S6: Bonus - A Better Democratic Party with DSCC Members
2:34AM Oct 31, 2023
Peyton Rose Michelle
Welcome to Louisiana Lefty, a podcast about politics and community in Louisiana, where we make the case that the health of the state requires a strong progressive movement fueled by the critical work of organizing on the ground. Our goal is to democratize information, demystify party politics, and empower you to join the mission. Because victory for Louisiana requires you.
I'm your host, Lynda Woolard. Last week, we released a quick bonus episode with Public Service Commissioner Davante Lewis' introduction to a couple of zooms we held right after the dismal results of the October 14 2023 primary election with folks who are interested in change of leadership at the state Democratic Party. It's worth checking out if you haven't heard it yet. I've repeatedly said this year that getting a high-functioning democratic party is an existential issue for Louisiana. Our citizens deserve protections, progress, and prosperity. And we will not have those things as long as Republicans are in control of the state with no actual plan to oppose them. So this bonus episode combines content from our two zooms with four current Democratic State Central Committee members, talking about their experience running for and sitting on the governing body of the Louisiana Democratic Party. You'll hear from Ciara Hart, Stephen Handwerk, Peyton Rose Michelle, and Meg Snider. One of our speakers voted for the current chair, two are planning to run for DSCC again, two are not, and one has already left the state. We also took some questions towards the end of the zooms. We're including as much of that info as possible. Sometimes you'll hear the voice of the person who asked the question. While we haven't identified them to protect their privacy, they were aware we were recording the Zooms for sharing. Finally, each participant in the Zoom received follow up information. And as always, we'll have rich Episode Notes that will contain everything they were sent, including, but not limited to, a one sheet of very basic information about running for DSCC, which also has links to the 2020 chair votes, and a current DSCC member list. Do explore the additional materials when you get a chance, but you'll get plenty of info and this episode, and it should give you an excellent starting place if you want to understand how our state party works, how to run to shape it, or even just how to help those who do become candidates for change at the DSCC.
Davante and I have known each other very long time. And it was actually state party elections, the chair elections in 2020, we actually were running mates. And I thank you Davante for joining me there. But I also want to bring that up because I think it's really important. Again, I mentioned at the beginning of the call the zoom, that I see my role as educational. I want to be very clear that I'm not running for chair, people have asked me why am I putting these things together, I'm just trying to let people know about this opportunity. When Davante and I ran in 2020, it was as a fill-in. There was another candidate who had been running for chair that dropped out at the last minute. So Davante and I stepped up so that there would have to be an election, that people would have to vote on the party chair last time, as opposed to what they had tried to set up was a bit of a coronation. And so I just mentioned this because I want folks to know that these positions that we're talking about today - and I'm gonna get into this a little more - these DSCC positions, the Democratic State Central Committee is the governing body of the Louisiana Democratic Party. And that's why it's so important. These are the people who vote on who the chair and the entire executive committee. Davante mentioned DSCC and the DPAC, the Democratic Parish Executive Committees, which are your Parish governing bodies of the Democratic Party, and a lot of the things we talk about today are transferable to DPACS. But the reason I'm focusing today and I've been focusing all year, in various ways, on the DSCC is because it's how you get new leadership at the party. And so that really is the reason why I have been spending so much time focusing on that. The reason why Davante and I ran in 2020 was to make sure that we'd get on on record those votes. And that's not to say that I want anyone to harass or attack anyone who voted for the last chair, we're going to hear from someone today who voted for the last chair. And so that doesn't mean necessarily that if they voted for her the last time that they would do so, again. This is just a moment for us to ask people why they voted, and the reason I'm reminding you that I was not initially the opponent, I was not initially on that ballot, is because I should not be the reason they give you for why they voted for the last party chair. Most of those votes for her were sealed up before the other person ever dropped out of that race. So I just wanted to give you that history, so that you have a little bit of better information to go on. Most Democrats don't know how we get a party chair. And that's what we want to talk about. Most folks don't know that these Democratic State Central Committee seats exists. Why? Because most folks go into these seats unopposed. So if 70% of the folks serving on the Democratic State Central Committee have received no opposition, then they're never going to show up on a ballot. And so you're never going to see them, you're never going to vote for them. The ballot that these seats are on is the presidential preference primary, which in 2024, is on March 23. That's when we're going to vote on our democratic state central committee members. And in my opinion, everybody should have competition. The qualifying for those seats, for those who are interested, is December 13-15th of this year. So we're just a few months away from people having to qualify for that. And what we'd like to do is... so again, I go back to this again, and again, now's the time for conversations. You should be going to your sitting DSCC member and asking them if they're going to run again, if they are going to run again, are they interested in new leadership for the party. I think those are really good questions. If you need contact information for your elected DSCC members, let me know, I can get that information for you. And I believe sunlight on all of this stuff is the best thing for moving the party forward. The other thing I'll just mention, as you're thinking about running, or as you're thinking about recruiting people to run, is that while I say everyone should have competition, what we really do want to do is just have one reformer. I'm calling it that it's just my term, it's not... there's not a reformer movement, per se. I'm just saying we should have one reformer candidate per district. There's no runoff in these elections. So whoever wins the most votes on March 23 gets the seat. If you sign up with no opposition, you get the seat. If nobody signs up for that seat, it goes vacant until the next chair appoints someone. But if there's more than one candidate for a seat, whoever gets the most votes on March 23 automatically goes into that seat. And they'll be the person voting for the next chair and executive committee. It'll be within 30-45 days of March 23 is when those party leadership elections will happen. The other thing I want to say to you, before I turn it over to other folks, is don't commit to a chair candidate right away. Make sure you see who else is going to get in the race. A lot of folks did that last time, where they threw in really early before they even knew who was going to get in, and it made it very difficult for other people who may have had more experience and better skill sets and it just made it very difficult for other people to even consider getting in the race. There are a lot of good candidates who are looking at this this year for exactly the reason Davante talked about. We all woke up a little bit stunned last Sunday with the news of who would be leading so many pieces of our state in the next four years. So a lot of people who may not have been considering this two weeks ago are looking at it today. And I think it's really important to start listening to some of those folks and having conversations with them. Think about what you want in a chair. The biggest thing a chair needs to be able to do is raise money. They've got to be able to keep the party open and they've got to be able to fund programs for mobilization, for registration, for training, for recruiting, all of that requires money. A lot of money. But they also need to have some political savvy. They need to know how to spend that money. And if they tell you their goals, that's great, but they should be able to tell you, step by step, what their plan for reaching those goals is. Goals are great. But goals are just goals. Unless they can tell you their plan, those goals are meaningless. Have conversations. And the other thing I'll tell you is if it's someone new to the Democratic Party, who has not been involved, that's fin. We can get folks who are new to the party, just make sure that they're aware they need some folks with institutional knowledge to help them. There's a lot of institutional knowledge about the Democratic Party that they'll need some advisor, some kind of advisor to let them know. And that's both national, statewide, and regional knowledge. So they're going to need all of those things. So I want to start talking to our DSCC members who are with us today, Ciara Hart, who is a current DSCC member and she's running for reelection to the DSCC. And Stephen Handwerk, who is a current DSCC member, who is not running for reelection to DSCC. Just tell your experience running for the DSCC, to start.
