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A PROVEN RECORD. After managing a state party for 10 years— and leading the Association of State Democratic Chairs for eight—Ray Buckley understands what it will take to strengthen state and local Democratic committees.

Under Ray’s consistently state—in no strength of committees.

Ray understands that elections are won through the work of volunteers in towns and cities across the country—not by consultants in Washington.

Ray believes the DNC can’t just focus on winning the White House: we need to win thousands of state, county, and local races across our country.

Ray didn’t discover the importance of grassroots organizing in 2016—it’s been his life’s work. His bold, detailed 15-point plan to reinvigorate state parties reflects this commitment to our grassroots.

Ray will be more than just a full-time chair, never using his position as a step stool to higher office. He’ll be committed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to leading, reforming, and growing the Democratic Party—just as he’s been his entire life.


leadership, Democrats have won elections in a purple small part because of the the state party and local















Presently, the State Party Partnership program (SPP) has shrunk precipitously in scope and reliability. State Parties have been left hoping that their funds are not subjected to cuts. We cannot allow this to continue. The DNC must provide a guaranteed base of $10,000 per month to every state party, including DC, the territories and Democrats Abroad, for the entire fouryear cycle. There would be a DNC staff person assigned to serve as the organizer/point of contact for the five territories.

We have some of the best and brightest operatives that come up in our state parties. We need to make sure they are armed with the skill set to maintain our party and execute our campaigns. To that end, each year the DNC will host an intensive weeklong training program for up to four staff members per state at no cost to the state parties. Additional staff may be included at a cost to the state party.


Executive Director turnover is one of the top obstacles to creating successful, stable state parties: the average ED stays only 18 months. We need to do more to attract and keep top quality ED’s for the entire fouryear cycle—and longer. As Chair, Ray would ensure the DNC establishes an incentive program that would supplement existing salaries of state EDs with an escalating incentive over a four-year period.

Every state needs a different kind of support, whether it’s for a critical municipal election, a constituencyoutreach program, or a new voter registration drive. All too often, state parties are left balancing critical administrative expenses with these special projects. Under Ray’s leadership, the DNC would provide up to $15,000 per month for state specific projects or programs, which could be renewed on an annual basis.


Ray’s goal would be to provide an additional $10,000 per year for 2017, $20,000 per year for 2018, $30,000 per year for 2019, and $40,000 for 2020. The $40,000 would continue for the length of their employment. Even with this incentive, most ED’s in 2020 would still be paid less than many campaign managers and coordinated campaign directors.




As the party of health care for all Americans, we must provide all employees with the health coverage they need. We should explore innovative measures that support the efforts of state parties to provide quality health care coverage to their staff. As the party of workers’ rights, we must provide our long-term staff who spend their lives working for the DNC, state parties, campaigns or affiliated groups with the ability to have retirement security. We should commit to the creation of a unified 401(k) plan for staff of the DNC, state parties, and affiliated organizations. This would allow staff to retain the same retirement plan when transferring to a new job within the Democratic family of organizations and retire with dignity.

More than one state party does not have a state office, while others are in a cramped or unworkable space. All state parties would benefit from financial aid for their state office. We also need to have a permanent presence in the field. Watching our field offices shuttered after Election Day is hard, especially knowing Democrats’ presence in a community is critical for our long-term success. We should utilize the DNC’s newly authorized building fund (which can accept money outside of DNC limits and restrictions) to lease every state party headquarters and rent it back at a reduced rate, as well as to open a local office or community center in every congressional district, allowing for year-round political organizing and community development.



Democrats have made unbelievable technological leaps in the past 10 years. Much of that has come with ebbs and flows of presidential campaigns and their focus on such tools. We need to turn the DNC into the technological hub with a suite of innovative technological tools that are available to all Democratic campaigns at the most basic levels. The national committee should also devote resources to opening a satellite office in Silicon Valley so as to widen our strategic advantage by utilizing the wealth of resources, ingenuity, and human capital from the world's most cutting edge technology companies. The DNC must be a leader in efforts to make our technological tools stronger, more secure, and sustainable for the future—and we can achieve that goal with smarter investment and staff devotion.

JFA’s with the DNC will be prohibited in any contested primaries. Individual state parties' ability to commit to a joint fundraising agreement will be decided by the state party and cannot be taken advantage of by the DNC or a candidate. All JFA’s would specify that the DNC and state parties retain control of funds raised in their name. Terms and conditions of the distribution of the funds will clearly state an allocated set amount to cover administrative expenses and supplement instate, state party-driven campaign activity.


9. OUR SURROGATES The DNC would commit to a minimum of one top surrogate per year to each state party for a fundraising event with the confidence that we could do ever more once the program is formally established. As Chair, Ray would ensure that we have a full time surrogate and scheduling team to work with elected officials and state parties year round.

10. VOTER FILE COOPERATIVE The DNC must commit to continue the relationship with the National Voter File Cooperative and encourage its success as a revenue stream for state parties. It is a proven source of funds for state parties and needs to be protected by the next Chair.

11. DNC TRANSFERS All too often funds that could be spent on community organizing and direct voter contact are wasted. As Chair, Ray would ensure that the DNC would not transfer money to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA), or any other entity for television ads. DNC funds will only be used for constituency engagement, field programs, voter protection and GOTV purposes.




Since 2013, the Association of State Democratic Chairs has been the hub for state party training. Under Ray’s guidance, the ASDC has implemented a variety of programs—from staff and party leader training to activist workshops. This must grow for us to foster a new generation of Democratic grassroots activists. As Chair, Ray would expand funding for the ASDC training program to include a team of four on-theroad staff to provide in-state trainings for state, county and local organizations.

