Thursday, March 18, 2010

GUEST OPINION: Party caucuses play vital role in everyone’s future

By Rob Miller

Next Tuesday evening on March 23, 2010, a small group of your neighbors are going to get together and make decisions about a lot of issues that will affect your life for years to come. Everyone is invited but only about 1 percent will bother to show up.

Frankly, some people are counting on you not being involved. You might find out about their plans to profit from tax dollars by doing things like diverting money from our neighborhood schools to other private purposes. Remember it’s not about whether there will be tax increases or tax cuts but who is going to pay and who is going to receive.

Don't know what I am talking about? The Party Caucuses, of course. Those who attend play a critical role in selecting the people who will be on the ballot and go on to make laws for all of us following the general election that will be held on Nov. 2 of this year.

The Davis County Democratic and Republican Parties will hold caucuses at a location near your home on the evening of March 23. Caucus is just a fancy word for meeting. They are very casual and informal. There will be a caucus host to help you feel comfortable and help everyone join in the discussion to the extent they want. They will work to prevent the meeting from being dominated by just one person. It is perfectly normal for a lot of the people just to be there to see what happens in their community.

The meetings are open to the public and free -- although someone may pass the hat and ask for a donation of a few dollars for the county parties. You don't have to give, but it might be worth knowing that contrary to popular belief County Party organizations don't raise even ten cents per voter per year on average. They are far from political fat cats with dollars to burn. There are no corporate interests out there looking to bankroll a County Party.

They do have the goal of selecting delegates to the conventions where candidates will be nominated for the ballot and selecting precinct officers who will volunteer to serve on the County Party Central Committee which keeps up the work of the Party on a regular daily basis. They also try to find people who are willing to be poll workers on Election Day. And, they may ask you to provide your contact information and ask if there are ways that you want to help candidates and the Party.

As Chairman of the Davis County Democratic Party and as a member of the State Democratic Party's Executive Committee representing other county chairs, I want to invite you — yes, I mean you — to attend and participate in this year’s Party caucus. Regardless of your political persuasion, feel free to join the Democrats. We want to assure that your voice is heard and that you have a say in the decisions that affect you.

Some believe that the Parties are responsible for the problems we are facing today. I don't agree, but Parties become what we all make of them. They are what you are willing to put into them. Will you leave them to the extremes? If you choose to be an independent and unaffiliated, then what you are truly choosing is to allow others to make choices for you. They will. But you might not like the decisions they make. They will hold you accountable for your failure to participate. You will be the target for tax increases and you won't receive anything you value in return. Lack of political participation is actually the root to the problems we are facing today.

Take the first step in participating in the political process by attending the party caucus of your choice. Politics is the marketplace of ideas and just like the economy, the more time you invest, the better the outcome. To find your caucus location and participate in a “virtual” meeting visit

The world is run by those who show up. If you participate, you are effectively multiplying your voice by 100 times by speaking for all the people who don’t get involved.

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