Hey y'all, I'm so excited to have so many faces because it's time for some change. So super excited. I got involved with the DSCC because I ran in 2019 and I got the democratic endorsement because I was the only Democrat in my race. I was running in District Six, but I didn't get any support whatsoever. I was about 200 votes from making the runoff and I was a teacher at the time. And so, like, I did not understand what the process was around supporting candidates, getting support, what that process was. I was just a teacher who was trying to run for office and had been a community organizer also in my community. And I had a group of mentors who knew that I still had energy around just being involved locally in politics. And they were like, "Okay, Ciara, we think that you should do some research around the DSCC and DPAC, put your name in the hat for both of them and see what comes from it. Because this is how you will be able to directly support candidates." And at the time, like, my goal was to really be able to make sure that young black people specifically could run for office and actually have a chance because then I also learned how hard it was for women to even get donations from folks. Especially if you're a woman of color. So like, there were just so many things that were pushing me to try to get involved in a way that was tangible. And so I put my name in the hat for the DSCC and DPAC, I qualified for both. DPAC at large because I had just ran for office. So we hoped that I can have, like, some name recognition at the polls. I did not win the DPAC at large seat for East Baton Rouge, but I did win my DSCC unopposed. What I would say is we did run right at the beginning of the pandemic so our election day was pushed back multiple times. And I think that for the current chair that definitely worked in her favor because she had a long time to build relationships and connections with folks from the time that we qualified until voting happened that summer. So for the election part of it, a lot of it was social media-based house meeting-based. I just talked to a lot of the people in my community who I felt cared about the DSCC and tried to get as many folks to learn about this process because I realized so many people had no idea that it even existed. And prior to my research, I didn't know just how strong, like, the functioning body was of the party. And that's really what kind of pushed me to continue to try to get people to understand, so that when it came to voting we'd have people show up to the polls.
Stephen, do you want to kind of give your briefing on your experience running for the DSCC?
Sure. Running for the seats I, too frequently would always qualify for both. I'd qualify for DSCC and DPAC because I believe that the local communities is where you can make a lot of positive change. You can really move the needle, but then you can take what you've done locally, and then model it to the state party and use that and say, "Why can't we be doing these things at the state? Why can't we be moving together? Why can't we be holding forums and candidate forums and all of that good stuff?" So that has been my experience. I've run and had opposition, I lost one time back a while ago. I won unopposed, twice. And I won outright by, I think, seven votes one year as well. So it all really does come back down to good old fashioned politics on this. And building a coalition and running a really good grassroots campaign benefits you long term because you should certainly see the seats as you are being elected to be the voice of the people who put you there. And that is really important, to always kind of keep as your kind of core value. You're not there to settle scores, you're literally there to represent your people. And you'll always do well by having that sort of Northstar. The most of the times I would get the voter list. Normally, the state party does make it available for candidates at a very discounted rate, for like $25, I think is how we did it over the years, in order to get on there. And then I would do a bunch of searches. I'm sure the Lefty podcast has some really good information on how to run a campaign. I seem to recall Lynda and I getting into the weeds on this a few times on that. But look, I started making phone calls, I started going to events, I started becoming much more social and getting out there and talking to people and getting them involved and reminding them that, "Yes, you're voting in the presidential primary. And yes, it might seem as if we've already picked who our presidential nominee is going to be. However, there are other important elections that we really need you involved in all down the race." The biggest thing, though, that we did here locally was - and I do see some Lafayette peeps in the in the room, Jolin is one of them - we form tickets. We put tickets together for people that have like minded ideals so that if you were in my district, if you weren't in my district, but you liked me and you'd liked what I was advocating for, you could see that, "Oh, I'm actually in Jolin's district and Jolin is actually on the same team as Stephen." So building coalitions is also another pro tip that I would highly recommend in building out a good organization. And also, it also teaches you how to work with people. And here's the thing, 210 people serve on the DSCC. One person can't do anything by themselves, you have to get a voting majority in order to be able to get something done. And then you also, once you do get something passed, then you also have to hold leadership accountable.
So really good thing that Stephen reminded me of, while he was talking, is that you do have to be a registered Democrat in Louisiana to run for these seats. And you have to be a registered Democrat in Louisiana to vote on these seats. So as you're... A, you need to check your registration before you go to qualify to make sure that you are, in fact... sometimes people don't realize they're registered to no party because we have these jungle primaries here. Then you can go vote for whoever you want to, and it's only when we're voting in these presidential primaries that this really comes into play, that you have to be registered to a specific party to vote. That's the case also with these party elections. So check your registration, make sure it says you're a Democrat. But as you're talking to people and building up the group of folks that you want to vote for you, you'll want to make sure that they're doing the same thing and checking their registration and making sure they can go vote for you. For those who decide that they do want to run for this idea of reforming and getting new leadership at the state party, we'll be happy to come back and talk to you at a later time and strategize what your campaign could look like. And we're trying to let folks know who the current members of the DSCC are. I've asked current members not to be on this zoom because I believe, you know, we want to be able to have conversations with folks who are looking at this from from a new space, besides our speakers, Payton and Meg, who you'll hear from in a minute, who are current DSCC members. But I believe people should be able to ask their DSCC members why they voted the way they vote, what they've done while they've been on the DSCC, how they've voted on other issues, and what really they have to show for their time there. And I'm not saying that it's something for you to harass them in any way or for the constituents to harass them. But like your legislators, I think Mandie Landry who's on the call, has referred to the DSCC as sort of the legislative branch of the Democratic Party. And so you should be able, as you would go to a legislator or Congress person, to ask them about their activities and their votes. And so that's what we'd like you to do now. I do want to turn it over to Peyton and Meg For a little bit, and I just like to start off by asking you and let's start with Peyton. Peyton, can you tell us a little bit about your experience actually running for DSCC?
