Congratulations New ODP Leadership Team

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Now the work begins!  Let us all hope for a successful new team of leaders and begin working together for a Banner Year in 2010 for Oklahoma Democrats.

ODP Candidates Speak to Grady County

For now just some photos!

 

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Senator Rice Endorses ODP Candidates

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OkieBrent took this photo of Senator Rice & Family at the Henryetta Labor Day Parade.

 

Dear friend,

 

During my run for U.S. Senate, I had many opportunities to travel the state, meeting and working with many of you along the way.  One thing I heard over and over again – other than how terrible my opponent was – is that Democrats in Oklahoma want our party to be strong again, to be united by a common vision.

 

Looking at the candidates for our party’s executive committee, it’s clear to me – the best people for the job are the ODPworks team.  Certainly the other candidates are dedicated Democrats.  However, I have known and worked with all four members of the ODPworks team, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are exactly what our party needs.

 

Individually, each member of the team is strong.  Todd Goodman is someone I’ve known for years and who was key in getting me elected to the State Senate.  He’s also kept our party in motion and on track for the last two years, doing anything and everything that needs to be done with a willing spirit.  Lauren Guhl is a tireless worker who knows people across the state, knows what they bring to the table, and knows how to best utilize them for the benefit of Democrats.  James Baggett has brought tremendous organizational skills and endless dedication to the Oklahoma County Party as our county secretary.  And Linda Gray Murphy is unquestionably the best our state has to offer for treasurer, with her experience and her no-nonsense work ethic.

 

But there’s a reason these four candidates are running as a team, and there’s a reason why I’m endorsing them as a team.  Together, they can and will accomplish more for all of us than any of them can as individuals.  Isn’t that what our party is all about – the notion that “united we stand, divided we fall”?

 

Unity, though, does not mean singularity – it simply means that as Democrats, we can come together to fight for the most important principles of fairness, justice, and opportunity.  It means that we all want to see our party flourish, and we all want to be a part of our success.

 

The four members of the ODPworks team have come together and pledged to put their party first – and that means putting YOU first.  Though there are only four people for us to elect to the executive committee, I believe that what we need is a strong team of people – from the grassroots up – to join this team and take the same pledge: the Democratic Party comes first.

 

Todd, Lauren, James, and Murphy are the leaders who will get the work done, who will listen to you, and who will lead our party to victory in 2010.  I am strongly supporting them, and I hope you will join me.

 

Sincerely,

Andrew Rice

State Senator

 

Walter Jenny for ODP State Secretary

I could not find a photo I had taken of Walter

 

 

Name: Walter Jenny

ODP Office Sought: State Secretary

 

 

1. What is the mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party?
The official mission of the Party, adopted by the Central Committee a few years ago, is to elect Democrats to public office. But I think it should be something more than that. We must elect Democrats with outstanding integrity, with skills for the jobs they undertake, and who merit the trust of the voters. Too many voters are fed up with both Democrats and Republicans because of a few elected officials who have fallen from grace, and that hurts our ability to succeed today. We must set a higher standard than the Republicans – and that shouldn’t be a difficult task, since they set the bar so low. We must offer candidates under our brand who are competent to do the job, who are trustworthy, and who can inspire the public.

 

2. How do you propose that mission be met?
There are several ingredients, and here’s a start:
1. Recruit, support and encourage quality candidates, as stated above.
2. Establish a grassroots network of trained and engaged precinct and county officers across the state who are empowered to build party organizations on the local level that can GOTV on election day.
3. Refine our message, and define it instead of allowing the Republicans to do it for us.
4. Establish sustaining financial support for the party.
5. Improve our teamwork on the administrative level.
6. Welcome volunteers, appreciate their efforts, and put them to work instead of turning them away.
7. Continue enlarging the tent. Successful politics is bringing together coalitions of people who may not agree on everything, but who recognize there is power in numbers to accomplish what they cannot accomplish alone.
8. End the circular firing squads. Build up people of goodwill instead of nitpicking and backbiting.
If we improve in each of these areas in the next two years, we’ll be far more successful.


