Let me say up front that I believe that Peter Rousselot would be the best choice the DPVA could make for chair. Hands down. My opinion isn’t based on a dislike of any other candidate for the job, however. It’s simply because I think Rousselot would bring to Richmond a badly needed new political perspective and a determination to build the party.
Below are a few comments reacting to his press release on the future of the DPVA, based on feedback he has received from Central Committee members and local party chairs.
“DPVA has got to help local committees recruit and field candidates in elections that are not targeted by the Senate and House caucus leadership.” – Amen! I’ll use the open seat created by Morgan Griffith’s victory in the 9th District congressional race against Rick Boucher as an example. The retiring chair of the DPVA, Dick Cranwell, is from Vinton, a town in Roanoke County. That county happens to comprise over half of Griffith’s House of Delegates district. To date, I have not seen any DPVA assistance being given to the local chairs in Roanoke County or Salem to assist in candidate recruitment. Why not?
As if that’s not bad enough, we had the majority leader of the State Senate, Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), telling the press that the party wouldn’t “waste our money” in fielding a candidate for Robert Hurt’s senate seat, left vacant by Hurt’s defeat of Tom Perriello. Not only do we have a candidate, but a strong one, no thanks to Saslaw. He’s Henry Davis, chair of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. If Peter Rousselot becomes chair of the DPVA, we might actually get some state party assistance for Davis.
“As a local Chair in Southside, I need help in recruiting younger Democrats to get involved with my local committee. DPVA should provide me with tips and suggestions to help me get that done.” – It’s quite obvious that we need for the DPVA to look to the successes of Organizing for America and Virginia Organizing for methods to reach young Democrats. They are the future of the party. One idea that comes to my mind is to tap that resource on the local level in order to develop better websites, social networking, blogging, etc., and that’s just one area where the DPVA could facilitate connecting Young Democrats to localities as a valuable resource.
“In order to inspire Democrats at the local level, DPVA has got to communicate a vision that it stands for something more than just electing more Democrats to office.” – I talked with Peter Rousselot about this very problem at the DPVA months ago. No matter how hard I search the “revamped” DPVA website, I can’t find a tab entitled, “What We Stand For” or “Our Principles.” That is unbelievable. How in the world can we hope to convince others to join us if we can’t briefly articulate what principles the party runs on?
“With the tremendous job of re-building that DPVA confronts, we need a Chair who can commit to devote full time to the job.” – The DPVA has problems that will take a person with vision to solve and the time to bring such a vision to fruition. The fact that Peter Rousselot can devote his full time to the job of party chair means we will have a head start in ridding the DPVA of the difficulties that have been so obvious in the past couple of years.
What is my dream for the party? For starters, I would like to see a coordinated political campaign in 2011, for a change. That means:
– a unified message that is articulated clearly to voters
– pooled resources for candidates in the same area.
– on-going efforts to register new likely Democratic voters
– a message from Richmond of the importance of organizing at the grassroots, with actions to back that up
– a regional organizer in every congressional district paid for by the state party