Learn about the cornerstone values that guide Ione Townsend in her work as Hillsborough County DEC Chair and that will her inform her decision-making as the Florida Democratic Party Chair.


“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” 
― James E. Faust

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” 
― Spencer Johnson

Honesty means being truthful, trustworthy, loyal, fair and sincere, all in a straight forward manner. Integrity is the natural result of someone moving in alignment with sound ethical principles no matter who is watching. Honesty and integrity are the foundation on which people build relationships and trust - and trust is something that the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) has failed to nurture for several cycles with increasing adverse consequences.


There are no easy, quick fixes to what ails the FDP. The best leaders with the longest-lasting legacies set aside their ambition for more power and influence and focus on making the most of their responsibilities and abilities to deliver measurable results. With the right leadership embodying honesty and integrity, the FDP can reverse the course of decay and eventually become an example of how to organize effectively and ultimately become inspirational.


"Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context."

― Margaret J. Wheatley

Determination is the quality that one displays when someone has decided to do something and that person will not let anything stop them - it is conscious movement towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles. Determination occurs prior to goal attainment and serves to motivate behavior. Determination is not just a cognitive state; empirical research suggests that people consider determination to be a positive emotion and that it results in important outcomes such as perseverance and success

The trait of determination is often associated with similar characteristics of resilience, which is the power to overcome setbacks rather than give into them. The myriad failures of the Florida Democratic Party (FDP), cycle after cycle, are a result of ingrained patterns of mismanagement that will require extraordinary determination to dislodge. The new FDP Chair must have the character and determination to confront these patterns head on. 


"Remember, 'Rome was not built in a day.' Instant success is never possible. Competence results only from sustained, consistent, self-disciplined effort over an extended period of time."
― Bud Wilkinson

For too long, the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) has paid homage to stated values and a vision, and has set goals and metrics, without actually tying consequences to underperformance or non-compliance. The organization consistently fails to evaluate individuals, especially senior leadership, who have been assigned specific tasks and honestly assess their performance.  In essence, incompetence goes unseen and unchallenged.


The standard refrain "if you don't like the results, vote them out" is insufficient and always pushes the reckoning beyond each cycle, leaving no time to course correct within a cycle. To embrace accountability means holding leadership responsible on an ongoing basis according to agreed-upon standards and being transparent about the metrics and data that allow us, as stakeholders, to evaluate their performance fairly. The FDP desperately needs an infusion of competence at the highest levels that will reveal underperformance and facilitate accountability.


“Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
― William O. Douglas

It is crucial that the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) promptly and accurately shares material information about how leadership is steering the ship and which individuals it has empowered to act on behalf of the FDP. Each of the 67 counties in Florida, regardless of their relative size or membership composition of their Democratic Executive Committee (DEC), deserves respect and the flow of relevant information downstream to inform decision-making on the local level.


While certain details certainly rise to the level of confidentiality, FDP leadership should be using a high bar in determining confidentiality and should generally err on the side of disclosure. Each DEC and all the hardworking volunteers across Florida deserve to know how the FDP is handling money, how programs are being funded and be able to discern the return on those investments: transparency builds trust and also reveals what is (and isn't) working faster. Without transparency, there can never be genuine accountability.