Absolutely. Hey, everybody, it's Michelle, she and her pronoun, 46 A. Running, you know... it was simpler... It was kind of simple for me, I guess. I got recruited on the Thursday evening of qualifying, which when I had literally less than 24 hours to get my butt to the clerk of court to qualify. Thankfully, I did. The clerk of court in St. Martin Parish was really helpful. I mean, I did have 'him' on my driver's license at that time. And you know, they were still really kind enough to work with me and allow me to run for the AC, which is for females. So really grateful about that. And yeah, I did have an opponent. You know, we talked, and I got 60-something percent of the vote, 66 or something like that. So, yeah. Luckily for me, I had a recognizable last name in my district, which was very common last name where I live. And yeah, I think, ultimately, for me, it wasn't a large lift. I did get my voter file. I did run Facebook ads, technically. But you know, I think my last name probably really pulled it through for me. So, yeah.
Well, and the nice thing I didn't mention, the nice thing about these they're not official elected offices. So they're party offices. So there's no campaign finance reports to be filed. So if you want to run Facebook ads or buy the voter files or print up slate cards, or whatever, none of that has to be reported. You can use whatever money you'd like to use for these races. And what I'll say is this year in particular, I think it's going to be important for people to run real, tiny, mini campaigns. I don't know if you remember your votes... Most of these seats are won with about 500 to 1000 votes. There was one district in New Orleans where the candidate ended up with over 4000 votes, but that's really rare and unusual. Most of the seats are really won with 500 to 1000. Do you remember your your vote count, Peyton?
I don't, but it was definitely, like, I would say less than 2000 total votes. Something like... maybe 1500. Close, but I don't remember exactly.
And, Meg, can you tell us about your experience running?
Definitely, thanks for this forum, too, Lynda. I know you've been working really hard on things like this. I really appreciate it. I love hearing from you, Peyton. Thank you, Davante and Mandie for being on the call as well. I ran mine like a mini campaign. And it really did pay off i the end. I had just done a training on how to run for office. I knocked doors, I printed precinct maps, I printed up flyers. And I really went door to door, I went to neighborhood meetings. I had a young person on social media do things that I don't know how to do. And I ended up beating who was the favored candidate, who was a name that people recognized in my district and who had worked for a city councilman, and - my husband's looking up the vote total - but we ended up doing really well. So I got 54% to 46%. So I won by a little bit. And I really attribute that to going out and talking to voters. And I'll add that one of my campaign... one of my platforms was education because I didn't really know what DSCC was and it was very much an exercise in learning by doing and the, I feel like, the people that I spoke to, one on one, really responded to that and wanted to know more.
Thank you, Meg. And, Meg, I want to stick with you for a minute. And again, folks are texting me saying they're happy to help. We're all happy to help strategize and help y'all figure out how to run your campaigns. I've got folks texting me, talking about starting PACs for this and stuff like that. So there's a lot of opportunities fo really helping put some real mini campaigns together. But Meg, you've said you're not going to run again. And can you talk a little bit about your experience with the DSCC? And what's made you decide not to run again?
Sure, and I've written down some things to try to keep me on track, there's a lot to discuss and a lot of I've gotten frustrated with and since forgotten about that I can definitely go look up if people are more interested in what happened and how we navigated it. As Lynda shared, when I came along, there was definitely an appetite for new leadership. That person I found to effectively be just a puppet for the party to manipulate and to get what they want out of. So I went into it, again, being pretty naive, but wanting to learn how this process looked, and I had a lot of ideas for being productive, and for being, like, you know, to do things that would help the party and help candidates and help people who've been newly elected that maybe had never served in a seat before. I had a lot of great ideas. But I soon learned, there's very much like a quid pro quo going on in the DSCC, a lot of people are also elected members, you know, the 'scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' type of thing. There's very much, like, you get in line, and then you will be rewarded, whether it's financially or whether it's with clout or, you know, support in different ways. And I think some of that was to be expected, right? Like, not all of that was surprising. But the just really gross extent of it was very shocking to me. And there was lack of procedure, there's been corruption and diversion of funds to candidates who have not been endorsed. There's been gross amounts of contracts that can't be accounted for. So there's a lot of accountability that needs to be had. And I felt like I found myself being kind of a gadfly on the accountability side, and that of being able to be productive and really push the party forward. So that's been my experience. And it's just personally it exhausted me. And I think that it's awesome that there are a lot of people on here that want to do the work. And I certainly applaud that and add that I am happy to help. We're all happy to, like, contribute what we can because there does need to be a sea change. And you could be part of that. So I don't want to discourage anybody. That's just been my personal experience. I have, you know... I think a big frustration that I hit over and over again, is that those in leadership right now are really clinging to an idea that the future of our party is to be regressive and conservative. And I believe it should be diverse and progressive. And there's an idea that we can somehow catch Trump supporters that left us because we got too woke or we got too, you know, progressive on an issue here and there. And I just think that that's false. And I think that the, you know, progressive base in Louisiana wants something more and is ready for it. So... And now, I should say, and there have been questions in the chat, that I represent, basically, the heart of New Orleans. So my counterpart is Royce Duplessis. And I'm in New Orleans, district 93. Now we do have a new district. So just bear that in mind. We have district 23 now. So those I think, contribute to my lack of wanting to run again, but I want to be positive and I want to encourage others. So I think there is room for change. And I do believe in that.
Thank you. And you raise a good point, as folks are checking to make sure they are registered as Democrats they should also check and see if there's been any changes in their districts since redistricting. Because we're sharing lists of who are the current DSCC members for your district and it's really good form, frankly, to call the current member and ask them if they're planning to run again, some of them aren't. And some of them, as I've been coaching folks through this process through the last few weeks, some folks have called and just... some of the younger people have been calling older DSCC members and letting them know of their interest in running and some of the older DSCC members are, like, "Awesome, I will step aside and let you have the seat." So some of that is happening. There are opportunities for that. Peyton, you are running for reelection. I think you're changing districts, but maybe you were redistricted, one or the other, but you're running for reelection. Can you you tell us your experience a little bit and why you're returning?
