The Guilford Democratic Town Committee (DTC) is an elected body that represents the Town’s registered Democrats. As such, it is responsible for identifying, endorsing, and helping to elect Democratic candidates at the local, state, and federal levels. The DTC also actively promotes citizen participation in the political process and provides information to raise residents’ awareness of opportunities and issues facing the Town. In supporting the election of Democrats to public office, the DTC identifies and recommends qualified individuals to serve on the Town’s elected and volunteer boards and commissions. It works as well to promote responsive municipal and political leadership. During election cycles, the DTC publicizes its candidates’ positions on critical Town issues, organizes Get Out the Vote (GOTV) activities, and encourages new voter registration. Help make Guilford better by joining the DTC. All Democrats are welcome at monthly DTC meetings.
Regular meetings are held at 7:30pm on the third Thursday of the month. Meetings usually take place in the Community Center at 32 Church Street, but they may be at Democratic headquarters during campaign season. Special Meetings may also be called by the Chair or by a written request from a third of the members. DTC meetings keep members well informed by means of
- local State legislators’ reports
- Town officials’ reports
- DTC committee reports
- member discussions
- occasional guest speakers
The DTC Chair presides over the meeting and follows an agenda. Prepared by the Chair with input from the Executive Committee and DTC members, the usual agenda includes approval of past minutes and reports by DTC officers and elected as well as appointed officials. Both old and new business may also be discussed. The agenda and minutes of the previous meeting are delivered electronically to members before each meeting; copies are also available at the meeting itself. A quorum of two-fifths of the membership is required to officially conduct business. For more information about meeting procedures, see Parliamentary Procedure.
State Party Rules, adopted by the Democratic State Central Committee, determine which provisions must be included in a Town Committee’s Local Rules. In full compliance with those rules and relevant State statutes, the Guilford DTC Local Rules (By-Laws) have been filed with the Town, the Secretary of State, and the Democratic State Central Committee. Our By-Laws establish the organization and operation of the Town Committee. They specify the duties of DTC officers and outline procedures for
- endorsing and nominating candidates for municipal office
- electing DTC members
- electing convention delegates
- running a caucus
For summaries of such procedures, see Nomination Information.
- DTC Chair, Veronica Wallace
- DTC Vice-Chair, Meghan Forgione
- DTC Deputy Treasurer, Joshua Hershmann
- DTC Secretary, Tara Hunt Melvin
Campaign Management & Election Strategy Committee, Steve Kops, Chair
The Democratic election campaign process in Guilford is managed by this committee which also organizes volunteers and runs headquarters. An Election Strategy Subcommittee develops campaign strategy, produces campaign materials, and unifies the campaigns of all Democratic candidates.
Events Committee, Lisa Gant Kops, Chair
In addition to managing a sustaining donor base, this committee organizes fundraising events for campaigns and ongoing operations. It also sponsors DTC events (BBQs, dances, etc.) for members, families, and friends to enhance social relationships and energize the organization.
Nominating Committee, Rose Dostert, Chair
With input from the rest of the DTC, this committee seeks the best-qualified Guilford residents for local office. Meeting as needed, it interviews candidates by means of a process developed to insure that the DTC identifies and recommends the most fitting candidates for Town boards and commissions–elected and appointed. Since the character, qualifications, and political philosophy of those endorsed for elective office or recommended for appointment to Town bodies directly shapes what happens in Guilford, getting the best candidates for those positions is, in the final analysis, why the Democratic Town Committee exists.
Website & Public Information Committee
This committee maintains the DTC website and develops informational materials. It notifies Guilford Democrats of relevant Town issues and events, and clarifies both the DTC’s and the Town’s governmental procedures. It does so to encourage greater Democratic involvement in the political process and to expand the local Democratic base.
Town Committee members are the publicly elected representatives of all enrolled Democrats in the Town of Guilford. As of March 1, 2016, there are 70 people on the Guilford DTC. Locally registered Democrats are encouraged to contact the DTC Officers, Executive Committee members, or District Coordinators listed above, as well as any member they know with questions, comments, and recommendations.
