Bill Phillips - Candidate for Washington State Democratic Party Chair

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bill_phillips.jpgBill Phillips is focused like a laser on the importance of honing the right messages as a means of winning elections for Democrats.  He speaks as articulately as anyone on the national stage about how to do that.  This is the third of the four candidates running for Chair whom we have interviewed. 

Read on for the full interview.  Or check out our recent interviews with other candidates Greg Rodriguez and Kat Overman. Tomorrow we'll have our interview with incumbent Paul Berendt.

Q: What have you been doing to revitalize the Democratic Party in this state?

BP: I came to this state in 1993 after working in Democratic politics in Louisiana.  I was VP of the LSU College Democrats and then a statewide organizer for the College Democrats.  I learned how to take people out of the realm of spectator and move them into the realm of active participant. 

That's also where I learned about message.  In 1991 I defeated David Duke.  As Democrats, we struggled to get our message out.  We had to find something that worked to move our numbers against Duke but didn't violate our Democratic principles.

I moved to Washington State in 1993, was active in several campaigns and became Chair of the 21st

Legislative District in 2002. In that role I focused on building a bench of new leaders and developing messages that work.  Last year I was on the Snohomish County Steering Committee for the Gregoire campaign.

Q: How would you sum up what you did or learned?

BP: The focus has to be on 'message, message, message'.  We need a message that resonates in the entire state.  The Republicans have built up Red walls around our Blue Towers.  We've tried to build those towers higher but it doesn't always work.  In the 21st century we need to dismantle that Red wall. 

The Governor's race is an example.  It should not have been that close.  I know that the State Party could have done a better job of reaching out to Independents. 

Q: What would you do as State Chair?

BP: I would start by establishing a physical presence in Eastern Washington.  I would also take advantage of the new people who've just become involved, listening to them, valuing their opinions and their participation. 

I want us to focus on local races in the off-years and build a bench of Democrats on the school boards, in the city council, as mayors.

Then I want to make sure everyone is trained and has a role. We need really good PCO training.  We don't win without good PCO's.  I also want a paid Party representative at every meeting in the State; someone who will be there to listen and observe; someone who can call me at a moment's notice for a decision or opinion. 

Q:  Why should you be the Chair?

BP: First off, I'm a Vince Lombardi Democrat.  I believe that winning is everything.  Next,
being from Louisiana, I speak Southern.  I know how to communicate with the folks who aren't always with us.  And, I will be the most accessible, communicative Chair in state history.

Q:  How would you involve the other candidates if you win?

BP: If I win, I would like all of the other candidates involved.  I have roles in mind for each of them, things they would be really good at but I also want to hear from them of course.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Allen published on January 26, 2005 12:48 PM.

Greg Rodriguez - Candidate for Washington State Democratic Party Chair was the previous entry in this blog.

Kat Overman - Candidate for Washington State Democratic Party Chair is the next entry in this blog.

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