Looking Back...and Looking Ahead

Last year was a time of transition for Progressive Democrats of America. We began 2015 still mourning the loss of our Founder, Tim Carpenter. We were working to launch our non-profit sister organization, People Demanding Action with Andrea Miller at the helm.

With the loss of Tim, it was clear that we needed new structure. We selected a Board of Directors to guide our organization going forward. Yours truly, Conor Boylan, accepted appointment as Board President. Judy Hess signed on as Vice President, and Randy Shannon was selected as Secretary. Continuing her fiscal responsibilities, Kimberly Buchan will serve as Treasurer. Three At-Large Directors—Mimi Kennedy, Michael Lighty, and Dan O’Neal—also joined the Board.

All of these names should be familiar to the PDA family. They’ve all agreed to help build our organization with the advice and guidance of the Winslow Group and our National Advisory Board. Our new Board makes PDA better able to make plans, raise funds, and create alliances with other organizations.

In Tim Carpenter’s final campaign, he directed PDA to launch our “Run Bernie Run” campaign in 2013 to convince Senator Sanders to run for President as a Democrat. We organized feverishly across the USA to build support for Bernie throughout 2014. At the first anniversary of Tim’s passing in late April, Bernie fulfilled Tim’s dream by announcing that he would formally announce his candidacy.

PDA's Run Bernie Run Event in LA

Yours Truly with Donna Smith

On March 29, 2015, we had our biggest event for Bernie, at the Musicians’ Union in Los Angeles. We were later told that this LA event helped Bernie decide to run. He shared this information backstage at his Bill Maher show appearance in June. So whenever you see Bernie Sanders speaking, and watch the issues he champions become part of our national conversation, think about Tim Carpenter and PDA.

After the official Sanders 2016 campaign launch, our “Run Bernie Run” campaign evolved into “We Want Bernie.” We created a new website: WeWantBernie.org and held organizing calls. We opened offices for the We Want Bernie Campaign: some on our own as in Arizona, and some with National Nurses United (NNU) and California Nurses Association (CNA) in California and Florida. We held hundreds of We Want Bernie events all over the country, including house parties, fund raisers, and more. 

This is key: PDA has been instrumental laying groundwork to help elect Bernie since 2013. We’re independent from the official campaign, and conscientiously avoid coordination or interference. So whenever the official Bernie Campaign moves into a state, we step back and refocus elsewhere. Thanks to all who are helping with the We Want Bernie Campaign. We look forward to much more work to elect Bernie in 2016!

As I look ahead to 2016, my life too is changing, and family business responsibilities must take a front seat. For that reason, I will be stepping aside and resigning as PDA’s Executive Director. I am delighted to report that the first official act of the Board of Directors has been to nominate Donna Smith as my successor, effective January 4, 2016. To ensure a smooth transition, I will remain on staff to assist Donna from January through early March.

Donna has been “PDA family” for many years, and worked hand in hand with Tim Carpenter. She, along with Representative John Conyers, has been the National Co-Chair of our Healthcare NOT Warfare Campaign, and a long-time member of the Winslow Group.  Donna is well known to all of us! She has a long list of accomplishments preceding her featured role in Michael Moore’s documentary film, SickO.Since then, along with her involvement with PDA, Donna was the National single-payer organizer and political advocate for NNU/CNA and the National Nurses Organizing Committee from February of 2008 to January of 2013.

Most recently, Donna has been the Executive Director, responsible for all administrative functions and public outreach, of Health Care for All Colorado/Health Care for All Colorado Foundation.

We are very fortunate to have Donna Smith join the PDA staff as our Executive Director and warmly welcome her! And so another year in PDA comes to a close.  In some ways it has been the most rewarding year for me as I worked with many of you more closely. Tim, my mentor and dear friend, will always be in my thoughts, making this transition all the more bittersweet.

In solidarity,

Conor Boylan, President
Progressive Democrats of America

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Progressive Democrats of America

The democratic wing of the Democratic Party