Executive Central Committee Meeting, January 19, 2023

The Delaware County Democratic Party held an Executive Committee meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Delaware Township Hall. 63 individuals attended the meeting, with 50 of those present being members of the Executive Committee. Chair Watkins called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

Chair Watkins greeted those in attendance and established a quorum.

Molly Yankus led the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Chair Watkins inquired whether anyone had suggested changes to the previous meeting minutes. Finding no changes, Rich Bradley moved to approve the November meeting minutes and was seconded by Steve Schottel. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer Saponaro presented to the committee the Treasurer’s Report. She explained that the report showed expenses and funds for the entirety of 2022. She informed the committee that 90% of the proposed budget was spent and the current balance stood at $31,887.22. She stated there was a monthly average income of $1600 and a stretch goal was set to raise $2,000 monthly in 2023. 

It was inquired whether the reserve funds are invested and Treasurer Saponaro stated they are not, though the party has an existing CD account. Chair Watkins suggested researching the matter and addressing it in the next meeting.

Roo Dirrig moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report and was seconded by Heather Karr. The motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer Saponaro presented to the committee the budget numbers for 2023. She stated most items retained the same amount, though the Candidate Support Committee received an increase in funds. 

It was inquired why the previous year’s budget showed $2,000 for events, though $3,300 was spent. Treasurer Saponaro clarified that the funds were in the fundraising budget, which was not completely spent. Chair Watkins stated there was crossover between the events and fundraising budgets in 2022.

Roo Dirrig moved to approve the 2023 budget and was seconded by Barb Berry. The motion passed unanimously.

Chair Watkins informed the committee they would need to recommend a member to be referred to the Ohio Secretary of State for appointment to the Delaware County Board of Elections and opened the floor for nominations. Julie Houston moved to appoint Ed Helvey for another term and was seconded by Sam Kindred. Tony Yankus closed the nominations and a unanimous vote was held to confirm Ed Helvey to another term at the Board of Elections.

Mr. Helvey spoke at this time, expressing his gratitude for the Board of Elections employees and explaining the means by which the board has increased efficiency in his time on the board. He thanked those in attendance for their support.

Andre Washington raised concern about the need to talk about fundraising in order to protect Sherrod Brown in his Senate campaign. It was expressed that the committee needs to reach out to voters to encourage voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout.

Chair Watkins informed the committee a director of development, Suzanne Binau, was recruited. She encouraged those in attendance to donate their time and money, and to participate in RAPID (Regions And Precincts In Development).

Joyce Bourgault addressed the committee on behalf of the Candidate Support committee. She explained the committee was working on finding candidates for the 80 open positions in the county and encouraged attendees to look for candidates in their regions. She informed the committee the revision process of the training notebook was nearly complete and noted that three members were added to the Evaluation team.

Ms. Bourgault explained the Candidate Support Committee has been looking for new ways to support candidates running for state offices, and that a State Candidate Fund was unavailable at the time. She offered her support for such a fund and moved that the Delaware County Democratic Committee establish a State Candidate Fund to support State Legislative and statewide candidates. The motion was seconded by Linda Diamond.

It was inquired how much money would go into the fund and Chair Watkins explained the fund would start at $0 and the amount in the fund would be dependent on how much money was donated. It was proposed that separate fundraisers be held to encourage donations to the fund. Treasurer Saponaro reminded the committee that $12,000 has been allotted for the 2023 local candidate budget. 

Chair Watkins explained that ActBlue would be modified to allow donations for that specific fund and that it would be used only for State Legislative and statewide (Governor, Auditor, AG, SOS, and Treasurer) candidates, not judges or federal races.

Tony Yankus called the question and with unanimous consent a vote was held. Having been moved and seconded, the committee voted unanimously to approve the creation of a State Candidate Fund.

David Simmons moved to nominate Bill Shelby to the Executive Committee and was seconded by Sam Kindred.

Holly Hanson moved to nominate Joe Bjorkman to the Executive Committee and was seconded by Guy Fisher.

Carol Young moved to nominate Will Young to the Executive Committee and was seconded by Molly Yankus.

All three motions were entertained at once and passed unanimously. It was explained the new members would be sworn in at the following meeting.

David Simmons informed the committee the scholarship fund is held in the party maintenance budget line and expressed it was an excellent way to get young people involved in the party. He stated there were four members on the committee and many excellent candidates come forward every year. He stated the committee would be requesting FAFSA information to help identify the biggest need.

It was expressed that many young people work as activists but have no affiliation with the party, a sentiment with which Mr. Simmons agreed, stating he wished the scholarship could be given to high school juniors to encourage their participation in their senior year.

A question was raised regarding the Young Dems Committee and Chair Watkins stated the committee was looking for new leadership.

Don Swartwout addressed the attendees on behalf of the Communications Committee and stated he was hoping to find someone to help with Instagram and TikTok. He asked the committee to send news items for the party website.

Linda Diamond addressed the attendees on behalf of the Development Committee, stating they were working on a list of who has given to the party and Don would be sending out a reminder the following day. She explained members can donate on the website or with a paper form. She added that 2022 saw a 50% donation rate from members. This committee is planning a showing of the film “Rigged” at the Strand Theatre to raise funds.

Bill Shelby addressed the committee on behalf of Mike Kabler. Mr. Shelby informed the committee the Big Walnut region had analyzed the 2022 election results and found that 91% of Big Walnut Democrats voted. He stated the region was committed to identifying Democrats to run for school board and they talked about holding social events to discuss what could be done about gerrymandering.

Joyce Bourgault addressed the group on behalf of the Buckeye Valley region, stating they reviewed precinct statistics and found the independent vote made a large difference.

Guy Fisher spoke on behalf of Delaware City, stating a meeting would be held at 2:00 p.m. on February 12 at his home. He added that the region was discussing event planning for First Friday and the fair and that volunteers are needed.

Heather Karr spoke on behalf of the Dublin/Liberty/Powell region and stated a meeting would be held the following Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at her home to discuss the election results and plan a path forward.

Holly Hanson spoke on behalf of the Orange Township region, stating the group meets every first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 and a new meeting space was needed.

A discussion was held regarding the leadership within the library system. It was encouraged that the committee support libraries through levies and by writing letters to the editor of the Delaware Gazette.

It was noted that recurring donations may need to be set up again on ActBlue.

Holly Hanson introduced John Yoder and explained that, after the meeting, he would be presenting to the committee his analysis of the 2022 general election results.

Finding no further business, James Sipek moved to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by Tony Yankus. The meeting adjourned at 8:35.

Respectfully submitted,

Corey McCaffery,