Last week seven of the eight candidates for IDP Chair attended a forum hosted by The Political Party, a relatively new group that’s encouraging millennial progressives to get more engaged in politics. Today they announced their endorsement for the position: Kurt Meyer.
The group also recommended that party members strongly consider Derek Eadon and Kim Weaver as well.
They sent out their full reasoning in this endorsement press release:
The Political Party Endorses Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party Chair
(DES MOINES, IA) – On Friday, December 16 The Political Party partnered with the Grand View Democrats to host the IDP Chair Candidate Forum. The conversation focused on each candidate’s vision, ideas and commitment to not only revitalize the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP), but incorporate new ideas and voices.
All eight candidates for the IDP Chair position were invited to participate and sent a questionnaire in advance which included questions regarding party building, the role of the chair and preparing for midterm elections in 2018. The following candidates participated: Sandy Dockendorff, Derek Eadon, Bob Krause, Blair Lawton, Kurt Meyer, Julie Stauch, and Kim Weaver. The forum was moderated by The Political Party steering committee members Zachary Mannheimer, Mandy McWherter and Stacey Walker.
Based on both forum performance and questionnaire responses, The Political Party is proud to formally endorse Kurt Meyer for the Iowa Democratic Party Chair.
Kurt Meyer’s passion for moving this state forward is undeniable. For decades, he has demonstrated his commitment to the Democratic Party and progressive causes serving as a local party chair, a candidate for office, campaign staffer, advisor, volunteer, donor, and host to candidates and campaign staff. His plan for the IDP is exactly what is needed to move the Party toward future electoral success by building a deeper, more diverse and progressive bench of candidates with ample supply of millennials.
Meyer wants to deploy organizers throughout the state to build a unified, more structured party system for the near future and beyond. Meyer emphasizes working with activists in communities throughout Iowa, because a partnership mentality is what will truly enable the IDP to build local capacity and form lasting relationships that will serve Iowans well not only during presidential election cycles, but in mid-term and off-year cycles as well. Given that the Democratic Party is still feeling the impact of a hotly contested presidential primary that pitted Sanders supporters against Clintonites, Meyer’s emphasis on unity and partnership is crucial for the Party’s future success.
“I propose plans to deploy locally-based organizers throughout the state – talented staffers who will invest in relationships, engage individuals with interest and talent, ‘fly the flag’ for the IDP (and eventually for our candidates) and work with people in their communities,” said Meyer at the Political Party’s IDP Chair Candidate Forum. “(‘With’ is key, since it enables us to build local capacity.) In each of these steps, the Chair must be visible and engaged as a visionary, a collaborator, an advocate, a champion, an implementer, and a leader.”
Meyer is focused on listening to, recruiting, training, and running young, diverse, progressive Democrats. “I have a target of working with at least 250 people in this age cohort (40 and under) in the next three years,” said Meyer. Meyer and his wife Paula, have hosted and mentored dozens of campaign staffers and volunteers over the years at their home, assisting in every way possible to ensure the success of countless campaigns and coordinated Party efforts.
Meyer states he will engage in “Active Neutrality” during political primaries, assisting fairly and equally all candidates for a political office. Meyer has never endorsed a candidate during a primary and has vowed not to show favoritism to any candidate during his tenure, should he be elected as Chair. Meyer has stated that he will not seek another elected office during or immediately following his tenure as Party Chair, and will discharge the duties of the IDP Chair position as a full-time volunteer, leaving all other jobs and board roles (except his position as Otranto Township Trustee, which calls for one meeting a year) that might present a conflict of interest or otherwise interfere with his ability to serve as Party Chair.
In 2012, Meyer saw a need for Democrats in three rural Iowa counties to consolidate their organizations to become more efficient and effective. Kurt spearheaded the effort to bring together Democrats in Worth, Mitchell and Howard counties to form the Tri-County Democrats. Meyer has built up this organization over the years subsequently expanding the reach of the Party and increasing its active membership in the area. The Political Party believes as IDP Chair, Meyer would have the opportunity to use this model and other learned best practices to strengthen the IDP’s connection to rural Iowa and help county party organizations grow their membership and increase their overall effectiveness and utility to the candidates seeking office in those areas.
With Meyer’s obvious passion, concrete plan to reach out to everyone in the entire state, his strong background in institutional fundraising (having led the Finance and Fundraising Task Force and raising over a half-billion dollars for nonprofit organizations around the country), and his commitment to progressivism, The Political Party feels that Meyer is the best choice to lead the IDP.
Worthy of Strong Consideration: Derek Eadon and Kim Weaver
The Political Party is similarly excited by the options of either Derek Eadon and Kim Weaver. While The Political Party is ultimately endorsing Kurt Meyer, we believe Mr. Eadon and Ms. Weaver also presented compelling visions for the future of the Iowa Democratic Party.
During the forum, Derek Eadon stated that “what the Iowa Democratic Party has been doing is fundamentally not working.” And, if elected the next IDP Chair, we believe that not only is Eadon’s diagnosis correct, he has the vision and appropriate experiences at many levels of politics to fix the problem in time for 2018 and 2020 elections.
The Political Party was impressed with Derek’s thoughtful answers on how to better engage young and more diverse Iowans in the political process. The future of the Democratic Party, and the progressive movement will largely depend upon party leaders channeling the anger and hurt felt after the election of Donald Trump, into direct action and support for progressive policies and candidates. That this will happen is certainly not a given – in fact, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done. If Eadon is elected chair, Iowa Democrats will not only have elected a millennial but an individual who is up to that task of inspiring progressive action.
Kim Weaver ran a strong, smart campaign to unseat longtime incumbent Steve King without a great deal of support from the Party infrastructure. Against significant odds, Weaver defied systematic thinking and surprised many Iowans in the 4th district and beyond. Weaver is a compelling voice for the Democratic Party, presenting herself as not afraid to go her own way when she believes she is right.
The Political Party sees her as making in-roads with disenfranchised voters, and specifically millennials, when it comes to telling her personal story and laying out her vision for her party. The Political Party believes that the IDP needs a strong voice with innovative ideas, combined with experience and fundraising ability. Weaver has demonstrated that she possesses all of these aptitudes and we would welcome the chance to see her ideas come to life and influence the direction of the IDP.
The Political Party expresses sincere thanks to all seven of the candidates who participated in the questionnaire and forum.
The Political Party Steering Committee
About The Political Party:
In the fall of 2016 a group of progressive leaders launched a statewide political event series called “The Political Party.” Over 500 people attended The Political Party events in Des Moines and Iowa City that featured TED-style talks from Iowans talking about issues affecting Iowa’s Millennials, musical and performance acts, and other forms of entertainment. The goal was to creatively engage young people leading up to the election and equip them with the tools to make a difference after the election. Following the election, The Political Party is staying involved in progressive issues hosting political events with the goal of identifying and supporting progressive candidates.
by Pat Rynard