The 2008 general election and the election of President Barack Obama energized more people and drew them to our Democratic Party than any election in memory. President Obama even won here in Jackson County where Republicans outnumber Democrats by several thousand voters.
The question now becomes: How do we build on that success and turn Jackson County "blue"? My answer is: By getting more Democrats to become PCPs and working together to make it happen.
President Obama didn't win just because he is a smart man with a good education and a great smile -- although those qualities certainly didn't hurt. What really got him elected was his ability to organize in all 50 states. In Oregon, his campaign was coordinated by the Democratic Party of Oregon of which the Jackson County Democratic Party is a part. Our local party organization helped to coordinate all of the Democratic campaigns in our county, including the Obama-Biden campaign.
The Jackson County Democratic Party is organized like every other county party organization in this nation. It has a county Central Committee that makes all of the important decisions and provides many of the volunteers that do the necessary work of the party.
Our county has 52 precincts (numbered two through 115). Depending on its population each precinct has between four and 14 Democratic PCP positions available, evenly divided by gender. For instance, if all the available PCP positions in Precinct 2 in Ashland were filled, there would be seven male PCPs and seven women PCPs for that one precinct. In reality, the last time I checked, there were only two male PCPs and four female PCPs in Precinct 2.
If we filled all the available PCP slots in Jackson County, we would have 438 Democratic PCPs, evenly divided among men and women. Currently, we have about 75 Democratic PCPs. As you can see, we have plenty of room for growth.
The main duty of PCPs is to give a few volunteer hours. The Jackson County Democratic Party survives wholly because of volunteers. Volunteers help us to elect democrats. Without volunteers, we could not win.
The second duty is to attend the monthly meeting of the Jackson County Democratic Central Committee, usually held on the fourth Thursday evening at 6:30 pm at the OEA Office in Medford. Can you imagine if we filled all of the slots and had 438 PCPs and half of them came to a Central Committee meeting? We'd have to start meeting in a high school auditorium to accommodate the crowd.
In addition, with that kind of energy and person-power, I'm sure we would turn Jackson County into a blue stronghold with a Democratic majority in no time. That's why I think we all need to recruit our friends and neighbors who we know are Democrats and ask them to sign up to become PCPs.
More about PCPs from the DPO
Want another definition of what a PCP is? Here's what the website of the Democratic Party of Oregon
http://www.oregondemocrats.org/PCPs has to say on the subject:
"The precinct is the smallest political unit in the country. A precinct cannot be divided by legislative, congressional or supervisor district. A precinct is where elections are won or lost. Most importantly, it is your neighborhood. You know the people, the schools and the community centers. You have your hand on the pulse of the precinct; you understand the problems and potentials and have a desire to improve your neighborhood.
"Never underestimate the power of the precinct worker! It is the precinct worker, actively participating in the Democratic Party at the precinct level, who wins elections for the Democratic Party at the local, state, and national levels.
"The Democratic Party begins with the Precinct Committeeperson (PCP). A Precinct Committeeperson is a representative of the Party in the precinct in which he or she resides. For every 500 registered voters in a precinct, there should be one precinct person of each gender. Each Precinct Person is a member of the County Central Committee of the county party. The County Democratic Central Committee is the highest authority in county party policies.
"This body has the authority to adopt rules or resolutions covering any matter of party government within the county. Additionally, this body establishes the policies, articulates the beliefs and establishes the standard of all local Democratic candidates. These basic policies, beliefs and standards are then passed on to the State and National party for action.
"Being a Precinct Committeeperson can mean a lot of hard work, a lot of educating and persuading and a good sense of organization, but Precinct Committee people are the cornerstone of the party, and can really have an impact.
"One of the most important duties of a PCP is to select potential replacements for the state legislature when vacancies occur.
"If there is a vacancy, PCPs from the house or senate district vote on potential replacements. If the previous legislator is a Democrat, PCPs from the Democratic Party vote on the replacement. If the previous legislator is a Republican, PCPs from the Republican Party vote on the replacement. That list is forwarded to the county commission, which chooses the person will fill the position until the next election.
How do PCPs fit into the state and national parties?
"PCPs elect representatives from each county party to represent the county as part of the State Central Committee. The SCC selects the officers for the state party.
"The SCC also selects the DNC Committeeman and DNC Committeewoman. These two people represent the state to the national party, along with the state chair and vice chair. The delegates from all the states choose leadership within the DNC, including its chairman."
How you can become a PCP
If you would like to become a PCP and help our party grow, just call the Jackson County Democratic Headquarters at 541-858-1050 and tell the office volunteer or the answering machine that you are interested in becoming a precinct committee person. We'll have someone phone you back very soon.
I hope you will call or email very soon. You'll be glad you became a PCP.