Interview: Troy Price Looks To “Shake Up This Party” After IDP Chair Election

Troy Price was elected as the new chair of the Iowa Democratic Party on Saturday. Shortly afterward he spoke with Radio Iowa and Starting line about his immediate plans for moving the party forward. Here’s a look at some of his answers to various questions.

Rethinking The Coordinated Campaign In 2018

“The party can sometimes get beholden to certain campaigns or certain campaign committees,” Price said. “And they will have a certain idea about what the campaign should look like, and it’s going to be the exact same thing it looks like in every other contested state that they’re challenging, doesn’t matter whether that’s a presidential campaign or a senate campaign. What we need to do is allow for greater local voices and greater empowerment at the local level. Because we don’t have that [national committee] this year – we have the DGA [Democratic Governor’s Association], which just operates in a different way – because the dynamics are different this year, I think we have an opportunity to really take a hard look at the coordinated campaign and rebuild what it is.”

“We need to have people working in all 99 counties. Not necessarily staff, but volunteers and coordinators in all 99 counties, that are fully plugged in and ready to go. That means we’re going to need staff resources available to be able to go find all those people. We should be able to hand to our nominee, whatever the role is, a book and say here’s exactly what the plan is and welcome aboard, and let’s get to work. That’s my goal for the next 11 years, to get into place.”

Breaking The Status Quo In How The Party Operates

“We need to not be afraid to have the conversations that need to be had. There have been some conversations that we as a party have not been willing to have yet. Lingering concerns or mistrust that is out there in the system. But we’ve just got to get to work … I’m going to work every damn day to make sure this party is as strong and as great as it can possibly be. My experiences will only help guide me forward on this, but the reality is I’m not going to turn down any idea if it’s a good idea. I want to shake up this party and make sure that it is as strong as it can possibly be. It is clear that our party has had challenges over the past few cycles and I’ve seen them first-hand. I know what they are. I want to utilize those experiences to make sure that we are doing something different heading into 2018. We can’t wait to figure it out.”

On Being The First Openly Gay Chair Of A Major Iowa Political Party

“I think it sends [the message] that you can do anything you want in the state of Iowa … There’s a lot of opportunity here. I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed to have had the opportunities I’ve been able to have here. The changes we have seen on LGBTQ rights since I was a high schooler in the late 90’s has just been monumental. There’s a lot more that needs to get done across the board. The Democratic Party has always stood for that sort of change.”

Building Up The Party Infrastructure

“Our counties need a lot of support out there. Our infrastructure is probably in one of the weakest shapes that it’s been in a quite a long time. My goal as chair is, first of all, obviously raise the money, and then put the resources in place. Through training efforts we can really improve our county parties. I think we need to get more staff out there that are able to organize in all of these counties. With the primary 11 months away, we don’t have a lot of time to get this done, so we need to hit the ground running.”

On Messaging Opportunities

“It’s been a rough few years. But the good news is we have some things stacking up in our favor right now. President Trump seems to be finding more and unique ways to become more unpopular. With the radical agenda that the GOP pushed this year at the Statehouse, with a budget that is starting to slip further and further into debt, there are a lot of opportunities for us from a message side to push back … But we also have to make sure that we are pushing a strong message forward as to what the Democratic Party will do and what it stands for. I think that’s where we’ve really lost our way over the past few cycles. We’ve talked a lot more about very specific issues, and not enough about overarching message. Quite frankly, people just aren’t buying what the Democratic Party’s been selling.”

Maintaining The Iowa Caucus

(Troy Price hails from Cedar County, also home to Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann. Price’s parents have known the Kaufmanns for a long time.)

“The caucuses are facing one of the greatest threats they’ve had in the last 45 years. It’s going to be critically important that we maintain that relationship with RPI. There were some times, when I was ED before, the previous leadership there before Chairman Kaufmann, we didn’t always have the best relationship. Now, maintaining that relationship is critical in showing that both parties take this seriously, both parties understand exactly how important this role is, and are willing to put aside the policy differences that we have to stand up and say that our process works. And be willing to fix the process where it needs to be fixed, but be willing to fight for this process and make sure that we remain first.”

On Frustrations That Activists Have With The Democratic Party As A Whole

“One of the challenges the party has is that it needs to listen more … The concerns that folks have in the broader progressive coalition, I think the IDP can play a leadership role in trying to build those bridges, build those relationships with all the members of the progressive coalition. So when folks have concerns about it, maybe it’s not the IDP that has the issue, but perhaps the IDP can help solve the problems … I think the IDP has a real opportunity right now with all the energy and activism out there to really go out there and broaden what the party actually is.”

On The IDP’s Role In The Gubernatorial Primary

“Any role that the party plays in the state gubernatorial race is one of neutrality, and that’s certainly one that I’ll do. I stepped away from my previous position [with Todd Prichard’s campaign] more than two weeks ago and have cut my ties there … I’ve spoken with [gubernatorial] staff or the candidates themselves over the last few weeks and will continue to do that going forward. The one thing the state party can do, given the potentiality that there could be a convention in the governor’s race as well as the congressional races too, one of the things I want to do is create a “candidate council” so that we as a party are having direct conversations with the candidates on a regular basis of what’s happening at the party and what the processes are going forward.”

“I also plan on empowering the State Central Committee to take a more leadership role over the caucus-to-convention process. Making sure it isn’t just resting with the chair or the executive director or the staff, making sure this is a broader conversation that has multiple voices sitting around the table. At the end of the day there just needs to be greater transparency in the process and campaigns need to feel bought in to what it is, and we need to be transparent to the people participating in this process.”



by Pat Rynard
Posted 7/22/17

1 Comment on "Interview: Troy Price Looks To “Shake Up This Party” After IDP Chair Election"

  • I think if the IA Democratic Party still wants to maintain the presidential caucus system and be first in the Nation it needs to revisit the whole process and make corrections where it is necessary. I personally favor a presidential primary but it is the responsibility of the Iowa legislature. If the legislature continues the caucus process the Iowa Democratic Party needs to take a hard look at the mistakes of the past and make some corrections so it will be more attractive to the Democratic voters in Iowa. Right now the math situation is difficult for the average voter to understand. The whole process during the caucus has become a like a sports game and not taken seriously. Iowa Democrats need to simplify their process and make it more attractive and accessible for the Iowa Democratic voters and for the presidential candidates. If a presidential candidate participates in the procedure and he/she doesn’t meet the 15% threshold in many precincts he/she gets nothing. They need to get something out of the caucus. Why then come to Iowa? Just to maybe get a free donut at a coffee shop in Anyplace, Iowa?. I know it is part of the winnowing process but Iowa needs to be a positive situation for them to come to Iowa.

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