Bylaws of the Democratic Party of New Mexico Veterans and Military Families Caucus
Approved by the DPNM Executive Committee 6 January 2023
ARTICLE I – ORGANIZATION NAME
The name of this organization is the New Mexico Veterans and Military Families Caucus, hereinafter referred to as “the Caucus”. The Caucus is an approved affiliate of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, hereinafter referred to as “the DPNM”, by virtue of authorization by the DPNM State Central Committee.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
Section 1 The Caucus shall inform ourselves, our communities and the DPNM on issues concerning veterans and military families at the local, state, and national levels.
Section 2 The Caucus shall provide the leadership, recruitment effort and support necessary to encourage veterans and military family members to register to vote and to participate in local, state, and national politics.
Section 3 The Caucus shall initiate and/or host forums so that elected officials, candidates for public office and veterans and military family participants will have the opportunity to interact and collaborate on solutions to issues of mutual concern.
Section 4 The Caucus shall recruit, support and assist interested veterans and military family members to become candidates for local, state, and national political offices as well as precinct, district, and state party positions within the DPNM structure. Veteran and/or military family member status will not ensure the support of the Caucus. By majority vote, the Executive Committee (Exec Comm) of the Caucus will decide whether, and how, to support each specific unopposed Democratic candidate, including a potential endorsement by the Caucus.
Section 5 The Caucus will support and promote the principles of clean and fair elections as guaranteed by the U.S. and New Mexico Constitutions, and current existing federal and state regulations relative to elections and will encourage participation in all election processes.
ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 a) Membership in this Caucus is open to all registered New Mexico Democrats who share the same interests and goals of the Caucus and who support the principles of the DPNM, and who are:
- veterans of all branches of the U. S. Armed Servicesincluding the U.S. Coast Guard,
- active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Services including the U.S. Coast Guard,
- active and former New Mexico National Guard members,
- active and former members of the Reserves of the U.S. Armed Services,
- active and former members of the U.S. Merchant Marine,
- former members of the Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASPs),
- veterans of the armed forces of the allies of the United States,
- or family members of any of those mentioned above.
For the purposes of these Bylaws, the term “family members” includes the spouse, parents, siblings and children of a servicemember.
- b) Associate membership in this Caucus is open to all registered New Mexico Democrats having a commitment to veterans and their families, who share the same interests and goals of the Caucus, and who support the principles of the DPNM.
Associate members may not vote in Caucus elections or hold office on the Exec Comm, but otherwise they are afforded all other opportunities and benefits that the Caucus offers.
- c) No individuals who are members of any other political party, or who have registered to vote without designating a specific party, may be a member of this Caucus.
Membership registration will be acknowledged in writing, possibly in the form of an email, to the member.
Section 2 The amount of annual dues in this Caucus and the annual date of payment will be set by majority vote of the Exec Comm, but payment of dues will be completely voluntary. No eligible Democrat will be refused membership because of their inability or unwillingness to pay dues. Currently, dues are $30 per year, due in January. The amount and date of payment can be amended by Exec Comm vote.
All members are encouraged to be active within the Caucus by paying dues and/or volunteering their services as members of Caucus committee(s).
Section 3 Without regard to current or former military rank or family member status, all Caucus members are eligible for election to a Caucus office, except the offices of Chair and Vice Chair at Large, which must be either veterans or active-duty military members, to include members of the New Mexico National Guard and U.S. Reserves of all branches of the armed services. There shall be no age requirement for Caucus office save where prescribed by law.
Section 4 All members of the Caucus shall support non-discrimination among the members and others on the basis of race, color, national origin or ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability or other discriminating factor under federal or state law.
ARTICLE IV – ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION
Section 1 The Exec Comm of the Caucus shall be the governing body of the organization and shall consist of the Chair, Vice Chair at Large, two Congressional District Vice Chairs from each Congressional District (CD), Secretary and Treasurer. Usually headed by the Caucus Chair, the Exec Comm will have general supervision of all Caucus affairs.
All officers, except for the Secretary and Treasurer, shall be elected to two-year terms by vote of the general membership via an on-line ballot in odd-numbered years immediately following the legislative session, to allow the outgoing officers to serve through this key legislative advocacy period. The Secretary and Treasurer will be elected by the other eight members of the Exec Comm as soon as possible after the beginning of their terms in office. All Exec Comm members are volunteers and shall not receive any monetary or in-kind compensation for their service in the execution of their duties.
