DFMC Announces Board Candidates for 2017

The Board of DFMC would like to present to you the slate of candidates for the Board in 2017. We have 13 candidates for officer positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer as well as for the rest of the board of 12. We have one more candidates than we have positions available for the board and a contested election for the position of Chair. Each candidate was asked to submit information on their work background, political background and vision for the coming year for Democracy for Monroe County. These submissions are presented in alphabetical order starting with the officer candidates.

The Election is on January 19th, at 6:30 at the Monroe County Public Library room 1b. If you have managed to pay dues through the mail, through Act-Blue, or Pay-pal by January 1 if already a member, or by December 20th for new members then we will have a ballot for you at the January 19th meeting allowing you to vote in our elections.

Candidates are as follows:

Tom Duffy, Chair Candidate

Background (non-political non-activist):
Retired faculty: Cognitive Science and Educational Psychology Indiana University
Photographer (TomDuffyPhotography.com).

Background (political-activist).
Board member, Indiana Progressive PAC (2009-2010)
Board Member, DFMC (2015-2017)
Active in supporting Democratic candidates since 2000 (hosting ‘meet the candidate’, phone banking, door knocking, spending time in Ohio door knocking (only wish the Ohio effort occurred this year too.)
Active in the Indiana Coalition for Public Education
Member Progressive Faculty and Staff Caucus, IU

Goals for DFMC
Overall I would like to see DFMC become a more activist organization, engaging members in promoting progressive efforts.

In particular, I would like us to expand our reach beyond Monroe County to support progressives and progressive policies Statewide. Too often I see us preaching to the choir – so we feel good and learn something, but are not learning about the other sides nor finding ways to identify common ground related to problems we all (progressives and others) agree on. Therefore, I strongly believe that we need to be engaging other towns/counties in the State in an open way. I also think we should be holding some meetings in different neighborhood locations to discuss timely issues.

While there are many progressive initiatives for DFMC to actively engage, I would argue that we focus on two areas – leveling the political playing field and addressing the needs of workers. This could include work in support of Ending Citizens United, redistricting, support for unions, minimum wage initiatives, and supporting Public Education (fight vouchers, charters, and high stakes, multiple choice testing). For direct DFMC action on issues we should be looking to partner with other progressive groups to identify common agenda and strategy, e.g. Moral Majority and Indiana Progressive Liberals. Of course we cannot do everything – the Board and membership will determine the specific directions.

Chaim Julian, Chair Candidate

Election Day 2016 was a terrible day for America. We now face four years with a racist, misogynistic narcissist occupying the White House. To make matters worse, the Republicans still control both houses of Congress, and they are already plotting to destroy some of our most cherished legacies of our Party. Let us not forget, however, that here in Indiana, we will have a Mike Pence clone in the Governor’s Mansion who is backed up by a legislature that is controlled by a Republican supermajority in both houses, and they will gleefully continue Pence’s most destructive policies.

Just about every issue that we care about is going to come under assault by the Trump and Holcomb Administrations. We in Democracy For Monroe County, therefore, need to be ready to fight for them. This is why I, Chaim Julian, am declaring my candidacy for Chairman of our great organization. I have a proven record of leading DFMC in political action. During our very first few months of existence, we went into poor neighborhoods and registered people to vote, and during the following year we led the fight here in Monroe County against George Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security. During the fight for health care reform, we held a large rally in front of City Hall for a Public Option to be part of the reform. In 2010, we were the only organization in the entire state of Indiana to fight against Mitch Daniels’ property tax amendment to the State Constition.. Although that Amendment was victorious statewide, it was defeated here in Monroe County due in a large part to our efforts.

These are the kind of actions and much more that we will need to take on in the coming years, and I have the experience to successfully lead them. Therefore, I respectfully ask that you vote for me for Chair of DFMC at our Link-up on January 19.

Thank you,
Chaim Julian

Kaisa Goodman, Vice-Chair candidate unopposed

I am announcing my candidacy for Vice Chair of the board of Democracy for Monroe County. I’ve served on the board for most of 2016, most recently in the capacity of board Secretary.

