It was my honor to become the second chairman of the Reform Party National Committee to host three annual reviews of the party. I am grateful that the party membership has bestowed on me the privilege to lead them. I am also grateful for their support and hard work over the past year. There are however many things for us left to do, and I am proud to have the privilege to be involved.
2023 began as a tough year for the party. A lot of our core membership found themselves bogged down by personal issues, which led to a slow start to the year. Nearly all of our early annual year goals from January to March were delayed. It was a hard time for the party, and I wish that we were able to do more.
However we quickly rebounded. By April, work had begun for the 2023 Convention and we were capable of making 2023 a defining year. I need to give out a special thanks to the Platform and Rules committees. The Platform Committee was able to rebuild our entire platform for the first time since 1996. Starting from scratch, Rick Kasa, Sam Gibbons, Jim Bacon and Richard Walker led a sustained effort to build, what I believe, is the best centrist platform within the United States. It is possible to find a copy of this platform here.
The Reform Party bylaws have been a mess for as long as I remember. The issues within the bylaws were profound and all encompassing. A quick read through of the Rules and Regulations caused all of our members to have many questions. Among these questions were, but were not limited to: 1. How do we remove an officer that isn’t doing their job? 2. There are all of these officers and positions, but what are the defined responsibilities for these jobs? 3. What is the definition of a state affiliate? 4. What happens if a position is vacant? 5. What happens if the Chairman or the Executive Committee does not call the National Committee to meet for elections and reviews?
The above questions needed to be answered. I was originally elected as chair to deal with these issues, among many others. With the help of Shawn Storm, David Collision, Richard Walker and our friends from the Platform Committee (we really needed the extra help), we rewrote the Reform Party Rules and Regulations entirely. Though it is not perfect, and we have found a few tweaks to make in the 2024 convention, those issues are trivial. The current Rules and Regulations have lasting power.
The Reform Party is always in need of workers. The largest issue that we have is the lack of people willing to help. In politics, everyone is quick to say “We need to do this”, “We need to do that”, “I believe this”, but only a small percentage of those people are willing to put in the work to make their words a reality. Words only have meaning if there is action behind them. Our main goal in 2024 is recruitment, but in 2023 we made great strides in gaining core members. Over the past few months, the Reform Party has added two paid staffers (our first paid staffers in over twenty years). One of our staffers handles making daily social media posts on our social media platforms, which are subsidized with additional content by the executive committee, and a professional commissioned based fundraiser. The addition of these two professionals show how much strength the Reform Party is gaining.
Outside of these professional hires, the Reform Party has gained a lot of new members and are organizing new state affiliates. A few years ago, we added a new affiliate in Montana. It has since been accompanied by new affiliates in Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Our existing state affiliates have seen many new members join as well. This is the first time in many years that the Reform Party has seen real growth in membership.
To cap off the year, the Reform Party met in Baton Rouge in October of 2023. This meeting was the first in person meeting of the Reform Party since 2016. It was an outstanding success! We got a lot of work done, caught up with old friends and made new friends.
Despite early hurdles, we can call 2023 a successful year for the Reform Party National Committee!
In December of this year, with the agreement of the Executive Committee, I chose to change up the format of how the Reform Party does business. Instead of only reviewing the status of the party, we needed to set down a matrix in which to measure annual performance. It is one thing for a political party to ride the wind and say it did well, but working without a direction and goals will never break duopoly. We have set these goals for 2024:
1. Build Infrastructure – The Reform Party has a deficit in infrastructure. Though we have a daily social media presence as of September of 2023, we do not have a presentable website to drive traffic to. Our messy website needs to be rebuilt from scratch into a modern, visually appealing and easy to navigate design (if anyone wishes to help, we won’t turn you away). Our logo and slogan are old and in need of refresh. A primary need for the Reform Party is volunteers that have web design and graphic design skills, and we need to recruit people that can help in these endeavors.
We have experimented with podcast recording, but now need to bring that podcast to full fruition. We must find a permanent platform for our podcast and draw traffic to regular postings.
Modern advertising is based on content creation. The National Committee spent a long time talking about content production, and how to use different committees to create a variety of content.
2. Grow Core Membership – A political party’s lifeblood is its core members – the people that volunteer to do work and donate money are the only things that add value to a political organization. The Democratic and Republican Parties have issues with finding volunteers to handle day to day operations. The trouble of finding volunteers is worse for smaller parties, especially for parties such as the Reform Party, the Alliance Party, Libertarian Party, Constitution Party and Green Party. For anyone that wishes to get involved, at any political level – local, state or national, there are always opportunities. The Reform Party must make an effort to recruit, develop and maintain talent to fill its open roles.
3. Identify Donors and Build Recurring Donations – A political organization needs money to fund its operations. Though the addition of a professional fundraiser will help us, the Reform Party needs to set up a system of recurring donations from party members. Though the Reform Party does not require a member to donate an x amount of money to hold a position within the party – and frowns upon it, the party can create a system of rewards for people that donate different recurring amounts. The party can also do a better job of soliciting donations overall. This is a primary concern for the Reform Party in 2024.
4. Build Ballot Access and Identify Candidates – The Reform Party has gained five offices over the past three years, but it can do better. The Reform Party needs to identify states and local areas where it can gain ballot access for viable candidates. The Reform Party has limited time and funds. The party cannot spend its resources on nominal races that have little or no political impact. The Reform Party must find races where party members can win political offices, build foundations for future campaign victories, or have a positive influence in an area’s political conversations.
5. Improve Reaction Time – Historically, during my membership of the Reform Party, the Reform Party has maintained a slow reaction time to the events around it. The 2016 political nomination and 2020 presidential nominations are public reminders of how slow the Reform Party historically moved. Though we have a better reaction time now, the sluggishness hurts our organization. Studies show that organizations with fast reaction times improve their market share easily. A big hindrance to our reaction time is a deficit of manpower and having discussions we cannot act on. Both of these issues are on the table for improvement.
I believe that 2024 will be a good year for the Reform Party. With better assets in place at the start of 2024 than previous years, the Reform Party should be in a unique position to pick up market share. I would like to take my final moment to encourage everyone to join the Reform Party by emailing us at email@example.com, or if you are able, to send us a donation at https://reformparty.org/contribute-support.
I also want to mention that we plan to meet in-person, in 2024. We have chosen Charlotte, North Carolina as our meeting place. The details of the 2024 Convention will be made public soon.
Reform Party National Committee