HCDP Chair: More than a Figurehead
BY KBAD board chair Diana Robinson
As we’re faced with an unfortunately divisive race for chair of the Hays County Democratic Party, let’s look at some of the many responsibilities the county chair has.
Some people think of the county party chair as someone who oversees monthly meetings of the precinct chairs and occasionally participates in parades and gatherings, but the position is so much more than that. The time it takes can be equivalent to that of a full-time job, but without pay and often without much appreciation for all the behind-the-scenes details. It is hard work.
To keep it simple, here’s a list of just some of the responsibilities of the county party chair. There are many other things that pop up daily that are difficult to quantify, but you get the gist of the wide-ranging and frequent activities that are required.
- Plan, schedule and conduct all meetings of the County Executive Committee (CEC)
- Attend State Executive Committee meetings, which are held four times a year all over the state
- Serve as required by Secretary of State statute as a member of the County Elections Commission
- Serve on all appointed committees, boards, task forces, and commissions as assigned by county officials
- Serve on the Hill Country Coalition of County Chairs, attend their monthly meetings, and host the meetings once or twice a year
Precinct Chairs, Committees and Clubs
- Seek precinct chairs to file and run for office
- Appoint precinct chairs to fill any vacancies that occur between the position’s two-year term
- Establish committees, appoint their members, and serve as ex-officio member
- Assist all clubs and members in as many ways as possible and serve as ex-officio member
Candidates and Delegates
- Post candidate filing deadlines
- Make filing forms available for candidates
- Accept filing forms and all required filing fees as applicable from candidates
- Work with all candidates and endeavor to offer monetary stipends and volunteers.
- Assign all Democratic election judges, alternates and clerks for all voting locations for all elections
- Determine volunteers for Early Voting Ballot Board, Signature Verification Board, and Central Count on election nights
- Organize teams of volunteers to do the work of canvassing in all its forms, phone banking, voter registration, and all types of get-out-the-vote efforts
- Schedule, plan, and conduct the County Convention two weeks following the primary election in even-numbered years.
- Conduct delegate selection to the Texas Democratic Party’s convention every two years
- Attend all required meetings at the TDP convention
- Oversee the election of national convention delegates from our county
- Schedule, plan, and organize the annual LBJ Birthday event along with a committee chair and teams of volunteers.
- Contact all candidates to make appearances
- Act as emcee
- Keep up with all changes and mandates from the Texas Democratic Party, the Secretary of State and the Texas Ethics Commission
- Submit all required reports on time to the Secretary of State and Texas Ethics Commission
- Maintain two bank accounts: one for the county party and the other as the primary account as required by state statute
- Manage the budget, and keep all financial records
- Conduct fundraisers an average of about three per year
- Respond every day to all phone calls, texts, emails, and letters in a timely manner
- Do interviews with reporters and news services
- Drive all over the county to attend meetings, parades, candidate meet and greets, forums, etc.
- Always serve as a cheerleader, inspiring and encouraging all volunteers and candidates in their efforts
- Uphold our Democratic principles in all endeavors
Above all else, the county party chair keeps us on track and supports our voter registration and education efforts and promotes get-out-the-vote endeavors all over the county. At the county level, we coordinate our efforts to be most impactful for keeping Hays County blue. And in 2020, this job is more important than ever and will require skill and experience to navigate the process. The Republicans saw what we did in 2018 and will be doing all they can to take back the county. We can’t let that happen.
For More Information
To learn more about what some statewide elected officials do, see the following videos from the League of Women Voters of Texas:
Texas Railroad Commissioner
Texas State Board of Education
Texas State Representatives
Volunteers Needed for:
- voter registration
- scouting locations for signs
- organizing social events
- reaching out to key groups (young people and Spanish-speaking people)
- writing postcards
- helping with data entry
Committee Members Needed for:
- NEW! scholarships
- NEW! endorsement procedures (exploratory)
- NEW! voter registration
- NEW! candidate development