We cannot abandon our core constituencies during this time of party reorganization. Ray would make sure that each constituency caucus has a permanent desk with responsibilities to staff the caucus, develop aggressive outreach programs and work with state parties to build state organizations as well.

13. VOTING RIGHTS At present, we have been underprepared to deal with the sweeping efforts of our opponents to suppress Democratic votes. State parties have long been building their own voter protection practices, but we need the DNC to be in a place to support and aggressively grow our efforts. The DNC voter protection department must have increased staff to support voter registration and protection and to strengthen the redistricting efforts of the DNC and state parties.


15. DNC STAFF ENGAGEMENT Success in our states does not originate in Washington, DC, and our staff needs to better understand that and incorporate that understanding into their daily work. To that end, all DNC staff should spend 10 days per year working out of a state party office to better understand the work of a state party.

A PLAN FOR REFORM Millions of Democratic voters were turned off by the 2016 presidential nomination process. We need those voters if we’re going to be successful in 2018 and beyond. Before we address how to build a stronger ground game or improve our message, we must first clean our own house and take a fresh look at our national convention and nominating process. WE MUST: •

Remove the scheduling and criteria for the DNCsponsored presidential debates and forums from the Chair’s sole prerogative. •

Work with the Unity Commission and encourage them to reform the superdelegate process so each state’s delegation reflects the vote in their Primary or Caucus.

Work with the Unity Commission and encourage them to create a model presidential caucus system. •

Remove the fundraising policy of the DNC from the Chair’s sole prerogative. •

The debate process should be decided by the diverse and representative DNC Executive Committee.

The model system should allow for greater voter participation and easier understanding of the process.

The policy should be decided by the diverse and representative DNC Executive Committee. I would push to ban any Joint Fundraising Agreement (JFA) between the DNC and a Presidential candidate in a contested Primary.

Host a national mid-term Democratic conversation featuring a diversity of elected officials and party leaders in order to showcase their leadership while providing activists an opportunity to network, share their talents, and learn new skills.

Enforce strict neutrality for the staff and officers of the DNC in nominating contests.

Task the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee with including trainings, discussion groups, and networking opportunities.

In both 2008 and 2016, NH Democratic Party staff followed my lead and remained neutral and fair to all presidential primary candidates.


THE NEW DNC We must better include members of the DNC in decision making and show greater respect for the time, talent, and energy they contribute. To be a more effective national committee, the DNC must share info and responsibilities with its members and value their interaction. Here are the reforms Ray will implement to create a more inclusive, transparent, and accountable DNC operation: DNC OFFICERS


DNC officers will be able to overrule any decision of the DNC Chair by unanimous vote.

The DNC Executive Committee will receive a quarterly financial, operational, and political report.

Officers will receive a monthly financial, operational, and political report.

Officers will approve any bank loans.

The DNC Executive Committee will receive a quarterly updated staff list that includes contact info and job descriptions.

Officers will approve all transfers of over $1,000,000.

Officers will approve all DNC staff hires with salaries over $100,000.

DNC senior staff will appear before the Executive Committee quarterly to provide in-depth reports on their programs and departments.

Officers will approve all DNC contracts of over $100,000.

The DNC fundraising policy will be adopted by the DNC Executive Committee.

Officers will stay through the conclusion of every DNC meeting for the DNC membership’s “soap box” open forum, giving any DNC member up to five minutes to talk on any subject.

Democratic presidential debate schedules and criteria will be approved by the DNC Executive Committee.




DNC members will receive annual financial, operational, and political reports.

DNC staff must always reflect the full diversity of the Democratic Party.

We will refashion DNC meetings and caucuses to be more interactive, giving the diverse members of our party the opportunity to fully participate.

DNC HR policies must be enforced to fully protect our employees.

DNC constituency and regional caucuses will have a permanent DNC staff member.

The DNC must have conflict-of-interest clauses for contracts and hiring.

DNC constituency and regional caucuses will create biannual action plans for interacting with state parties and national organizations, if applicable.

The DNC should participate in an open bidding process for contracts, when practical.

DNC contractors must better reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party.

DNC standing committees will reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party.



ABOUT RAY Raymond Buckley is currently serving in his fifth term as Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. First elected President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs in 2009, Ray also serves as a Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He is the first openly gay DNC Vice-Chair or ASDC President. Buckley began his official political career as a teenage organizer for Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign. Elected County Chair at age 18, he has since worked for the Democratic Party at the local, state, and national levels in nearly every capacity. In addition, Buckley has served in elected office, representing the largely blue-collar mill city of Manchester both as a city alderman and during his eight terms in the NH House of Representatives. He has been a lead recruiter and trainer of NH legislative candidates for over three decades, making important strides in electing women, youth, labor members, and people of color to office.

Buckley was elected Chair of the NHDP in March 2007, and has overseen the most dramatic record of Democratic victories in NH history, including bucking national tides in 2014 and 2016. Since March of 1999, Buckley has been a member of the DNC. He has been elected two terms as Chair of the DNC Eastern Region and is a member of the DNC LGBT Caucus. Since 2001, he has served on the DNC Executive Committee and has been a member of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee since 2009. Buckley was a founding member of the NH Citizens Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Rights in 1985. He served on the boards of the New Hampshire Pride Committee and the National Stonewall Democrats. He has received many awards for his lifetime of work for equality and diversity on the state and national levels.




Ray for DNC - Ray's Plan  
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