SCDP – Race for the Chair – Van Turner

As promised, here is the first set of responses to the questions I posed both candidates running for SCDP chair. They are un-edited and posted in their entirety. Promotional materials follow. Thanks to Van for choosing to participate.

1. Why are you running for SCDP chair, and what is your vision for the Party?
I am running to unite the party and to move it forward. I plan on accomplishing this by focusing on issues which everyone in the Party can unite around and by shifting the party to a more proactive as opposed to reactive posture. The Shelby County Democratic Party could and should be a credible and influential body in local and state Democratic politics.

2. Describe the role you feel the SCDP should play in local politics.
The SCDP should fulfill its mission of attracting, endorsing, funding, and assisting strong, progressive candidates in their efforts to seek office.

3. Fundraising for the SCDP has been lagging. How will you turn this around to fund your vision for the party?
We will turn it around by using proven methods such as the Kennedy Dinner and member donations. I also think that we can use other mechanisms such target emails, Facebook, Linked-In and other internet resources to attract new talent and resources to the party.

4. Talk about your plans to coordinate with other party entities (Other county parties, TNDP, House Caucus, Senate Caucus, etc.).
Coordinating with other party entities is essential. I think we become stronger as we reach out to other organizations to organize over common issues and goals. I think we absolutely must take the state House of Representatives back, and we must coordinate with other party entities to accomplish this goal.

5. Finding out any information concerning the current work of the party is very difficult. What steps will you take to better inform Shelby County Democrats?
I propose that we have town hall meetings to let all Shelby County Democrats know exactly what is happening with its executive leadership. We should also revive the Party newsletter to update and advise local Democrats of the Party’s efforts, and we should make our website more interactive and an active site for news and views to be posted.

6. Last year we saw a huge influx of volunteers, particularly with the Obama organization. Talk about your plans to incorporate this new energy into the party.
We need to capture this new movement. This is a young movement, a fresh movement which is not tied to any particular faction. The Party and politics needs this breath of fresh air. My thoughts are that we regularly meet with these groups and form coalitions around common interests and goals.

7. Breaking with tradition, the party endorsed a “non-partisan” candidate in the past election. What is your opinion of such endorsements, and do you support endorsing non-partisan candidates in the future?
The Party’s Bylaws do not prevent the Party from endorsing “non-partisan” candidates. This is a decision the Executive Committee must make. My personal preference is that we only endorse Democratic candidates in general elections; however, in some non-partisan elections, it would be wise for the Party to have a hand in choosing the leadership that will affect everyone in the city and county.


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