What is a PCP?
The United States of America is organized in many different political ways. For example, there are 50 States that make up the Union. At the Federal level, each State has 2 Senators that represent it in Washington D.C. Each State also has Congressional Representatives. The number depends on how many people live in the State. Senators and Representatives make up the Legislative branch of Government. There is also the Executive branch of Government in which the President, Governors, Mayors and so on serve. The 3rd branch is the Judiciary which are the judges who rule on the legal aspects of what the other two branches do. Members of the Judiciary may or may not be elected by the people depending on the particular office. Executive and Legislative offices are always won by a popular vote of the people. We can talk about the electoral college later on... In theory, each branch of Government has equal power. This is known as "checks and balances" ensuring that one branch does not take over the Government. Our founding fathers were very clever indeed.
Oregon, a State of about 5 million people, has 5 House representatives (aka Congressmen) who represent us in Washington, DC. At the State level in Oregon, there are 30 Senate Districts and 60 House Districts. The State is also divided into Counties with each County having it's own Government structure. In Oregon, County Commissioners hold these offices and are elected. Each County is further divided into precincts, which are really just small neighborhoods of about 100 or so families. Each political party may elect people to serve as PCPs in each precinct. In some Counties for some political parties, both a male and a female can serve as PCP's for the same precinct. Theoretically, this is to encourage Husband/Wife participation although there is no rule that the PCPs need to even know each other, much less be married. Precinct Committee persons are elected to these positions and must receive at least 3 votes. They serve a 2 year term. After the election, PCPs may be appointed at party meetings by a popular vote of the elected PCPs. Appointed PCPs are automatically placed on the next election cycle ballots as incumbents. Only people who live in a particular precinct and who are registered to vote as a party affiliate may vote for their PCP during the primary election held in May in even numbered years in Oregon.
Precinct Committee Persons are supposed to help their parties' House Reps and Senators from their District get (re)elected. They may also provide various support such as fund raising, letters to the Editor, neighborhood socials and so on. Why do SMROs want Motorcyclists to become PCPs? If you look back in history, this is the way that "special interest" folks have influenced Governments' priorities and direction. Equal rights in America, legalized abortion and a wide variety of other social changes that occurred in our Country would never have happened if the people proposing these changes weren't plugged into the political process. Being connected to your political party of choice is an effective, proven way to promote your agenda and to make things happen. People who think that their civic duty is about taking 5 minutes a year out of watching sports to vote for choices on the ballot just don't get it. Unlike common registered voters, PCPs get to choose who is going to be *on* the ballot and they get to direct what choices the elected officials will make once they win. If you don't think it is extremely difficult for elected law makers to go against the will of their party (i.e. against the will of the PCPs) you are very mistaken. Each party will always have a few "rogue" officials... but by and large, if Politicians want party support and funding for their campaigns, they'd better not stray too far from their party's ideals.
Why would I want to be a PCP?
There are a lot of people who think that you are a so-called "social burden" just because you ride a motorcycle. A great many of these people use the political process to further their agenda. If they had their way, motorcycles would be legislated off of our roads and highways. One means towards this end is the mandatory helmet law strategy. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together knows that the people who are promoting mandatory helmet laws lie about the facts and misrepresent the statistics in an effort to sway the opinions of people who have no real understanding of what motorcycle safety is all about. Any thinking person knows that these people could care less about our safety and well being. Our enemies know, as you should, that tens of thousands of motorcycles go off the road in States that institute mandatory helmet laws, which is what they really want -- less motorcycles on the road, People who have a sincere concern for the welfare of someone else does not refer to them in the disrespectful and derogatory manner that OHSU, The Oregon Health Department and many Politicians refer to us. My personal favorites are obese smokers who assert that Bikers are a burden to society and a drain on tax dollars!
But I prefer to wear my helmet!
BikePAC, and motorcycle rights groups are not anti-helmet...and you haven't been listening. If you feel safer riding with a helmet on, by all means do so. But understand that our way of live is under constant attack by people who think that skiers, mountain climbers, boaters and basically anyone who does things to enjoy life are irresponsible risk takers and a "burden to society". Much like Hitler would not have stopped murdering people after all of the Jews in the World were dead, these zealots will not stop until every instrument of pleasure has been eradicated from the face of the Earth. Do you know that there are active movements to make it illegal to tow a trailer with a motorcycle? Or to limit motorcycle horsepower? Or to outlaw 2 stroke motors? Or to make it illegal to have Rider to Passenger intercoms? Or to reduce motorcycle noise until they sound like brand new Cadillacs? Or to refuse to register motorcycles after they are a few years old? Or to prevent you from making any changes to your catalytic converter equipped motorcycle? Or that people want to force you to have to wear orange reflector vests and inflatable air bags when riding? Or that they want to outlaw motorcycle access to "public" lands. If your imagination can dream it up, you can be sure that there is a Bureaucrap or a Safetycrat somewhere who wants to take away your liberty, freedom and your right to pursue happiness. If *YOU* aren't willing to fight for your own rights, who do you think is going to do it for you?
How much of my time will being a PCP take?
Not much. Certainly way less than you are spending now to support ABATE or whatever other civic organizations you might belong to, if you go to a meeting once every Month or two. The important meetings are held about once a quarter and last for about 3 hours. At these meetings, you get a chance to meet many elected officials, many of whom are also PCPs. You'll also be voting on who gets to hold higher party offices such as Treasurer, Chair, Vice Chair and so on. You'll get to vote for delegates who will represent the party at State and National conventions and caucuses. And of course you can run for any of these jobs yourself if you want to. The more Motorcyclists we have as elected PCPs, the easier it is going to be for us to start filling these positions of power and authority. For example, it was Bob Avery and Ken Ray, acting as delegates at the Republican Party caucus that got repealing the mandatory helmet law added to the GOP party platform. Powerful stuff that just 2 guys were able to pull off. Why? Because we had a lot of supportive PCPs in the audience!
When and where are the meetings?
This is a tough one! Considering how eager each party is to recruit PCPs, meeting times and places are often a well kept secret. This is another reason for relying on your party chief for this information. The first place to look would be to click on the logo for your party of choice below. Some Counties are very good at publicizing their party activities and others are not. But the WWW is a good place to start. Once you've attended a few meetings and especially if you are an active participant, your party Chair will make an extra effort to make sure that his "regulars" know when the next "do" is. You will probably also find yourself being invited to insider strategy meetings which is where all of the planning goes on. Mostly, it's word of mouth and we will be relying on you as a PCP to make sure that you let everyone else know what your party's county schedule is. Here are a few event calendars that I know about:
Oregon GOP Statewide
Clackamas County Democrats
Multnomah County Democrats
Washington County Democrats
I want to be a PCP! How do I get started?
BikePAC has Party Chiefs for many of the Counties in Oregon. E-mail me and I will get you connected to your party chief who will let you know when the meetings are and will introduce you to the various movers and shakers in the organization. The Chief will also help you fill out the paperwork and will shepherd you through the election/appointment process. There is not a thing to be afraid of or to be intimidated about. Someone will be there to help you along. Alternatively, if you are really hot to get started, fill out the on line form below and we'll get moving on your application today.
Don't know what District you are in? Click HERE to find out
Need a Voter registration form? Click HERE
Bikers could control both political parties in Oregon
Become a Party Precinct Committee Person (PCP)
Click here for
our Oregon Political Party Link page
Oregon GOP PCPs make helmet law repeal a party plank!!
Click here to join BikePAC
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