ADP Chair Mark Kennedy spoke in Huntsville last night. In this video segment, he lays out his plans to rebuild the party: training, candidate recruitment, a state party that gives help instead of just taking money, and finally… a warning to county committee and chairmen who “just meet every 2 years to collect qualifying checks.”
They have a few months to clean up their act before the ADP finds people to replace them.
Those were strong words in a no-nonsense speech that blended practical politics with the more idealistic notions that “we're all in this together” and are people who believe in “the fundamental rights of all people.”
The reaction from the crowd was favorable. Judge Kennedy was swamped with folks before and after his speech and everyone I spoke with had a favorable – or even enthusiastic – reaction to our new ADP Chair.
On the flip is a partial transcript of his speech and the actual YouTube video. It's a must-read and must-watch for the rank and file party folks who are out there every election putting up signs, knocking on doors, making calls, etc.
If Judge Kennedy can pull it off, we'll finally have a state Democratic Party that's more a help to campaigning than a hindrance. That's the best news I've heard all year!
The video quality isn't great. It was so dark there that even the camera light wasn't a big help. I used the “video effects” option in Premiere to put a spotlight on him.
Here's the transcript:
I want to tell you that we are challenged in the Democratic Party as it relates to the way we do business. But that challenge is a good thing because it requires us to do what we should have been doing all along. That is having dedicated people working at the local level to recruit and work with qualified candidates who seek public office.
When I was a candidate myself and the Democratic Party called the campaign office, I always told my staff and volunteers: “Do not answer the phone.” Because I knew it would be one of two things: wanted me to do something I didn't think I should do or they wanted me to give them money. And for so many people I've talked to who sought public office, they ask “what is different in what you're going to do than what's been done in the past 50 years? I never saw the ADP folks when I was running.”
The fact that I'm here tonight and our staffers are working all over the state means that we are serious about serving you.
We've had to get back to our core principle: building an organization of people marching hand in hand in the same direction. And that's what we're going to do.
We're going to institute a training program – our trainers are in Etowah County tonight. We expect all county committees to join us in working. It's not true in Madison County, but the days of a county chairman meeting once every 2 years to pick up qualifying checks are over!
The election of 2012 started last week. What we're going to have to do is go out and organize and the party will be standing right by your side.
The Democratic Party will no longer sell the voter list! I've found out that it was a major bone of contention. We'd give you information about how to identify voters but make you pay $5,000 for it! It doesn't make sense.
We have a precinct training manual that tells you everything from how to have a backyard BBQ – including how many gallons of lemonade to make – to how to identify precincts that you should be working & those you should let alone. We'll give you contacts and telephone numbers.
When, as Howell Heflin said, “it gets time to call and haul” you'll know who to call and who to pick up.
We have the opportunity to build a grassroots organization and beat the Republicans. I appreciate that you're willing to support a party that so many people have counted out and are willing to help us be successful.
When the trainers come to Madison County, I want you to be there. I've sent word to those counties that aren't willing to comply with the new and improved Democratic Party. I will give them 3-4 months of a chance to get it right. After that, I'll go into their counties and place those party committees in receivership and find people in those counties who will do the work.
We have no more time and no more opportunities to sit back and say “what if.” Those are over. We're charging ahead and I need a team of folks who will fight with me and aren't willing to sit back and take the crap that the Republican Party continues to dish out because we believe in respecting the rights of our fellow men.
You go, Judge Kennedy!