A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Q&A With Marcia de Braga

Here is the 4th Q&A with a candidate for the Nevada State Democratic Party leadership election on March 31st. More are to follow. You can find all Q&A on the top of the sidebar. Read why Marcia de Braga is running below:

You are running for 2nd Vice Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party. Why do you want to be a member of the State Party leadership?

I am running for the office of 2nd Vice Chair for two reasons: first, to effect change and second, to represent rural Nevada.

At present the State Democratic Party and the State Office are regarded as one unit. The general membership has little or no standing or control. Whoever runs the State Office calls the shots. While I realize that those Democrats who have been elected to the highest offices must have input, there still needs to be some autonomy that allows the members to function under the rules they have set for themselves; to plan and carry out various activities; and to work in the best interests of all Democratic candidates.

If we want to achieve state-wide party unity, we must resist unilateral decisions that are detrimental to the best interests of our party or our members. We have to greatly enhance communication; follow our own rules and get rid of the rules we can’t follow; treat all our members with respect; and fairly consider their ideas and issues. We must not be dictated to. We will disagree, discuss and debate, but in the end we try to achieve positions that give us the best chance of succeeding in increasing our membership and getting Democrats elected.

Because of population distribution, our state has been divided into Clark County, Washoe County and “the rest of the state.” State and National candidates are now beginning to recognize the importance and impact “the rest of the state” can have on political races. But, the State Party still does not include rural representation to the extent it should or look seriously at the campaign practices that work best in the rurals.

You are head of the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus. Several candidates, including Jack Carter and Jill Derby, put emphasis on a “rural strategy” during their campaigns last year. How do you think they did?

Both Derby and Carter did an excellent job. They both have rural roots and worked to understand the issues that were important in each individual area of the state they were campaigning in. They were very willing to listen to advice on how best to campaign in the rurals.

It is never easy for a Democrat to win office in rural Nevada. For the most part, they fear any idea they suspect as being liberal, without really understanding what the goal or mission of the Democratic Party is. Although global issues are important to rural folks, often they are more interested in finding out if candidates have good information on and plans to deal with issues that strike closer to home.

Both of these candidates seemed to “fit in” well wherever they went and—even though they didn’t win—they swayed many more voters than many previous candidates have.

You represented Churchill and White Pine Counties and parts of Eureka and Lander Counties in the State Assembly. What needs to be done to get more candidates elected in the rurals?

If you mean what needs to be done to get more Democrats elected in the rurals, it won’t be easy. In most places the party disparity is 2 to1 or greater.

First, the Democrats need to join and help fund the RNDC’s effort to establish a functioning central committee in every county of the state.

Democrats throughout the state must get involved in activities in their county, working for the common good and publicizing their activities.

They must put forth the effort to pave the way for candidates travelling in and near their area by setting up meetings, getting sign locations; providing contacts; distributing literature, walking door to door, and again getting as much publicity as possible for their efforts.

They must speak out on issues and get their opinions publicized—not only on global issues and those on which our views differ from Republicans, but on issues that affect our communities directly and prove that we are not the enemy but, rather, that we are working for them.

We must also set up educations forums that give out information on and encouragement to potential Democratic candidates.

What do you think of Howard Dean’s 50-State strategy in this respect?

I’m sceptical. His previous plan was to take Democratic campaigns to the grass roots level. This doesn’t raise millions; this doesn’t enlist big name lobbyists; and it doesn’t gain corporate or industry wide support. And, it didn’t happen.

In the rural areas of our country, there are Democrats who will work for candidates, but they need those candidates to come to their county or at least close to it. They will give great effort for a little inclusiveness.

The National Party needs to truly go to the grass roots with its plans and information; asking for the support; and, occasionally at least staging events and basing projects in those smaller communities.

Unfortunately, in politics as in most of life, one size doesn’t fit all. A strategy that works in big cities will be lost in those parts of the country where the cattle prices just dropped; there isn’t enough water to irrigate crops; the country hospital is facing closure; or the local mine has to shut down And, the reverse is true as well.

If they Democrats say their going to enlist the rank and file Democrats, that’s what they truly must do.

Will you support a presidential candidate ahead of the Nevada Caucus or do you intend to remain neutral?

If I’m elected to state office, I will abide by the rules which currently state that officers of the party cannot support any individual Democratic candidate in a primary race.

The RNDC will work to help make campaigning easier for all Democratic candidates.

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Blogger NV Mojo said...

I have always liked Marcia deBraga and feel she will be a good rep for Nevada Dems and for the rural Dem parties.

4:38 PM


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