Yes, my experience is very similar to Megs. You know, I was there during almost all of the chaotic things you saw on social media and whatnot. You know, there was one time a caucus of us walked out, when they voted to enact bylaws that were outrageous and allowed them to endorse non-Democrats, which totally makes sense... Anyway, so yeah, you know... I've been actively engaged in trying to oppose. I've also, you know, this was my first time being elected to DSCC, and, like, at the beginning of my term, I also very much so tried to engage with party leadership and, like, be of assistance and, you know, contribute to, like, what was happening within our party. My offers and ideas were never, you know, followed through with or approved or of interest. But that being said, you know, I... Any of you who know me, I have kind of been devoted to fighting the good fight for a while now so it's just who I am. I actually moved. So I am now in Lafayette, I used to be in St. Martin parish. And now, I'm going to be running in Lafayette. Thankfully, I've talked to the lady in my seat and she has told me that she is not interested in running because of all the chaos within the party that we've also discussed here. And she's been a longtime DSCC member, I think, for like three or four terms. So you know, if you're be fed up after that long I could only imagine... So yeah, you know, I'm running because I think it's the right thing to do and you have the, personally, I have the privilege to run, I have the ability to run, I have the energy to run and have the energy to deal with the drama that is our current party leadership. So you know, I hope to be a part of change, I hope that next next year we can have, you know, a shift towards actual democratic values. So I'll, you know, be there for that journey. And if that doesn't happen, I'll be fighting whoever is keeping us away from that.
Ciara, can you tell us a little bit about what serving on the DSCC has been like for you? Like, and here, I'd like to know, like, what's the bare minimum you could do? And then what are the opportunities for doing more?
Serving on the DSCC has been, I would say, an eye opening experience. I think I came in as somebody who was super excited, and like, trying to figure out what change looks like and what my part could be in it. And I didn't want to be somebody that played in the backseat. And so in making connections and building relationships, I just saw all the foolery that is is politics, if I'm being completely honest. It has been an eye opening experience for me. So many things. I can I can talk all day... I have 1000s of stories. But what I would say is bare minimum, you could just show up to meetings and have no clue what's going on because there is no effort to engage the DSCC in the bylaws or the governing rules or what we're voting on or what committees exist. Like, a lot of this happens in, I would say, cliquish circles, like, if you take it upon yourself to research and to ask questions you can find out, but if you wanted to get elected and just show up to meetings or not show up, you could do that. And there is no accountability system to hold you accountable to that. And that's just me being honest. For example, our first meeting, I think it was our endorsement meeting for elections and it lasted about three hours. And before that we had had no orientation, no 'Welcome to the DSCC,' no... there was nothing. So if you didn't take it upon yourself to do research and ask questions and build relationships, you really just don't know what's going on. And I would even say now there are still things that I am learning as a DSCC member that I can do. But I think part of that is purposeful because we have an executive committee now put into the bylaws who was able to make majority of decisions. And that's not always the way that the body was governed. So the bylaws are super important. And being able to be assigned to committees as a part of the DSCC is super important. I believe that that is where action can take place. One of the things that I've been pushing as a DSCC member currently is just for us, as the DSCC, to be on one accord. Like, there is not a time where we can say, "What they're doing in Lafayette? What they're doing in Bogalusa?" Like, we have no pulse for each other on what we're doing, unless there is an effort by an individual in the group to do that. So like how do we create systems across the board, where as the DSCC we can even say what's happening across the parish so that we can hold each other accountable to election results and recruitment? Because, yes, we have the party to blame, as far as leadership, but I also believe we have the DSCC to blame because a majority of the DSCC has been apathetic. And so I completely am in 100% agreement with that there needs to be a change in leadership, but there also has to be a change in leadership in the DSCC because it's been either, like, a group of apathetic folks or a group of folks who are uncomfortable with the status quo and maintaining their position of power. And that has not pushed the needle. And so like, being able to be solution oriented to me is, like, the number one goal because we can't hold one group accountable and, like, not hold the other group to say, "Yes, the party leadership has a responsibility in doing certain things, but us at the DSCC, we can be doing more, too." And having those kinds of conversations kind of garners, like, a small response of the board. Like, currently, I will say we have about 80-90 people who may show up to our meetings, and of those 80-90, there were about 30 who kind of showed up to that call that I did and just trying to get us, like, organized as a body. And from that, you know, things didn't happen as I wanted them to. But yeah.
So that's something that could be improved. Absolutely. I certainly think that in a well functioning state party those committees, like the bylaws and the resolutions committees and then the caucuses, there's the opportunity to do a whole range of caucuses where people could take leadership roles and get engaged on specific issues, like veterans or disabilities, where those opportunities exist to do more. If the party is doing more, do you have comments on that, Stephen?
Yeah, actually, I'd like to build and actually just echo everything Ciara just said, so well done, I'm not going to retread any of that ground. But a couple of things that I think are really important to remember on these matters. Number one, the getting involved in all of these committees and making sure that they meet, this is not something that you will always get firm or fine direction from the state party on. Especially because the state party staff, as I understand it right now, is basically two people. And, you know, being able to keep up on that is is near impossible, trust me, I've been there and running it. That being said, I mean, we had a lot more staff and so we tried to engage a lot more. The one thing though, that I can tell you, and I don't want to lose this fact is, the body comes together. This is a body that is ruled by resolutions. Okay? We have never taken a party platform to like say, "What's this? What's that?" Because it's way too divisive and it creates like a civil war type atmosphere. But what we do is, we govern by resolution, the only good part about resolutions are is if they're actually enforced. And that's where the executive committee comes in, the Executive Committee has to hold the chair and the staff are accountable to those resolutions. There were oftentimes were hot topic issues would come up, I wouldn't make a decision until I got a resolution passed because I needed to know what side of the team I was going to be on for whatever the topic is. So it's really important, that's when we talk about. Ciara made a brilliant point about being engaged. What does that mean? What does that look like? That's what it looks like, right? It's actually getting involved, talking to your executive committee members. So don't think, as this proceeds, that once you elect a chair, all is lost, or all is accomplished, right? Because you still have to elect an executive committee that will hold them to account. Because trust me, people will be tempted, you'll think you've elected, trust me, you'll think you have elected a good leader and then all of a sudden you'll find out that they're not a good leader, and they're not doing the things that you expected them to do. I have a little bit of experience with that, I'll probably write a book. That being said, it's really important to be able to hold them to account and that's the part that we can't forget as holding the seats. That is what your job is. So your job isn't once you get elected and elect the leadership and then I'm done. I've only got three meetings a year. This is ongoing, so we really encourage folks to get involved.