I’ve been involved with progressive politics for most of my life, volunteering for my school referendum when I was in high school and for both the Obama campaigns. In this last election cycle, I served on the “Bloomington for Bernie” steering committee, worked with the official Bernie campaign, and volunteered for John Gregg and Glenda Ritz. While employed at Bloomingfoods, I was one of the primary union organizers, successfully working with many local, progressive organizations (including DFMC) and unions to garner community support for our effort. After we won our vote, I served on the negotiating committee for the initial contract, and later as a union steward with the UFCW Local 700. In 2015, I was Bloomington City Councilman Dave Rollo’s campaign manager. We ran an effective, low-budget, grassroots campaign against well-funded opposition, and he was successfully re-elected to the Council.

I’ve been on the board of the Eugene V. Debs foundation for the last three years, and a member of the organization for most of my life. Recently, I was appointed Vice Precinct Chair of Perry 26 for the Monroe County Democratic Party. I’m currently a member of the 2016-17 class of the Indiana Democratic Party Emerging Leaders Project, which serves to build the bench through leadership development, skill training, and political mentoring of young, politically involved persons.

My interpretation of our mission is to provide a platform for civil discussion of important issues that are facing our community and country, promote and work for progressive policy, and educate and inform voters. Educating voters on the issues and on who is (or isn’t) working in their best interests is crucial to our mission, and we cannot wait until the next election cycle to begin that work. In addition to community education and outreach, we need to better connect with local unions and other political organizations with which we have common goals. I also believe that we need to become a more activist organization, increasing our direct participation in political actions and turning our membership out for political protests and events. DFMC has an excellent, core group of members who come to most of our linkups. But to cause real change, we also need to diversify whom our message reaches. This may include holding linkups in different spaces, (making sure that the venue is accessible to persons of all ages and income levels,) reaching out to people who don’t usually attend our meetings, and doing outreach to areas outside of Bloomington.

Maryll Jones, Secretary candidate          unopposed

I am running for the position of DFMC board secretary.

I am a web application and reporting engineer by trade and would like to leverage those skills to help make DFMC a better, more efficient organization and believe I can do so effectively as board secretary.

As chair of the tech committee, I helped facilitate a process flow over the last year that has been effective in getting information to our members via the website and facebook page.

After serving a year as a board member, I have observed that DFMC needs to evolve. I would like to see more progressive action and outreach, particularly to surrounding areas so we aren’t just “preaching to the choir” with our Linkups. In addition, this year’s election was a shocking disaster and I feel the flaws in our endorsement process did not provide the desired result, leaving many seats unendorsed due to our bylaws requirements.

It would be my hope to be given the privilege of serving DFMC in the coming term to help move this organization forward with 2018, including help with strategizing and educating a more diverse demographic to increase awareness of progressive causes and hopefully help dissolve many of the misconceptions of what it means to be liberal or progressive.

Kevin Easton Treasurer Candidate          unopposed

My name is Kevin Easton and I am declaring my candidacy for Treasurer of DFMC. I have served in this role for most of the previous year and am excited by the opportunity to continue. I believe now more than ever it is important for progressive democrats to regroup and continue to present a united voice in Monroe County against the assaults on our beliefs we are likely to witness at both the state and federal levels. It starts locally. Locally, DFMC is as important as ever to be a voice for progressives. Even without an election to focus upon, issues such as job and wage growth, education, fair housing, homelessness, transportation, and water quality, to name a few, will all continue to be front and center in the coming year. DFMC can be a voice to ensure these issues are addressed. As treasurer, the most important responsibilities are the filing of financial reports, at which I have experience both personally and for DFMC, and maintaining the budget and monitoring ongoing funds, which I updated and streamlined in 2016. I hope to continue in this role

Terry Amsler, Board Candidate

I am running, for the first time, for a non-officer position on the Democracy for Monroe County Board and I ask that you consider my candidacy at this particularly important moment for DFMC, for our democratic principles and practices, and for progressive policies and politics both locally and statewide.

I’ll provide a few hopefully relevant points of personal background and then explain my interest in running for a Board position at this time. As I am fairly new to Bloomington, and am known to only a very few of you, I’ll say a bit more than might otherwise be necessary about my background.

I am a lifelong and progressive Democrat having first volunteered with the Eugene McCarthy campaign in 1968. I supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary last year and voted for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election. In terms of political philosophy, perhaps I can just say that I’ve been a supporter and reader of Dissent Magazine for many, many years.

I moved to Bloomington in 2013. I am mostly retired but teach, as an Adjunct Lecturer, a continuing course on public engagement and governance through the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. I was, most recently, the Program Director of the Institute for Local Government’s Public Engagement Program (in Sacramento CA) where I worked beginning in 2005 though my retirement in 2015 (working part-time after I moved to Bloomington). Prior to employment with the Institute, I was the Program Director of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Conflict Resolution funding area. Before that, I served as the Executive Director of both the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission and the Community Board Program (a community mediation program) in San Francisco. In my much younger days I owned a very small business in upstate New York.

