Well, Democrats had quite a meeting last night! I was reading a report I wrote on 2015's County Committee meeting, and it's kind of crazy that 2 years ago the meeting started late, not because we had so many people, but because we couldn't even make quorum. That was most certainly not the case this year.
We had over 50 people in attendance from the 76th Assembly District alone, which is pretty incredible. I am so proud of all of our members who gave up their evening to engage in this process.
So, there were like a million people there (really more like 500-600) and it took a little while to check in, but the meeting officially got underway around 7:40pm. Ben Yee gave an overview of the County Party structure, which can also be found HERE.
We appointed members to vacant county committee positions, and elected the Chair of the County Committee (in an actual contested race!). Then, the fun started.
The Chair of the rules committee reported that the rules reforms that had been presented to the county party earlier that morning would not be entertained, and moved to leave the rules unchanged from 2015.
There was then a motion to adopt the rules WITH the changes included, and there was much debate. At times it got a little personal. While some people focused on the substance of the proposed changes, others simply took issue with the process of proposing rule changes. After about 45 minutes of debate, a motion was made to adopt the current rules, while referring the proposed rules changes to the Rules Committee, which will then report back to the reconvened County Committee within 3 months. That motion passed with the support of nearly everyone in the room.
We elected the rest of the Committee officers (again, with some contested races!) and then adjourned. Someone attempted to get some clarity on exactly when the Committee would be reconvened, but that was not entirely clear.
Now, I want to address a few of the issues that were brought up:
There were many references to proper procedure, and going through the Rules committee. I have to say, in two years as a District Leader and 6 years serving on the County Committee, I have never once been made aware of any meeting of the Rules Committee. While there is technically a process for rule changes, in practice this process did not really exist in any concrete way. Others may disagree with me on that point, but I can assure you that if I had ever been made aware of any real mechanism for submitting rule changes, I would have done so.
What is great though is that last night the County Committee voted in support of a motion to refer proposed rule changes to the Rules committee, which will report back to a reconvened County Committee in three months time. This is a really big deal, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to work on this process.
At times the debate last night got heated, but never became violent, and I was actually glad to see such a spirited discussion. It's clear we still have to work to do. I believe we need to open up this process more, and do a better job of informing and including our members in shaping our party. We've made some strides in the last few years, but we still have a long way to go. The great news is that we had many new members at that meeting last night, and I get the sense that they aren't going anywhere!
You can watch the full livestream of the event here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ManhattanDems/videos/?ref=page_internal