3. Name one person who asked you to run for this position.
Well, most of them haven’t authorized me to disclose their identities. But if you look at my campaign literature and Facebook page, you’ll see people like Hugh Graham, Jody Harlan, Janet Hatcher, Rodney Boegel, Carol Ruth – people with whom I’ve worked in the past two years to solve problems they’ve faced and to make them more successful in their efforts. I’m humbled by their endorsements, which they wrote themselves.


4. Name a current or former Oklahoma party Official who is, or will serve as, a role model for the position you are seeking.
Jay Parmley in general and Paul Barby specifically in the secretarial position.


5. Why this person?
Jay served with dedication, grace, a good sense of humor, and enthusiasm for the Democratic cause. Paul helped me transition into this office, warned me about the perils, and laid a foundation that I’ve tried to perpetuate and build upon.


6. List in order of importance the three main goals you hope to achieve during the two year term, if elected.
1. See that we place at least one precinct officer in 80% of the precincts with 100 or more registered Democrats. That would cover 80% of 99% of the registered Democrats in the state. Currently fewer than 40% of our precinct offices are filled. In Oklahoma County, for example, it’s 26%, down from 35% just two years ago, even though Oklahoma County’s been a growth county for Democrats in the last election cycle. Not acceptable.
2. Make sure every county has a recognized, trained and functioning party organization.
3. Return some sense of civility and teamwork to our party leadership.



7. Do you pledge to actively support all nominees of our party for public office in 2010? If you cannot answer that with a 100% certainty “YES TO ALL,” please briefly explain the potential circumstances where you would not or could not support a specific Democratic nominee.
First of all, although it sounds good, there are too many candidates to “actively support all nominees.” Will I go door to door in every House and Senate race in 2010? No. You have to pick your battles. The best thing we can do at the state level is set the stage for success. Individual candidates will have to inspire confidence on their own merits; the party should not be a hindrance to their success as we have been in the past in some cases. The best thing party leadership can do is clean up our own operations so that doesn’t happen.
Beyond that, however, I would not work against a specific Democratic nominee. I certainly wouldn’t start off a speech by saying, “There’s no way our nominee So-and-so can win, so let’s talk about something else.” Attorneys learn they must advocate for their clients under the most daunting circumstances, and in effect our candidates are our clients. As much as we had our differences, that’s one thing Lisa Pryor was good at. She could stand at a podium and effusively praise Democratic candidates or workers, and come up with something positive to say about them. That’s part of the job.


 

8. If elected, what would be your response to conflict between activists and elected Democratic public officials, over policy issues which can cause splits within our party?
That’s tough, of course. Not everyone will agree with every vote taken by every Democratic public official, and those who disagree have every right to speak up for their points of view. Public officials with enough political capital should be encouraged to be as Democratic in their voting patterns as they can afford to be.Party leadership, however, needs to look at the big picture; if too many Democrats are turned out of office, we lose our majority and our ability to get any of our agenda passed. You only need to look at our current dilemma in both the House and Senate to see that, and the same thing has happened to Republicans on a national level. At the end of the day, activists need to understand that a Democrat with whom you agree 90% of the time is better than a Republican with whom you agree 10% of the time. Unless you’ve got another Democrat in mind who can win on election day, we need to hang together or we will all hang separately. That’s basic politics.


 

9. Now is your chance to dispel any rumors about you.
Well, the difficulty with that is if you give voice to the rumor, you lend it credibility. It’s like asking, “When did you stop beating your wife?” I’m more than happy to answer any specific questions. I guess one rumor is that Rose Ann is the real secretary in our household, and I turn it all over to her to do. I assure you I could not do this job without her help. She’s more than just the “wife of the State Secretary.” Look around at all the other figures in the party; in most cases they’re either single or their spouses are not actively involved – and that’s OK, but it’s just rare to have a husband and wife team who are as involved as we are. Rose Ann is a true partner and I’m very fortunate to have her on my side. It makes the job a lot easier.


