WHEREAS, Resolutions are extremely important to the Multnomah County Democratic Party;
WHEREAS, Resolutions can sometimes be confusing to those new to party politics;
WHEREAS, An explainer is probably in order, which starts right now;
(WHEREAS, Part 2 of this explainer can be found here;)
WHEREAS, Resolutions should be defined;
The official bylaws of the Multnomah County Democratic Party put it thusly:
A Resolution supports or opposes a concept, proposed or existing legislation, ballot initiative or petition, or a government policy which affects or might affect the citizens of Multnomah County.
Simply put, resolutions are official statements of political position by the Multnomah County Democratic Party (MCD), written and voted on by Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs). Resolutions are most frequently addressed to anyone who represents Multnomah County at the county, state and even national level, including both elected officials and internal party representatives.
While resolutions may seem symbolic, they serve a very important function. Multnomah is the most populous county in Oregon, represented by 18 State Representatives, 11 State Senators, three US Representatives, two US Senators and countless local elected officials. Resolutions delivered to their offices tell representatives that a large, active group of constituents have taken a position and are working together to make that policy. These positions can also influence the Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO), both directly (as Multnomah County has a lot of Democrats who participate in the DPO) and by providing potential models for Democrats in other counties, making it easier to stand together for shared values. They can have an impact far beyond the borders of Multnomah County and can help change the course of policy across the nation.
There’s a reason people can get so passionate about these things.
WHEREAS, Resolutions respond to the important issues of the day;
Resolutions can technically be about literally anything. That said, in the interest of being politically effective (and being able to end meetings before 2 am), there are norms, standards and best practices to determine what should and shouldn’t be handled by resolution. These standards have been codified by the MCD’s Platform, Resolution, Legislation Committee (PRLC), with the first guideline reading “Resolutions should be rare, actionable and regarding issues we feel strongly about.”
So what makes a topic appropriate for a resolution?
The first is timeliness and relevance. Strong resolutions are focused on unfolding issues and events that are currently affecting the residents of Multnomah County. They should be couched in the issue’s alignment with the platforms of the Democratic Party at the county, state and/or national level. They should also not be redundant with past county or state resolutions. One is enough, thanks.
There are also some topics which are generally considered inappropriate for the resolution format. While resolutions about bills or proposals in the state legislature are sometimes necessary and certainly timely, resolutions offering simple support or opposition to bills are generally discouraged. While there are rare exceptions, these kinds of statements are better handled via official letters, which are their own entire topic. Resolutions also shouldn’t be statements of general principle (which are handled by the party platform and need no immediate action), endorsements of outside organizations or statements taking positions in elections between Democrats (both of which are against the bylaws).
So, yes, your dog is very cute but your resolution declaring it the bestest labradoodle in the county is unlikely to pass and will probably annoy your fellow PCPs.
WHEREAS, Resolutions can be tabled to be discussed again at a later date;
So that’s what resolutions are. The second question is how they come to be.
Unfortunately, that second question is going to have to wait until part 2.