Getting Started

Welcome to the Miami-Dade County Democratic Executive Committee!

Whether you are a longtime member, a new member, or just want to get more involved, the Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) is an organization that will allow you to play an important role in building the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade County. The purpose of this packet is to tell you about the DEC - what it does and how it operates. It also tells you how you can contribute to building the DEC and the Democratic Party.

The DEC helps people by electing Democrats!

The DEC is the governing body of the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade County. Its purpose is to build a strong Democratic Party in our County, for the purpose of electing Democratic candidates to offices at all levels. Here are some of the many activities the DEC engages in:

  • We provide a forum for the exchange of ideas among Democrats

  • We follow and support political issues of importance to Democrats

  • We recruit and train volunteers at the grassroots level

  • We register voters, to increase the number of Democrats in our County

  • We talk to voters on the phones and at the doors to persuade them to vote for Democratic candidates and support Democratic issues

  • We raise money for the Party and for Democratic candidates

  • We identify and support new leaders in the Democratic Party

  • And we supervise all Democratic Party matters throughout the County.

Who belongs to the DEC?

The DEC is a diverse organization, with members representing all sections of our community. There are many ways to become a member – the many categories of DEC membership ensure that almost everyone who wants to help can become a participant.

Here are the various categories of DEC Membership:

Precinct Representatives: The core of the DEC membership consists of ordinary citizens who care about Democratic ideals and the Democratic Party. Each of the 800 voting precincts in Miami-Dade County shall elect a male and female representative to the DEC. This election occurs during the primary in each Presidential election year. If there are vacancies, the Chair may make appointments to fill those seats. Precinct members serve for four years and their term expires immediately prior to the organizational meeting every four years.

At-Large Representatives: There are “at-large” appointments the DEC Chair can appoint. These members are subject to approval by the existing elected DEC membership. The goal is to ensure that there is accurate political, minority, and economic representation within the county. At-large terms are for one year only, and expire immediately prior to the organizational meeting every four years.

Democratic Elected Officials: All Democrats who are elected officials (other than judges) and who are elected countywide are automatic members. Also, Democratic elected officials from the municipalities may become members if they request that status, are nominated by the Chair, and are approved by the DEC membership.

Presidents of Democratic Clubs: These presidents of duly chartered Democratic clubs are automatic members of the DEC. The same is true for the presidents of Caucuses within Miami-Dade County.

Democratic Party Officers: The officers of the Democratic Party at the county, state and national levels are “Special At-large members” of the DEC if they request, at any time after their election, to be granted this status.

Associate Member: Anyone who is appointed by the DEC as a volunteer, who contributes more than $10 per year, or who is a member of any organization affiliated with the Florida Democratic Party can become an “Associate Member” of the DEC. These are non-voting members who are invited by the DEC membership. Associate members who are active in working to build the Party and who regularly attend meetings may be given priority to fill vacant DEC seats.

How You Can Become a Member

The easiest way to become a DEC member is to fill one of the empty precinct seats. Inform the Chair, the Credentials Committee, or a member of the DEC of your interest, and you will be provided an application for membership. Simply fill out the application and return it along with a signed loyalty oath. At the earliest DEC meeting, your application will be voted on by the existing members. Upon their approval, you will become a DEC member.

Who Runs the DEC?

The DEC is managed by its members and through its elected officials. Every four years, immediately following the U.S. Presidential Election, the DEC elects its officers at its organizational meeting: a Chair, a First Vice Chair (who is of the opposite sex as the Chair), a State Committeewoman, a State Committeeman, a Program Vice Chair, Outreach Vice Chair, a Secretary and a Treasurer.

Many decisions of the DEC are delegated to the Steering Committee, which is composed of the officers (listed above), plus the Parliamentarian, Sergeant-at-Arms, General Counsel, Interclub Council Chair, the Presidents of the clubs and caucuses within Miami-Dade, and the Chairs of the Standing Committees.

Standing Committees include: the Finance Committee; the Credentials Committee; the Rules and Bylaws Committee; the Affirmative Action Committee; the Voter Registration Committee; the Issues  Committee; the Campaign Committee; the Legislative Liaison Committee; the Interclub Council; the Young Democrats Committee; the Labor Committee; and the Communications Committee.

Seven Ways You Can Help Build the Party

The strength of the DEC depends on the loyalty, dedication, and hard work of its members. Here are important ways you can contribute to the DEC and help build our Party.

  1. Attend DEC meetings. This is one of the most basic duties of DEC members. At meetings, you will learn everything that is going on in the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade. You will meet other DEC members; you will have the opportunity to participate in the direction of the Party, and you will learn about issues of importance to our community. The DEC schedules meetings at least every 3 months. Missing more than three (3) meetings during a calendar year, if not excused, may result in the seat being declared vacant. The Credentials Committee determines whether a reason for absence is sufficient.

  2. Serve on Committees. Much of our work is performed by our committees, which convene between DEC meetings to work on various projects and conduct business. The Executive Director has a list of Committees. Each DEC member is encouraged to serve on at least one DEC Committee, and more if time permits. Tell the Chair of your interest in a particular committee, and you will likely be appointed as a member. Most committees may include up to 25% non-DEC members.

  3. Volunteer. Our volunteer organization is at the heart of our ability to make Democratic change happen in Miami-Dade. We are running a grassroots campaign to rebuild leadership from the bottom up. We are going to need every Democrat in Miami-Dade, including YOU to make this happen. Help us talk to your neighbors by knocking doors, making calls and get our voices heard. The bylaws provide that each DEC member shall devote at least 52 hours per year (i.e. an average of one hour per week) to volunteer work.

  4. Help Raise Funds. Fundraising is an important part of a successful campaign, and helping to raise money for the DEC can provide valuable experience as well as help build the party. The bylaws provide that each Elected and Appointed DEC Member shall raise funds for the DEC in the amount of $50 per year. Fundraisers may be held separately or in conjunction with other DEC members.

  5. Join or Start a Democratic Club or Caucus. Clubs and caucuses enable Democrats to help further the goals of the Party on a local level. There are numerous clubs and caucuses in the County, organized by geographic area and affinity groups.

  6. Get to Know Your Fellow DEC Members. People are the backbone of the Democratic Party. We will work together more effectively if we know each other well. Make a concerted, continuing effort to get to know other members of the DEC by coming early to meetings, communicating by e-mail and phone, and by attending DEC functions and other events.

  7. Read and Know the Bylaws. These are the governing rules of the DEC, some of which are summarized in this memo. You should obtain a copy, found on our website, if you do not already have one. Every member should be familiar with the Bylaws.

Going Forward

Have questions? Need additional information? Please feel free to contact the Chair, the Executive Director, any of the DEC officers or Committee Chairs, or email info@miamidadedems.org.

It can be a great honor and fulfilling experience to serve as a member of the DEC. Your work and support will ensure that we have a strong Democratic Party in Miami-Dade County and that we elect as many local, state, and federal Democratic candidates as possible. Thank you for your service!

Forward,

Juan Cuba
Chair, Miami-Dade Democratic Party