Executive Central Committee Meeting, April 20, 2023

The Delaware County Democratic Party met at 7:00 p.m. on April 20, 2023 at Delaware Township Hall. Present in the meeting were 49 individuals, 29 of whom were members of the Executive Committee, constituting a quorum. Chair Watkins called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

After establishing a quorum, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Jerry Rhoades.

Chair Watkins noted there were two parliamentarians in attendance and explained the meeting agenda was full.

Approve Meeting Minutes

Chair Watkins asked for a motion to approve the February meeting minutes. Barb Berry moved to approve the February meeting minutes and was seconded by Steve Schottel. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Saponaro explained the Treasurer’s Report included information regarding the months of February and March. Treasurer Saponaro informed the committee the total amount of funds stood at $45,919.26. She reminded the committee the state fund could only be used for state candidates and stood at $125. She further added that 7% of the budget was spent thus far, with 25% of the calendar year having passed. She noted there was $15,000 in reserve funds. 

Chair Watkins informed the committee any money donated to the state fund would need to appear on a separate check from regular donations, as the checks cannot be split.

Louise Douce moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report and was seconded by Joe Bjorkman. The motion passed unanimously.

Swearing In

Chair Watkins swore in Bill Shelby to the Executive Committee.

Young Dems, College Dems

Joe Bjorkman addressed the committee regarding the matter of the Young Dems and College Dems groups. He informed the committee there would be a Young Dems convention on May 6, 2023 at Bowling Green State University and the event was open to everyone.

Mr. Bjorkman explained Delaware County does not have a chartered Young Dems group and that a chartered group would require 10 members, four elected officers, and a constitution. Mr. Bjorkman informed the committee the Delaware County chapter currently had 25 members and he put together a seven page constitution.

Mr. Bjorkman stated anyone between the ages of 16 and 40 could join the group, and that by becoming a chartered group, Delaware County would have voting power at the convention.

Mr. Bjorkman encouraged committee members to send him an email about getting involved in the group and noted that Ohio Wesleyan has a chartered organization of their own.

Mr. Bjorkman stated he was working to collect signatures for the reproductive rights petition.

It was inquired whether Mr. Bjorkman had reached out to Otterbein University or Columbus State Community College; he explained that Otterbein is in Franklin County and he would get in touch with individuals there to find whether or not Otterbein was active. Mr. Bjorkman stated he would reach out to Columbus State.

Chair Watkins thanked Mr. Bjorkman for his efforts and noted he has been working on making the Young Dems Facebook page more active.

Update on Signature Collecting

Vice Chair Hanson informed the committee she had blank petitions which members could circulate. She stated she was trying to collect petitions as they were filled out and encouraged members to reach out to her when they would like to do so.

Chair Watkins explained the committee received 200 petitions and a goal was set to collect twice the number needed.

Vice Chair Hanson informed the committee there was training available and ODP has phone banking to recruit more volunteers to collect signatures.

VIce Chair Hanson stated signatures would be collected at Orange Township Hall on April 29, 2023 and other events would follow. She added that the soft deadline to submit petitions was June 9, 2023, with a hard deadline on July 5, 2023.

Chair Watkins stated the library was an excellent location to collect signatures and that Delaware County’s goal was to collect 10,000 signatures in total. She added that there were also other groups collecting within the county. 

VIce Chair Hanson informed the committee there were 22 petitions circulating in Orange Township, 30 in Dublin/Powell, and 14 in Westerville. Mike Kabler informed the committee there were 17 petitions circulating in the Big Walnut region, with more to go out.

Joyce Bourgault informed the committee there were 14 petitions out in the Buckeye Valley region and an event would be held at the Ashley Library. She added that signatures would be collected at the Delaware First Friday in May and there had been success in collecting at the April event.

Pat Meter informed the committee there was a sponsored drive-through signature collection event on April 15, and 23 signatures were collected, along with one new voter registration. He added  there would be a trash pickup and signature collecting event on April 22. Mr. Meter informed the group the Young Dems organization contributed to the Party booth at the previous First Friday.