I joined the DFMC more than two years ago and have attended many of the Link-ups. I’ve also sat in on two recent Board meetings as an interested observer. DFMC is an important organization locally and may be even more important now given recent Republican electoral gains.

I would bring no grand agenda to the Board if elected. At the most basic level, and especially given the political world we are living in, I wish to be involved in political work that is both useful and in sync with my own values as well as in service to progressive and democratic political means and ends. If elected to the Board, I would certainly support the values and purposes of the DFMC including its Link-ups and its support for progressive political participation, policies, candidates, and leadership development. I have been particularly impressed with the quality, timeliness and importance of many of the Link-ups.

At the same time, it seems to me that DFMC reaches too few residents in Monroe County and is too often talking mainly to itself. I wonder if the Board might work with members to grow membership and to bring more than the usual attendees to our Link-ups. This would likely require more targeted and proactive outreach and partnership development.

This may also be a good time to think about a somewhat broader public educational agenda for DFMC. There will be a number of contentious policy debates forthcoming at the local, regional, and state level that will have significant impacts on people living in Monroe County. Therefore I wonder if DFMC should make some effort to draft short, informative and accessible educational materials on some of these issues, perhaps working with academic, political, union and other partners to do so, that would be directed to people across the political spectrum and disseminated widely in the County, both online and in hard copy.

These are a few thoughts that come to mind. If any of this makes sense to you, please consider voting for me as a DFMC Board member. Thank you.

Rob Deppert, Board Candidate

Personal Experience: includes eleven years in sales management running four insurance sales agencies though both Western and Southern Financial Group, Universal American, and my own small company Senior Solutions.

Political Experience: Includes working fulltime for both a US Senatorial Campaign of JacK Wickes, Congressional Campaign of Frank McCloskey, Three and a half years as a Union Business Agent with Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees Local 12, two years as a Subcontractor organizer of Pew Charitable Trusts on renewable energy issues, three years as a full-time paid organizer with Indiana Coalition on Housing and Homeless Issues, three years as chair of Democracy for Monroe County, and finally I was chosen as an at-large Delegate to the Democratic National Convention by the Bernie Sanders Campaign.

As far as the direction of the organization, I am all for the organization becoming more action oriented group, and believe this year will be crucial in battling regressive changes favored by elected republicans. Our opposition has promised to roll back health care reform, are committed to public school privatization, and cutting Social Security and Medicare while massively lowering taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Thanks. I have prepared the following basic statement:

Manuel Diaz-Campos, Board Candidate

I am a Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at Indiana University, Bloomington. I have lived in Bloomington for 18 years and I have participated as a volunteer in several activities to help educational causes and those in need in our community. While I don’t have political experience as a member of an organization, the current political climate requires our participation to promote tolerance, acceptance, diversity and inclusion.

Thanks again for the opportunity,

Manuel Díaz-Campos
Professor and Interim Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Nic Sigler, Board Candidate

I am announcing my candidacy for the board of Democracy for Monroe County. I have always had an interest in local politics, but never quite knew where to start. This fall, I volunteered for the John Gregg and Glenda Ritz campaigns. That experience was great, but I wanted a more consistent way to be involved. After attending a few linkups, I realized the DFMC would be a great place to start.
I am currently in my third year at the Indiana University School of Social Work. While not directly related to politics, there is a lot of overlap. It was during one of my shadowing assignments, for a class called Human Services, that I realized how much more had to be done to help people in need. The person I shadowed did homeless outreach for Centerstone. It was great that he was able to do anything for them, but I ultimately felt like his job was merely a bandage for a gaping wound. The people I witnessed at the shelters I went to needed more than just charity, there needed to be some policy changes. I’m really interested in helping people at both the policy level and the hands-on level.
My intentions with this position would be to increase outreach for the DFMC. The few linkups I went to, while great, were sadly not as populated as I would have hoped. I want to increase our membership, as well as make DFMC’s presence more known in southern Indiana. I would like to get the organization more involved with the community and in political events such as protests, charity events, and meet-ups with other likeminded organizations.

