Very few people who attended the SDEC meeting in Montgomery yesterday went home happy. Almost everyone deplored the tone of the meeting, and others left very concerned with the direction of the Alabama Democratic Party. We have some terrific candidates running for office this cycle, but their campaigns were overshadowed the debate over how the committee should fill vacancies.
Calling it a “debate” is kind. In actuality, it was more like a rugby scrum.
For those not familiar with ADP by-laws & procedures, it’s probably helpful to provide a little background. That will help you understand what all the fuss was about.
- Filling SDEC vacancies: The ADP by-laws call for one male & one female member from every House district. Those positions are elected during the primary in gubernatorial years. The most recent election was in June, so there were a number of new members.
In the event that nobody qualified to run for the slot or a sitting member moves out of the district, resigns, or passes away, the SDEC can fill the spot by a majority vote.
Prior to yesterday’s meeting, the SDEC had 56 vacancies for elected positions.
The committee also had 55 vacancies for appointed positions called “at-large” seats. Those are filled by the minority caucus & Dr. Joe Reed announced that the minority caucus had filled those slots during its meeting prior to the entire SDEC meeting.
- Election to the SDEC: Prospective members must be nominated by a sitting SDEC member & are required to be present at the meeting at the time of their nomination. As Chairwoman Worley noted, that requirement isn’t in the by-laws, but is a “custom.”
- In previous meetings, election of new committee members was the first order of business after announcements, officer reports, and old business. That allowed the new members to take office at the meeting and participate in discussion and – at this particular meeting – the election of officers.
- Yesterday, a number of people who were interested in filling those vacant positions attended the meeting, hoping to be nominated. People drove from all over the state, some making trips of 3 hours or more to reach Montgomery.
- In previous meetings, the chair went through the list district by district asking for nominations. Yesterday however, Chairwoman Worley recognized Dr. Joe Reed first and he made a motion to fill just 7 of the 58 open positions (he already had the names available to read aloud) and “hold over” the remaining vacancies.
In Part 1, we begin with Dr. Reed’s speech urging party members to work together and then move along to his motion to limit the number of elected positions to be filled at the meeting.
In Part 2, the debate over Dr. Reed’s motion begins in earnest & the motion passes.
In Part 3, committee members who had hoped to nominate new members appeal the chair’s ruling – to no avail.
The next series of videos coming in a day or so will cover the actual election of party officers, where Nancy Worley was re-elected as chair for another 4 years.
LIA contributor Lee Hedgepeth also attended the meeting & added his thoughts in this diary: Divided in Thought; United in Laughter.