And by that token as just Democratic voters, these DSCC members are our representatives in our district. So we should also be having ongoing conversations with them and holding them to account so they'll hold leadership to account. The DSCC members could be doing similar things to what legislators do. They could be holding coffees in their districts and having people come out to them and talk about the party. So what we want to see in general, is more engagement with the voters and the constituents from the party. That will clear a lot of this stuff up. A couple other things. Qualifying for the seats is December 13-15th. The cost to qualify at your local clerk of court is $112.50. We did not talk about DPACs today, we're talking about the DSCC, but you can run for both the DSCC and the DPAC. If you'd like to run for both bodies, you would have to pay two qualifying fees to do that. There are 210 positions available. There's one male seat and one female seat for each State House District. So there's 105 State House districts, you have to live in the district to run for the seat. And I said the one male seat one female seat, and I have repeatedly said this all year, while I understand why it was set up that way to try to achieve some equity, when women didn't have much of a seat at the table with the Democratic Party, what I'll say is it's a bit of an antiquated notion now. So I would suggest that it's something the next DSCC might talk about, to have a more equitable way to name those seats for those districts. The elected term of the seats is for four years. So we vote on them every time we get a presidential preference primary. And I believe I've said almost all of this, the chair and executive committee positions are voted on, it's approximately one month after the election day, additional executive committee seats will be filled in regional meetings within two months of that first organizational meeting. The chair advised by the Executive Committee selects the executive director and then as we were just saying, committees and caucuses are set up, the chair has a lot of power over who serves on the committees and caucuses. So that's the other thing. After those organizational meetings are all completed those committees and caucuses are very much under the control of the chair. So if you want to serve in those, again, you want to make sure you're getting a chair that's going to be willing to talk to all the members and not just folks that they deem as on their team. They should be looking at all these folks as their team. Ciara and Stephen, let me give you one... Do you want to give any lessons learned, mistakes you made or anything like that you'd really like to share with folks?
Yeah, I voted for Katie Bernhardt and I think that that is the biggest mistake that I've made. And me and Lynda have talked about this definitely since, but I would say as someone who, again, was new to the party in terms of governing, having no idea what we were getting ourselves into. But from the time of January until I think that June meeting, there were calls being made every month, around goals, party finances, like, just relationship building tactics. Like true... I will say they play good organizing, they played good organizing in terms of really locking in folks before that election happened. So much so to the point to where we didn't even understand fully, like, the process. And then being a new member with other new members, there was no one who was explaining to us that process. And so when you have young, naive people who are really just coming in and excited taking advantage of that, I think was was like very clear. And now I can name that, I see that. I'm not a victim of that currently, but definitely was just completely bamboozled. And so what I would encourage you all to do is like read the bylaws, ask the questions, the hard questions, build relationships, but also learn things for yourself and don't let, I would say even, like, maybe folks who have been historically In the party, try to dictate you from having concerns. Because a lot of times when you have concerns, they point you out as an agitator. And if you are really going to push this, I think just being comfortable and knowing that you being concerned is valid and, like, letting nobody deter you from being concerned. Because as a sitting DSCC member, as President of Young Democrats of Louisiana, I am confidently telling you that you have every reason and right to be concerned about the state of this party. And I've been concerned for over three years now. And so just, like, oh... there are so many things that I think I've learned in the last four years, but I would just say, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. So I learned that... Yeah, lessons learned will be that just really having good advisors, learn things for myself, and not letting folks misguide you or take advantage of your willfulness to do right by the people. Because you'll see, they switch on you when you push back.
Thank you, Ciara. And Stephen, I'm gonna give you another chance and then we're gonna open it to questions. So you can raise your hand, if you have questions. I will look through the chat. Also, as folks are asking questions, if I find things in the chat that we can answer quickly, we'll do that, too. Stephen, any closing thoughts, lessons learned, mistakes made that you'd like share?
Yeah. 100 years ago, back when we wanted to modernize the party. And I was on many calls like this, but it was back on like free conference, where it was, "Could you please mute your phone." You know, those types of days that we might remember. That was the difficulty in organizing. But the one lesson that I learned in that whole conversation was, and Lynda mentioned it earlier, but I really want to kind of, you know, highlight it, put some stars beside it, bold it and italicize it. Don't get caught up in a person, a cult of personality right now, in figuring out who the next chair is going to be. That will take you completely off your game of what needs to happen. We need this to be an organized effort across the state, these calls should now continue with you guys organizing them, these calls should now be put together and you guys should be setting it up, you should be finding people to run for these positions. You're going to find some of them are not up for it so then what do you do to get them replaced? You've got time right now to be able to do that, to be able to start giving out assignments, to be able to start helping people get there. Start that work now. Having done this before, it is not anything but work. It is work. It's not firing off a sassy tweet, although I'm really good at that. But it actually does take some actual organizing, we did not all get on this phone call today because we have nothing else better to do on a Sunday. I've got boxes to pack, I moved to Michigan on Thursday. So anyhow, I just wanted to point that out, I think that that's really important. Stay focused on what your core values are and where you believe the party oughta go, that's not going to get you in any bad positions. Then maybe once you do have the candidates recruited, people have qualified, that's when you can start talking about what the leadership should look like.
And just so you know, also to Stephen's point, there are conversations that have been going on around the state. There are different pockets of people who are recruiting regionally. So I've tried to connect to as many of them as I can so that I can connect people. So if you're interested in running or if you're interested in helping people run or you're interested in helping turn out voters or just voting yourself, just let me know, I'm happy to connect you with what's going on. I'll tell you, the different kinds of spaces that people are currently doing this work in are either regionally or around issues. So there are some people who are doing some issue-based recruitments on this too because, as I've repeatedly told people, again, I've been talking about this all year, Louisiana Lefty has done a bunch episodes on this since January, you know, I've repeatedly told people that their issues, their constituencies, deserve seats at the table when the Democratic Party is making decisions. And so I really feel like... all these folks who go up to the legislature over and over and over again, advocating for issues and they're meeting brick walls because it's a Republican majority there. If they don't get involved with electing more Democrats, they're never going to make any progress on their issues. We have to change the makeup of the leadership, both in the party and in the state in order for us to progress our issues. And so there are opportunities... If we have a functioning party, there are opportunities to do more. There are some minimum requirements, which is show up to the meetings, show up and help elect this party chair and the executive committee. But then there are committees and caucuses, which have not been used enough and really could be a much more effective way for the party to get a lot more done. Did y'all have any comments, Meg or Peyton on the committees or caucuses as they've been handled this time?
Actually, I do. For the third congressional caucus, which is the congressional district that Clay Higgins serves in this chunk of Louisiana. But we, you know, had the privilege of kind of taking our caucus over. None of their people showed up to the vote for chair and vice chair and secretary of the caucus. So we had the ability to, you know, elect a chair and vice chair and secretary, I believe, that were all progressive and we think shares lots of the same values as all of us. And I've also watched the executive committee, like, kind of blatantly ignore these people that were elected to this position within their system because they didn't want to, you know, engage with that, their perspectives. So, you know, hope that's different. But I think the caucuses are a great way. I mean, if we can even get a couple caucuses, you know, leaning more progressive. I mean, they're on the executive committee, so they, they get votes, I believe on executive committee votes. And I mean, every vote matters.