10. And finally, if State Convention delegates do not elect you, what will be your response?

Hallelujah! Free at last! No, seriously, it’s been an honor to serve for four years at this level, and I’ll help the new secretary transition into the job just as Paul Barby did for me.

On Walter Jenny and my former posting

On May 11th I wrote and posted:

 

Walter Jenny sent me an email prior to the district conventions and said he would respond as soon as the district conventions were over.  He never responded again.  This does not surprise me.  Last year I requested a list of all Oklahoma Democratic Party county and precinct officers for the Jim Roth for Corporation Commissioner campaign and never received them from Walter.  After three requests for the lists went unanswered, Senator Debbe Leftwich somehow got the list for me.

 

Walter sent me an email explaining that he had gone through his email archives and searched for all emails from me personally and from the Roth Campaign.  He sent me a list of those emails he had received.  None of those emails concerned a request for the ODP list.

 

I did the same thing and went through my archives and could not find any email I had sent to Walter on this subject.  Which means I either did not send the email or I sent it using the campaign’s Cox account (which was closed in November and I do not have archived on my computers), or someone else in the campaign sent the email, or said they did and did not.

 

This is what my memory recalls.  Last August I personally called the ODP headquarters asking for the list as we were working on field efforts and I was going to begin one day weekly driving to the different counties delivering campaign signs and materials.  I was told we would need to get the list from the State Secretary – Walter.  I thought I sent the email requesting the list, but as explained above, cannot find proof.  After we did not receive the list we called and left messages that we needed the list.  I do not remember who I spoke to about this particular issue, because I and others in the campaign called many times about many different issues.  At times I spoke with Todd Goodman, other times I spoke to Christine Byrd, and other times I spoke with volunteers who sat at the front desk.

 

Walter may have honestly never received an email or any of the phone messages from us requesting the list.  The list we did receive was a list of county chairs, which worked for our purpose.

 

After searching my files, and researching my memory, I should not have posted what I did on May 11th.  I could personally be at fault, Walter could be at fault, or the ODP staff and/or volunteers could be at fault.

 

What this episode does make clear, is that the process of Democratic campaigns receiving such files should go back to the way it used to be.  Democratic lists should be available the day they are requested, and someone at the ODP Headquarters (officer, staff or volunteer) should have access during normal business hours to make it happen.

 

One final post script:  Walter did respond to my criticism but has still not answered my 10 questions.

Christine Byrd for ODP State Chair

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OkieBrent took this photo at the 5th District Fish Fry.

 

Name:    Christine Byrd

ODP Office Sought: Chair

 

•1.       What is the mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party?

To elect Democrats

 

2. How do you propose that mission be met?

I urge a strategic vision of a strengthened Oklahoma Democratic Party- one that will make Oklahoma gain a reliable Democratic state in which Democratic values prevail. To achieve this vision, we must convincingly articulate the principles that define Democrats in Oklahoma and demonstrate how these principles translate into programs that will improve the well being of all residents in the state.  We must also identify field and support candidates capable of competing successfully for offices at the county, state and federal level. To achieve this Oklahoma Democratic Party must strengthen its organizations and expand throughout the state, only then can Democratic candidates and issues win elections.

                                                            

  •  Unified messages defining what Democrats stands for and what policies Oklahoma Democrats support and formulating effective mechanism for delivering those messages at all level within the state.
  •  Early identification and promotion of strong Democratic candidates for congressional, legislative and statewide positions.
  •  A consistent and continuous fundraising program base on specific issues and actions.
  •  Identify and turn out the Democratic vote
  •  Become an information clearinghouse and site for resources (data, issues, message, staffing …)
  •  Operate an aggressive voter registration project /in partnership with Young Democratic Organization, college groups
  •  Conduct a full scale program to increase low efficacy Democratic voting in targeted areas including Young Democratic, Hispanic, Native Americans and African -Americans but also make upcoming election process inclusion of these communities and stress the importance of their voice.
  •  Build on technology tool of the State Party and provide these tools to targeted districts and counties.
  •  Coordinate volunteers and centralize location to receive information
  •  Maintain and enhance a voter file that will enable demographically effective, targeted GOTV, volunteers and activists
  •  Provide statewide precinct -by-precinct targeting (interweaving Obama for America volunteers/activist in the process allowing their energy to be put to utmost usage) to help build the party with a new founded energy and vision.
  •  Provide candidate training and service to ensure visibility
  •  Continue to promote voter registration and for Oklahoma because of the Governor race aggressive early vote program statewide.
  •  Conduct a full scale GOTV program to increase low efficacy Democratic voting in targeted areas including Native American and Hispanic voting districts.
  •  Conduct an Organizing America program which includes volunteer contact (training, forum, community events…) phone banks, internet (YOUTUBE, Face book), college campus and Democratic events.
  •  Develop an administrative program to hopefully provide staff and professional services to implement the plan

