Monday, February 27, 2017

A Deeth Endorsement: Johnson County Democrats Chair

My thoughts on the race for Johnson County Democrats chair:

I've worked with 14 JCDems chairs in my years here. We've had good ones and not as good. We've had contested races and acclimation. This year we have a contested race with two good candidates.

Over the years I've learned that chair is not an ideological job. It's a skill set job. Chairing the Johnson County Democrats requires a special and complicated combination of talents that not everyone has (I know I don't). Here's how I see those skills, in order of increasing importance.
  • The chair needs to run a fair but efficient meeting, allowing people to speak but not allowing long tangents into minutia, following procedure but not getting rigid, getting the work done, and managing the complex and quirky set of people we are. More and more our meetings are at locations with time constraints, so the efficiency side is becoming more important.
  • The chair needs to be a secondary spokesperson for those times when the primary faces of the party​--​the elected officials and candidates​--​are unavailable. That requires both the skill set to be on message and the self-awareness of knowing when to step back and let someone else have the spotlight.
  • The chair needs to represent us well to the state party and stand up for our successes. Over the years we've gotte​n​ a "flaky" reputation​​ in other parts of the state, and we need to remind Des Moines that we put up the best vote totals anywhere and we know what we're doing.​
  • The chair needs to make a lot of those tough phone calls to recruit the big name speakers or line up the top-level hosts.​
  • The chair has to make decisions. Sometimes at crunch time there isn't time for lengthy discussion or special meetings - we just need to trust that the chair has good judgment and well-tuned political antennae.​ 
Most importantly, the chair needs to focus on the big picture goal - which in the end is supporting every Democratic nominee on the ticket, top to bottom, yet also knowing which races are the highest priorities. ​

Of the candidates for chair, Christopher Taylor has the best combination of these skills. As mayor of Swisher he has been a good spokesperson for his community. He's managed three winning campaigns (his own run for mayor and Amy Nielsen's primary and general elections) against strong opponents in a growing part of the county where the JCDems have historically been weak.

I'm supporting Chris for chair and ask you to join me in voting for him at Thursday's meeting.

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