Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mike Berlon on Democrats here in Georgia

I'm late putting this up so here it is:

As the newly elected Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, I am keenly aware of the challenges we face over the next several years. All Democrats realize that the election losses in November were devastating. In addition, the impact of nine party-switchers made the situation even worse. The question then becomes: What do we do now as a party and how do we regain prominence?

First, the Democratic Party of Georgia must find its voice. For many years, we have been reactive instead of proactive and have simply lost our message. We have let Republicans frame the debate. We cannot do this and win. We must develop a strong message about jobs, education and the economy. These are winning issues for us, and we must define ourselves in a way that makes sense to Georgia citizens from all walks of life.

We also need to put to rest the perception that we are solely a metro Atlanta party and reconnect with all of Georgia's citizens. A crucial step in this process will be to establish satellite offices throughout the state. We need to rebuild our base at the county level, neighbor-by-neighbor, Democrat-by-Democrat, precinct-by-precinct.

We must aggressively recruit future candidates and give them the tools to succeed, including year-round training for these aspiring leaders. We need to establish a team of candidates that is experienced and well-trained at all levels of government, from city hall to the Capitol. We will honor the promises that we make to them in order to foster their success. We will also compete vigorously in those districts that were formerly represented by party-switchers to show them that political deception has a steep price.

As a party, our main goal is to elect Democrats. Therefore, we will establish long- and short-term measurable goals, as well as strategic planning and accountability, from both our staff as well as our state party officers; now and well past my tenure. We no longer have the luxury of using the party as a campaign extension of our highest-ranking officials while developing a new strategy for the DPG every four years.

We are invested heavily in the redistricting process. I fully expect that Republicans will attempt to increase their majority by gerrymandering districts throughout the state. These tactics will be met with strong resistance from the Democratic Party of Georgia as well as the courts, where I believe the matter will ultimately be decided.

Finally, we must develop a sound organization and multi-level fund raising plan that can serve us well now, and into the future. This does not mean simply covering our expenses. It means developing a long-term strategy and fiscal policy that will give us the reserves we need to run the party without worrying about operational expenses. I have been involved at every level of politics for over 35 years. I know how these cycles work. With hard work and discipline, we will turn the party around. It won’t be easy and it’ll take some time, but we are a resilient group. Working toward a brighter future might be tough, but with a strong executive committee, an invigorated staff, the right funding and planning, and a strong message, a return to Election Day success is just a matter of time.

For democrats, its all about 1) Educating & 2) Communication. Berlon & Co are off to a good start at the Georgia Democratic Party. There will be some seats, depending how redistricting goes that dems will be able to pick up, but it will depend how Miguel Camacho, newly elected Candidate Recruiter for the party does in finding candidates to fit his'her district & Don Weigel providing support for that candidate.

Then you have congressional races coming up in which there maybe the possibility that the 8th becomes a open seat in which Austin Scott gets drawn into Sanford Bishop's 2nd Congrssional District, leaving State Senator Ross Tolleson who has said in the past that he is interested in a run for congress. If that happens, then finding a candidate there will be critical.

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