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Building a Blue Island

I am deeply grateful to have worked with a great group of volunteers on our Central Committee the past couple of years. I count on their involvement, and they have delivered when needed. We had to rebuild our contingent of precinct chairs because we were unable to hold caucuses in person and elect new chairs two years ago, but we now have people in place who are trained to make caucus night a success on February 27.

            Those caucuses will take the first steps toward keeping our local organizing unit strong. Each caucus has the opportunity to elect a chair – and one or two vice chairs if anyone is willing – to be our representatives on the ground in their own neighborhood. Volunteers will also be solicited to serve as delegates to our county and senate district conventions.

The county convention in particular, which will be held on April 13, plays another vital role in sustaining our unit’s vitality. The delegates there will elect a new slate of directors for two-year terms. I certainly hope that many of our current directors will stand for re-election, but I also recognize that an organization needs fresh blood now and then.

What’s the difference, you might ask, between a precinct chair and a director? Both are voting members of the Central Committee and get asked to attend our monthly meetings. With directors, however, the ask is more like an expectation. We look to them for help with things like fundraising and outreach, whereas precinct chairs are largely left to work out for themselves how they want to be involved. In neither case, though, is this likely to take over your life. Truth be told, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who is at this most days, and I’ll be around for at least another year.

So here’s my pitch for why you might consider taking the next step into greater engagement with the DFL. First and foremost, we have a big election to win. It’s fairly safe to assume at this point that Heather Keeler, Amy Klobuchar, and Joe Biden will be on the ballot come November. When you look at their records of accomplishment, that ought to convince you that they deserve another term. And the possibility of another four years under Trump ought to scare the hell out of you. We should also do our best to make it hot for Michelle Fischbach and Jim Joy.

I think we can all agree that money plays an outsized role in our politics, particularly since the Supreme Court’s dreadful Citizen’s United ruling. The only antidote to that is people connecting with people, the grassroots work of dedicated volunteers. Building strong local units that can mobilize people is vital to sustaining our democracy. And I don’t need to tell you that our democracy is under threat.

Heather Keeler’s motto is “Lead with Love,” and I’ve tried to follow that as well. We don’t engage in high-pressure tactics or guilt-trip people into volunteering. Everyone should find the level of engagement that works for them. We want you in it for the long haul, so don’t take on a role you can’t fully embrace. But if you’re ready, we could use your help.

Anyway, whether you’re ready to step up or not, I hope to see you on caucus night. Your informed participation will help to ensure that the best people are brought forward.


Paul Harris


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