Cambron, Cocke, Shaw, and Inez explaiing new party organization
In reorganizing the local party organization that was decertified as “dysfunctional” a year ago by state party chair Mary Mancini, Shelby County Democrats are thinking big.
That’s “big” in several senses of the word, as four key members of the soon-to-be reorganized Shelby County Democratic Party explained in a press conference this past week at the IBEW meeting hall on Madison, a frequent party meeting spot.
The four were David Cambron, a state party committeeman, former party vice chair, and president of the Germantown Democrats; David Cocke and Carlissa Shaw, co-chairs of the ad hoc group that held four county-wide reorganizational forums over the last several months; and Danielle Inez, newly elected president of the county’s Young Democrats.
As the four explained to attending media, the newly reorganized SCDP will be numerically bigger, consisting of two separate bodies, an executive committee composed of two members (one male, one female) from each of the county’s 13 county commission districts and a few additional ex officio members; as well as a “Grass Roots Council,” consisting of 130 members.
Both the Council, which will meet quarterly, and the executive committee, will be elected at a convention to be held on Saturday, July 22, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Mississippi Boulevard Baptist Church. A second convention will be held at the same site two weeks later on August 5 to elect a local party chair.
“We think we’ve done it right,” said Cocke. “We intend to be an active party, not just a party that meets once a month to get in trouble….We need a big tent.” He defined the Grass Roots Council as an “activist,” issue-oriented body, whereas the exective committee wold conduct the routine business of party affairs.
Saying that “a lot of Democrats want to hit the pavement,” Shaw elaborated on the Council as a body “able to speak to the executive committee.”
As Cambron noted, “The world changed on November 8. We designed a new party to include new people, new activists, and new groups,” citing the recently founded grop Indivisible as an example of the latter.
On the thorny issue of defining who Democrats are, Cocke said certain requirements would be imposed but not so many as to inhibit party growth.
Inez said that the local party would be guided in large measure by the parameters for membership established by the state Democratic Party. And one thing won’t change: Both she and Shaw said that Robert’s Rules of Order would remain the basis for conduct of meetings and that members of the executive committee would receive training sessions on the parliamentary formula.
(Shaw had noted, in one of the forums conducted by the reorganization group, that confusion had resulted in meetings of the former SCDP because of the differing degrees of familiarity with Robert’s Rules by executive committee members.)
For those who want to know more about the new party and its new rules, Cocke credited Inez with the preparation of a “cheat sheet” on all the details, which can be found on the party’s website shelbydem.org.