Resolutions: How You Can Take Action With The Washington County Dems
By Dan Neill and Rich Siegel
WashCo Dems Communication Committee Members
Political discourse can be hard – especially in a county as diverse as ours. Even amongst WashCo Dems – believe it or not – there are differing views on some issues and priorities. This is healthy, normal, democratic behavior. It is also healthy and normal to want to debate some of these issues as a group and reach a consensus as to the official positions of the Democratic Party of Washington County. This process of debating and voting on issues is what the resolution process is about.
A resolution is, simply, a statement expressing the Washington County Democrats’ official recommendations for action pertaining to a particular issue.
These resolutions are presented, debated and voted on at Central Committee meetings before hundreds of voting members (PCPs). Strict debating and voting procedures (Robert’s Rules of Order) are followed. For this reason, resolutions must be carefully prepared and formatted to ensure there can be adequately informed debate and voting. A resolution must be clear, unambiguous, and ready for official communication. To that end, you must submit the resolution draft to the Platform and Resolutions Committee to be reviewed and edited at least two weeks before the Committee’s next meeting. The resolution should have both a belief statement and an action item. Once it makes it through review, it is then usually read twice (and is posted on the WashCo Dems website) before the CC votes. It requires a simple majority to pass unless there is no prior notice of the resolution, in which case it takes a 2/3 majority.
That’s the minimum life of a resolution, but what really makes things happen is how you engage the media and get the public’s attention. Candidates and elected officials (and celebrities) know when to make a public statement to the media, and when it will make good news copy. But in a democracy, it’s everyone’s responsibility to speak out on issues that are important to their families and communities.
When preparing for the CC meeting at which the resolution will be read to the party members, get some important people to attend the meeting. Have the speakers ready to make impactful statements. For example, in the August 2018 CC meeting, drafters of a resolution to support the Burgerville Union arranged for a union member to come and speak on its behalf. Invite the media to attend and give them a copy of the resolution so they can report on the vote.
After the resolution passes, it’s time to take the next step. You can present the resolution to your legislator, to the parties involved with the resolution, or to the press. You can even write a letter to the editor or an op-ed in your favorite newspaper or magazine.
To submit a resolution or find out how to join the team that prepares the resolutions for consideration by the PCP’s at the Central Committee meetings, contact Jeremy Likens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can check out our passed resolutions here.