Perhaps it was for the best that co-chair George Reiter discovered yesterday afternoon that our regular meeting space at Trinity Episcopal Church had not been reserved. Trinity's security staff kicks us out promptly at 9:30, and last night we needed an extra hour to take care of our pressing business. Part of that business was electing half of the HCGP Steering Committee, including one of the co-chairs.
Our fallback space upstairs at Midtown Bar & Grill was taken, but the Midtown folks love us and let us occupy the main dining area. (There was basketball on two of the TV's, CNN on another, so I was horribly distracted but made it through somehow.)
The strategic proposal that I crafted and originally presented in November 2016 was passed, with amendments. I am supremely satisfied with that result, and the sense of accomplishment I feel is not small. Now I must prepare myself for the real work that follows: I have agreed to coordinate the standing Ballot Access and Campaign Coordination Committee for the 2018 election cycle. Who wants to be a part of that effort?
Below the Read More is the complete text of the message that I sent to the HCGP Discussion list this morning, followed by the text of the proposal as adopted.
Attached is a version of the proposal that passed last night. To the best of my knowledge, it is accurate; if not, please let me know. I thank everyone who worked to hone it or suggested modifications in the language.
Between now and the 24 April General Membership meeting, please consider which of the following suits you (choose one or more):
- -> be a candidate for public office
- -> handle money for a candidate
- -> handle campaign logistics for a candidate
- -> serve as chairperson in your voting precinct
- -> serve on a committee such as Outreach, Finance, Publicity, or Ballot Access & Campaign Coordination
From the big-picture view, the original proposal presented in November was designed to shift the focus of HCGP as much as possible toward electoral activity. Others in the organization made it clear that HCGP has traditionally been broader and deeper than electoral politics, and I respect that. I am happy with what amounts to a minor compromise.
Now begins the hard work of making it real. I hope you will join me in this reification. Most of it involves finding a few thousand other people to say officially in March 2018, "I'm down with the Greens."
I would like to elucidate my main reason behind pushing for such a shift. One of the many lessons that I took away from 2016 is that voters in general respond better to candidates, preferably candidates that embody their values, than mere statements of values. Of course, this is not limited to 2016: I remember from the petition drive in 2000 that many people we asked to sign would ask variations of "Who's your candidate?" Sometimes it was "Who are your candidates?"
Values are abstract, even when they address flesh & blood issues; candidates are a flesh & blood vehicle for those values, and as such are more relatable to most people. For 2018, we also need to find candidates in Texas who can embody and articulate our values, who can convey to voters the utter necessity of implementing our platform. Then we need to support those candidates, financially and logistically, and put them in the public eye.
As a reminder, 2018 will feature elections for US Senator (Ted Cruz's spot), 36 US House seats, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner (one seat), Agriculture Commissioner, 3 Supreme Court positions, 3 Court of Criminal Appeals positions, 16 State Senate seats, and all 150 State House seats. And let's not forget the county races: County Judge, 2 County Commissioners, County Clerk, District Clerk, some Constable and Justice of the Peace positions. (Underlined positions require legal experience. These would also include the various district judgeships up for election in 2018.)
No one can run for these offices under the Green Party of Texas banner unless we get our ballot line back.
Lastly, the HCGP Steering Committee has four new members, none of whom have served on the SC previously. They will be ultimately responsible for steering the county party in these new directions, beginning in this biennium. Please give them all the support they can handle: Show them patience when they screw up, and heap praise on them when they do well.
1.Have the HCGP website converted to NationBuilder by April 1, 2017, with separate donation pages for operations and campaigns linked from the home page.
2.General membership meetings will include five-minute reports from task forces, working groups, and standing committees. These groups can report on activities during the preceding month and opportunities for upcoming activities. If possible, the meeting can provide time for the steering committee members or other responsible parties in these groups to gather with current and prospective group members to discuss strategies and logistics.
3.At the first meeting of the HCGP Steering Committee following the 2017 SC election, request that at-large members of the SC serve as chairpersons of at least one working group or standing committee—e.g., Media, Outreach, Fundraising, Candidate Development.
4.At the March 2017 general membership meeting, request all HCGP members, as defined in the by-laws, to take on at least one of the following roles by the date of the April 2017 meeting, basing their selections on their estimated ability to commit the required time rather than an impetuous desire to contribute:
a.Candidate for public office
d.Precinct Chairperson or Associate Precinct Chairperson
e.Member of a specific task force or working group
5.Appoint a Ballot Access and Campaign Coordination Committee, with its own annual budget and authorization to spend funds if a consensus of its membership approves the expenditures.
6.Set a goal of raising $30,000 between February 2017 and March 2018 for either a 2018 ballot access petition drive or for campaign materials.
7.Support the regional coordinators' outreach efforts to Greens in the seven neighboring counties (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller) as well as Jefferson, and Walker Counties, toward fully establishing or enhancing Green Party organizations in those counties by March 2018.