Executive Central Committee Meeting, January 18, 2024


Delaware County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee met in person at the Delaware Township Hall, 2590 Liberty Rd Delaware on January 18, 2024. The meeting was called to order at 7:14, having established a quorum of 30 EC members present, as well as 15 others. Christian Smith led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Old Business

Chair Peg Watkins announced that the Minutes for November had been posted on our website, and asked if there were any questions, changes, or additions. John Schmarr stated that information about ActBlue fees was incorrect, and suggested replacing it with language he had emailed and Peg read aloud to the group. No other changes were proposed. Steve Schottel moved to approve the Minutes, as amended, seconded by Pat Meter, motion passed by unanimous voice vote.

Treasurer Lisa Saponaro presented the Treasurer’s Report, covering both November and December of 2023. Joe Bjorkman moved to accept the Minutes, seconded by Joyce Bourgault, motion passed unanimously.

New Business

Lisa then presented the proposed budget for 2024. She explained that spending was higher in RAPID and Events categories due to unanticipated expenses in 2023 to support issue campaigns in August and November. Changes from 2023 to 2024? Reduced campaign support by $8,000 and distributed this amount to other categories to cover increased expenses. We will increase our fundraising activities this year. New category of Opportunity Fund. CD now invested at higher rate (4.85%). Our State Candidate Fund currently has $1,800 ish. You can directly donate to that account via our website. It can only be used for state legislative positions. This year, we have two races that qualify.

A motion to approve the budget was made by Louise Douce, seconded by Tamie Wilson, and passed unanimously by voice vote.

Candidate Support Committee: Joyce Bourgault (joycedemocratic@gmail.com) reviewed 2023 successes, with additional news that two of our newly elected Democrats are now Mayor of Westerville and Vice Mayor of Powell. Democrat Coutanya Coombs, another Westerville City Council we previously supported, is now Vice Mayor in Westerville. Joyce introduced 2024 candidates present, and each one gave a 2-minute speech. (Rachael Morocco was not present, Tara Talgar spoke on her behalf). Rachael Morocco will have a campaign kickoff event at 7 p.m. on February 28.

We will post this info on our website. All candidates need volunteers and donations. Candidates Christian Smith and Garrett Sohnly also stated that they are looking for a campaign treasurer. Joyce is collecting contact information for all of our candidates to post on our website. Andre Washington, DCDP EC member and Vice Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, stated that he is very proud of Delaware County and the candidates we have that represent the diversity of our county, our state, and our country. Please join him for a photo after the meeting.

Young Dems: Joe Bjorkman stated that a new official chapter of Young Dems is being formed in Delaware County. Ages range from 14 to 40.

Peg tagged on that David Simmons, the chair of Scholarship Committee, could not attend due to his choir practice tonight. He has posted the Scholarship application on our website; high school seniors are encouraged to apply.

RAPID (Regions and Precincts in Development) is now co-chaired by Holly Hanson and Bill Shelby. Holly reported that she and Bill have contacted all the regions, and they are activated and energized for 2024. Some regions need additional help in leadership (Westerville/Genoa, Big Walnut, Delaware City Ward 2)

Chair Peg Watkins directed attention to upcoming events, and our new mascot, Della the Blue Donkey, whom we met at our Holiday party. She pointed out that our party has many more activities in addition to our regular monthly business meetings. Please note who has presented information tonight, and contact committee chairs if you are interested; volunteers are needed everywhere.

At our February 15 meeting, we will invite representatives of Olentangy Schools and the city of Delaware to present information about their levies. We can vote on whether to endorse at that meeting. Early voting for the March 19 Primary will start on February 21.

Peg also reported that on January 9, she was the Biden Caucus Director to select delegates to the DNC in Chicago. There were four delegates chosen, including Chau Sa Dang, who lives in one of Delaware County’s Columbus precincts, and works for Mayor Ginther in Columbus.

This past Monday, Delaware Dems were represented by two full tables at the MLK event, and Tamie Wilson also sponsored a table. We were in the house.

Someone asked about getting a party headquarters this year. Peg said that we are looking at the coordinated campaign to take leadership on this, and there is no need for office space before June. We expect that this year’s races will have better leadership at the state level since Senator Brown’s campaign will be our leader.

Pat Meter will be managing the February 17 Bishop Backers event at Ohio Wesleyan. Please contact him if you can help.

Elections for Central Committee members will be part of the March 19 Primary. We have 80 Democrats on the ballot, including four precincts that have two candidates. If you are interested in being on Executive Committee, please let one of the officers know.

All five current officers are willing to continue in their roles, but if others are interested, they should campaign. These are elected positions. Our party will reorganize at a special meeting early in April.

Mary Kate Pembroke shared her joy in being sworn in as a member of the Buckeye Valley Board of Education, and thanked her supporters, especially Rachel Espino and Abby Buckerfield.

Vice Chair Holly Hanson shared information about the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce annual event on February 1. She stated that Democrats should be represented there along with other members of the local business community.

Julie Houston shared that she attended a Kwanzaa celebration held at the Unity Community Center on Dec. 30. It was very good, and expected to be an annual event.

Motion to adjourn by Joe Bjorkman, 2nd by James Sipek. Motion approved. Meeting adjourned about 8:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Abby Buckerfield