Sharon Hirsch, Senate District 8 Committeewoman and Zach Bullard, Senate District 8 Committeeman, attended the quarterly State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) meeting in Austin on April 14, 2018. NOTE: neither Sharon nor Zach will be filing for the next term. Sharon is running for Texas HD 66 and Zach is moving out of the district. Elections are held at the State Convention in June. To file for SDEC or for any of the other statutory convention committees, please submit your name on the TDP website. If you have any questions, reach out to Sharon or Zach. It has been a pleasure to serve you the past two years.
Minutes for the full SDEC meeting
Gilberto Hinojosa called the meeting to order, Jim Hightower gave remarks, roll was taken, agenda approved, and guests acknowledged.
Chairman Hinojosa commented that it is our responsibility to take ownership of the situation we face today. We must have more courage than we’ve ever had before to make necessary changes. The consequences we face are as severe as we can possibly imagine.
State Convention note: The Convention will be undergoing a schedule change this year. Senate caucusing will be taking place in the afternoon BEFORE our General Session. The hope is to allow more time for sessions to complete business and finish up before the Friday night entertainment.
Minutes from the last meeting were approved.
Crystal Perkins gave the staff report. First step will be getting ready for the coordinated campaign. Following will be regional summits. Six political regional directors were introduced. Anthony Field is the North Texas regional director who will be based in Frisco. Other regional directors named are Brenda Cruz, Panhandle; Sanjanetta Barnes, Southeast/Harris; Bela Kriger, Central; Destiny Molina, Southwest; Kassandra Elejarza, South/Rio Grande Valley. Emma Kraus was introduced as the new digital director.
Nominations Committee: The following new county chair appointments were ratified: Blanco, Crane, Dawson, Dickens, King, Lee, Lubbock, McCullough, Menard, Moore, Ogletree, Oldham, Sabine, Sutton, Reeves.
Base Voters: Committee heard progress reports of subcommittees and will be following up with subcommittee chairs for progress.
Campaign: Cliff Walker and Birk Wilkinson gave reports to the committee regarding the Blue Wave Summit and candidate support and engagement. The new regional directors were introduced. Party is working with statewide candidates to coordinate efforts and messaging. State party is committed to casting a wider net regarding support for candidates. Policy will be to push straight ticket voting. Discussed outside organizations that are bringing much-needed resources to Texas. Committee learned that Lauren Pully has been hired as the new data and analytics director. Lauren has an impressive resume and will be a great asset to the TDP. Drew Turney discussed Project LIFT. This program will undergo some changes that will be rolled out at the state convention. Specific candidate support, countywide training, and networking will be the focus.
Finance: Jeff Strater reported a balance of $293,669.95 cash on hand after this month’s payroll. Monthly sustaining member donations are currently $42,000.00 thanks to a great digital campaign. One convention sponsor has doubled their sponsorship from $10,000 to $20,000. Please consider becoming a sustaining donor!
Rules: Five rules were adopted at the meeting. One eliminated the requirement that the state party mail a paper copy of the rules to SDEC members and county Chairs and instead required the state party to post the most recent copy of the rules on its website within thirty days of rule adoption. Another is an accommodation to the change in time of the Friday General Session to an earlier hour. It would reduce the temporary Credentials Committee to 9 from 15 and make the SDEC the Permanent Credentials Committee. A third formalizes the process of adding pre-registered SD Convention persons who did not actually attend to the delegation and allow additions to be made up to 30 days after the SD Convention. The fourth eliminates language allowing write ins for precinct chairs and county chairs since the Legislature repealed the statute allowing that. The last clarifies certain procedures in electing a mid-term replacement for county Chair by requiring those seeking the position to file an application of candidacy with the CEC Secretary prior to the election and making the vote in a run off a majority vote of members voting, not a majority those who voted in the previous round of voting.
Five proposed rules to be voted on at the June 21 SDEC meeting at the beginning of the state Convention were passed from committee and publicized. 1) ex officio delegates get only one vote no matter how many seats they fill; 2) In counties with no County Chair or where no convention is held, pre-registered attendees can still be added to the delegation list at the state Convention; 3) Restructures the appointment of the Delegation Chair and puts the description of the Convention SD processes in its own section; 4) the Nominations Committee has the ability to just send two or more nominees for SDEC officers, members recommended by Senate District Caucuses, and Democratic National Committee and Presidential Electors (in Presidential years) directly to the floor for the delegates to vote, instead of only allowing this to be done as a motion from the floor, which has always been allowed; 5) Removes the requirement that the Permanent Convention Chair appoint a Temporary Chair to conduct the election of the Permanent Chair.
(Thanks to Michael McPhail for his notes on the Rules Committee.)
Messaging: Discussed the primary results and runoffs; Democratic ballot propositions approved by 92% and above indicating unity and progressivism, while R’s received 70% favorable rating on average; your vote counts; continue to encourage people to come out in November. Digital fundraising $200,000 in Q1; “What Do Democrats Stand For” training module was presented to the committee; 84,000 used My Texas Votes website in primary.
Legislative: Manny Garcia gave a staff report discussing the paid sick leave provision passed by the City of Austin. Discussed ways to make our party platform more relevant and encouraging our candidates and elected officials to adhere to it. The committee voted to go back to having a traditional committee with people indicating what type of legislation they want to work on. Chair David Griggs feels this will make the committee more effective. A discussion about how to engage convention delegates on their interest ensued; possible survey.
Election Processes: Committee is preparing one and two page best practices to be distributed to county chairs. Would like to have a database of reported election issues. A survey will be developed to gather this information. There was discussion regarding school personnel serving as deputy registrars. Discussed sixteen year old and over serving as election clerks.
Resolutions: Four memorial resolutions were presented. Resolution recognizing George Nowik from Collin County was included. There was a resolution opposing passage of HR620, which shifts burden of proof in ADA compliance suits to the disabled litigants.
Harassment Free Environment: This newly formed committee established and created a pledge and will develop a campaign to promote the pledge. They will work to revamp the party policy, require training on sexual harassment; will suggest rule changes for consideration. The pledge was adopted by the body and will be ready to be shared at the state convention.
New Business: First, incoming and newly elected SDEC members should have an orientation at the Senate District caucuses (that already does occur). New handbook should be distributed to newly elected SDEC members. There was opposition stated to making decisions by conference calls.
June 21st will be the last regular meeting of the SDEC.
The Blue Wave Summit followed the SDEC meeting for the duration of Saturday and from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Over 230 people registered for the training. The focus of the summit was preparing each county’s coordinated campaign. Attendees from Collin County included Sharon Hirsch, Kristi Lara, J.C. Puckett, John Stafford and Sree Yedavalli. Training included digital resources, fundraising, volunteer management, and establishing a campaign budget. Phillipa Wood demonstrated the new TDP on-line training platform.
Saturday evening there was a fundraiser that included former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Julian Castro, as well as our slate of statewide candidates.
Sharon Hirsch, SD 8 Committeewoman