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Hoboken Democrats Make History

posted Jan 12, 2009, 4:01 PM by J. Maurer   [ updated Feb 23, 2009, 7:28 AM ]

HOBOKEN, New Jersey – February 17 – The members of the Hoboken Democratic Committee (HDC) have achieved two remarkable feats in the past few months: they generated a record-breaking 17,051 Democratic votes in the mile-square city on November 4th, an election-day turnout second only to Jersey City in Hudson County, and they voted unanimously to adopt the committee's first-ever bylaws on January 15th. 
"The turnout that we organized through our grassroots supporters was a real victory for the Democratic Party in Hoboken," said Ann Graham, Vice Chair of the HDC, adding,  "The adoption of our bylaws was another victory, representing real change in how we operate as a political party."  Graham stressed the fact that the bylaws prohibit the HDC from contributing money to candidates in local non-partisan races, such as for mayor, board of education and city council, which is a sharp departure from past practices.  In addition, officers of the HDC are prohibited from supporting, in their official capacity, individual candidates in local non-partisan races. 
Phil Cohen, the Chair of the Bylaws Subcommittee and Second Vice Chair of the HDC stated, "It is exciting that after two years of hard work, the Party has come together to unanimously pass a set of by-laws to govern our actions.  This much-needed reform will make the Hoboken Democratic Party a more transparent and effective organization."
Cohen pointed out that under the newly enacted bylaws, all fund-raising and disbursements will be handled in a democratic process by the Executive Committee and Finance Subcommittee, not just the chair and treasurer, and that the Party will focus its efforts on supporting Democratic candidates for state or federal office.  According to HDC Chairman Jeff Barnes, "the fundamental reforms articulated in the bylaws allow the Hoboken Democratic Committee to focus on what it should—promoting Democratic candidates in partisan races, just as we did so successfully in November."
According to Barnes, the success in turning out 17,051 Democratic votes in Hoboken in November (compared to 13,436 in 2004) was partly the result of "a whole new way of campaigning in Hoboken," built around the Obama campaign's mantra of empowering volunteer leaders. "I cut my teeth on the presidential primary as Hudson County co-chair of NJ for Obama, a grassroots, volunteer organization," said Barnes. "We carried that model right through the general election, with Jen Riggins, our local volunteer leader, occupying a place of honor in the headquarters, alongside paid Obama and Lautenberg campaign staffers and local Democratic elected officials."
Barnes sees the recently adopted bylaws and the committee's new style of general election campaign as part of a trend: "The process of adopting bylaws has been two years in the making, but I'd like to think it's no coincidence we successfully concluded the process during the time of Obama's election, with his emphasis on openness and accountability."
The Bylaws Subcommittee, headed by Cohen, was described by Barnes as "a real cross-section of the Hoboken Democratic Party."  The members included Ravi Bhalla, Gary Holtzman, Ernie Marmer, George Ortiz, Michele Russo, Bruce Padula as legal counsel, and Barnes as an ex-officio member. "It was a very professional process," said Barnes.
The By-Laws can be found on the HDC's new website,, created by committeeman Jason Maurer. The website also features news items related to the recent election and the HDC's current activities as well as announcements of upcoming events.
Contacts: Jeff Barnes, HDC Chair
Cell: 617-947-7199,
Ann Graham, HDC Vice Chair
Cell: 201-424-0485,
Phil Cohen, HDC Second Vice Chair and Bylaws Subcommittee Chair
Cell: 201-705-6357,
J. Maurer,
Feb 12, 2009, 5:16 PM