Last night, the elected members of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC) met in Orange to be sworn in for their new terms in office and select the officers of the Party’s Executive board for the next two years. The members were outnumbered by the audience in the packed Carpenter’s Union hall. The audience was there for the main event, the election of the first new DPOC Chairman in 12 years. Vying for the opportunity to succeed outgoing Chairman Frank Barbaro and lead the party were two talented leaders, Henry Vandermeir and Jeff LeTourneau.
Vandermeir won the coin toss and took the first shot at addressing the members on his plans for the future. He talked of his experience working up and down the state of California as leader of the California Democratic Council, as State Party club that he has grown from 4,000 to 20,000 members. Vandermeir talked about his two-year action plan to build the the party locally including announcing that he had already garnered commitments of $80,000 based upon that plan.
LeTourneau talked of his experience as a labor organizer and LGBT activist at the state-wide and local level; as well as his experience raising more than $2 million for the Elections Committee of the County of Orange, an LGBT PAC, during his 15 years in leadership roles with the organization. He spoke of his plans to build the party base through voter registration and leadership development.
Following the remarks of the candidates for the four Vice Chair positions, Treasurer, and Secretary, the members completed and submitted their blue ballots. When the counting was done, Henry Vandermeir was selected by the majority of members on a 36-21 vote.
While their election campaign was hard fought, both LeTourneau and Vandermeir vowed to work together to support the future growth of the party. They both thanked outgoing Chairman Frank Barbaro for his years of leadership, which was followed by a standing ovation for Barbaro.
Here is a link to a slide show of pictures from the meeting taken by our contributing photographer Lou Delgado.