Confessions of a Future Politician: Part 2

I’m the New Chair? / My Mother, the Democrat

Year 7 Week 9

The seven of us met in Ed Broncher’s house for our first meeting of the new executive committee.

In the last amendment to our constitution, we put in a set of rules for electing our officers. The preamble to those rules was “If consensus is not reached . . . .”. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to get to those rules.

Ed had been around the TDG almost as long as I have. He is highly respected and served as membership chair for three years. He also chaired Northeast’s founding and its first executive committee. To me, it seemed natural that he move into the chair.

So when it was brought up, he said, “I don’t think I’m the best person for this job. First, we are still dealing with some membership issues with the merging of Southeast and Central. There was some confusion in those voting stations. I think I’m in the best position to fix it. Second, Aiden Boychuk and I have been working with a software developer from Chicago to build a membership database for the TDG. I would like to finish that job. Then we could turn that software to other TDGs.”

Veronica Sanchez asked, “Are we paying that developer?”

“No,” said Ed, “He is a TDG supporter and doing this for free. He plans on turning this project into open source coding so other TDGs can enhance if needed.”

“Maybe you had better stay in membership,” said Veronica. I think Ed purposely talked himself away from the job of chair.

“So we need to replace Holger,” said Pete Williams. “What should be the qualifications?”

Things were muttered around the table: TDG experience, leadership, public speaking, commitment. Smiles and eyes started being cast in my direction. I was becoming the consensus.

“No way,” I said, “I have little experience in chairing meetings.”

“You watched Holger for the past six years. You must have learned something,” said Ed.

“And I worked with you when you chaired the finance committee this past two years,” said Pete.

So there I was: 29 years old, African-American, and a woman. I was the apparent leader of USA’s most advanced TDG.

As the meeting moved on with me as chair and selecting the other officers, discussion come around to our future activities.

“I think we need to have a party,” I suggested.

When I was 13, my mother decided to run for public office. She got a sabbatical from her work for six weeks to run for the Democratic primary for the state legislature. She was gone every evening and all weekends. My father and I were holding the house together, but I had to forego some extracurricular school activites to watch my two younger sisters. And there were times our family appeared on stage to showcase my mother as a viable contender. I kind of enjoyed that spotlight. My mother lost the primary, and life returned to normal.

Two years later, she tried the Democrat primaries again. This time, her employer would not allow a sabbatical. She had to either quit her position or go part-time to three shifts a week. She worked on her campaign under that three-shift restricition. Again, I was put in charge of Georgina and Abby, and my outside activities were put on hold.

During an event to showcase my mother’s family, I was in a stall in the women’s washroom. Two women walked in:

“I can’t believe Willimena’s still working while on the campaign.”

“Yeah, she really needs to put her family and work on hold. Politics needs 70 or more hours a week.”

“What’ll happen if she wins the primary? Will she give the election her full effort?”

“She’ll only be letting the party down if she can’t get her political priorities straight.”

My mother lost that primary as well. Because of union rules, it took about six months for her to regain full-time employment at the hospital. She promised us that she wouldn’t run again.

The Party seemed to appreciate my mother’s willingness to put herself up as a candidate twice. After that, she got higher positions within the Party that required meetings around the state. But they were usually scheduled such that Mother could make arrangements at work and for our busy family life. Mom enjoyed being in the political backrooms.

My father was content with his smaller role in the Party. Maybe one or two meetings a month, usually in Riverbend. But he was busy around elections, organizing volunteers to help the Democrat candidate win.

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Dave Volek

Dave Volek

Dave Volek is the inventor of “Tiered Democratic Governance”. Let’s get rid of all political parties! Visit http://www.tiereddemocraticgovernance.org/tdg.php