Election of the Chair and Vice Chair at Large will be by majority vote of all members of the Caucus choosing to participate in the election process. In the case of no candidate for these positions receiving a majority of the votes, a run-off election between those top candidates whose combined votes represent a majority must be held, with possible subsequent elections occurring until such time as one candidate obtains a majority of the votes cast.
Election of the six (6) CD Vice Chairs will be by all eligible participating members residing and registered within the applicable CD. Any eligible member, regardless of veteran, active-duty military, or family member status, may be a candidate for the positions of CD Vice Chair, Secretary or Treasurer.
In the case of a vacancy occurring on the Exec Comm for any reason, the vacancy may be filled for the remainder of the two-year term by consensus of two thirds of the remaining members on the Exec Comm.
Section 2 From time to time the Exec Comm may create, and appoint members to, specific standing and temporary committees to carry out such duties and responsibilities as are granted to it by the Exec Comm and shall be subject to the control and direction of the Exec Comm.
Section 3 Meetings of the General Membership, CD components, the Exec Comm, and other established committees may be in-person, via the Internet or a combination of the two. The act of a majority of the members present, in person or electronically, at a meeting at which a quorum is required and established shall be considered an act of the committee.
- a) General Meetings will be held at least once a year, the date of the meeting to be posted on the website at least two weeks in advance. The Caucus Chair, or the Vice Chair at Large in the event of the Chair being absent, shall preside at all General Meetings but will have no vote except when needed to break a tie. When the agenda for the meeting includes only approval of minutes, Treasurer’s report and other informational items and reports, there will be no quorum requirement. Agenda items that call for a vote require ten percent (10%) of the total number of Caucus members to be in attendance, either in person or by electronic means, to establish a quorum.
- b) All officers specified in these Bylaws will be elected for two-year terms in each odd-numbered year, except for officer appointments to fill vacancies. Candidate information and voting procedures will be posted on the Caucus website.
- c) CD meetings may be held with the time and place agreed to by the two Vice Chairs of each CD. CD meetings are primarily intended to be informational or social in nature, thus there are no quorum requirements.
- d) The Exec Comm will meet at least quarterly for the conduct of Caucus business. When the meeting includes only approval of minutes, Treasurer’s report and other informational items and reports, there will be no quorum requirement. A quorum requirement of forty percent of the members of the Exec Comm will exist for any official business to be conducted, such as approval on expenditures in excess of $500 or for a vote on a proposed course of action by the Caucus.
- e) Meetings of all other standing and temporary committees will be called by either the chair of the committee or the Caucus Chair. These will primarily be working committees and will have no quorum requirements.
Section 4 Duties of officers are as follows:
- a) Chair – It shall be the duty of the Caucus Chair to preside at all General Meetings and meetings of the Exec Comm, serve as the principal spokesperson for the Caucus, and have general supervision of the affairs of the Caucus. The Chair will be a member of the Membership and Recruitment Committee. The Chair may execute, on behalf of the Caucus, all instruments in writing which may be required or authorized by the Exec Comm for the proper and necessary transaction of the business of the Caucus. With the advice and consent of the Exec Comm, the Chair shall create standing and temporary committees, subcommittees or special groups deemed necessary to achieve the purpose and objectives of the Caucus. The Chair may request approval of the Treasurer for the expenditure of Caucus funds not to exceed $250 for immediate operational needs, with a subsequent email notifying the Exec Comm of the expenditure and its necessity.
- b) Vice Chair at Large – The Vice Chair at Large shall, in the absence of the Chair, preside at General Meetings and Exec Comm Meetings, and shall assist the Chair in the discharge of the Chair’s duties. At the direction of the Chair, the execution of any instrument by the Vice Chair at Large, on behalf of this Caucus, shall have the same force and effect as if it were executed by the Chair.
- c) Secretary – It shall be the duty of the Secretary to take and preserve the minutes and attendance records of all proceedings at General Meetings and Exec Comm meetings and provide for the secure custody of both the physical and electronic records and documents of this Caucus. The Secretary shall assist committee chairs in scheduling virtual meetings held on Zoom. A written report of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous General Meeting or Exec Comm meeting shall be presented by the Secretary at each General Meeting and at each Exec Comm meeting. Twice each year the Caucus Secretary will submit a written report to the Secretary of the DPNM, as required by DPNM Rules.
