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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sound Off: Reaction to Open Letter to State Dem Chair

This Soundoff was submitted by V. Lamkin of Albuquerque in response to a previous Sound Off by Guy Watson entitled Open Letter to Dem State Party Chair:

I attended the March 4, 2006 State Resolutions/Platform Committee meeting with Mr. Watson and a handful of others who came to voice concerns and ideas to the committee members. One aspect of this meeting that stands out for me was the resistance by some of the committee members to even entertain issues that they perceived as "wedge issues." In other words: any issue that might be used by the Republicans against the NM Democratic Party.

During the course of this meeting we were given a chance to participate as long as we submitted our ideas in writing after each section of the platform was discussed by the committee members present. I myself am new to how the platform process works. I submitted several ideas that day in writing and they were included on the platform that was presented to the delegates on Saturday March 18, 2006. I learned a great deal from observing this process and I encourage others to become familiar with it. As the meeting started we were given several packets of resolutions that had been submitted to the committee from around the state. I did not have a lot of time once the meeting started to read all this information.

The day was spent discussing a platform that I thought was a compilation of the resolutions in the various packets. I found out afterwards that the platform discussed on March 4, 2006 was a version of the 1996 platform. I became more alarmed when I had a chance to read the submitted resolutions packets after the meeting and realized that many of the "whereas" that had been adopted from around the state had not even been considered or discussed by the committee on March 4.

There were many wonderful and courageous resolutions submitted that were not taken into consideration. Here are just a few:

Santa Fe presented a resolution that contrasted minimum wage workers and CEO pay. They made a great point about the suppression of local economic growth versus wine and dining of special interest lobbyists. Also the State Central Committee submitted 15 resolution pages under a wide-range of headings. Just to name a few: Profiteering from War, Fairness to the National Guard, the FCC and Reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, Predatory Lending and Payday Loans, and Resolutions to Bring Home the Troops. Rio Arriba submitted a resolution focused upon forbidding the buying and selling of votes.

I haven't even touched base with some of the incredible specific language that was submitted: Los Alamos submitted wording such as: the invasion of Iraq was based upon a false claim, Marriage is an institution that recognizes the lifetime commitment of two people and marriage is an institution that guarantees two people legal and economic rights not available to single people. They also submitted one urging congress to create a Department of Peace. Lincoln County submitted many resolutions focused upon Volunteer First Responders and providing them with Worker's Compensation Insurance etc.... In our state's rural areas most, if not all of the firefighters and EMT's are volunteers. Lincoln County also addressed the drought our state is experiencing with resolutions focused upon groundwater sustainability.

Do you find the above resolutions as compelling as I do? Why were these resolutions and all the rest not considered for inclusion on the platform during the March 4, 2006 meeting? I know this means spending more than one day on them but I feel this effort should have been made. Let me be very clear here. My intent is not to attack the committee members. I appreciate that these members of the Democratic Party have stepped up to the plate and volunteered their valuable time. I just feel the process has room for improvement. During this past Friday's meeting at Smith-Brasher Hall when Mel O'Reilly stated from the floor that more Democrats should get involved in the process -- I agreed with him wholeheartedly.

I among others attended the March 18, 2006 preprimary convention in order to fight for the concept that if we have a resolution adoption process then these resolutions should be included on the platform that is being voted upon. Whether they be mainstream or "wedge issues," if we insure this then we truly all are a part of a party that is inclusive.

In conclusion, I feel if we want more of a say in what is included on the platform -- so it is truly our platform -- then more of us need to take a stand and participate in the meetings where these decisions are made.

V. Lamkin
Albuquerque, NM

Editor's Note: Sound Off is an occasional feature on this blog that provides an opportunity for folks to express their opinons in a longer format than thread comments permit. If you'd like to submit a Sound Off for future publication, please send it to me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand side of the main page.

March 23, 2006 at 10:56 AM in Democratic Party, Sound Off! | Permalink

Comments

That's the ticket. More of us need to be involved in all aspects of the local party. If we don't participate, it's hard to criticize. However, the party people need to work at this too. It's not to anyone's advantage if people feel they are being shut down. And the party people have done much to make people feel that way, including using parliamentary procedure to shut people up.

Posted by: Old Dem | Mar 23, 2006 2:18:13 PM

too bad the party doesn't see how good it is that people are getting more involved. This brings new energy and yet some act like it is a bad thing. Wake up!

Posted by: El Norte | Mar 24, 2006 9:08:53 AM

This is happening all over the country. Rank and file dems are taking back the platform process and demanding candidates stand for dem values again. Push push push

Posted by: Calif dem | Mar 24, 2006 3:18:37 PM