Monday, May 23, 2005

''Your Progress Report''

In case your letter got lost in the mail:

"We're ahead of schedule.

New party leadership took charge a hundred days ago with a mandate from you to grow our party everywhere, and grow it from the ground up. Since then teams have visited half the states already to listen and learn what it will take to make that happen. The answers vary from state to state, but one thing is clear: there is no substitute for hiring trained organizers who are local to the area. So we're going to put several of them on the ground. They will be on the national party payroll and accountable to the same mandate you've given me. Their job will be to recruit local leaders and organize volunteers in every single precinct -- channeling grassroots energy into a permanent, sustained movement for change.

Today I can announce that, thanks to small-dollar donations from across the country, we have the resources to expand into a second group of states: Nevada, Mississippi, Wyoming and Nebraska. You have kick-started the program months before anyone expected.

The timetable is still in your hands. The budget forecast has organizers heading into new states over the next several months. But if Democrats across the country can put an additional $250,000 into the program by this Friday, another state can be added to the list and start hiring right away. Will you make a donation to bring another state online this week? This is your party -- it's up to you.

Here's what has happened so far: the program started in North Dakota, West Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri. Organizers have started work already -- leveraging resources to beef up infrastructure and reaching out into the community to connect people with the local party. In some cases it's the first time the national party has ever interacted with leaders at the precinct level.

These organizers are having two immediate impacts. First, they are a crucial bridge between the local, state and national parties. They have been asked to tie everything together -- to bring our existing resources to bear in new ways. Their job is to take the long-term view -- building not only for the next election but for the next decade. In the four states they have been at work, we are already doing more -- and doing it more efficiently.

The second immediate impact of these organizers: freeing up other resources for the state parties. In Missouri, the resources you put on the ground helped take the state party to the next level. The result: the Missouri Democratic Party is now adding an organizer of its own and sending them into the field.

If we can raise $250,000 by this Friday, we can afford to start in another state this week -- and create another success story. Will you be a part of it?

We have to be everywhere. We can't afford to run seven-month campaigns in a handful of states -- we need to build a permanent infrastructure to elect Democrats at every level of office. Developing that deep bench of leaders and active citizens is the only way to reshape that red and blue map we see every four years.

It's also the only way to stop the condescending talk about our values. It's the Democratic Party that values honesty, responsibility and compassion. But we have to show up everywhere in order to stand up for those values. When we do that, we will win -- because our values are American values.

All of this will affect you. Growing the party in every neighborhood isn't some abstract idea -- we will reach out in every state, in every precinct, in every community.

It's just a matter of time. How fast it happens depends on you.

Everywhere I go, I meet Democrats who are hungry to win and ready to work hard.
This is your opportunity to put the structure in place to help every one of us stand up for our values in our own communities.

Thank you for everything.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D."

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