- d) Treasurer – The Treasurer shall have charge of the funds of this organization and shall make no disbursements thereof without authority or ratification by the Exec Comm or the Chair. The Treasurer shall maintain the Caucus checking account, disbursing funds as appropriate and recording donations. The Treasurer shall monitor Act Blue, adding dues and donations to the membership database, and shall prepare and maintain the Caucus budget. The Treasurer may request approval of the Chair for the expenditure of Caucus funds not to exceed $250 for immediate operational needs, with a subsequent email notifying the Exec Comm of the expenditure and its necessity. It shall further be the duty of the Treasurer to perform all other duties usually incident to the office, including the required NM Secretary of State financial report filings. The Treasurer shall prepare a written report of the financial status of the Caucus for presentation at each Exec Comm and General Meeting. An audit of the financial documents of the Caucus may be requested at any time by a majority of the Exec Comm or by a petition signed by any twenty (20) general members.
- e) Congressional District Vice Chairs – The CD Vice Chairs shall have general supervision of the affairs of their respective Caucus CD, including arranging for venues for all General Meetings, Exec Comm meetings, and CD meetings to be held in their districts. The Exec Comm may assign additional duties to CD Vice Chairs as it deems necessary. CD Vice Chairs will be empowered to create local positions and committees as they deem necessary and to appoint or call for the election of individuals to fill those positions. CD Vice Chairs will serve as equal partners to co-chair CD meetings. If the two Vice Chairs are unable to reach a consensus on any given issue, the matter will be referred to the Exec Comm for resolution.
- f) All Caucus officers are responsible for protecting and safeguarding the integrity of Caucus records, both physical and electronic, and ensuring there is no personal use of said records. All officers will limit access to Caucus records to authorized individuals in the performance of their official duties, and will turn over all records, physical or electronic, in their possession when leaving the Caucus.
Section 5 Standing Committees – Except as otherwise noted below, standing committees will be chaired by a Caucus member appointed by the Exec Comm. Membership on these committees is open to all Caucus officers, members and associate members in good standing. These committees will present brief reports of their activities at each meeting of the Exec Comm.
- a) Communications Committee – This committee will be responsible for communicating with the DPNM, other DPNM Caucuses, allied organizations, the Caucus membership and the general public, to include developing and maintaining a website, social media platforms and newsletters.
- b) Finance Committee – Chaired by the Treasurer, this committee will be responsible for ensuring the financial viability of the Caucus, including collection of dues and donations, and developing and implementing other fundraising projects. The Finance Committee shall be authorized to approve expenditure of Caucus funds of less than $500 at the request of the Chair and without a vote of the full Exec Comm. This authorization is intended to enable efficient purchasing for operational needs.
- c) Membership and Recruitment Committee – This committee shall maintain, compile and oversee recruitment and membership matters for the Caucus and shall establish and maintain a secure membership database solely for the purpose of Caucus business. The membership database shall not be used for personal communications or shared with other individuals or organizations. The Chair will automatically be a member, and the committee will also include two other members of the Exec Comm as well as at least one additional representative from each CD.
- d) Bylaws Review and Revision Committee – This committee will periodically review, and propose amendments to these Bylaws. Once proposed, changes to the Bylaws must first be approved by a majority of the members of the Exec Comm and forwarded to the Secretary, DPNM, for approval. Bylaws shall be posted on the Caucus and DPNM websites.
- e) Committee for Veterans Advocacy – This committee will:
- seek out and recruit veterans and military family members who may be interested in running for public or party office,
- lend support to those candidates when unopposed in the Democratic Primary Election and when running as the nominee of the Democratic Party in the General Election,
- engage in identifying and analyzing active legislation that impacts veterans and military families, identifying and analyzing issues the Caucus wishes to recommend as legislation, and identifying legislators to sponsor such legislation,
- coordinate Caucus advocacy efforts during the Legislative Session,
- and develop legislative briefings and other informational materials in support of advocacy efforts.
Section 6 General Powers and Information
- a) Caucus Business – The Caucus shall manage its business in accordance with these duly adopted Bylaws.
- b) Terms of Office – Elected officers shall hold office for two years.
- c) Removal for Cause – The Exec Comm, by a majority vote, may remove an officer for cause on grounds as specified by the DPNM Rules governing DPNM state officers and, by a majority vote, may also suspend or remove an officer who is found to be in violation of the Caucus Code of Conduct (found on the Caucus website, co-located with these Bylaws). The Exec Comm may also remove an officer who fails to attend three consecutive regularly-scheduled meetings of the Exec Comm without notifying the Secretary of the necessity of missing the meetings.
- d) Vacancies – A vacancy in any officer position may be filled by consensus of two-thirds of the members of the Exec Comm.
- e) Continuation in Office – No officer shall serve in the same office for more than three consecutive terms. In the case of officers appointed to fill vacancies, if the appointee’s first term is a full year or more, that will count as a full term. If the appointee’s first term is less than a full year, that first term will not count as a full term and the officer will be eligible for election to the same position three more times.
