People’s Alliance elects PAC coordinators for 2020 election cycle

At a membership meeting held on April 22 and attended by over 140 members of the People’s Alliance, the PA membership elected the following PA members to serve as PAC coordinators for the 2020 election cycle.

Nana Asante-Smith
Jeb Dennis
Tom Feltner
Tom Miller
Milo Pyne
Rochelle Sparko (2020 presidential election only)

Any current member of the People’s Alliance may stand for election to serve as a PAC coordinator, and additional PAC coordinators may be appointed to fill vacancies or to provide additional support to PA members during busy election cycles. For information on becoming a PAC coordinator, please contact the People’s Alliance PAC here.


Chief Justice Cheri Beasley to address People’s Alliance April 22

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley to address People’s Alliance April 22

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley will address members of the People’s Alliance and People’s Alliance PAC on Monday, April 22 at Motorco (723 Rigsbee Ave in Durham) at 6:30pm (doors open at 5:30).  Membership meetings of the People’s Alliance and People’s Alliance PAC will follow to consider changes to the PA bylaws and the rules governing PA PAC endorsement meetings (see below for details on the five proposed changes under consideration).  There will also be an election for PA PAC coordinators to serve two-year terms (through the 2020 election cycle).

RSVP for the meeting here.

About Chief Justice Cheri Beasley

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley began her 20-year judicial career as a District Court judge in Cumberland County, North Carolina in 1999.  After ten years of service, she was elected to serve as an Associate Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She was then appointed by Governor Perdue to fill the vacancy on the North Carolina Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson in 2012.  

In the Supreme Court’s 200-year history, Chief Justice Beasley is the eighth woman and only the second African-American woman to serve on the Court.  With her appointment by Governor Cooper in March 2019, Beasley became the first African-American woman to serve as Chief Justice of the state’s highest Court.

About the People’s Alliance and People’s Alliance PAC membership meetings

The People’s Alliance and the People’s Alliance PAC have reviewed the requirements for membership and voting in endorsement meetings and are proposing a series of changes that we believe will make the process fairer.  These changes are the result of over a year of conversations with people within and outside PA and were informed by the results of a survey completed by over 200 PA members. Read more about why we believe these changes are necessary and how they will affect the endorsement process here.

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People’s Alliance PAC is seeking interested PA members willing to serve as coordinators for 2019-2020 term

Coordinators are elected by People’s Alliance members to implement the priorities of the People’s Alliance through electoral politics.  While People’s Alliance PAC is a separate and independent organization, PAC coordinators must be members of PA in good standing and must be elected for two-year terms.  Experience in electoral politics is helpful but not required.

Duties include:  planning and executing election strategy; organizing endorsement meetings for approximately 500 People’s Alliance members; planning and serving on candidate interview committees, producing an endorsement mailer for over 40,000 Durham voters, managing and analyzing voter registration and election data, managing the PAC website, communicating with members and candidates about the endorsement process, and raising an annual PAC budget of $40-50,000 per cycle.  

Coordinators should be able to commit at least 10-15 hours per week, including a weekly in-person meeting.  Coordinators should also be available to provide frequent and timely responses to PAC-related emails from coordinators, the PA board, PA members, candidates, and elected officials.  Coordinators must be able to commit to supporting a fair and impartial endorsement process that gives new candidates and incumbents an equal chance at receiving the PA endorsement and not seek public office themselves during their two-year term.

Members should submit a short statement of interest here by April 9.


We are proposing changes to PA membership and the endorsement process

The strength of People’s Alliance PAC endorsements is the support of its members and their willingness to vote for, volunteer and contribute to the best qualified, progressive candidates standing for offices statewide and here in Durham.

Through the course of the past several election cycles, participation in the PA PAC endorsement process has increased.  For that we are thankful. Participating in an endorsement meeting demonstrates a strong commitment to Durham’s electoral process--meetings go long into the night and both recent and long-time members actively debate the merits of each and every race.  

With greater participation comes greater scrutiny of our process and practices, however.  We strive to create an endorsement process in which every candidate has the right to be heard and new candidates--emerging voices in our political process--can share their vision for Durham.  We also seek to ensure a process in which every member feels that their vote counts.

To that end, the People’s Alliance and the People’s Alliance PAC have reviewed the requirements for membership and voting in endorsement meetings and are proposing a series of changes that we believe will make the process fairer.  These changes are the result of over a year of conversations with people within and outside PA and were informed by the results of a survey completed by over 200 PA members.

The complete text of the proposals is available here. 

The People’s Alliance board of directors, which sets the requirements for membership, sets and collects dues, and manages volunteer opportunities proposes:

  1. Limiting members to persons, and excluding corporations, associations, and other organizations from membership - this limitation is consistent with previous interpretations of the PA membership rules, but we are proposing this change to make this limitation explicit in light of the Citizens United decision.
  2. Prohibiting a person from paying PA membership dues for another person - we are proposing this change to ensure that outside organizations do not fund new members for the sole purpose of influencing the outcome of PA elections and PA PAC endorsements.
  3. Prohibiting officers of the People’s Alliance board from personally endorsing candidates not endorsed by the People’s Alliance PAC  - while we encourage vigorous debate, we believe that the People’s Alliance membership should determine endorsements and that elected officers People’s Alliance board members and PA PAC coordinators should work to elect the candidates supported by the membership.  This amendment permits board officers and coordinators to take a leave of absence should they choose to personally endorse candidates not endorsed by the PA membership.

The People’s Alliance PAC, which determines which members can vote and sets the process by which endorsements are debated and determined proposes to:

  1. Set the membership requirement to vote in PA PAC elections at 60 days, from 30 days - We believe that a voting eligibility period of 60 days will better align voting eligibility with the candidate filing deadline, while not unfairly restrict eligibility for supporters of candidates that are challenging incumbents.  This proposed amendment does not restrict new members from speaking in favor or in opposition to any candidates regardless of the date they joined People’s Alliance.
  2. Prohibiting People’s Alliance PAC coordinators from personally endorsing candidates not endorsed by the People’s Alliance PAC  - while we encourage vigorous debate, we believe that the People’s Alliance membership should determine endorsements and that elected People’s Alliance board members and PA PAC coordinators should work to elect the candidates supported by the membership.  This amendment permits board members and coordinators to take a leave of absence should they choose to personally endorse candidates not endorsed by the PA membership.

We are not proposing changes to PA membership dues--we know that cost must not be a barrier to participation in our political process.  We are not proposing participation requirements--while we encourage every member to join an action team we know that many members’ time is limited and we all voice our aspirations for Durham in different ways.

Each of these changes listed above, if adopted by the membership, will help assure new members and long-time members alike that all candidates have an equal chance to seek and secure the PA endorsement.

The complete text of the proposals is available here. 

Each of the proposals will be considered, debated, and voted on separately by the membership at our meeting scheduled for April 22.  We believe these changes are necessary and will improve how we choose which candidates represent our progressive values while preserving what makes PA great--its members, who are willing to devote their time and energy to keeping Durham progressive.

We take great pride in coordinating and facilitating an endorsement process on behalf of the People’s Alliance that is organized, thorough, and effective, but we are not perfect; we embrace all opportunities for improvement.  We hope that you will continue to actively participate in these processes and provide us with feedback on how we can best serve the members of the People’s Alliance and Durham.


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