State Committee meeting



1) Christian Fyke, 2) Benjamin Valimont, 3) Brian McMurray, 4) Rachel Shanok, 5) Timothy Snyder,

6) Jack Merritt, 7) Gust Tatlas, 8) Jaz Sockman, 9) Gabe McGuire


The video of the meeting can be found here:


The word version of these minutes can be found here



After a discussion on whether or not we had a quorum, within a few minutes it was clear that we met the requirement.

  • A quorum is 50% of the current members of the State Committee
    • Because he is a minor & is not registered voter, there is a question as to whether Gabe, or Jaz as members of the State Committee.
      • Until they are eligible to register to vote, we should treat them as non-voting members.
      • Regardless of whether or not they are eligible, we met the requirements
        • If both are eligible, the minimum number for a quorum is 7.
          • Counting both we had 9
        • If only Gabe is deemed a member of the State Committee, the the minimum number for a quorum is 6.5 rounded up to 7.
          • In this scenario, we had 8
        • If both are ineligible, the minimum number for a quorum is 6.
          • In this scenario, we had 7
        • Undiscussed is the issue that Emily Korns is no longer a member of the executive committee. Until the regional chair is filled, there could be an argument to be made that the quorum requirement should be 5.5 rounded up to 6.

According to our bylaws:

If a vacancy occurs of a Regional Chair, Head of Fundraising, or the State Secretary

  1. The State Committee shall make a call for nominations & appoint a suitable person to fill the vacancy on an interim basis until that officer’s next election.



This discussion led naturally to our next topic—County Committees. We are having an ongoing discussion on the requirements we are setting for a county committee to be officially recognized. The were two main areas in the first draft that were the topic of discussion.

  • The minimum number of people needed to participate in the elections of the county chair, county secretary, & county treasurer.
    • After this discussion we were nearing to committing to the number of five (5).
  • The attendance requirement for the interim county lead.
    • After this discussion we were nearing to committing to requiring that they will have to have attended three (3) of the previous four (4) State Committee Meetings



The next topic was an update by Jack Merritt on opening our bank account. A discussion was had on the issue of people donating directly to Pennsylvania on whether or not we would subject these to the 70/30 spilt that National currently has with us.



Finally, we turned to our state priorities. The main issue of discussion was on the issue of abortion in healthcare.

After a vote we voted to finalize the language of our priorities document:

State Priorities (See Appendix A)



Appendix A

The following are the immediate priorities of the Pennsylvania Forward Party.  Forward candidates, office holders and candidates seeking endorsement should provide solutions on these items in their individual policy platforms.


Open Primaries – Pennsylvania is one of only nine states that maintains a closed primary system.  This means you have to be registered with one of the 2 major Parties to be eligible to vote and excludes more than 1.1 million tax paying Pennsylvanians. Currently, the winner of some of our most important elections are decided by the primary. This makes public officials only accountable to their party bases and not the electorate at large. We have endorsed and are working with our friends at to change this.

Independent Redistricting Commission – Politicians should not be choosing their voters, the voters should be choosing their politicians. An inherent conflict of interest arises when legislators draw their own districts. We support the efforts of Fair Districts PA to establish an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and encourage you to visit for more information.

Ranked Choice Voting – Also known as instant run off voting, RCV is widely adopted in local governments and private organizations throughout the world. It has a proven record of ensuring that the elected candidates represent the will of the majority of the people. It also eliminates additional spending on further campaigning and holding another election. For more information on how RCV works please visit


The Economy – Local and State policies can have a dramatic effect on our economy. We challenge our policy makers to introduce and support legislation driven by the goal of improving the quality of life and stability of the Pennsylvania workforce. The Economy consistently ranks as a top priority for Pennsylvanians and security here can be expected to positively impact other areas such as Mental Health, Crime, Domestic Violence, Addiction and others.

Environment and Energy- It is a high priority in the Commonwealth to reduce our environmental impact. Pennsylvanians deserve a healthy and secure environment. We seek solutions that will conserve natural lands and resources for future generations, increase our energy security, and futureproof our outdated and failing infrastructure. We firmly believe that industry and the environment do not need to be at odds and look to industry and governmental leaders to propose solutions that benefit both our economy and our environment.

HealthCare – High quality, accessible Healthcare starts locally. Historically, solutions to reduce cost, increase access, and improve quality of care have been deferred to the Federal government. We seek local and State policies to remove barriers between patients and their providers including Reproductive Care.

Safer Communities- Whether urban, suburban, or rural – Pennsylvania communities have seen a decline in safety. We seek policy makers who bring solutions to this complex issue at a local level such as, but not limited to: Effective Policing, Increasing Mental Healthcare Access, Improving Education and Job Creation, addressing the Opioid Crisis, and Decreasing Violent Crime.

Benjamin Valimont


I am an advocate for democracy & making our government work for us.