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Phyllis Sheakes of Cass County and DFAGKC reports:

Since I was the only Missouri person present at the DNC American Majority Partnership Summit last week, I want to give you a few highlights of the three days in Las Vegas.

The first day was devoted entirely to the Women’s Political Caucus. The dynamic speakers all day were women. I cannot convey how powerful they were in their passion, message, and delivery, but  I can say the essence of the message is: All issues the Democratic Party cares deeply about are women’s issues. Since women make up more than half of all voters and heavily influence the rest, we need to be  stronger in our activism and organizing, plus run for office.  As the United States laws and practices affect people around the world, from family planning, to hunger relief, to war and genocide, we must be strong in standing for careful and caring laws and regulations.

On Friday, the African American, Hispanic, and LGBT Caucuses met separately to discuss issues particularly concerning their groups. I sat in on parts of the Hispanic and African American Caucuses. They were strong in their representation from other states and are especially interested in matters such as quality education, fair and considerate immigration, universal health care, and seamless integration into the Party.

We had a  very nice banquet at day’s end. Howard Dean introduced the guest speaker,
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie of the 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church. We had heard powerful speakers previously, but Bishop McKenzie was the epitome of powerful speaking. If you ever have the opportunity, she is worth traveling far to hear. She can raise any roof going. She certainly raised our enthusiasm for getting ourselves into the action and making a difference.

Saturday we heard Parag Mehta tell about the new VAN and plans for getting our Democratic Party better organized in all the states. I hoped that someone else from Missouri might have learned about this in other meetings, so we could be further along in getting it together than starting from scratch.

Governor Dean gave the keynote address at lunch.  One thing he said was that the DNC 50 State Strategy worked in 2006 to gain seats for Democrats at all levels. Now we have paid workers in all states and a newly invented VAN, we should have great tools to make more gains in 2008, including taking the presidency. The Governor had many supporters of his prior candidacy for president in the audience. We appreciated his mention of the ice and snow duty some of us did for him in Iowa, but he did not give us the afternoon off. We went back to work and practiced organizing a community precinct.

I think all who attended the summit are highly energized and ready to get busy.
If we do not have a working coalition of minority groups in the Democratic Party in Missouri. someone needs to put one together. If we have a structure going, we need to publish the message about who, where, and when so we can find the wheels to put our shoulders to. Let me add that Mark Jones is doing great work with his new daily message bulletins.

  Some states have a well organized structure already in place. Missouri is better than when I first tried to find a piece of the action, but, from my viewpoint, we are not as coordinated as we need to be to get the job done efficiently and perfectly. We need lots more organization from the top to the bottom to cover the blank spots and eliminate duplication. When we build one, it needs to be permanent so we do not have to re-do it every four years. Get ready everyone.

“WE ARE THE PEOPLE WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!”

Phyllis Sheaks
Cass County Democrat
Precinct Committeewoman and Captain
DFA Group Organizer