Board Candidates with statements Include (with Chair Description):

Shawn Harris

Current board member and Bernie Sanders Campaign Activist

Martha Hilderbrand

Deputy City Clerk, District Delegate for Bernie Sanders Campaign to the DNC

John Lacny

AFSCME Organizer former SEIU Organizer and Researcher, Former DFMC Board Member and Bernie Sanders Campaign Activist

Dave Rollo

Bloomington City Council member and Environmental Activist

DFMC Elections and Membership Renewal

The election for the DFMC board and officers has been set for January 19, 6:30, at the Monroe County Library in Room 1b. Each eligible member in good standing and in attendance will receive a ballot with which to vote.

What constitutes a member in good standing? If you are currently a member for 2016, paying your dues by December 31st would keep you in good standing. If you are newly joining our group, you must complete enrollment and pay your 2017 dues by December 20th. This will satisfy the by-laws rule of having been in good standing for 30 days by the time of the election. Membership in the DFMC is year to year beginning January 1st and lasting until December 31st. Those paying prior to December 31, 2016 will be granted membership through December 31, 2017.

Instructions for paying dues:

Pay Dues

Complete by-laws can be found here:


Intentions to run for the board (including officer positions) must be submitted by midnight, December 31. Officer positions include: Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Chair and Vice Chair. The board consists of these four officers plus up to 8 additional board members for a total board of up to 12 members.

Anyone running for a board or officer position must also be a member in good standing at the time of election. Officers must have been members in good standing for one year (two for chair) at the time of election and otherwise meet all requirements as outlined in the by-laws.

As part of their candidate declaration, each candidate is requested to submit a written statement outlining: the direction you would like to see the organization take, your background, and your political experience. A comprehensive list of candidates along with their statements will be published January 1 or 2 on this Facebook page as well as the DFMC website.

If you have any questions or would like to declare your candidacy please contact current Chair Robert Deppert at robertdeppert@gmail.com or chair@democracyformonroecounty.org.

Thank You for your participation!

November LinkUp — The Affordable Care Act: A Progress Report


Wednesday, November 16 at 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Sweet Grass
405 W Patterson Dr, Bloomington, Indiana 47403

Its seems when you read about the Affordable Care Act, it is either lauded as the best thing to happen to healthcare since Medicare or an absolute disaster.

The first panelist is Dr. Rob Stone who leads a group of activists in Indiana called Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan. He is also an emergency room doctor. So he has some first hand knowledge of how healthcare reform has changed healthcare on the ground.

The second person is me. Rob Deppert. I have been certified as a health insurance broker since the first day that the Affordable Care Act has been availble. I realize that there are some pitfalls to putting yourself on a panel when you run an organization but, I have maintained a client base on these plans from the start, and would like to offer my perspective as someone who has been in the field, signing people up for coverage from day one of this program.

This meeting will take place we in the sperate bar area of Sweet Grass which will be reserved for us. Due to the venue, you must be 21 or older rule to attend this event. It will also be half price wine night!!! So come out and enjoy a night with your favorite progressives at the DFMC, have a glass of wine or beer, and some great food. See you there.

Sunday October 16. 2016: DFMC Picnic/Disc Golf Tournament

Due to some family emergencies, The DFMC has decided to push back the date of our picnic to October 16, from 2-5pm. We hope to have candidates available for a meet and greet and the event will have an Octoberfest theme. Rumor has it that Mike Drescher will be in attendance with authentic Lederhosen on. We will also be consulting a true expert of German Culture in the person of a certain German teacher affectionately referred to as Frau Deppert, in our planning.

Come join Bloomington’s favorite progressives at our picnic and Disc Golf Tournament at Karst Farm Park Shelter 3, from 2pm to 6pm. We will be featuring Disc Golf, a Euchre Tournament, Music (anyone and everyone is asked to bring an instrument) and food. We are seeking to put the Fun back into fundraiser.

Prices for the Picnic: $15/ Person $25/Couple, and Family Disc Golf Entry/ $10 and $5 Euchre Tournament
Bringing your own Musical instrument, its Free!


August Link Up – Movie “The Brainwashing of My Dad”

Come out to our August Link-up
Tuesday August 23, 6:30 to 9
The Brainwashing of My Dad
Join us for some free popcorn and snacks, as we present “The Brainwashing of My Dad”, a groundbreaking movie that chronicles the creation of the right wing media in America.

Democracy For America (our parent organization), has been promoting this movie, as important to understanding what is happening in America. We are providing popcorn and other drinks and snacks, and you are free to bring dinner with you.