You talk about the regional caucuses, but there's an opportunity also for issue caucuses as well, if your the chair will allow them to be. The chair has a lot of -for the committees, there's a rules committee and resolutions committee - the chair has a lot of power over who gets those positions. So that's just where it all starts. And how many in-person events are there per quarter for the DSCC? And what days of the week, are they typically?
I was just gonna say, there's three meetings required, per year, by the bylaws. As of late, it seems like it's a struggle to just get two per year done. That being said, there are supposed to be three per year, one of them usually is always supposed to take place before the legislative session. So the members can weigh in on what issues we would like our legislators to take on and what things we would like them to fight. That is typically how the bylaws are set up.
If you run for DSCC, and DPAC and you win both, do you serve on both? Or do you pick one you can serve on both?
Serve on both. Yeah... remember, because these are not elected official positions, they do not trigger the state law that prevents dual office holding. So like, you can't be a state legislator and a city council member. Right? So this is not triggered by that because these are not elected official positions.
And the other thing is that the the state Democratic laws are subservient to the Democratic National Committee laws. There's nothing in our bylaws that can go against the national bylaw.
And I would also just add, there is a national presence that can be influenced if we have caucuses. So for example, the DNC environmental caucus, right, is trying to have Louisiana have their own, like, environmental caucus, and will give national support for us to be able to do that. But it's just about having leadership that understands, like, the priority of those kinds of partnerships and being able to expound upon it.
The expectation... Lynda, correct me if I'm wrong. I believe we meet three or four times a year. I'm not sure if that's a maximum but we don't meet meet super often. Meetings lately have been in person in Baton Rouge. I think actually, I don't think there is a way to participate on Zoom. Typically on Saturdays, I think they are usually around 10-ish. Day-to-day it is not really a large load. You know, they send us emails, and they, you know, engage with us on things. If you're in committees or whatnot, you might be a bit more engaged. Every DSCC member can listen in on executive committee meetings. So you know, depending on what your level of engagement is you can engage in kind of different things and be a bit more engaged. But like, on a base level, I would say, mostly just going to meetings, three or four times a year for, I don't know, three hours, maybe two hours, it depends on the meeting, they can go longer, depending on the chaos. And, yeah, I would not say it's a very large load, in general.
The DSCC also will vote on endorsements that the party does for state candidates. Currently, this could be changed, but currently, how those go is the executive committee would make a recommendation and the DSCC would say whether or not they agreed with that recommendation. As Peyton was suggesting, there are also these committees and caucuses. So there's a way to be involved that is not super labor intensive. And then there's a whole lot of opportunities to get more involved. Again, assuming the party is functioning well. So I did work at the state party for three years starting in 2013, through John Bel's first election as governor. And one of the things that we asked... there were three things that we asked of DSCC members back then, not many of the people on the committee at the time, were interested in doing any of these things. In fact, most of them would say to us, "Well, I go to meetings. And that's all I'm supposed to have to do." But the things that we were asking people to do was help with fundraising, to be a part of a fundraising committee to help bring money to the state party. Because nothing can be done for the party without money. When I was researching this back in 2020, the party, just to keep the lights on and the doors open, needs to raise $1,000 a day, that's just before you start hiring staff before you start running programs, it's $1,000 a day. And then if you want to start registering voters or turning out voters, now you're talking about bringing in a ton of money to run programs, hire people and run programs. And that's not something that's happening right now. But so that was one of the things that we asked the DSCC to do was to help raise money. Another thing we asked the DSCC could do is to be a surrogate for the party in their area. So these are all House districts seats, like, right, they're all in house districts. So you could be someone who the party trained up to speak up for the party in your are. To go, you know, to write letters to the editor, to go on radio shows, to go on local TV shows, or just even hold coffee, you know, where you speak to folks in your area. They're all other kinds of ways for you to engage and be a surrogate for the party and for candidates when it's an election year and candidates are running. And then the other thing we did back then that doesn't exist now, but we had back in those days, we had a grassroots network of activists who we would get engaged making phone calls for candidates or doing social media actions, we had different kinds of things that we would ask folks to do. If they didn't really want to speak up publicly, or they didn't want to raise money, we found other ways for them to engage. And those are all things that a party could do and ask the DSCC members to engage in. I'm sure there are more, that's just three that we talked about.
So if I could just follow up on that. So I'm always getting the impression that they're really happy for you to do little because they really don't care about your input, they've got their own agenda already set. So if you're coming in as a new member, with new members, how do you make change? And is there any body, you know, above, that when they start operating in ways that are unethical, you have some sort of recourse?
Not really, the body above, the DNC, really kind of tries to not get super engaged in these local affairs, unless they do something that's flat out illegal or something that they might... but really the recourse is the DSCC holding people accountable. It takes a certain... I think it's like two thirds vote to get the chair out or something like that. And right now, there's just not an appetite for that, there's not enough people elected to that DSCC to hold anyone accountable right now.
And if I could add Lynda. Yeah, I think what Lynda's saying is exactly right. Like, to have the membership hold the leadership accountable is the role that I found myself in, instead of some sort of other productive measure. It is I think very important that when they're not having meeting like that you're going to those executive committee meetings and observing those if you're not actually on the executive committee meetings. Bananas, things happen there. Like, wild. Just a lack of accountability. I think that you're going to the committee meeting... And I say this, I didn't do all of that. I've gone to many, many executive committee meetings and observed, but I think ideally, the person who commits to this role would be, you know, hopefully, engaging in productive measures. But at minimum, and I do think it could be quite a time commitment, kind of being a watchdog with a group of other folks who are mindful of what is going on. You know, you need your friend who's monitoring social media to see what crazy videos have been put out. You know, you need all of these things happening at one time. I wish that I had participated in the resolutions process more because I do think that that's one mechanism that allows for some accountability, even at the end of the day, if it only becomes a statement, that's something that can happen. I worked on one of those after January 6, when we found what the chair put out to be really insufficient. You know, and so I think that another point that I'd like to elevate that Lynda and Peyton put out, I think, was that you can have like informal caucus, too. And that's what we ended up doing a lot of times is... it's either an issue-based caucus, where you have this common interest and you want to work towards this goal or it's a problem that's come up and you need to address it. Whether it's a resolution or if you need to go to the Finance Committee about something. So I think there's a lot of room for involvement. And you know, if you want to be a gadfly, you can be a gadfly. But I do think that if someone's just looking to kind of show up at the meeting, you know, not downplaying that involvement because that's time taken out of your schedule, and you're not paid. So certainly, that's important. But I think without more context and paying attention to the other things that are going on, it can be very deceptive, like, what you're actually participating in. So I think there's a lot of attention that needs to be paid. And I think that that can translate into more time.
