Thursday, April 3, 2008

Henry Vandermeir

Henry Vandermeir is the current President of the California Democratic Council, although I got to know him when he had just taken over as the President of the Big Bear Democratic Club and I was just starting in as the President of the Mojave Desert Democratic Club. We exchanged memberships in each others clubs and we served together as delegates to the San Bernardino County Democratic Central Committee. At that time we came up with the idea of having a County wide council of club presidents which met monthly and allowed club presidents to exchange ideas.

The California Democratic Council (often called "the CDC") is the statewide association of Democratic Clubs and County Committees. Founded in 1952 by a group of great Democrats, including Alan Cranston, to win back political control of the state from Republicans, CDC supported the growth of California's modern Democratic club system. CDC was a driving force behind the state's development as a Democratic stronghold in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Although other states have Democratic clubs, the CDC is the only organization of its kind in the United States.

Click here to see CDC's stance on current issues.

At its height, the CDC coordinated hundreds of Democratic clubs in every corner of the state with many thousands of members. In some years, the CDC's conventions were attended by as many as 1,800 delegates. The effectiveness of the CDC as a party-building institution was officially recognized by Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and many other leading national figures. Among CDC's past presidents were former US Senator Alan Cranston, former State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton and legendary Los Angeles activist Quincy Beaver. We now have a new group of dynamic leaders, led by Henry Vandermeir, who has worked tirelessly to ensure CDC is ready to step forward to face the challenges ahead.

The CDC provides a powerful forum for local Democratic clubs to communicate with one another and forward a statewide progressive agenda. We support clubs and Democratic County Committees by providing training, operational best practices guidance, and a variety of services to help clubs and county committees grow and prosper. In addition, we are primarily responsible for fostering the growth and development of geographically focused Democratic clubs. Our President serves on the executive board of the California Democratic Party and appoints three delegates to the CDP convention each year.

The Republicans have used a 25 year plan to turn this country in the wrong direction. Now the California Democratic Council has a plan to help take back our government - one that starts locally and builds outward. The CDC intends to broaden California's Democratic base from the ground up by strengthening local grassroots Democratic activity. To accomplish this extraordinarily important task, we intend to transform our operations from a completely volunteer organization to a professional association with full-time staff and round-the-clock outreach. We will work with county committees to launch 100 new Democratic clubs across the state. And we will make sure that every club and county committee has the ability to attract energetic leaders who can help ensure that Democrats consistently beat Republicans in every election for every office, from local School Boards and Neighborhood Councils to Governor.

If you are interested in helping us rebuild the progressive Democratic base in California and beyond, please join your local Democratic Club or County Committee, which can be found using the club search feature that appears on practically every page on this site, including this one. If no club exists in your city or town, contact us and we will help you launch one. Also, please consider joining our new Member-at-Large Division and/or making a generous donation.

As we embark on this huge endeavor, the California Democratic Council thanks you for your commitment, your efforts, and your support. For more information, please feel free to e-mail us, contact your local CDC officer, or call us at 1-800-446-9709.

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