Nick Paindiris on why he is running for CT Democratic Party State Chair
Here is the message that I got from Nick Paindiris about why he is running for State Chair. In his covering email he wrote:
I intend to run on these issues and hope to spark a spirited debate on how to reinvigorate our party
Why am I running for State Chair? I have been a very dedicated “Party” person all my life and I want to make a difference in rebuilding and strengthening our Party. Recently, I headed the Kerry for President Campaign in CT, have served on the DSC for 5 years, and was Chair of the Glastonbury Town Committee for 10 years. The reason I am seeking the position of the DSC Chair, is because I want to take the lead to energize the Party and be an agent of unity and change. The premise of my campaign for State Chair is that we must alter the direction of, and reinvigorate our Party.
Our Party should have wide umbrella so that we can unite all Democrats to regain the majority in our Congressional delegation and the Governor’s seat (which we have not had control of since1988). My primary objective would be to unite all Democrats to fight for the “Democratic goals and ideals”. Like my opponents running for DSC Chair, I too want to elect a Democrat as Governor and regain the majority in our Congressional delegation. However, how do we do it? We must have a Party that is united, energized, focused on our goals and that reflects the commitment and excitement of years past.
What is the proper role of the State Chair? I see the role of the State Chair as that of an “Honest Broker.” When the Chair speaks, he/she must be credible and speak without a hidden or personal agenda. The Chair cannot be a candidate for office. The Chair cannot have any favorites. Despite my closeness to some candidates, I will be completely neutral. We will have primaries next year, like it or not. I see the role of the State Chair as one who will pick up the pieces after the primaries and try to unify the Party by bringing competitors together so that we can prepare for the general election. I also see the role of the Chair as one who speaks loud the truth regarding our Republican opposition so that our current Governor’s polling numbers are reduced from their stratospheric heights to a manageable level.
How do we strengthen the Party? First, we must acknowledge that the core of our Party is getting weaker and weaker as time progresses, at least relative to the “good old days of the past”.
Second, we must develop a consensus as to what ails the Party. But we cannot have only State Central Committee Members involved in this consensus building process. Town Chairs and other leaders must be included as well. We must encourage and empower the Town Chairs. They are the most critical and essential players in our Party (perhaps, more so than State Central Committee Members) and we should always be cognizant of this.
Third, I believe that our Party has been weakened by candidates who run independent campaigns, raise their own money, utilize town committee resources, take our Party label together with the base line votes that every party offers, and then are not fully integrated with our party and its goals. A perfect example was this past year. We at State Central were almost unanimous in endorsing a June primary date. But when we asked our state reps and state senators for help, did we get much? No. That should not have been the case. So what do we do? I suggest a radical approach: withhold Party endorsement for the wayward candidates. The Party should support those candidates who respect the Party and are good Democrats. But what does that mean, being a good Democrat?
We need to define what it means to be a Democrat in Connecticut. We need to have the Party that stands for something with a clear and identifiable message. We need a platform, but not something that is a 10-page document only to be drafted and never read. We need to have a concise message that we as Democrats can use as talking points. And the “we” means State Central Committee Members,Town Chairs and other Party leaders. We should be spending our Committee meetings discussing and debating how to help our party and the candidates—not listening to reports. With all due respect, if I am Chair, staff reports will be in writing, emailed to members before the meeting, provided in writing to members at the meeting and not take up time that can be better utilized in debating issues or listening to guests.
Whether I am elected Chair or not, I intend to revisit the idea of changing the Primary date to June to help elect a Democrat Governor. We can do it without the legislature if we are willing to pay for it. Think about it: If we do not use machines but use paper ballots, and we only have one or two polling places per town, the expense of this would not be a million dollars as was represented a year ago, but less than $100,000. (Did you know that cash-strapped South Carolina Democrats did exactly that this past February at their presidential Primary?) It should be worth debating this issue at our meetings this coming year.
What other opportunities are there to be exploited for the betterment of the Party? One opportunity is the Internet. The last presidential campaign taught us the power of the Internet to communicate with a new constituency and to raise money. The new voter file that we recently adopted is a wonderful tool that will give the Democrats an edge over the Republicans. But the next step is to educate our party leaders how to use it. Once again, the Town Chairs will be key to this. I have experience running two state wide campaigns using the Internet. I lobbied Executive Director Leslie O’Brien to adopt the voter file we currently use. I was the first to speak to a meeting of State Central Committee Members several years ago about the urgency and benefits of email communications.
The other opportunity that we must take advantage of is to bring into our Party the first time activists that participated in the last presidential election, especially the Dean supporters who want to be involved in the process but do not know how. We as a Party must reach out to them. They possess enormous energy and have talents which can be useful to any campaign.
I am ready to serve our Party with passion and full commitment. I ask for your support to serve as your Chair of the Democratic State central Committee. Please feel free to contact me on this or any other issue. I would be delighted to hear from you.
Thank you for your consideration.