You mentioned we could go to these meetings or log in over zoom. How is that communicated? Like, how would we do that? Because I can reach out to this guy, he seems like a pretty connected guy. So I'll definitely reach out to him. And then my other question was. So you meet a few times a year, but I love the idea that we have kind of an up or down vote on things, but are we privy to the fact-finding and the determinations that the board would present to us to make a decision on, like, are we going to get information ahead of the meetings?.. Or I'm just kind of curious on how that works for us to be interacting with each other and trying to make the best decisions for the for the party?
If we can get better leadership, I think we can get better responses to the questions you're asking, but do you want to kind of respond to that,Meg? It looks like you were maybe wanting to?
Yeah, I think, you know, you're gonna have to be proactive about it, whether as a regular constituent. So there are the DSCC meetings, they are in Baton Rouge, I think they no longer offer it via zoom, which was something that I had raised, just to make it more democratic for people to participate. But I think they became embarrassed by what was happening, honestly. So that's one thing. I don't think that as a regular citizen, you'd be privy to the executive committee meetings or any of the working meetings. But as as DSCC member, you're able to observe those, at least for now. So you would want to be proactive about that. They've finally gotten us notices about when those are happening so it's something that you would be in the know about, but when we go to the actual meetings, typically, it's, you know, we're asked to ratify a new group of members that have been hand selected by the chair with no background information, then we go through like a chairs report, a finance report, things like that. So I think that... you know, you kind of need to come with your questions and, like, the probative things need to be done earlier so that when you're in the meeting you can use the the bylaws to navigate around those. Because, I think if you show up cold and you're not ready for the maneuvering, then the things are going to happen as planned. You know, regardless of how you would want everybody to vote on it, or what points you want to raise, they've even cracked down on people, you know, making points of order and things like that just to get a word in. And so, you know, it can be really chaotic. So I think, yeah, being proactive about those things and trying to, like, find the information that you need to make informed decisions. And then like, you know, I think best practice is to, like, share that with your constituents, share that on social media, you know, this is what's happening. And, like, share it with the caucus or the workgroup that you're on, so that y'all can make a plan to either support that measure or get done with it. So that's what I would kind of think of when you're talking about that.
One last thing, the meetings are in Baton Rouge, when is the next one?
Until three weeks maybe before, a month before, and they communicate everything by email, by the way, I don't know if we've said. Everything is on email from Michelle Brister. I don't know what her title is. But she, like, works for the party, I think.
Michelle has worked for the party for decades. She has a lot of institutional knowledge, is actually one of the few people there who kind of keeps the trains running at all. But just for clarification, general meetings of the DSCC, or DPACS are open to any Democrat to go look at. The executive committee meetings, you do have to be a member of the DSCC to sit in on. But that's something you can ask your DSCC member to do for you. A, you can ask them to sit in on the executive committee meetings and report back. And B, as you're asking, as just a regular person, if I want to go to some of these meetings, how do I find out when they are, that's something you could ask your DSCC member to do for you, they could be reporting back to constituents through social media or through an email list or whatever, how you can attend those meetings or how you can view them. That's that's the kind of thing that we should be asking the DSCC members to be accountable to us for.
I think that there... It would be really valuable for energy conservation and just efficacy for... you know, if people can remove their egos and like make those assessments and not cannibalize one another, but also be making sure that we have someone in every seat because we saw what happened, you know, with our legislature elections, I mean, just so many seats went unopposed there. And so maybe we can learn from the current party, just how to do it different. So what would make sense to just organize that? I mean, I appreciate you organizing this call in, but I know you haven't volunteered to do that. And so I'm just curious.
I think, again, as Stephen maybe said, that might be another zoom or another series of zooms, there are a lot of folks working on this. And so I think there's a way for us to do that, to do that work. So I definitely, you're correct, that we want to have a seat, we want to have someone running in each of these seats, that is possible. And we want to have just one reformer running in each of these seats. So these are connections I think we're trying to make right now. And certainly I am happy to connect each person on this call to folks who are either working regionally or on issues
I hope that you do decide to run. And even if you're only able to do the bare minimum because from what I understand, and maybe somebody else can explain this, proxy votes were kind of taken advantage of. And I don't know if everybody here understands that. But that's a big problem. So we need people to balance those proxy votes.
There is the point right now we're folks who are elected to the DSCC, who do not go to the meetings, but they give the chair their proxy vote. And so the chair has been able to get away with a lot of stuff. I'm just going to be point blank about at this point, there's no reason for me to not be. The chair has been able to get away with a lot of stuff in meetings because she's carried votes, proxy votes, that give her the majority in votes and lets her do some things that folks at the meetings aren't necessarily happy about. But she's got the votes. So it is important to run even if you could only just show up to the meetings. Your presence there matters. Then on that one sheet that I'm going to be sending out, there is a link to the votes for the chair vote from 2020. And it's just a starting place, right, because some of those people have left, some of the most progressive people went ahead and have left over the years just out of frustration. So the people on the committee... there's two links on that one sheet that you'll get. One is the current membership. And the first one that you'll see is the votes from 2020. So you can see people who voted for Katie Bernhardt. And it's a good place to start to ask those people would they vote for her again? And do they think that vote was a mistake? But my opinion is if they voted for her, maybe they should have... some opposition and should have to maybe account for that when they're speaking and asking people to vote for them. But look, all of this to me, again, is a conversation. I think those conversations are really helpful. Like I said, some folks have called people who voted for Katie, who have just been like, "Hey, I'm done. I'm out of here. Yeah, take this seat. I'm not gonna run." So I think those conversations are really helpful, but that is that's a starting point. Someone asked on yesterday's zoom, if there were any other pieces of data that we could go by, like, are people showing up to the meetings, could we see other votes that they've made. Those things are available, but my understanding is they're not digitized, the only way to see them is actually go to the state party headquarters in Baton Rouge and asked to see. You probably have to arrange this ahead of time with, as Peyton said, Michelle Brister, you probably have to ask to go in and see some of this stuff. I don't know how easy that would be to go through. It was recommended that if you wanted to do something like that, go with a team. So you could, like, divide up the paperwork and review it. But that's a heavy lift. That's a high hurdle to get some information, unfortunately. So I think those 2020 Chair votes are the best starting point. And then conversations and asking people where they stand today and what kind of change they want to see with the party. And then again, if you just felt that it was right to run against someone, you weren't going to trust them to change. It's up to them to be transparent with the voters as you're running campaigns against one another. It would be up to them to be transparent with the voter to explain why that vote was wrong and why they would be voting differently this time. I don't know if that's helpful. And you had a second question. Looks like you wanted to answer something. Meg?
