This is another in our continuing series of Q&As with members of the leadership team of the GCDP. Ron Cowen is the new GCDP finance director. As a wholly volunteer organization that receives no funding from either the state or national party, the GCDP is focusing on strengthening our finance policies and activities to provide the fuel for our efforts to elect more Democrats to seats up and down the ticket.
Q. Tell us something about yourself – business background, current position (or retirement), family, stuff you like to do (golf, cabinetry, printing $$ in the basement.. :), etc.
A. Born in Buffalo where I lived until age 16 when I moved to Spartanburg, SC (Dorman High). Graduated from University of SC (Go Gamecocks!). Met Marcia in Spartanburg. We have been married since age 19. We adopted 2 daughters from Korea (Amanda b. 1980 and Leslie b. 1983) After Grad School in 1977 took a job with Ford in Detroit area. Moved to Volkswagen in 1981. Lived twice in Germany for one year each and 6 years in Portugal where we built a car factory. In 2008 was given early retirement by VW America. Moved to Toronto working for VW Canada until July 2011 when we moved to Greenville and bought a house downtown. In 2015 went back to work as CFO of Skoda Auto India in Aurangabad. Finishing in India Jan 2018 I returned to retired life. A lifelong Democrat (I remember hearing George McGovern on the State House steps in Columbia), I was motivated to get involved by Trump’s election in 2016. We are avid bridge players and often travel to compete in tournaments. We also love to travel the world.
Q. Why does the GCDP need a Finance Director? Are we big enough to need both a treasurer and a finance director?
A. The GCDP is at the stage in its growth that Chair, Kate Franch, decided it was time to add the role of Finance Director to implement a more rigorous system of financial planning and control to ensure greater transparency. We are implementing a process for approval of all expenditures as well as regular reporting of the budget and actual expenditures.
Q. What funding sources – other than constituent donations – does the GCDP have?
A The local Party gets no support from the State or National level. Everything we do has to be funded locally. We have no paid staff and it costs about $1,500 per month to pay for our important physical presence, the headquarters office, as well as our online presence, postage, etc. We currently have one major annual fundraising event (Tastings on the Town) which covers most of the basic costs but leaves little left over for the many activities we need to be doing.
Q. What will success look like and how can Democrats help us achieve it.
We are making exciting progress in Greenville, but we can’t call it success unless and until we are able to elect more Democrats to state and local office. Having more financial resources is essential to fund Get Out The Vote activities, advertising, technology solutions and other elements of success. I would encourage everyone to donate to the Party via our website or write us a check. Even better, set up a recurring donation as a few of us have done. We need your votes and your time, but we also need your money. No amount is too small.