Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Thursday, March 27, 2008

23rd Credentials Committee

The following document was voted for by the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) at their most recent meeting:

PURPOSE. The purpose of these Clarifications is to ensure a fair and uniform set of procedures to handle delegate selection and Credentialing Challenges at Conventions. These Clarifications are in addition to the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party and the Texas Election Code. ...

A. I. Appointment of Committee. ... It is the policy of the Texas Democratic Party that a Credentials Committee ("the Committee") ought to be appointed by respecting the diversity of the Democratic Party including ethnicity, gender, age and sexual preference when reasonably possible. Members should also be elected, insofar as possible, with the same number of seats granted to delegates with each of the major presidential preferences.
In accordance with this directive, I have named a Credentials Committee consisting of eight women and seven men, of seven African-Americans and four Hispanics and four Anglos/Others, and of eight supporters of Senator Obama (including the Chair) and of seven supporters of Senator Clinton. The Chair is an elected official (and a former SDEC Member and Precinct Chair). Eleven other members of the Committee are current Precinct Chairs, including the Vice-Chair, who is also a former SDEC Member, and one more is a former Precinct Chair.

For the other three Committees, I have endeavored to follow the same policies on diversity in selecting Committee members, but I have chosen them to reflect the proportions of the Presidential vote in the primary in Senate District 23. That vote was approximately three to one for Senator Obama. My goal for those committees was therefore a break of 11 for Senator Obama to 4 for Senator Clinton on each committee of up to 15 members. I decided to name three Committee Chairs supporting Senator Obama (these being Credentials, Nominations, and Rules) and one Chair supporting Senator Clinton (that being the Platform Committee). Yes, this is lopsided in favor of one candidate, but it is proportional to the election results, and on specifically political positions (as opposed to the quasi-judicial nature of hearings over credentials challenges), I fully support the traditional Jacksonian Democratic doctrine of "to the victor belongs the spoils".

For example, the Nominations Committee tentatively consists of seven women and eight men, of seven African-Americans and five Hispanics and three Anglos/Others, and of eleven supporters of Senator Obama and four of Senator Clinton. The members presently slated include a State Legislator, two City Council Members, a School Board President, present and former SDEC Members, and six current and and least two more former Precinct Chairs. (This Committee membership is not final yet because it is possible that one of members might decide to move to another Committee.)

The remaining two Committees I intend to fill in the same representative and proportional manner. As of now, I still do not have a complete list of 15 members for either one, since there seems to be much less interest in serving on these at the Senate District level. Both Platform/Resolutions and Rules/Procedures still need additional supporters of Senator Obama, especially Hispanic ones. Suggestions of delegates who would like to serve can be sent to my email address at BillHowellSD23 AT

I have tried to follow both the letter and the spirit of the Texas Democratic Party's Rules and Procedures. I think the approximately equal division of the Credentials Committee which they recommended will be a useful step in uniting the party behind our ultimate Presidential nominee, by allowing the losing side to feel that they have been given a fair hearing and a even chance to present any case to their peers. That will be vital in continuing the enormous outpouring of enthusiasm we have seen this Spring in our record-setting Texas primary and caucuses. This is particularly important in light of the growing polarization and suspicion between some people. For victory this November we need to be able to work side-by-side without having to repress grudges over the process.

I am disappointed that I have already been denounced and condemned for this effort to foster unity and a spirit of fair play in accord with the SDEC's policy. As for the angry threats which have been made against my political future, frankly I have no ambitions for office or position. I was honored to be chosen for this Temporary Chair spot which I had not sought, and will always continue to help the Democratic Party in any way I can, just as I have for four decades now, including three years as Dallas County Chair. But I do not seek to be an SDEC member or a delegate to national, or even to state (where I expect to be too busy live-blogging on StoutDemBlog, just as I did at the Fort Worth convention), nor do I desire to ever run for any public office.

Should any question arise, I have not endorsed or supported in any way either of our competitors for the Presidential nomination, I did not even attend the Precinct Convention and sign in for anyone because I was at the party office that evening until 2 AM answering questions about the process, I will not take part in the Presidential poll at this District Convention, and I have not even told my own spouse how I actually voted in the primary. I have taken the neutrality of this assignment seriously. This November I will be actively supporting our ticket, whatever names are on it. I hope everyone feels the same way when this Convention is over.


Chair: Gary Fitzsimmons (Dallas County District Clerk, former SDEC Member and former Precinct Chair), Martin Burrell (3103 Precinct Chair), Eli Davis (3537 Precinct Chair), Dorothy Dean (3535 Precinct Chair), Don Dureau, Gloria James, Marilynn Mayse (3347 Precinct Chair), Felicia Pitre (former Precinct Chair), Vice-Chair: Ruth Wyrick (3529 Pct. Chr., former SDEC Member), Graciela Aleman (3204 Precinct Chair), Bayardo Arellano (4211 Precinct Chair), Anne Brabham (3214 Precinct Chair), Cheri Ball Meza (3211 Precinct Chair), Vincent Rodriguez (3340 Precinct Chair), Fernando Rubio (3012 Precinct Chair).


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