Oh, thanks. I would also add, I mean... I think if someone voted for Katie, that is what it is. I do think it's a fine starting point. I would also add, you know, like, it was mentioned earlier, there's a lot of backpedaling now. But I would ask a very pointed question, which will be, "Fine, you voted for Katie, you have buyer's remorse, what did you do to demonstrate that you weren't okay with a particular decision that she made? And when did you do it? And what was the outcome?" Like, just ask that if you're talking to somebody and you will get a garbled full mouthful of nothing from a lot of people because they have a financial or, like, other interest in not saying anything. Yet, they may be running to come after her.
Some of these districts have changed. So you can't strictly rely on that. If they didn't vote for Katie last time, they may not be in that district anymore. So I think, again, I would suggest that if you're in a district, if you're interested, try to have conversations with those folks and find out where they stand.
I'm really interested in party building. And there was this article that talks about filling out the back bench, you know, DSCC, school boards, city council, stuff like that. That's what I'm interested in. And I just want to make sure that running for DSCC is something that I can bring that passion into into DSCC, reaching out to people in my community, and talking to my friends. I'm actually here representing about six other friends from college throughout the state who are interested in doing this, who are all unable to be here today. And I've been talking with them about reaching out to young people around the state. So I just want to make sure that bringing that kind of energy to DSCC has something to do or if that's something for the parish executive committees, or what.
I think it's a great thing for DSCC go on Peyton.
Yeah, I would agree. I got elected when I was 22, I believe. So you know, it's great to be young. There's not a lot of young people on the on the DSCC that I'm aware of. It's mostly older folks, I would say. Well, as a young person, everyone's old... whatever, anyway... I do think the, you know, the responsibility of the DSCC would, you know, in a like actual working party would be to do exactly what you're saying. Getting people involved, you know, getting people interested, ensuring people, like, understand who they can talk to if they need questions or, you know, letting them know what candidates are the best for them or like, you know, there's so many ways that you can be that connector for people. I don't think that our current DSCC does that very well, but that doesn't mean you can't. And that doesn't mean, you shouldn't because it's super powerful, I would say.
And that DSCC, for young people, that DSCC race could be that first race, you run. Like, it could be that first campaign you put together and hopefully win. But it certainly will be a good experience in learning how to run a campaign. It really could be a mini campaign. Someone did ask how much to spend or how much you want to put into it. And I think Peyton, you mentioned that you didn't really spend that much. I think I've heard folks talk about maybe a few hundred dollars would get the job done, but I think you've spent much less than that, right?
Yeah, someone bought the voter file for me. Some people were helpful, I probably spent... Yeah, less than... Well, adding the qualifying fee. You know, that's a hundred dollars. I would say less than $300 I spent. My Facebook, you know, it is such a small rural district that, like, even Facebook ads in the parishes were not targeting large amounts of people to any degree. So, you know, it was not very much money. I also add, when I was elected to DSCC it really opened a lot of doors. It was... I would say, you know, my election to DSCC is the reason why I'm now like really actively engaged in such a deep way, in the state legislature and whatnot. You know, not that it necessarily empowered me, but you do... you know, it does open door, you do get to connect with some powerful people, a lot of state representatives are on the DSCC so you get their cell phone numbers, if they put it on there. You know, like, it does come with some perks to kind of open doors. If you work it, right. I guess.
If you're running for the DSCC, you don't even know if you're gonna win until March. But the election for chair was only like a month after that. Just going to know, it's about a month after that. So chair, candidates, you're going to start here. If you qualified for DSCC, you're going to start hearing from people who want to run for chair all next year, like come January, February, March, they're going to be talking to you just in case you win. Because they're going to want to try to lock in your vote, I would try to keep yourself independent. But speak to this group of reformers, if you get a slate together, you can have local slates you can have a statewide or regional slate. But I would kind of try to communicate with each other and make sure that what you're finding in your chair is the right qualifications. Someone who has skill set, someone who has experience, someone who has the mission in mind, not someone who has their own personal want to run for office someday. But someone who really wants to help build the Democratic Party, build the bench, find the candidates, we got to start electing people to school boards and all those local races so they can start working their way up to legislative seats, and then statewide seats and there's no way to do that work quickly. It's just work. And it's years of work ahead, bearing in mind, redistricting will be here again, before we know it. I just want to let y'all know, change is difficult. The forces that are currently leading the party, lead the party for reasons. Change is really difficult, the structure of the party, the structure of the state is set for people who are in power to stay in power, it is very difficult to change it. So I just want you to be aware of that, that it's important for us to engage and try to change things. It's important for us to understand the high hurdle also. I love the energy. And I don't want to take energy away from folks, I just want you to understand how difficult the job is. And I want you to understand that change also doesn't happen in one election. It's something that we have to stay engaged with. So we just saw, for instance, in Alabama, they had a bunch of folks come in and change the party last term. And then I guess because a lot of the folks didn't stay engaged, the people who used to be in power came right back and took it again four years later. So those are all things that are capable of happening. And none of this is to bash the Democratic Party. Jolin and I spoke the other day and I want to shout him out for having mentioned to me, none of this is meant to say the Democratic Party is bad. And why do I say that? Why would Jolin mention that to me and make the point of how important that is? Because if we want people to vote for Democrats, we can't be saying Democrats are bad, right. So the point is to make sure that the Democratic brand is ultimately resuscitated and lifted up and made to seem like the better place for people to want to land. And that means people who want to engage, but that means just generic voters, we want to make sure that this is a home for them, and that the party represents them. And that it's something that excites them enough that they're gonna go out and vote for our people. There are groups organizing around this, like I said, I started talking about this, like a lot of other people back in January, when things kind of went sideways, I stayed quiet about this leadership for two years, because I felt like it was right to give them the opportunity to prove themselves. And I think January 2023, we kind of started to see that there was gonna be a change needed. I think, October 14, really bought out the real real importance of that work. So what you can do is you can run, you can help people run, you can make sure that you vote you can make sure that other people know how important it is to go vote in these elections. And I am happy to stay in touch with all of you about this. So please feel free to keep this conversation open and going, and I think I am able to say that about Stephen and Ciara and Meg, and Peyton and Davante, as well, if there's ways that we can be helpful to you.
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