Lisa Perez addressed the committee on behalf of the Dublin/Concord/Powell region. She stated fifty signatures were collected at a drive-through event and the region would be collecting signatures at the Powell Market Days, Farmer’s Market, and Memorial Day parade.

Marya Kolman addressed the committee on behalf of the Genoa Township/Westerville region. She stated there were 16 petitions circulating in the region and they had coordinated with the Westerville Progressive Alliance. She added they were working to formalize an event schedule.

Jenny Yoder noted there would be a Donuts With Dems event held at Orange Township Hall. Vice Chair Hanson stated they needed to schedule a collection effort at the Orange Branch library. It was inquired whether signatures were allowed to be collected at Orange Township Park. It was decided if no table was set up and volunteers simply walked around with clipboards, there should be no issue.

Scholarship Committee

David Simmons addressed the committee on the matter of the Parker Scholarship Fund. Mr. Simmons informed the committee there were seven applicants from local schools and one application was received late. Mr. Simmons stated there were three strong candidates but it was found one candidate did not have quite the financial need of the other two. Mr. Simmons informed the committee one scholarship for $1,000 was given to Diya Rajan, a Dublin City Schools student and another to Sage Parker, an Olentangy Local Schools student, both of whom are active and vocal about democratic issues.

Chair Waatkins noted that Diya Rajan is the daughter of Central Committee member Indu Rajan,. Ms Rajan informed the committee her daughter received a full-ride scholarship through ROTC and would be attending the University of Washington in Seattle.

Candidate Support Committee

Mrs. Bourgault informed the committee many meetings and trainings had been held thus far, and candidates were interviewed from ODP’s Contest Every Race. She noted around 20 people remained to be interviewed and she would follow up with them.

Mrs. Bourgault informed the committee a LEAD Boot Camp was held on April 1, 2023 and a Board of Elections training on April 4, 2023. She added that Louise Douce would be running for office in Kingston Township.

She added that the committee was ready to interview a Columbus City Council candidate who was running unopposed.

Chair Watkins explained there are seven Columbus precincts in Delaware County but only one precinct representative.

Chair Watkins informed the committee Jack Hartman passed away on March 9, 2023 and asked for a moment of silence. The committee honored Mr. Hartman with a moment of silence.

Communications Committee

Don Swartwout informed the committee most slots for assistance were filled and Tamie Wilson would be managing the party Instagram.

Report on Friend Raising

Mr. Swartwout addressed the committee on behalf of Linda Diamond. Mr. Swartwout informed the committee that, since the start of the fundraising campaign, 144 individuals had donated to the party, 63 of whom were Executive Committee members.

Chair Watkins informed the committee 60 people attended a showing of “Rigged” at The Strand and around $500 was collected above expenses.

Chair Watkins informed the committee Tony and Molly Yankus attended the Dems 101 event presented in February’s meeting. She stated they wrote a report and typed out a proposed resolution. (Copies were made available to those in attendance)

After reviewing the resolution, Suzanne Binau moved to endorse the creed and adopt the principles and was seconded by Chandler White. The motion passed unanimously.

Upcoming Events

Chair Watkins read through the list of upcoming events.

It was inquired whether a special election would be held in August; Chair Watkins stated the deadline to file for the election would be on May 8, 2023 and the election was to prevent the reproductive rights amendment from succeeding.

It was agreed upon by many in attendance that, even if the threshold is set to 60%, the party could succeed in passing the amendment.

It was inquired whether a committee would be put together to counter the claims of the Republican party that the amendment would weaken parental rights. Chair Watkins stated the funding goes into the signature collection effort.

Chandler White informed the committee he would be recirculating petitions for his campaign for Delaware City Council Ward 4 and requested donations.

Mike Kabler informed the committee there would be a booth at the Memorial Market Day in Sunbury on May 29, 2023.

Chair Watkins encouraged committee members to contact Don Swartwout with additional event information.

Finding no further business, James Sipek moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 and was seconded by Chandler White. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Corey McCaffery, Secretary