front page - search - community 

Democratic Party chairman responds
(Published September 7, 2004)


I read with interest Diana Winthrop's portrayal of my leadership with the D.C. Democratic State Committee ("Bonds' star appears to be rising," Aug. 9). I must say it differs somewhat with my perception; however, I am pleased to see that Diana is keeping the state committee in the forefront for voters. However, I want to make sure that there is no misleading information or misgivings that the article may have raised.

I have worked hard with the DCDSC members, the mayor, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, city council members and others to give the District of Columbia a local Democratic Party that it can be proud of. We have done some incredible things in little over a year, including building operations and providing professional, full-service staff and a reliable infrastructure.

And we have become financially viable on the local and federal levels. Our local fund-raising records for the D.C. party have skyrocketed and we have reinvested that money to improving our organization and in achieving our many goals. Thus far, we hosted a tremendously successful 2003 Kennedy-King Dinner, entered into a great "partnership" with the Democratic National Committee on several fronts and worked hard with the ward organizations to reorganize and bring stability to them. The D.C. Democratic State Committee (DCDSC) led the fight for D.C. voting rights to take center stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in significant ways: through advocacy, via the Second Boston Tea Party, and with Congresswoman Norton's important speech on Thursday night of the convention and other efforts. Additionally, our members helped lobby other delegations for their support of our agenda for sovereignty.

In 2004, we broke voter turnout records in three D.C. elections through our Get-Out-the-Vote committee work. The DCDSC members, Democratic voters and I can be very proud of their participation in this historic election venture. We all can be proud of all our many accomplishments during this past year, plus; yet, we should not be satisfied with our progress so far and rest on our laurels. We can do even better. Our potential is endless.

Surely my temperament is not the best at times, but it is rooted deeply in the pursuit of excellence and the fear of not reaching our collective potential. In following the will of the DCDSC members, I am human and less than perfect. I am impatient about making a difference in an efficient and effective manner, and I have little patience with disingenuous people who do not give their all for the party's success. I readily accept that observation, but not in a vacuum and not with some remorse if I have ever offended anyone unjustly. Once the DCDSC was known for getting little done, rather than for the long list of accomplishments we have listed thus far.

Moreover, let me update the pubic on where we are with regard to the Latino/Hispanic communities and my relationship with them. The DCDSC has done substantial outreach to this community with notable results. As a result, the DCDSC, by a 90 percent margin, voted in June to add eight permanent diversity seats to the organization—two each for gay, Asian, women and Latino/Hispanic Democrats so that their interests would be permanently represented. We were the first state Democratic Party in the country to address the diversity question in this manner and have received national inquiries from other Democratic groups regarding this effort.

Given this record of achievement by the DCDSC, I understand that there is a significant number of D.C. Democrats determined for me and others on our team to win, and they have encouraged me to seek the chairmanship again. Throughout the city, I run into people who let me know that they are pleased with our efforts to improve the state committee. Based on their endorsement of my candidacy, the Ward 5 Democratic Committee and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Political Club have no interest in turning back now and neither do I.

Copyright 2004, The Common Denominator