GADSDEN, Ala. – Rep. Craig Ford of Gadsden said the Alabama Democratic Party needs new leadership. Wednesday, the House Minority Leader wrote a letter urging Nancy Worley and Dr. Joe Reed to step down.
Nancy Worley is the Party Chairwoman and Dr. Joe Reed is the head of the State Democratic Executive Committee.
“I have chosen to not seek re-election as Minority Leader and, instead, shift my focus from the future of the Democratic Party to the future of our state. Likewise, I ask them to step aside and so that new leaders with an eye to the future can step up,” Ford wrote.
Dear Nancy and Joe,
While I am grateful to you for your many years of service to our state and the Alabama Democratic Party, I have become increasingly concerned about the state of our party and the direction in which we are heading. To put it bluntly, the Alabama Democratic Party is on life support, and the only hope we have of turning our situation around is if we make immediate and significant changes, including changes in leadership.
When voters across Alabama go to vote on November 8th, in most counties they will find few competitive elections on their ballots. While it is unrealistic to expect the Party to recruit candidates in every race, it is astonishing that the Party could not recruit a single candidate to run for any of the statewide offices other than U.S. Senate. Even most local races this year will be uncontested. How can Democrats offer an alternative to Republican leadership – let alone win any elections – if we don’t have candidates on the ballot?
It is also discouraging to see the declining state of so many of our local county Democratic Parties. There are certainly some counties where the local party is strong, but in many more the local Party is non-existent and maintains no public presence. As far as I can tell, it looks like some counties may not even have a local party.
The inability to recruit candidates and the decline of local parties is a sign of a failing party infrastructure – one that is failing because of neglect and mismanagement. Nearly a half-a-million voters in Alabama cast their ballots for a Democrat for statewide office in 2014, but because our Party’s leaders have failed to maintain a public presence, many Democrats still feel alienated and alone.
When the former Speaker of the House in the Alabama House of Representatives was convicted on 12 counts of felony corruption, you stayed silent.
When the highest-ranking judge in Alabama was removed from office – for the second time – for refusing to uphold his oath of office and abide by a federal court’s ruling, you said nothing.
The Republican Party’s presidential nominee has mocked a disabled person for his disability, insulted a gold star family, admitted he hasn’t paid income taxes in nearly twenty years, refereed to women as “dogs” and “fat pigs” and even suggested he can get away with sexually assaulting women because of his celebrity status, and I have still heard nothing from you.
It is a sad state of affairs when Republicans are more willing to publicly condemn the Republican presidential nominee than the leadership of the Democratic Party.
Where has our party’s leadership been while Republican leaders in Alabama were cutting educators,’ state employees’ and retirees’ pay?
Where was our party leadership while Democrats in the Legislature were fighting to pass a lottery in the special legislative session earlier this summer?
Why has our party leadership stayed silent while Republican leaders waste millions of tax dollars defending unconstitutional legislation they forced into law?
Where has our party leadership been while Republican leaders not only refused to expand Medicaid, but cut reimbursements for doctors and services for patients? Or when Republican leaders tried to close down state parks and drivers license offices?
The Democratic Party cannot afford to have leaders who continue to neglect the local parties, miss opportunities to present voters with our alternative to the Republican establishment and refuse to adapt to the changing world around them.
Democratic legislators and local elected leaders cannot carry the mantle for our party alone. And over the years, it has become abundantly clear that you are far more concerned with holding on to your own power within the party than you are with trying to win back the offices Democrats have lost.
As I weigh my options for 2018 and beyond, I have chosen not to serve as House Minority Leader for the next two years. My focus will be on the future of our state, and I will let new leaders step forward to focus on the future of our party.
With that said, both of you have served our party for many years, and I am grateful to you for your service. But now it is time for you to step aside, and I respectfully ask that you resign your leadership positions in the Alabama Democratic Party.
Rep. Craig Ford
House Minority Leader
House District 28
Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley responded Wednesday with her own strong words.
“While I am working hard each day as Democratic Party Chair to elect the most qualified, well-prepared, working family-focused president of the United States, some individuals seem to be spending their time studying the sexist, racist tactics of the Republican nominee,” Worley wrote. “Based on my experience in the classroom and in numerous volunteer leadership roles, I recognize people who are losing power, trying to blame anyone but themselves for losses, making excuses, grasping for headlines, etc. A recent comment against my Democratic Party leadership is a desperate attempt to grab a headline when one’s job as minority leader is on the line. While Craig has never called me or sat down or talked with me about his concerns, he attacks for attention when he should be working for our Democratic ticket.”