Elections for the Steering Committee are this Wednesday, 2/4, 7 pm

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We will be having an important meeting this coming Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 7 pm at the Delaware Democratic Party Headquarters, 19 East Commons Boulevard in New Castle, Delaware. Every year, we elect officers and at-larger members to serve on our Steering Committee, which sets the agenda for the coming year. We have big items on our agenda in the coming year, and an election year in 2016 to plan for, so it is important that we have people volunteer their time and energies to serving in some of below positions. The Steering Committee is comprised of between 8-10 people, 6 of which are elected as at-large members of the Steering Committee. At large members are elected for 2 year terms, and like our U.S. Senate, the terms are staggered so that 3 members are elected one year, and then 3 members are elected the following year, thus each, only 3 of the 6 at large members are up for election. Then we have the offices of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.

So far we have received the following nominations for the listed offices:

Jason Melrath, incumbent President
David Ingalsbe, current Secretary

Vice President
Catherine Ciferni, incumbent Steering Committee member not up for election this year
Bill Burton, incumbent Steering Committee member whose term is expiring this year

no nominations as yet

no nominations as yet.

At Large Members (vote for 3)
Andrew Wilson
Nancy Willing
Bill Cortes

At Large Members Bill Dunn, Connie Merlet and Catherine Ciferni are not up for election this year. If Catherine Ciferni is elected Vice President, we will entertain a further nomination to fill her steering committee seat for one year.

Members in good standing are eligible to vote. To be a member in good standing, you must have paid your yearly dues for 2015, which is $25 dollars. Dues can be paid at the meeting, by check or cash. If you cannot attend the meeting but would you like to vote in this election, you can give your proxy to another person to vote in your stead. If you are going to vote by proxy, you must email me at either pddemail@gmail.com or jmelrath@gmail.com prior to the meeting to inform me of your intention to vote by proxy and who you are designating as your proxy voter. If you fail to email me prior to the meeting regarding your proxy vote, your vote will not be counted. Nominations for offices will still be open during the meeting on Wednesday just prior to voting.

I hope to see all of you at our meeting on Wednesday, and after all of the election business is done with, we will review the first edition of the 2015 Vote Tracker.…


Meeting Agenda for February 4, 2015

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a. Any Further Nominations
b. Nominations Closed
c. Election Speeches
d. Election
e. Counting
f. Results


a. President will seek approval to send out press releases opposing any casino bailouts, opposing any repeal of the Estate Tax, supporting moratoriums on new Charter Schools in Wilmington and statewide, supporting a constitutional convention on Citizens United, supporting increased special education funding, and opposing Ronald Reagan Day.

4. PLATFORM PROJECT—Report from Bill Cortes as to PDSC’s reaction


6. LETTERS TO EDITOR PROJECT—Excellent success of letters to the editors in support of Representative John Kowalko.





Election Results and a Goodbye for Now

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Tonight, the membership of the PDD elected the following officers and at large steering committee members for the coming year:

President–David Ingalsbe
Vice President–Catherine Ciferni
Secretary–Stan Merriman
Steering Committee Members At Large– Nancy Willing, Glen Schmiesing, Bill Dunn, Connie Merlet

Congratulations to all the winners!

The new Steering Committee takes over with the March meeting, and they will have to appoint a Treasurer and an at large Steering Committee member to replace Catherine Ciferni, who has been elected Vice President. As outgoing President, I will be meeting with President-elect Ingalsbe, Secretary-elect Merriman and outgoing Treasurer Glen Schmiesing to complete the transition, which will be a smooth and seamless one. As an editor of Delaware Liberal, I will continue to compile the PDD-DL Voting Tracker each week, which tracks legislation of progressive interest, because, as perverse as this sounds, I enjoy it.

However, I think it is time for me to step away from the organization for a while and allow the new leadership to take PDD in the direction they wish to go. I wish PDD and its members nothing but the best, and wish everyone the best of luck in their efforts. It was a honor to lead this group of Delaware Progressives since 2012, and to be a member of the PDD long before that, and I will always look back at my time with PDD with much fondness.

So, as former President Rebecca Young used to say, Onward!…


Speaker Schwartzkopf’s Apparent Comments on Activists

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It has been four days since the news of the removal of Representative John Kowalko from the House Education Committee was first reported, and it has been four days since we learned the reasons why: that activists cannot be legislators, legislators cannot be activists, and legislators cannot broadcast their dissenting opinions to the blogs, newspapers or radio and still serve on a relevant legislative committee.

Over those four days, Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf has not denied that those were his reasons for removing Representative Kowalko. And over those four days, he has not repudiated his sentiments against activists and dissent expressed in that reasoning. Dismissing a legislator with over twenty years of experience and involvement in public education is short-sighted, regardless of the reason. However, with all due respect to Representative Kowalko, the rationale that activists and legislators cannot be one and the same is even more concerning than the loss of a legislator from a committee. The Progressive Democrats are highly disappointed that Speaker Schwartzkopf appears to believe in that reasoning.

Those who believe in representative democracy and the free expression of ideas also believe in an open and transparent dialogue between the people and their representatives in the legislature. They also allow for dissenting opinions, even on a legislative committee. Indeed, discussing legislation and the issues with the public, and then advocating for or against legislation while in committee, is in the very job description of a Representative. Further, censoring dissenting voices is an abuse of the Speaker’s power with far-reaching implications for democratic government. Democracy without dissent is not democracy, and for Speaker Schwartzkopf to express an attitude that’s more reflective of a dictatorship rather than his present role and responsibilities as leader of the House of Representatives is completely unacceptable.

With regard to this animus against activists: activists are people who care so much about a particular issue that they freely give their precious time to advocate for that issue. Activists are extremely knowledgeable about the particular cause they advocate for. Dedication, passion and knowledge are qualities we want to see in our legislators. They are not qualities that must be stamped out so that obedient lawmakers fall in line and do what they are told. Finally, without activists who volunteer their time, the state Democratic Party collapses as an organization. Without activists, Democratic candidates up and down the ballot lose elections.

The Progressive Democrats for Delaware urge Speaker Schwartzkopf to rethink his comments and embrace, rather than demolish, democratic principles.…