 

•2.       Name one person who asked you to run for this position.

Myself (Often one said I would, I could have) When I continue to say this to myself it was an easy decision. To say I must do this.

 

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
—— Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

4.  Name a current or former Oklahoma party Official who is, or will serve as, a   role model for the position you are seeking.

Opio Toure: Courage Humility, Fortitude and Insight

 

5.  Why this person?

As a rock on in midst of huge odds and storms when sometime he stood alone as a legislator he never wavered. If when his health began to fail he continues to speak for the poor, homeless, abused, children and those incarnated. He lived his life with integrity and honor and was a man of his word.  

 

“The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way.”
   - Henry Miller

 

6.  List in order of importance the three main goals you hope to achieve during the two year term, if elected.

     

      . Fundraising

     .  Protect our statewide seats (Governor)

     .  Energize the grassroots

 

7.  Do you pledge to actively support all nominees of our party for public office in 2010? If you cannot answer that with a 1005 certainy “YES TO ALL,” please briefly explain the potential circumstances where you would not or could not support a specific Democratic nominee

Yes

 

8.   If elected, what would be your response to conflict between activists and elected Democratic public officials, over policy issues which can cause splits within our party?

 

I have every confidence that by working together and dialogue, we can move ourselves from stagnation to growth, from falling short to exceeding our expectations. It’s time for us to create an unstoppable, inclusive effort that put fairness and equity, creativity and inspiration, and people and community first to achieve our goal to elect Democrats. The challenges we face in 2010 are larger than any one individual. It will take all of us to resolve them. Yes, we will disagree time to time, we know this from experience. But because we are the party of the big tent we must take our difference and build upon them a stronger, Democratic Party.

 

9.   Now is your chance to dispel any rumors about you. 

It would take too much time.  But a true one ” I DO HAVE A CRUSH ON MICHAEL JORDAN”

 

10. And finally, if State Convention delegates do not elect you, what will be your response?

I will continue to work to elect Democrats.

ODP Candidates who did not respond

Those who did not respond to my 10 questions within the timeframe I gave them are Christine Byrd for State Chair, James Baggett and Walter Jenny for State Secretary.

 

There were also three others I emailed that had been rumored as possible candidates, they also did not respond so I take it they are not candidates.

 

Walter Jenny sent me an email prior to the district conventions and said he would respond as soon as the district conventions were over.  He never responded again.  This does not surprise me.  Last year I requested a list of all Oklahoma Democratic Party county and precinct officers for the Jim Roth for Corporation Commissioner campaign and never received them from Walter.  After three requests for the lists went unanswered, Senator Debbe Leftwich somehow got the list for me.

Lauren Guhl for ODP State Vice Chair

Lauren answered my questions via video.  Great use of technology!

 

…."> …." /> Lauren Guhl answers OkieBrent’s 10 questions

What’s with the other 76 counties?

All of the announced candidates for state office with the Oklahoma Democratic Party are from Oklahoma County.  While this would make doing business easier, it’s not a good sign for our Party.

 

It is really hard to believe there is no one from Tulsa running for at least one office.  Why is there no one from the 2nd Congressional District interested?  The 2nd is our only district in years that has actually sent a Democrat to Washington.

 

The Convention is still eleven days away, and anyone can be nominated from the floor.  I’m just surprised that out of 77 counties, only one has candidates running for ODP officers.