Thursday, May 19, 2016

Response from Tod A. Martin, 15th Ward Democratic Committeeman Candidate

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

The ward committeeman and committeewoman positions are the most locally-elected representatives of the Democratic Party. In that position, I believe the committeeman should work to increase voter education and turn-out in the 15th ward, to increase voter participation in the ward organization, to foster and build a strong and vibrant open ward organization that can serve as a model for other wards seeking to engage their voters in the democratic process, to energize and empower members of the ward organization to work effectively on behalf of our endorsed candidates, to represent the interests of Democratic voters in the 15th ward, to work with other wards to elect committeepeople committed to an open ward structure, and to hold our elected officials accountable to the electorate.

Over the past 15 years, I have worked in several capacities in Democratic politics – as a full-time volunteer for Alderwoman Krewson’s campaign for President of the Board of Aldermen in 2002, as a staffer on the 2002 Coordinated Campaign, as Campaign Manager and as part of a team supporting 8 aldermen running for election in 2003, as a finance staffer, Finance Director and Campaign Manager for Mayor Slay in 2003-05, as Campaign Director for Claire McCaskill in 2005-2006, and as Missouri Political Director and Deputy State Director for Obama for America (OFA) in 2008. In addition, I have worked on the government/service side as Deputy Chief of Staff and State Director for Sen. McCaskill since 2007.

2. What accomplishments are you most proud of from your tenure in this position so far?

Since serving as a co-founder of the 15th Ward Democrats in December 2000, I have been pleased to see the ward organization flourish. From a small group of approximately 10 people initially focused on an aldermanic election to the group we have today, the 15th Ward Democrats organization has become one that is a vibrant and active partner in Democratic politics. In fact, the level of activity that we see in today’s ward organization outpaces almost every other ward in the City! This transformation has occurred due to the hard work of the organization’s membership and leadership. In addition, our ward organization serves as a model for open ward organizations. I am most often reminded of the organization’s success when I hear from individuals in other wards who wish to set up a similar organization in their own wards. 

In addition, due to the hard work of the organization, we have seen tangible results including a steady increase in voter registration and turn-out in the ward that has outpaced almost all other wards and the City average. 

Finally, the ward organization is known and trusted within the community. I am always pleased to see our voters carrying to the polls the literature we have dropped at their doors listing our endorsements. And, our endorsed issues and candidates often fare better in our ward than in almost any other. I attribute this to the reputation that we have all built for the 15th Ward Democrats and the outreach activities we have carried out over the years

3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

All St. Louis elected officials—and, in fact, all St. Louisans—must continue to address the issues that hold our neighborhood and our city back – declining population, problems within our educational system, economic disparity, crime, and prejudice just to name a few. With respect to the specific office and the ward, we should continue to set ever more aggressive goals for our ward, our organization and our party. Through active participation in our neighborhood and our political system, we must strive to build an organization that supports and elects leaders who will work with us to tackle these issues.

As we move forward, we must continue focusing on increasing our active membership, increasing voter registration and turn-out percentages, increasing utilization of online resources and social media to build the 15th Ward Democrats, growing the ward organization’s fundraising budget so we can continue to help our endorsed candidates and issues financially as well as through our feet on the street outreach efforts and endorsements, and so much more. There is a lot of work yet to be done, but I know we have the people and passion to get there.

4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

I will continue working with our membership, leaders in our neighborhood, our neighbors and friends, as well as city, state and federal elected officials to address the issues affecting our region. I strive to listen well, work with others, formulate actionable plans and follow through on them. I am open to alternate viewpoints and disagreement and work to earn the respect of the people I work with and for. I believe those qualities help me to work well with others to achieve success.

5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Do you have a policy on accepting lobbyist gifts? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

I have neither solicited nor received any campaign contributions for my election.

I do not accept gifts from lobbyists.

I would consider each contribution on a case-by-case basis and would not accept contributions from right-wing ideologues, among others.

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