After serving the maximum period, that officer shall not be considered for election again for that same office and would not be eligible to be appointed in the case of a vacancy for the next two years.
- f) The Caucus has been allocated two seats on the DPNM State Central Committee (SCC); those seats will be filled by the Chair and Vice Chair at Large. If the Chair and/or Vice Chair at Large already hold a seat on the SCC due to their affiliation with another organization or are unable to fulfill the duties of an SCC member, the Exec Comm will vote on a replacement from the remaining members of the Exec Comm. If none of the remaining members of the Exec Comm are willing to accept the SCC seats, the Exec Comm will look to the leadership of the standing committees for candidates. The SCC seats will be filled based on a majority vote of the Exec Comm.
ARTICLE V – LIMITATIONS
Section 1 All activities of the Caucus shall be in accordance with the purposes, principles and policies of the Caucus as outlined in these Bylaws and the Caucus Code of Conduct, and by the DPNM Rules.
Section 2 No part of the net income of the Caucus shall inure to the benefit of any member of the Caucus. Upon the dissolution of the Caucus, if Caucus funds or other assets were raised for capital purposes, they shall be returned to the donors on a pro-rata basis. If they were raised for program or general operations, they shall be contributed to the DPNM.
Section 3 Except to the extent specifically limited in these Bylaws, the Caucus shall have all powers granted by the DPNM and by any pertaining State of New Mexico statutes. An authorized Democratic Caucus or affiliated organization may terminate its affiliation with the DPNM by majority vote of its membership or as otherwise provided in its Bylaws. An organization’s affiliation may also be revoked upon vote of the DPNM State Central Committee upon a showing of good cause.
ARTICLE VI – GENERAL RULES
Section 1 Disposition of Records
Upon leaving office, a Caucus officer shall cease use of Caucus passwords and turn over all Caucus records (physical and electronic), books and properties to his/her successor, or to the Caucus Chair if no successor is in place.
Section 2 Amendments
Amendments to these Bylaws may be proposed by any Caucus member by submitting their suggestion(s), in writing, to a member of the Exec Comm or to the Bylaws Review and Revision Committee. Proposals will be given appropriate consideration and a decision made regarding their inclusion in the Caucus Bylaws.
Section 3 Endorsements
During any Democratic primary campaigns or non-partisan elections Caucus members and officers are free to support the candidate of their choice as an individual. However, they are prohibited from directly or indirectly implying that they represent the position of the Caucus. When the DPNM has selected their candidates for public office this Caucus may not endorse or assist in any manner any other candidate other than those duly selected.
Section 4 Deposits
All funds of this Caucus shall be deposited, as promptly as is reasonably possible, to the Caucus’ credit in such federally insured banks, trust companies or other depositories as the Exec Comm may approve or designate, and all such funds shall be withdrawn only in the manners authorized by the Exec Comm.
The Treasurer, Chair and Vice Chair At Large will all be signatories on the Caucus bank account.
Section 5 Authority to Borrow or Encumber Assets
No officer, member, or agent of the Caucus shall have any power or authority to borrow money on behalf of the Caucus, to pledge its credit or to mortgage or pledge its real or personal property
Section 6 Books and Records
The Caucus shall keep correct and complete records and books of accounts and shall also keep minutes of the meetings of the Exec Comm and all other committees. The Caucus shall keep the listing of names and addresses of all current and past Exec Comm members and provide same to the DPNM. If no permanent registered office exists, physical possession of physical Caucus records by the Caucus Secretary is required.
In the case of digital and electronic records, the Secretary and Chair shall jointly establish a secure method of maintaining such records.
Section 7 Parliamentary Authority
Parliamentary matters not governed by these Bylaws, nor by the Rules of the DPNM, shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. The Caucus is not a government entity and is not subject to the Open Meetings Act.
Section 8 Subordination
These Bylaws are subordinate to the pertinent parts of the DPNM Rules and the Rules and Bylaws established by the Democratic National Committee. In any case where these Bylaws conflict with those superior documents the superior document will prevail.
Section 9 Supersedes all previous Bylaws
These Bylaws supersede all previous Bylaws of the Caucus.
Section 10 Full Force and Effect
These Bylaws shall be in full force and effect immediately upon their adoption and approval by the Caucus Exec Comm, the DPNM Executive Committee and signed by the DPNM Secretary.
Approved by the VMFC Exec Comm on 5 Dec 2022 and by the DPNM Exec Comm 6 January 2023