(Welcome to Alexandria Democratic Committee Chair Clark Mercer, we hope to hear a lot from you at Blue Virginia. Also, all other Committee Chairs are welcome to post here. Please let us know what’s going on in your neck of Virginia. Thanks! – promoted by lowkell)
Hello Blue Virginia! My name is Clark Mercer, and I know many of you that visit and post here as we have worked together over the years to help elect Democrats and fight for our shared values all over Virginia. I currently serve as the Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee (ADC), having been elected this past January. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself, tell you a little bit about the ADC, and then get back to work helping to send our entire Democratic delegation back to Washington D.C. on November 2.
While I’m a long time reader of Blue Virginia (and other blogs over the years like Raising Kaine), this is my first post. That’s probably due to my instincts as a researcher and policy person- I worked fulltime in the ’08 cycle for the Warner for Senate campaign and a good researcher isn’t supposed to become part of a story. But, now that I’m serving as Chair of the ADC and have a few months under my belt getting organized, you can expect to hear from me more often as we build out our online presence.
I was born and raised in Alexandria, growing up in the same home that my grandfather built when he moved here from Kentucky to work for the Department of Agriculture. My other grandfather came from a family of watermen- oyster farmers and crabbers on the Northern Neck- and moved to Alexandria when he was stationed in the area with the Air Force. My family has been here ever since; we all went through the public school system here and for the past six years, I coached the men’s soccer team at T.C. Williams High School, my alma mater (made famous by the movie ‘Remember the Titans’).
Graduating from Yale University in 2002, I returned to Alexandria and immediately began volunteering for the local Democratic committee and local candidates. I have served during that time as Mayor Bill Euille’s campaign manager and Councilman Paul Smedberg’s treasurer. After the elections in 2002, I realized there wasn’t a dedicated group for our Young Democrats, so along with a few others I co-founded the Alexandria Young Democrats, writing our constitution and by-laws, getting us charted with the state committee, and recruiting members.
This past January I was elected Chair of the ADC and have been working hard since then to continue to move our committee forward. We’ve started some great initiatives, including placing a strong emphasis on building out each of our 26 precincts. Precinct captains are the foundation for any committee and at each of our monthly meetings we have captains present precinct plans that include a geographic breakdown of their precinct, voter numbers and goals for the coming election, and outreach and volunteer goals for the coming year. Additionally, every month we send postcards to new voters in the city, congratulating them and introducing them to the Democratic Party and ADC (there are usually over 1,000 new voters registered each month). Starting in January, we will host a ‘candidate’s school’ for anyone interested in running as a Democrat for elected office. Long story short, we are working hard at outreach across the city and empowering all of our members to be leaders in the committee.
Alexandria is often regarded as “safe” Democratic territory. While it’s certainly true that Alexandria votes Democratic more often than not, this wasn’t always the case and we did lose two Council seats in our past election, and this campaign cycle we are working very hard to re-elect Congressman Moran (who is facing an aggressive and determined opponent) and grow our committee for the future. Over the next few years places like Alexandria will have to perform in high numbers for our statewide Democrats to be successful. To that end, we host five phone banks a week; staff three farmers markets; run canvasses on Saturdays and Sundays; and staff a variety of outreach and community events. On Wednesdays we join forces with OFA who make calls out of our office, and we have elected officials and volunteers who help all over the state. Today, for example, we have a group headed to the 5th District to help canvass for Congressman Perriello.
There are a lot of smart people that participate on this site, and I’d love to hear from you with your suggestions and comments. If you happen to live in or near Alexandria, I hope you’ll make it out to one of our meetings or events.
For all of you that volunteer your time to help the Democratic Party, I’m grateful and I look forward to meeting many of you in person over the coming months,