About our Movie:

As filmmaker, Jen Senko, tries to understand the transformation of her father from a non political, life-long Democrat to an angry, right-wing fanatic, she uncovers the forces behind the media that changed him completely: a plan by Roger Ailes under Nixon for a media takeover by the GOP, The Powell Memo urging business leaders to influence institutions of public opinion, especially the universities, the media and the courts, and under Reagan, the dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine.

As her journey continues, we discover that her father is part of a much broader demographic, and that the story is one that affects us all.

Through interviews with media luminaries, cognitive linguists, grassroots activist groups such as: Noam Chomsky, Steve Rendall, Jeff Cohen, Eric Boehlert, George Lakoff, STOP RUSH, HearYourselfThink, Claire Conner and others, “Brainwashing” unravels the plan to shift the country to the Right over the last 30 years, largely through media manipulation. The result has lead to fewer voices, less diversity of opinion, massive intentional misinformation and greater division of our country.

This documentary will shine a light on how it happened (and is still happening) and lead to questions about who owns the airwaves, what rights we have as listeners/watchers and what responsibility does our government have to keep the airwaves truly fair, accurate and accountable to the truth.


July Link-up: Meet Bloomington’s Moms Demand Action

MomsDemandActionToday its Orlando, tomorrow who knows where next. We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country. Come meet the local activists that are emphatically saying “enough is enough”. How do we break the stranglehold of the NRA over our political process and enact common sense gun regulation? Let’s find out.

Please show up and hang out with Bloomington’s coolest progressive organization, Democracy for Monroe County, have a beer or wine, some food and learn about another important issue that faces our community and nation.

Thursday, July 14 at 6 AM – 8:30 AM
Bobby’s Colorado Steak House
1635 N College Ave, Bloomington, Indiana 47404

– RSVP and invite folks on Facebook.

– Get directions.

ALEC – Is this What Democracy is Supposed to Look Like??


Our topic for our June Link-up is The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Learn about this secretive organization, where corporations and politicians meet to create model legislation. Indiana politicians have dutifully brought us these corporate created laws such as, Indiana’s current school voucher law, right-to-work, RFRA, Stand Your ground Laws, and many more written not for the citizens of Indiana but, for and by, right wing corporate interests. ALEC’s National Conference is in Indianapolis on June 27th at the Indiana Convention Center. We will hear from Representative Mathew Pierce, and political organizer for planned protests, Emma Fletcher. We will here about planned protests, forums and other happenings leading up to the July meeting in Indy. So if you care about your rights as a worker, the access to good public education for your children, or the rights of our friends in the LGBT community, this is a must attend meeting.

Join us for this great link-up:
Thursday, June 9 at 6 PM – 9 PM
Bobby’s Colorado Steak House
1635 N College Ave, Bloomington, Indiana 47404

Meet the Challengers for the Indiana Statehouse

statehouseCome on down to the May DFMC link-up to Meet the Challengers for the Indiana Statehouse, Thursday at 6 PM – 8:30 PM at Bobby’s Colorado Steakhouse, 1635 N College Ave, Bloomington, Indiana 47404. The Democratic Party has some mighty walls to break down in this pivotal election season. We have invited the candidates in this area that are set to challenge to flip Republican seats to Democratic seats in Indiana Statehouse races.They will introduce themselves and we have asked them to discuss their strategy for winning these races. These candidates include: Penny Gitthens challenging Rep. Peggy Mayfield, and Bill Breeden challenging Rep. Bob Heaton. Chris Woods, who is challenging a non-incumbent, Christopher May, is also confirmed. These candidates are going to need every ounce of help that we can give them in this task. Come have a beer with us, or glass of wine, or water for that matter, and lets find some solutions to the embarrassment that is our Indiana Statehouse.

Feel free to RSVP and share at the Facebook version of this invite!

DFMC Endorses Huffman and Fawcett

Darcie Fawcett

After our Endorsement Committee made initial recommendations, and our entire membership was given the opportunity to vote for whom we would endorse, Democracy for Monroe County has given its endorsement to two candidates in local Democratic primary elections: James Hans Huffman for Monroe County Treasurer, and Darcie Fawcett for Monroe County Circuit Court 1.

Hans Huffman
Hans Huffman

After two rounds of voting (the first to reduce the field in each race to two candidates), solid majorities within our membership voted for these two fine candidates. Since other votes were very narrow, no other endorsements will be made, but we wish the best of luck to all of our Democratic candidates this Tuesday and beyond.