The duty of the Democratic Central Committee
This is in response to a recent letter to the editor titled “Dem central committee overstepped its bounds,” in the Feb. 24 edition of the Maryland Independent, concerning the Watershed Conservation District and the Charles County Democratic Central Committee’s vote on the matter.
First, I want to thank Mr. William Johnson for his perspective and encourage him to continue his interest in the Democratic Party by way of continued participation. I recently had the opportunity to address Mr. Johnson and several fellow democrats at a recent meeting in Cobb Island on this very issue. Mr. Johnson is correct that we do represent the Maryland Democratic Party in Charles County and that we are elected to our office by the very people that elect our county commissioners. I would like to, however, point out the inaccuracy in Mr. Johnson’s letter that we, the CCDCC, “exceeded our mandate.” The very purpose of a local central committee is to represent its respective party’s affiliated voters, fundraise, perform community outreach, coordinate volunteers, and, most importantly, finding candidates to run for elected offices. In addition, it is also the duty of the CCDCC to be in touch with local Democrats and their views.
Prior to the February CCDCC meeting, many members of the committee had attended different community events within Charles County. At these community events, citizens expressed their concerns about the current WCD. Many members of our community advised the WCD in its current form disenfranchised many people and businesses in the western portion of Charles County and, further, that only one political party was involved and in touch with the community on this issue. Members of the CCDCC felt that the committee should give the community an opportunity to speak on the issues and vote to A) recommend support for the current WCD, or B) support community members concerns with WCD.
In response to the community’s concerns, I contacted the Maryland State Democratic Party to ensure we were within our “mandate” to have a discussion and vote on the WCD. The Maryland State Democratic Party did, in fact, state that we were fully within our “mandate” to proceed with taking a position on this important issue within our community. Furthermore, as Democrats, we are committed to being involved in our communities. As a result, the CCDCC voted 11-2 to oppose the current WCD. This was an open, transparent and democratic process. Each member’s voice was heard and each member had a vote in the process.
As to Mr. Johnson’s reference to my personal motives during this process, I again will respectfully disagree. My duty as chair of the party is not to tell any member how they feel or how they should vote, but to facilitate a fair, transparent and law-abiding process. As stated by one of our current county commissioners, we must ensure that the process is transparent and legal no matter how each elected official votes. My motives are simple and heartfelt. We as elected leaders must be involved, invested, in touch and informed within our community. We must place the people of this community above the politics.
Gilbert “BJ” Bowling, La Plata The writer is the chairman of the Charles County Democratic Central Committee.