Michigan Democrats set big goals for 2016

The Michigan Democratic Party's 2016 campaign effort kicked off this weekend at Cobo Hall, site of the 2015 Michigan Democratic Convention.

Far from discouraged, Michigan Democrats were fired up and ready to win big in 2015 and 2016.

Some highlights:

*Some pretty strong hints were made as to the likely 2016 presidential nominee. Note the pronoun in what Senator Peters said: "I don't know who she's gonna be, but we need to elect a Democratic President." Senator Stabenow referred to the growth of the 1990s, noted that President Clinton was in office, and said, "Hmm... a President Clinton... Hmm..."

*By my count there were ten speakers at the main session: all of Michigan's congressional delegation (minus Sandy Levin); Greimel; Bieda; Meisner; and Brenda Jones. I'm not sure they all needed to talk, especially since it was well over an hour before we got to the actual business of the convention, but it was good hearing from them.

*African-Americans played a big role in the main session. The invocation was given by a pastor from Detroit, while the convention itself was chaired by a black female. In nominating Lon Johnson for Chair, WSU Governor Dana Thompson noted that while relations between the MDP and the African-American community haven't always been the best, Lon is making strides.

*Key themes of Lon's speech included setting bigger goals (i.e. raising the number of MDP members from 21,000 to 50,000); giving precinct delegates tasks and the tools to achieve them; and offering bold ideas as a Party. He cited passenger rail as an example of the latter.

*There was some talk - both at the main session and at the caucuses - about this year's local elections, especially as they relate to building a bench for the future.

*Rep. Jeremy Moss said at a caucus meeting that people didn't care about his sexual orientation - they cared about things like roads and education. This is quite consistent with what I've seen and heard both qualitatively and quantitatively - that being LGBT does not hinder ones ability to get votes.

*After the convention adjourned, the first state Central meeting of the new term took place. A proposal was made to add endorsement conventions to the MDP Rules; under this proposal, endorsement conventions would automatically take place every two years unless State Central decides otherwise.

*All of the incumbent MDP officers are staying in office, with one addition: Rosendo Rocha is a Vice Chair. A member of AFGE, Rosendo has chaired both the Hispanic Caucus and the Allegan County Democratic Party. I'm glad West Michigan is once again represented among the officers (my friend Lupe served as 2nd VC under Brewer).

Oh, and one more thing: I am pleased to announce my election as 2nd Vice Chair of the 2nd District Democratic Party! I am also rejoining the Justice Caucus Board and am continuing on State Central. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to using these roles as a means to help boost the Democratic Party's brand and secure victories for Democrats up and down the ballot.

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