There is an unusual trend with a host of active state elected officials serving and seeking office on Democratic State Central Committee and Democratic Party Executive Committee. Historically, the committees have functioned as training grounds for those interested in public service and/or have a desire to run for an elected office.
Party committees are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the political party at the federal, state and local level. Operations that include raising contributions; assisting candidates’ fundraising efforts; conducting voter registration drives; holding local and state conventions; and candidate endorsements for federal, state and local offices. With the exception of the latter, these activities do not occur in East Baton Rouge.
Currently on DPEC are two state elected officials seeking reelection, another one that just gained a seat after a long-term DPEC member withdrew her name and three additional state elected officials seeking seats. Also, on the ballot are two state elected officials running for DSCC.
To the contrary, there is only one state elected official on the Republican local party committee. Though lawful, I believe it is a conflict of interest for any elected official to serve on their party’s committees. Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote stating that there are enough resources to meet human needs, but not enough to meet human greed, was never truer.
Elected officials should not serve on DSCC and DPEC. Politicians that currently hold positions on these committees should resign and make room for leadership growth within the Democratic Party. There are ongoing unresolved issues that need their continuous advocacy — such as health care disparities, minimum wage increase, police reform, education, environmental injustice, and all things COVID-19.
During this critical time in our country, every level should look toward a democracy that is resilient and in partnership with a new generation. Instead of seeking to monopolize the democratic state and local committees, their focus should be on expanding citizen participation, recovering the legitimacy and credibility in the committees, and creating a foundation for a new generation of democracy, with better quality and greater resilience.