By Dawn Mann, Chair of the Charlotte County Democratic Party
Our theme for the next two years is Connection & Community. How can Democrats connect with voters? How can our Democratic Party be part of the larger community? We need to focus on four key areas:
First, visibility. Visibility takes many forms, ALL of which we can ALL do as individuals:
- Letters to the Editor / T-shirts & tote bags / Bumper stickers & yard signs (non-political but left-leaning) / Social media posts.
I encourage everyone to make yourself seen as a Democrat so that other Democrats will know that we are here!
Second, relevance. Being relevant runs the gamut from educating non-voters who say “politics doesn’t affect me” to running viable Democratic candidates for office in Charlotte County.
Third, engagement. We need to engage with the 17,000 Democratic Party voters in Charlotte County who didn’t vote. One thing we’re going to try is holding listening sessions in all our districts with registered Dems. Why are so many of them not voting? We need to know.
Fourth, advocacy. We need to be advocates for the causes and values that we support as Democrats. We need to speak up at local government meetings–be participants in local politics. This means attending meetings: the County Commission, school board, NAACP, the Gov’t Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, Punta Gorda City Council meetings, etc. By attending these meetings, we’ll develop a first-hand knowledge of what’s happening. By speaking up at these meetings, we can counter the views of those who would put growth above the environment or ban books rather than face difficult truths.
Advocacy also means volunteering with groups that share our values and beliefs. For example, Heal our Harbor, the Homeless Coalition, Keep Charlotte Beautiful, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and other charitable organizations, NGO’s, churches, etc. Many of you are already involved with these groups. We need to increase our presence and reach out to those being served. What are their issues? How can Democrats help them?
The big picture is this—like-minded people need to know that the Democratic Party in Charlotte County has not folded up shop, and that Democrats are constructive and contributing citizens who care about making life better in Charlotte County.
None of these goals is achievable without the full and active participation of every member of the DEC and our clubs. Our local Democratic Party simply cannot function if all of you – all of you – aren’t willing to step up.