Welcome from our Chair, Irene Stein

Welcome to the Democratic Rural Conference (DRC) website!

The DRC was organized in 1996 to support upstate rural New York elect Democratic candidates at all levels of government through uniting our individual counties as a single force.

Our motto was and remains “Unity and Victory.”

We have been very successful. Over the last twenty years we have attracted statewide and national candidates to our annual conventions. Our work with the State Committee to assist local counties has been constant.

In spite of the results of the last election, I still believe Republicans cannot take upstate for granted. 2017 is a year of local races. We will organize to act locally and at the same time, think longer range and even globally. We will develop and execute plans to proclaim that the Democratic agenda is and always has been the political path to meeting the needs of our people for good jobs, good health insurance coverage, clean air and water, a fairer tax structure, a sound education, voting rights, and civil rights, with opportunity, fairness and respect for all our people.

Many of our county committees are already planning meetings to come up with concrete steps to analyze their 2016 results, improve outcomes, articulate our messages, fight back on bad ideas, and to act locally to achieve our goals with a view to building a stronger Democratic Party at all levels. The DRC is committed to helping in this process; we are also working on developing comprehensive regional campaign training to help our membership in 2017 and beyond.

I was first elected Chair of the DRC in 2008. My goals have not changed since then: to work with the Board and the membership to strengthen our bonds with one another; to provide assistance to member counties through a speaker’s bureau, to promote political mentoring and better use of technology; to maintain and increase our visibility with the State committee and with our elected officials at all levels.

Our membership is composed of the dues-paying Chairs and State Committee members of our member counties. Any New York Democrat can become an Associate member by paying dues of $10.00 per year.

These times are more challenging than ever before. Therefore, I remain more steadfastly committed to “Unity and Victory” than ever before.


Irene W. Stein

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Save the Dates! 2017 Annual Conference will be April 21-22, 2017

Hello DRC!

Marriott Syracuse DowntownThe 2017 Annual Conference will be April 21-22, 2017, at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

Registration is now open for the conference via this link.

Conference rate for rooms at this fabulously renovated venue ~ $139. Conference rate is valid when you book your room by March 20, 2017.

Update: Conference rate is valid when you book your room by April 7, 2017.

You can book your group rate online for the New York State DRC Annual Conference or call the hotel directly at 888-236-2427, or 315-474-2424.

We are working on the final agenda but we can now confirm …

Friday April 21

2:00 – 6:00 PM Conference Registration

3:00 PM DRC Workshop: The Constitutional Convention

  • Process & Rules of the State Constitutional Convention ~ Mary McGuire
  • Speakers in Support and Opposition
  • Question & Answers about the ConCon

6:00 PM Governor’s Reception

7:00 PM Dinner with New York’s Democrats

9:00 PM Attorney General Schneiderman’s Dessert Reception

Young Democrats Late-Night

Saturday April 22

8:00 AM Breakfast with Comptroller DiNapoili

9:00 AM DRC Membership Meeting & Board Election

Update from Congressman Paul Tonko

11:00 AM DRC Concurrent Workshops:

  • Fundraising in Rural Campaigns ~ Leslie Danks Burke
  • Using Social Media in Rural Campaigns ~ Olivia Lutwak and Kathy Zahler

12:30 PM Wrap Up & Lunch

Mark your calendars, reserve your rooms, and watch your email for registration details!

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January, 2017, Bulletin of the NYS DRC (#30) is now available

The latest bulletin of the New York State Democratic Rural Conference is now available.

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2017 DRC Spring Conference booklet

Hello Everyone,

I am Joyce Melfi Cwiklinski, Cattaraugus County Democratic Chair and the DRC Spring Conference Program Chair. I have some news in reference to the upcoming DRC Spring Convention.

I am in charge of producing the 2017 DRC Spring Conference booklet, which has huge importance to our organization. We are asking that you purchase an ad in our 2017 program book.  The conference will be held at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown on April 21st & 22nd 2017.

The details on the booklet for the conference and a form for your ad are available in Microsoft Word and PDF format. Please pay prompt attention to this as our deadline to get this together and to the printer is March 31, 2017. Of course, we do have some time built in for late arrivals also, but would appreciate ads as soon as possible!

Each year we encourage all of our DRC members, associate members, elected officials, candidates, unions and businesses to support us. We are fortunate to even have many individuals who take ads to show support.  Each year we try to expand our outreach.

We would appreciate any help you could give us in buying an ad and also outreach to potential supporters. This has a huge impact on what the DRC can do for our rural counties, so please assist us.

If you want to send your text, we have the great service of Lorie Longhany, who will design an ad for your county. Contact her at DRCProgramBook@gmail.com.

Note: this is a dedicated email address just for the program book. Please join us today!

Your prompt attention to the important matter will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.  An ad rate form has been attached for your convenience.

Joyce Melfi Cwiklinski, Program Book Chair
Jeanne Crane, Outreach
Lorie Longhany, Artwork
716-560-5938 (cell)
709 East State St., Olean NY 14760

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Training Needs Survey

January 2017

Dear Democratic Rural Conference Members and Associates:

The Democratic Rural Conference of New York State is conducting a training survey to better understand the training needs of our members, rural county leaders & candidates and your input would be greatly appreciated.

Please take a few minutes to complete this training needs survey – All responses are requested by January 29, 2017.

If you have any questions regarding this survey, please contact Peter Bujanow at Pbujanow@gmail.com.

Thank you in advance for your valuable input and participation.

Please follow the link below to start the survey:



Board of Directors
Democratic Rural Conference of New York State

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