Party Elections 2012-2016 Term As a direct result of statewide grassroots work to recruit new members to be candidates for party leadership positions, a number of new faces were elected for the 2012-2016 term and emerged as leaders. A diverse group of women, legislators, GLBT, and labor interests coalesced in a successful drive to elect the first woman to lead the Louisiana Democratic Party as chair, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson.
Locally, a number of notable new faces joined the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee including housing advocate James Perry who was elected 2nd Vice Chair. Most of the LaRoots team won a second term, including Megan, Alan, and Deborah Langhoff, who was again the first place finisher among 29 candidates in District A, elected to return as 1st Vice Chair, with James Gray as Chair. Deborah also returned to the Democratic State Central Committee, this time as an unopposed candidate, to serve a second term. Upon the election of DNC Committeewoman Karen Carter Peterson as the first woman to lead the Louisiana Democratic Party, Deborah was elected to serve as the state's new DNC Committeewoman by 99 of 143 members present.
Party Building continues... Eat, Drink, Organize! On Saturday November 5, 2011 recruitment for party seats for the 2012-2016 term continues among those who are already engaged in grassroots politics. Sponsored by the Independent Women's Organization, a brunch was held at English Turn Country Club for a panel discussion about the Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee. IWO members heard from activists of the State Democratic Party. The moderator of the discussion was Deborah Langhoff, Vice-Chair OPDEC and member of the State Central Committee. Panelists included Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson and James A Gray II, Chairman of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee.
In District 94... A number of LaRoots-supported candidates were elected to the Democratic State Central Committee in 2008, including District 94 representatives Phil Costa and Deborah Langhoff, who overcame an incumbent state officeholder to win her seat with 72% of the vote.
Orleans election results from February 9, 2008 showed LaRoots candidate Deborah Langhoff 1st among 14 successful candidates, with Megan Langhoff 4th, Alan Langhoff 8th, and eight other candidates from the LaRoots reform ticket among the 14 elected members from District A.
In District B, four neighborhood leaders were elected for the first time. Grassroots activism led to significant changes in the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Commiittee by moving neighborhood advocates from a post-Katrina environment into the political spectrum. For the 2008-2012 term, the first new Chair in 16 years, Chair James Gray, and new 1st Vice Chair Deborah Langhoff were unanimously elected to lead the committee, and by April 2008, Alan Langhoff created OPDEC's first website, making the DPEC's membership and its by-laws transparent to the public.
President Barack Obama...On a summer day in 2007 then-Senator Obama asked to meet with a small group of New Orleans neighborhood leaders to learn why the recovery was so slow. Because the LaRoots e-bulletin, a direct involvement in neighborhood recovery issues, and a campaign for the state legislature, Deborah Langhoff (red shirt) was invited to join in the hour long meeting. (Also pictured are NAACP leader Denatus King and Pam Deshiell from the Holy Cross neighborhood.
Especially noteworthy was his opening comment, "I understand that you expect to hear from me this afternoon, but you're here so that I can hear from you." He pulled up a chair and began asking questions. Many months later, Obama's Tulane speech revealed his understanding that community organizing and grassroots knowledge are cornerstones of policy-making.
"Rebuilding the Democratic Party"...a day-long workshop in Lafayette on January 12, 2007, followed the first grassroots convention in New Orleans in 2005, "Beaucoup Blues," and it was organized by Beaucoup Blues participants Mike Stagg in Lafayette, Vicki Lancaster in Baton Rouge and Deborah Langhoff in New Orleans. The identified need to fill Party seats with committed democrats was the focus of this event at the Clifton Chenier Center Auditorium, and panel topics included: