The following letter was written by Chairman Lou Gentile on December 11, 2016.
Good morning and a happy and blessed holiday, whatever your religion, to all of you. I have been blessed once again to have had the opportunity to be a person of service as the Democratic Chairman of Beaver County. However, but much to my chagrin it has become necessary for me to resign as Chairman of the Democratic Party effective December 12, 2016. I do so not because I want to but rather because I must as a result of pressing health issues with several members of my family exacerbated by business demands. I have taken the opportunity to be a bit more specific with several key figures in the Democratic Party, as well as making an announcement during the last Executive Board meeting that I chaired on December 10, 2016. Unforeseen issues have evolved to the point where I must prioritize my time, not only for my immediate family which comes first, but for those who work with me at CSI Corporate Security and Investigations, Inc. who I consider family as well. I take the welfare of the CSI family very seriously. However, please note that I will do whatever has to be done to ensure that the transition to the next chairperson is a seamless one.
There are several people who I have consistently relied upon to work in tandem with me to make the Party relevant again. That being said, it would be unfair to try to name everyone for fear of leaving someone out. However, there is one person that I must distinguish from the others and that is Vice Chairperson Judy Enslen. Rarely have I had the opportunity of working with someone of such character and so selfless who works for the general welfare of the Party versus self-promotion. With the help of people like Judy, in a relatively short period of time we have made significant strides including, but not limited to:
· Hosting a banquet for the first time in a number of years
· A successful picnic
· Reworking our website to bring it into the 21st century complemented by our social media campaign
· The resurrection of the Young Democrats, the future of tomorrow, for which Steve Dupree deserves the credit for the infusion of new energy which has attracted new members.
· When I accepted the nomination I inherited a checking account with a balance of less than $700. Today the balance is over $10,000 with all bills paid and we have no debt.
I have also replaced a number of individuals on the Executive Board who are not elected officials so that we could benefit from an infusion of new ideas and energy which was sorely needed by an organization that had become somewhat lethargic and controversial. I am very proud of the character of these individuals as well as the diversity which is sorely needed in every component of the Democratic Party hierarchy.
I do want to leave you however with a few thoughts and opinions of my own. There appears to be paranoia about “leaks and quotes to the media.” As long as we do what is well intended, ethical and legal, there should not be any paranoia about what you say or do. Transparency in government is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. The anonymous postings and blogs are another matter which, as you know, I have expressed my dismay about in the past. I come from a proud history of law enforcement where “sources” are absolutely necessary to be effective. However, the same applies to the public sector as well as the private sector: if sources are self-serving, they become dangerous and insidious, particularly in a political setting when those sources use their position to denigrate a colleague anonymously for personal gain and betray the trust of their colleagues.
It was no surprise to me that the Democratic Party did so poorly in the last election. In my opinion, we have not been effective communicating our core values of serving the working class, social justice, equality for all, inclusiveness, etc., not only at the national level but the local level as well. No one could have summarized it better than a former Speaker of the House, “Tip” O’Neil, who appropriately stated: “all politics are local.”
Furthermore, it takes more than just “communicating” our values. We have to demonstrate the fact that we live by those values. That means rolling up our sleeves, getting out into the public, letting people know we are concerned and being an organization of public service which is precisely why I have been promoting the building project for the young people of Beaver County and am continuing to do so.
We have to work harder and smarter. Before we do that, wounds that have been inflicted in this Party must be healed so that the Democrats of tomorrow, the Young Democrats who will benefit from your wisdom and experience, can succeed. To forgive past differences is a sign of strength, not weakness, as long as the resolution of those differences are consistent with ethics, morality and are legal.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Confucius, one of China’s most famous teachers, philosophers and political theorists: “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. I will continue to do so but unfortunately, and it may be in the opinion of some of you fortunately, I cannot do so in the capacity of Chairperson, but I can truly tell you that I embraced the challenge and gave it everything I had.
Louis W. Gentile