BY PETER DORFMAN
Kaisa Goodman, the new executive director of the Monroe County Democratic Party, has attended political fundraisers all her life. As an infant, her labor activist mother took her to the annual Eugene V. Debs Foundation dinners. “I’ve only missed two in my entire life,” Goodman, 25, says. “I’m on the board of the foundation now.” [Debs, a union leader and anti-war activist, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1855. He was a five-time Socialist candidate for president of the United States.]
Goodman’s position is the first and only salaried job with the local Democratic Party. The part-time, $20,000-a-year position is permanent, as long as it can be funded. Goodman started in March. She was previously the party’s treasurer.
Goodman hails from Battle Ground, Indiana. “I have volunteered for political campaigns for most of my life, starting with local campaigns in the Lafayette, [Indiana], area when I was a kid,” she says. “I went door to door and worked phone banks. Later, I worked for the Obama campaign.”
After a semester at Indiana University, Goodman left for financial reasons. She worked at Bloomingfoods and helped start the union there in 2015. “That was a crash course in organizing at every level—learning how to engage with the community, organize events, how to do media training,” she recalls. “I also served on the negotiating committee for the initial contract.”
After managing the successful reelection campaign of District Four City Councilman Dave Rollo, Goodman got to know Mark Fraley, Monroe County Democratic Party chair, and other key county Democrats. It was former City Clerk Regina Moore who suggested she pursue the party treasurer position.
Goodman had been treasurer for just over a year before becoming executive director. She was chosen for her knowledge and commitment to Democratic politics, and, since returning to college, she is open to working part time. Goodman is majoring in environmental and sustainability studies at IU, with a concentration in ethics and justice.
“A lot of people in my generation care a lot, but don’t know where to start,” Goodman says. “They stay well-informed, but they don’t get out and volunteer. National politics can be frustrating, and it’s easy to give up. But if we each make a small difference in our community, it will have a ripple effect.”