize that there is significant room for improvement in the way the party handles many things. The new chair needs to be a creative thinker who looks for ways to engage those who may not realize yet how the party can help them. We need a leader who inspires, can get us access to new technology, and understands how the Republicans have been able to beat us at messaging. The new chair needs to be able to help build our bench with new, youthful, progressive candidates, and needs to be able to give them the training and tools to succeed at connecting with their constituents, raising money, winning races, and then making sure they deliver on as many if their promises as possible. We need a chair that can help us demonstrate that the Democrats are doing more than paying lip service to the working and impoverished classes, and who will fight hard to make sure we remain a state that prides itself on being a safe place for immigrants. The new chair will need to be able to raise a significant amount of money in order to provide the party and its candidates with the necessary tools.

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

One of the most important things in deciding who might be at the top of my ticket is understanding that there needs to be changed in how the party functions, and that we need to connect with those in our communities. If a candidate doesn’t reach out to me for a one-on-one meeting or at least call to speak with me, I have my doubts about their commitment to the “little guys”. Having a good understanding of how the party can improve in terms of organization, technology, and candidate support are also very important factors.

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

I would see someone who thinks “business as usual” is the way to go would be a deal breaker. Additionally, displays of bigoted and/or sexist behavior are an absolute disqualifier.

Evan Burger, Fourth District

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

I think the next chair needs to have a laser focus on organizing (aka party-building). The chair role encompasses other things, like fundraising and being the public face of the party, but the only way we’re going to start winning again is if we re-orient the party towards organizing at the grassroots.

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

I’m planning on voting for Blair Lawton because he is the candidate that has the strongest background in organizing.

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

I don’t think there is anything that disqualifies a candidate for me. But I do think there are certain candidates who can better rebuild the party than others.

Brenda Brink, Fourth District

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

I see the role as more than a figurehead.  I see the role as setting the expectations for progressive Democratic activity high while diplomatically pulling together the older IDP with the newer IDP.   I see the role as one of an administrator as well, someone who can get others to perform well but knows how all the parts work together.

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

I need someone who is a proven progressive, not just someone who has been around the IDP for a long time, but who has shown their eagerness to make a difference through progressive policies and knows that the IDP does need more progress in being progressive.  (i.e. doesn’t fight having a Progressive Caucus)

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

Disqualifying factors:  lack of administrative experience, signs of political ambition (i.e. in it for their own career), and having older notions like “fundraising (not people and their needs) is the main thing in party politics”,  Fundraising without building relationships with people is nothing.

Catherine Crist, Chair, Disability Caucus

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

I am looking for a leadership team (Chair, Vice Chairs, Secretary, and Treasurer) that each bring an ability and willingness to incorporate appropriate technology in a manner which makes communication and participation of the meetings and preparation of those meetings (including financial) more inclusive and accessible.

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

There are many important factors in determining who would best serve and lead the Iowa Democratic Party.  I have outlined the skills, knowledge, abilities, and experience that I believe are essential for a successful IDP Chair. Having said that, I would add the following: They need to create a structure that supports the Constituency Caucuses with staff and guidance, and; this person needs to have a deep understanding of the not just issues surrounding the disability community in Iowa but what is occurring in the Nation, and be willing to support a motion to include the National Association of Democratic Disability Caucuses Representative(s) as members of the DNC.

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

Someone who does not have the necessary skills, knowledge, abilities or experience to lead the party, or who has not demonstrated the ability to lead and manage in a manner that leads to collaboration, openness, and unity, or who does not understand that accommodating people with disabilities (which includes funding) is not a choice-it is a requirement, by law and by the guiding values and principals of the Iowa Democratic Party. Someone who doesn’t understand that this is a civil rights issue, an access issue, an inclusion issue, or who is unwilling to learn.  Someone who doesn’t understand the organizational behavioral dynamics which are occurring.  Fundamental comprehension of the fact that we must embrace experience, wisdom, change towards inclusion and transparency, approaching problems with new passion, and creatively solving them with a different view.  These are not choices they must be equally and simultaneously embraced-the notion that each perspective has value and that each person deserves respect with regard to the contributions they bring to the table.

Jason Frerichs, Chair, Progressive Caucus

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

I see the role as rebuilding the party from the ground up. Helping put in place a system to train county chairs and central committee members to be activists. This means how to raise funds and recruit candidates to run for local and state level offices. Uniting a very fractured party and developing a core set of values that Democrats of all stripes can rally around.

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

Someone who can hit the ground running on day 1.

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

For me, there are a few of things that would disqualify a candidate. Someone who plans to run for office in the next 5 years. Another is someone who didn’t learn the lessons of the last election. I had one candidate tell me that it’s possible that we could consider running another corporate candidate for president. The same candidate was evasive with some of the answers to my questions. That sent that person to the bottom of my list.

Contact your representatives in the SCC. Bring Democracy to the Democratic Party.

CD1: http://www.idp1st.info

CD2: http://www.idp2nd.com/committee.php

CD3: http://www.idp3.org

CD4: http://idp4.org

PVI would like to hear from you!

Seriously, we’re interested to hear what you have to say. Take a moment to answer these questions for yourselves. Just copy and paste them into the section below to reply:

Your Name, Your Town, Iowa

What do you see as the role of the IDP Chair in the next two years?

What is most important, for you, in deciding which IDP Chair candidate to support?

What, if anything, do you see as a disqualifying factor for an IDP Chair candidate?

4 Comments

  1. Alex, thank you for putting this together. I noticed everyone interviewed here was a Sanders delegate. Will you be interviewing any SCC members who were Clinton delegates? I would be very interested to know what they are looking for in the next chair or if they have a favorite candidate in mind.

    Jason Brown
    Cedar Rapids
    Linn County

    Like

    1. Jason, I’ve reached out to several SCC members from each district and each of the chairs of the identity/constituency caucuses. I’m hoping to hear back from more SCC members as the days progress.

      Like

  2. Role: Strengthen the party organization from the grassroots up. Develop small-dollar contributions as the fundraising base. Lead resistance against GOP hegemony in Iowa.

    Importance: The IDP chair should be both a principled strategist and inspirational communicator.

    Disqualifying: I agree with Annaleah-No registered Republicans. I’m concerned that we talk about “building a bench,” but then the US House Dems re-elect leaders who are all over 75. It’s time for us Baby Boomers to give younger people a chance to fill IDP positions that we’ve occupied for decades.

    Liked by 1 person

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