Newly-elected Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody says he is focused on party unity and strengthening his organization from the ground up as he steps into his new role.
A former staffer for Indiana Congressman Baron Hill and the Obama 2012 presidential campaign, Zody replaces Dan Parker, who led the Indiana Democrats the last eight years. The party took a hit last election, despite victories for Joe Donnelly and Glenda Ritz, Republicans now dominate the Statehouse with control of the governor’s office and supermajorities in both houses of the legislature.
But Zody says the party organization is not at a low point. He says it is going through a normal restructuring that he says has to include significant outreach.
“We’ve got to look at our young folks,” he says. “Are we building a bench? Are we building the next generation of political volunteers and candidates and officeholders?”
Zody says he has already met with the Democratic leaders at the Statehouse, Senator Tim Lanane and Representative Scott Pelath.
Pelath already seems to be in lockstep with his party’s new chairman, saying the problems Hoosier Democrats face are due in large part to redrawn legislative maps and the influence of national politics.
“It all comes down to message,” he says. “If Democrats are the pragmatic, problem-solving party that stands for the middle class, that’s what Hoosiers care about over the long term.”
Zody says he is not setting an exact number on how many seats the party needs to win back in the General Assembly for his tenure as party chair to be a success.