The Way Forward

January 13, 2016:

In my short tenure as Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party I have interacted with close to one third of our precinct committeepersons and have heard a wide range of opinions on the resignation of our former Chair and the events leading up to it. The one commonality expressed is a passion for our Party’s goals. Everyone I’ve heard from wants to work to elect more Democrats in Arizona.

The process by which we lost our previous Chair was deeply flawed. There was no opportunity for input from the Executive Committee, our governing body, nor from the many PCs who elect the Chair. Once given an opportunity to act, the Executive Committee accepted the false premise that the PCDP officers do not have to provide information on their role in Party functions. The lack of information from the officers precluded a vote of confidence in them by the Executive Committee. The stalemate resulting from this series of mistakes and failures to immediately take responsibility thus began.

Today, after almost four months of discussion, I believe the most productive path to healing is to focus on the one thing we have in agreement, which is to take action to elect Democrats in Arizona. The upcoming campaigns actually provide an ideal pathway for instituting fundamental changes that need to occur in our organization. First, we must be clear about Party structure and organization. The informal, casual approach to carrying out Party functions promotes entrenchment and exclusion. Second, Party leaders must do just that:  lead. We must make a special effort to incorporate PCs from all parts of Pima County to provide their input into our committees and, therefore, into the basic structure and functions of this Party.

I am confident that we can strengthen our Party and engage our PCs without asking our current officers to resign. In fact, at this point I do not believe that a vote of confidence, either up or down, even from all PCs in a general meeting, will end this impasse. What would have been effective months ago will not have the same impact now. What will be most effective is to work together and to communicate with one another on matters in which we fundamentally agree.

From this point forward, I am asking all PCs to focus first on Party functions, such as serving on a PCDP committee. I am asking the Executive Committee to step up and take responsibility of leadership, which should never be left to officers only. PCs should hold their Executive Committee representative accountable for that leadership. My future listening tour will be devoted to our strategy for 2016 with the understanding that there is critical support for issues and candidates that only the Party can provide. We must recognize the need for a wider view of application of our resources, beyond single districts, campaigns, or issues. Let’s elect Democrats, let’s protect working families in Arizona, let’s all stand up and speak up for our Democratic values. It is an honor to serve as your Chair, and I will work to do all that I can to strengthen this Party.

Jo Holt


Pima County Democratic Party

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