As we dust ourselves off from the tornado that hit the Democratic Party in 2010, one of my primary goals as your new Chair is to get the Party organized, not only at the state level but also down to as many counties and precincts in Idaho as possible.
Although it has only been four months since I became Chair, I have taken the time to travel around the state, attending the Howard Dean event in Worley, the Truman Banquet in Idaho Falls, the Stallings Banquet in Pocatello, and the AFL-CIO convention in Lewiston, as well as a number of local party meetings and events. Not to mention a lot of telephone time talking to Democrats all over the state. It is great to talk to so many friends and supporters, both new and old.
I am very pleased that Jeanne Buell stayed on as Vice Chair of the Party and that Susan Eastlake continued as Treasurer. Their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm has made it easy for me to work with the IDP Central Committee, the Executive Committee, and the state Party staff in beginning to get organized. The addition of Pete Gertonson as our National Committeeman and Carolyn Boyce as our National Committeewoman adds even more experience, skill and talent to our state party team.
The first step in getting organized was to reach out to some of the people and groups that are essential to the state party. In that regard I have appointed Dave Whaley of the AFL-CIO, Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, and House Minority Leader John Rusche, as ex-officio members of the IDP Executive Committee because I felt their voices needed to be heard. I appointed Pete and Carolyn as ex-officio members as well, knowing that their counsel is invaluable.
Since I became Chair in late February, we made Shelley Landry IDP Executive Director. In these first few months she has done an excellent job of reviewing the budget, getting the delegate selection process drafted, and getting the staff in place. We now have Sally Boynton Brown as the field director for the counties in the 2nd Congressional District and Matt Greene as field organizer for the counties in 1st Congressional District. Both have hit the ground running, learning about their districts and the needs of their county organizations. Sally is also in charge of communications and is liaison to the Idaho Democratic Legislative Caucus while Matt is in charge of our Votebuilder database. We also have Jill Ellsworth working on the bookkeeping and Marie Hattaway involved in fundraising.
Next on my agenda is to have IDP complete strategic planning meetings around the state. The purpose of these meetings is to get the counties together and plan for our future, discussing all aspects of the needs and activities of the county organizations plus the support and direction they must have from the state party. We hope to have these meetings completed and recommendations in place for the State Central Committee Meeting in October. By reaching a consensus on plans and messaging we will be well prepared going into 2012 to give our candidates the support they need.
Of course, we need to recruit candidates for all levels of government for 2012. We do not have a U. S. Senate race or any statewide office races, so we have a perfect opportunity to give more attention to the Congressional, legislative and county races.
From all I have seen and heard to date, one thing I am sure of is that there is a trainload of Idaho Democrats out there who are ready to get involved. To which I say, “All Aboard!”