- Participate in all scheduled DTC meetings
- Serve on a DTC committee
- Explore issues to clarify policy and campaign positions
- Recruit qualified candidates for the DTC and for Town offices, boards, and commissions
- Help with Democratic election campaign activities
- Attend campaign fundraising and promotional events
- Contribute financially to ongoing DTC operations
Democrats who request DTC membership are given an application packet that includes Responsibilities of Membership and a Skills & Interests Survey. After returning the forms to the Membership Committee Chair, applicants are interviewed by one or more committee members. To encourage a broadly representative committee, the DTC considers potential members in terms of demographic diversity, voting district, and likely contribution of skills, interests, and experience. DTC members serve two-year terms. They are generally elected at a caucus of registered Guilford Democrats that is held in even-numbered years. Along with the terms of caucus-elected members, the terms of members elected at intervening DTC meetings end at the biannual caucus. In preparing for the caucus, all DTC members who wish to remain active are asked to sign the Responsibilities of Membership form. Existing members’ level of participation is considered in establishing the slate of DTC nominees. The Membership Committee Chair informs new members when they have been elected, appoints mentors who accompany them to their first DTC meeting, and sends each an orientation packet.
The Nominating Committee Made up of DTC members appointed by the DTC Chair, the Nominating Committee meets as needed to interview candidates for Guilford’s boards and commissions–elected and appointed. (See Boards & Commissions.) Currently, the Committee includes
- Rose Dostert, Chair
Appointments & Bare Majority Rule There are two kinds of openings (seats) on appointed boards and commissions: regular and alternate. A regular member participates in discussions and votes on items that come before the board or commission. Regular members are expected to attend all regular and special meetings. An alternate may take part in the discussion but only votes in the absence of a regular member. Alternate members are expected to attend as many regular and special meetings as possible. The method for making appointments to Guilford’s boards and commissions is determined by Town Charter. The Charter stipulates that no more than a bare majority of members of a board or commission may be registered members of the same political party. Boards and commissions generally have an odd number of seats, which means that one party has one member more than half the total number of officials. The remaining members are either from another party or are unaffiliated with any party. The majority party on a given board or commission typically depends on which party controls the Board of Selectmen at the time an appointment is made.
Candidates for Appointed Positions Openings for appointed board and commission seats are posted under Vacant Seats as well as on the Town website. They are also listed in the local papers. Though registered Guilford voters may apply directly to the Board of Selectmen for appointment, the procedure usually begins with the DTC or its Republican counterpart. Interested Democrats or unaffiliated voters should apply to the Chair of the DTC Nominating Committee who oversees an application process developed to insure that the DTC identifies and recommends the most qualified candidates for Town boards and commissions. There are three steps to the process. In the first step, applicants for open seats submit a Board/Commission Application. They are then interviewed by the Nominating Committee and questioned about their qualifications, experience, and interests. After the interview, a vote is taken. When an applicant receives a majority of committee votes, the Chair recommends her or him to the DTC at its next meeting. In the second step, the DTC considers the applicant, provided there is a quorum. If approved by a majority vote, she or he will be recommended to the Board of Selectman for appointment. In the third step, the Board of Selectmen appoints the candidate to office when he or she gets more than half their votes. Should the candidate fail to get a majority, however, the Selectmen may appoint another candidate or table the recommendation. When the selectmen appoint a candidate to office, they notify the Town Clerk who swears in the appointee at Town Hall. The appointee then takes a seat at the next board or commission meeting.
Candidates for Elected Boards Prior to Guilford’s municipal caucuses held in odd-numbered years, those interested in seeking Democratic endorsement as candidates for Guilford’s elected boards should formally apply to the Chair of the DTC Nominating Committee using the Board/Commission Application. For more information, see Democratic Caucuses.
Candidates for the DTC Democratic Town Committee members are elected at a biannual caucus at which any Guilford Democrat may place a name in nomination for an available seat. When there is no primary, DTC members take their seats at the March meeting, at which time they also elect DTC officers. During the interim between caucuses, the names of applicants who have been interviewed by the Membership Committee may be proposed to fill empty seats. Such interim nominations take place at regular DTC meetings, provided there is a quorum and the nomination has been scheduled on the agenda. For details about becoming a DTC member, see Membership Information.
