THE TIME TO REMAKE THE PHILLY DEMOCRATIC PARTY INTO AN ENGINE OF PROGRESSIVE CHANGE IS NOW
Philly Neighborhood Networks (PNN) wants to turn this country around. We want a Democratic Party that actually stands for things people care about, and that has the ability to get out the vote for candidates who courageously stand for those things. Along with a network of other advocacy organizations in Philly, we work to resist the assaults on our democracy and civil society that are flung our way each day, but without deep engagement by large numbers of individual members, we will likely lose more than we win. And both people and planet cannot afford any more losses.
To be clear, the Philly Democratic Party as it’s now constituted, is a failure at its core function of getting out the vote for candidates who have our back. It left 325,000 registered voters at home in 2016. With Trump and Toomey both carrying the state by just over 40,000 votes, the Party’s inability to bring just another 50,000 or so Democrats to the polls is a good part of what created the electoral catastrophe we suffered in 2016. If we cannot turn the Party around now, we could have another catastrophe next year when it is all-important that we re-elect both Governor Wolf and Senator Casey.
To turn the Party around, we must make it OUR Party — That means getting individual members like you involved at the committee person level where all power begins – in your neighborhood ward and division. The Democratic Party should not be an issue-free zone; rather, its candidates should be embracing progressive issues like the ones in the People’s Platform. Committee People are the eyes, ears and foot-soldiers of the Party who are responsive to the constituent base of the Party, and bring ordinary people out to vote. We can no longer leave that role to the usual suspects.
And that’s why we’re asking you to consider running for Committeeperson in next May’s primary election. Scores of PNN members have already stepped forward and thrown their hat in the ring and we are working with them to support their candidacies. PNN has ward committees that work with and assist candidates who live throughout Northwest Philly – Germantown, Mt Airy, Chestnut Hill, Roxborough, Manayunk, Ogontz and Olney. It’s not too late to get started but you have to take the first step soon —
Take this Committee Person Interest Survey if you live in NW Philly and are interested in running for Committee Person or supporting a candidacy.
Important as it is, running and winning a Committee Person seat is not all that difficult. Here’s the basic information you need to know. Philadelphia has 66 wards divided into 1,686 divisions, with two Democratic Party Committee People representing each division. A division usually comprises four or five square City blocks and contains around 800 households. Most Committee People are elected with less than 100 votes! To get on the ballot next May, you only need 10 signatures of registered Democrats in your division on a petition that you can circulate during a 3 week period starting February 13, 2018.
NN’s Committeeperson Project is dedicated to electing and supporting those of you who take up the challenge to remake our Party by running to be a Committee Person. And if you’d just like to support someone who’s running, we’ll give you the tools to do that too.
If hundreds of us run and capture these seats, we will take a major step toward creating a renewed, revitalized and responsive Democratic Party. And one that wins, not just in Philly, but statewide. NN’s CPP is available to provide resources, training, and assistance to make your campaign manageable and successful.
Please let us know if you are interested in running to be a Committee Person, or supporting a Committee Person candidate, by taking this brief Committee Person Interest Survey. We will then contact you to get you on your way.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PHILLY NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORKS’ COMMITTEE PERSON PROJECT
What does a Committee Person do? Committee people are the backbone of the Democratic Party and the face of the party in a neighborhood. They are the ones that rally voters to Party-endorsed candidates and get out the vote for them. They provide information about candidates, ballot questions, and issues affecting their neighborhoods. They attend ward meetings and vote on candidates that the Democratic Party should endorse and elect the Party’s leadership at the ward and City levels. Without their committed activism, the Party is a shell. But with the participation of committed progressives, we can rebuild that depleted structure into a powerful engine for justice.
How do I become a Committee Person? The process is relatively easy. To get on the May 15 Primary Election ballot, you must get at least 10 signatures (recommend 20-30) of registered Democrats that live in your division on a ‘Nomination Petition’ between the February 13-March 6, 2018. You need to get the petition notarized and filed by March 6 at the Phila County Bd of Elections, City Hall, Room 142. Once your nomination petition is accepted, you can ask your neighbors and those in your division to vote for you. The 2 candidates with the highest number of votes in the May 15 primary, are elected as the committee people for that division. For more detailed information, see Committee of Seventy’s How to Run for a Committee Person.
If I don’t want to run, is there a way I can support a good Committee Person candidate? Yes. We are also creating a corps of support people to help those that are running. Support people would help the candidate to do outreach in their divisions, help to get petitions signed, canvass for votes, and help them after election to do the work of reforming the Party.
How will NN’s CPP Help a Committee Person candidacy? NN has Committee Person materials that can assist you in your candidacy such as a Checklist/Timeline, Support Person Ideas, People’s Platform, and Candidate Flyer Template. We have group trainings — the next one will be held on January 21st — and we provide one-on-one assistance and advice. If possible, our ward point persons try to connect you with other people in your ward and division who may run with you as a team or can provide support.