July Newsletter

 Montana Progressive Democrats Newsletter

 July 2018




UPDATE: MtPD well represented at state Democratic platform convention

Montana Progressive Democrats advanced five planks at the Montana Democratic platform convention with some success. A summary of the convention can be found here. A special thank you to MtPD board members who attended and advanced progressive planks and ideas: Linda Gillison, Barb Merrifield and Sue Tarpey from Missoula; Andy Boyd, Bozeman; and Jennifer Merecki, Billings. We were joined by other progressives from around the state, many of them offering up like-minded planks. An informal get-together at the legendary Sip ‘n Dip followed Friday’s committee meetings.

The left wing of the possible

Former chair and a founding member of MtPD, Suzy Tarpey, had some thoughts on the convention.

“By not having a strong and gutsy platform, the MT Democratic Party is disenfranchising progressive Millennials, Democratic Socialists and environmentalists who otherwise might get involved in the Party. By pandering to the right we are losing the left. We could have a much larger base and be a stronger, united party.”

She then asked a strategic platform question, “What do Progressives need to do?” Pausing, she answered, “We need to have a stronger strategy that is planned well in advance of the next platform convention with like-minded Democrats across the state. We need to hone our talking points and get all Progressives and MtPD delegates using them. MtPD needs to do outreach, not just to the party, but to left-leaning organizations and groups.”

Suzy had a final question: “What are some other ideas we can use to push a progressive Democratic platform in MT?”

For that we turn to you, members and associates. What are your thoughts? Join our Facebook site and chime in: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1557345167904445/

By the way, the headline for this piece came from a New Yorker article on progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s big congressional primary win in New York City. It is credited to Michael Harrington, a founder of the Democratic Socialists of America and was used to sum up Ocasio-Cortez’s political policies: “the left wing of the possible.” I believe that reflects MtPD’s philosophy.   

MtPD Breakfast

Food Frenzy Café in Great Falls was packed for a breakfast hosted by Montana Progressive Democrats. It was an excellent prelude to Saturday’s state Democratic platform convention with about 35 in attendance. Congressional candidate Kathleen Williams spoke and responded well to a lengthy Q&A session. MtPD will continue to schedule events like this at political venues around Montana.


ICYMI – From the June newsletter:  

Thank you John Heenan; Now let’s get behind Kathleen Williams

John Heenan ran a superb campaign and Montana Progressive Democrats (MtPD) was proud to have endorsed him. That John lost by only 2000 votes out of nearly 112,000 cast in the primary election is a testament to how well a progressive message resonates with Montana voters.

But 2018 is The Year of the Woman and MtPD congratulates Kathleen Williams on her success. MtPD supports the continuing Williams’ campaign and we’ll be discussing how we can assist her in unseating Trump sycophant Greg Gianforte. Additional information will be forwarded to MtPD membership soon.

MtPD will also be advancing a progressive agenda that we’ll be impressing upon candidate Williams.


MtPD to endorse/donate to progressives in general election

We’ll be sending out a questionnaire to Democratic candidates, similar to the questionnaire we sent during the primary election, and we’ll be voting to endorse and donate to candidates that meet MtPD criteria.  The endorsement process is posted at the end of this newsletter. *


Gotta pay them dues

Your dues will go to outreach and building our base, advancing progressive policy, and to contributions – both monetary and membership actions – to progressive candidate campaigns. Here’s our ActBlue site. Do it today!



MtPD board members visited three Western Montana activist organizations: Mission Valley Rises in Ronan, Mineral County Democrats in Superior and Ravalli County Democrats in Hamilton.

These were mostly listening sessions to hear what these three fine groups were doing and to assist where MtPD could in their endeavors.

It’s exciting to see more rural communities organizing for progressive change. MtPD would be glad to meet with other organizations. Contact Pete Talbot: [email protected]   


*General Election Endorsement Process

The endorsement process starts with a progressive values questionnaire sent to the candidates. Membership then chooses to endorse/not endorse based on questionnaire responses. During primaries, more than one candidate can be endorsed or none at all. Endorsements are weighted on number of votes garnered from the membership, the candidate’s shared values with MTPD, campaign viability and candidate outreach to progressives.

The MTPD Executive Board will compile the information from candidates and membership, and finalize endorsement decisions.

The endorsed candidate is encouraged use MTPD's endorsement in campaign material, and MTPD will promote endorsed candidates in its communications.

Here’s the fine print:

Endorsement Policy

Montana Progressive Democrats may endorse in primary and general elections according to the following procedure.

  1. The Montana Progressive Democrats executive group shall submit a questionnaire to all candidates eligible for endorsement, and distribute the   answers to this questionnaire to current members.
  2. A supermajority of two-thirds of members voting in support of a candidate shall make that candidate eligible for endorsement by the Montana Progressive Democrats.

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