Convention Delegates Convention delegates are selected at a spring caucus held in even-numbered years. The caucus chooses delegates to Connecticut Democratic conventions for state and/or federal officials. Conventions for state officials include those for Governor, State Assembly Senator, State Assembly Representatives, and constitutional officers. Conventions for federal officials include those for US Senators and US Representative. Delegates are nominated from the floor and the entire caucus selects delegates for each of the conventions. Generally, nominees need simply be registered Guilford Democrats. But since Guilford has two State Assembly districts for the House of Representatives, delegates for each representative’s convention must be registered in the appropriate district to qualify. The caucus votes for each delegate and, if there are no primary challenges, caucus-chosen delegates can attend their respective conventions.
Democratic Caucuses Caucuses are official meetings open to all registered Guilford Democrats–not just members of the DTC. State statute and the Democratic State Central Committee establish the timing of caucuses, which determine party endorsement of candidates for municipal office, DTC membership, and convention delegates. Guilford’s three biannual Democratic caucuses are held wherever there is available space.
- Candidates for municipal office are selected at a July caucus held in odd-numbered years.
- Town Committee members are elected at a January caucus in even-numbered years.
- Convention delegates are selected at a spring caucus held in even-numbered years.
Candidates endorsed by caucus for municipal office are considered party-nominated for such office if no opposing candidates file for a primary. And those endorsed as DTC members or convention delegates are effectively elected to such positions, provided no other candidates seek a primary.
Term Limits Officers of the DTC are elected to two-year terms. DTC subcommittees and their chairs serve at the pleasure of the Chair, so term limits do not apply. Appointees to Guilford’s boards and commissions may serve two consecutive four-year terms on the same board or commission. Members of elected boards have no term limits.
DTC meetings and caucuses, as well as Guilford’s board and commission meetings, follow parliamentary procedure using Robert’s Rules of Order. Meetings are presided over by a Chair and business is advanced when a member proposes (makes) a motion, which then must be seconded by another member. Once a second has been made, the Chair invites discussion. A member who has been recognized by the Chair and is speaking about the motion has the floor until his or her comments are completed at which time the Chair will recognize the next speaker, and so forth. A point of information may be raised at any time to get clarification on a process or a particular motion. It is granted automatically. A point of order, raised to question whether the process is following parliamentary procedure, is only granted at the discretion of the Chair. Following discussion, the Chair will call the question and put the motion to a vote by all members in attendance. Typically, a simple majority is sufficient to approve (carry) most motions; however, a two-thirds majority vote by those in attendance is required to amend DTC by-laws. Alternatively, once seconded, motions may be tabled for later consideration. They may also be withdrawn after some discussion or they may be amended prior to a vote. When necessary, previous votes may be negated by a motion to rescind.
Basic Motion Guidelines The list below outlines the most common parliamentary motions used in Town Committee meetings. For concise PDF Guidelines, download a Chart of Parliamentary Motions.
- Make a Motion
- As a formal proposal for group consideration, a motion focuses discussion on a specific topic and helps clarify the decision-making process.
- Second a Motion
- A motion requires a second to show that at least two people think it merits consideration. Without a second, the motion cannot be discussed.
- Amend a Motion
- A seconded motion can be amended. Any suggested change must relate to the motion being discussed and needs to be seconded. Once seconded and approved, the group votes on the amendment and works back to the main motion.
- Divide a Motion
- To consider a motion point by point, say I request the motion be divided as follows ____. Debate and voting take place on each point, one at a time, if the Chair agrees to division.
- Table a Motion
- To temporarily suspend consideration of a motion so that more urgent business can be addressed, say I move to lay the motion to ____ on the table. Neither debatable nor amendable, tabling a motion requires a vote.
- Postpone or Stifle a Motion
- To suspend a motion until a particular time, say I move to postpone the motion to ____ until ____. To thwart passage of a motion, say I move to postpone the motion to ____ indefinitely. Both types of postponement are debatable, amendable, and require a vote.
- Withdraw a Motion
- If you made a motion and want to withdraw it, say so and that’s it unless discussion has already begun. Then your motion can only be withdrawn by a motion to permit withdrawal which (1) requires a second, (2) is neither debatable nor amenable, and (3) requires a majority vote. If no one objects, a motion may be withdrawn at any time.