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Letters: The end of the Worley, Reed era of the ADP is near

Nancy Worley

The Alabama Democratic Party leadership should probably just stop checking the mailbox. 

Over the weekend, the ADP, which has been on the receiving end of several harsh letters from the Democratic National Committee of late, received two more devastating letters. 

The first came from a group of young, African American Democrats — all members of the Alabama Young Democrats — who wrote to ADP chairwoman Nancy Worley to say they’re fed up with being under-represented on the State Democratic Executive Committee. 

The second came from the DNC, again — this one from chairman Tom Perez. He wrote to let Worley know that the national party wouldn’t be recognizing anything that went down at the Oct. 12 meeting she called, but would instead recognize the bylaws and leadership elections set by the group of Democrats who called the Oct. 5 meeting. 

The first letter gave the DNC the grounds on which to act. The second letter was the act. 

That first letter, written by the young Dems, was perhaps the single most important occurrence in this fight since the DNC initially disqualified the 2018 elections of Worley and vice chair Randy Kelly. 

Because what the letter from the young Dems does is upend every argument Worley and Joe Reed and all of the old guard have ever made about this ongoing fight, and — AND — it provides undeniable legal support for the DNC to take action in Alabama. 

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Since the very beginning of this fight, Reed and Worley and others have attempted to turn it into a race war. Claiming that a disgruntled faction of white people, led by white Sen. Doug Jones, wanted to minimize the power of the black caucus and suppress the black vote within the party. 

It has always been a phony argument, but the young Dems’ letter exposes just how big of a fraud it is. 

First of all, the group backing change within the party has always been a diverse group, featuring a number of prominent black lawmakers and scores of black Democrats. I mean, Reps. Anthony Daniels, Napoleon Bracy and Chris England wrote the dang bylaws that were approved by the DNC and adopted at the Oct. 5 meeting. 

The idea that this was ever white people trying to take over the party was just silly. 

This group has always wanted the same thing: A 2019 Alabama Democratic Party that operates like a 2019 party by supporting candidates with adequate resources and generally serving as the guiding hand for Dems in the state. 

And one of the ways to do that is to ensure that the party gives equal voice to all members, regardless of race, sexual orientation, age or gender. 

One of the most under-represented groups in the State Democratic Executive Committee is youth. As their letter pointed out on Saturday, a full one-third of the Democratic vote in this state is people under 30. Yet, there are just three members under 30 on the 250-member SDEC. 

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That’s atrocious. 

And it’s one of the main reasons that the DNC is forcing change on the Alabama party. That’s important, because when this ordeal eventually winds up in front of a judge — as we all know it will — the DNC will have clear evidence that the ADP’s refusal to abide by the national bylaws was both in violation of those bylaws and also was limiting black voters in Alabama. Not the other way around. 

The new bylaws adopted by the breakaway group of Dems addresses that issue, while also leaving unchanged the representation of the SDEC’s black caucus. The formula for ensuring the SDEC has an appropriate number of black members does not change. 

But what will change is the addition of new diversity caucuses, which will add other minority voices to the SDEC, including youth, LGBTQ, Hispanic, Asian and others. Those members will be approved and seated for the first time at a Nov. 2 meeting, which DNC chair Perez approved in his letter to Worley. 

Perez’s letter essentially told Worley that there would be new leadership elections, under the new bylaws, on Nov. 2, and the results of those elections would be recognized by the DNC. 

That’s the first indication we’ve had of how the DNC plans to play this out. There were rumors last week that it might move to replace Worley and block meetings until the new diversity caucus members could be recruited. But Perez’s letter indicates that the DNC plans to roll with whatever happens at the Nov. 2 meeting. 

That will likely put new leadership in place — at least as far as the DNC is concerned — while the two sides battle things out in court. Which means there likely will be a new set of leaders heading up delegate selection for next summer’s National Conference. 

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The post-Worley/Reed era of the Alabama Democratic Party is within sight. 

Even if it’s happening one letter at a time.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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