Blue Notes w w w . m e s a c o u n t y d e m o c r a t s . o r g january 2014 vol. 1, no. 1 Mesa Co. chair invites Dems to party, meet, make a difference Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Mesa County Democrats newsletter! I was sitting in my car parked on Main Street recently when a man knocked on my window. When I got out, he enthusiastically shook my hand. “Nice to meet another Democrat,” he said with a smile. (My car stickers gave away my “secret.”) I want to shake your hand, too, get to know you and engage you in our most important work: electing quality Democrats to local and state government. We’d also like to provide opportunities for all Inside 2.......2014 Candidates 3.......Volunteer Award 3........ 2013 Highlights 4............. School Board Victories 4............... 2014 Events Mesa County Democrats P.O. Box 2361 Grand Junction, CO 81502 970 • 316 • DEMS (3367) email addressXXXXXXXX mesacountydemocrats.org Like us on Facebook Officers Chair, Jo Lynn Phillips 1st Vice Chair, Rick Baer 2nd Vice Chair, Martelle Daniels 3rd Vice Chair, Troy Douglas 4th Vice Chair, Scott Beilfuss Secretary, Trisa Mannion Treasurer, Nancy Angle Editor/Design: Victoria Collier 19,000-plus Democrats in our county to meet each other. I hope this newsletter will encourage you to sign up for our emails. We won’t flood your inbox; we will let you know of meetings, events and opportunities to support local issues and candidates. To have a meaningful voice in local government, our Party members must be energized.The 2014 local elections are opportunities to engage in and change the dialogue. Any level of involvement you offer will make a positive difference. Take the first step – or three! 1. Sign up for email updates at www. mesacountydemocrats.org/makea-difference-in-mesa-county 2. Attend a meeting: first Monday each month (see calendar, page 4) 3. Party with the Party at the annual Spring Fling in March Thank you. Jo Lynn Phillips, Chair Mesa County Democrats Grand Junction, Colorado Platform committee: Jobs! Education! When a committee of Mesa County Democrats gathers to discuss our local party platform and solutions for the county’s problems, one glaring need comes up frequently, no matter what the topic: good jobs. In 2014 our party will push for local and state politicians to connect the dots that bring more and better jobs here. Sustainable jobs. Green jobs. Education jobs. “All-of-the-above” energy-solutions jobs. Arts, tourism and agribusiness jobs. Critical statistics reflect our concern with the local economy: 45% of our students are on free-or-reduced lunches, 47% of Mesa County pregnancies are with uninsured parents, wages in major job sectors have been stagnant for years and funding of education here is among the lowest in the country. Our party must recognize every facet of the community that is affected by the number and quality of jobs available and work hard to improve the opportunities for our citizens. Better local education programs on all levels is critical. We expect Colorado Mesa University will provide more needed skills to our students. The community should support programs that bring research and development grants, which could create long-term jobs. We hope public schools will add STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs to all grade levels and offer strong vocational programs to students who don’t choose to attend college. Now is the right time to look at creating a technical-trades magnet school to offer equal opportunities for all District 51 high school students. Mesa County Democrats are, and will be, working hard to improve job opportunities to lift our citizens to a better quality of life. THE party of THE Party! Spring Fling Friday, March 21, 2014 Save the Date! 2 De ms in ! n o i t c A Two local candidates step up for 2014; party seeks one more As a former Chair of the Mesa County Dems, I know the importance of having candidates on the ballot to represent us, and I also know the difficulty in securing candidates. It is a big commitment but your party is here to support you. Without candidates, and winning elections, we cannot move our agenda forward and make this community better for everyone. There is an open Mesa County Commissioner seat, and we need to fill it! Please consider running. We will teach you what you need to know and be with you every step. Martelle Daniels Colorado Senate District 7 Claudette Konola Colorado House District 54 Brad Webb Mesa County Commissioner The most fulfilled I have ever felt in my life has been the past few years as I’ve gotten involved with local not-for-profits, working to protect our quality of life in the Grand Valley. That is why I’m running for office. I’ve lived a very privileged life, climbing the corporate ladder in banks on 17th Street in Denver, and then working nationally in the field of community and economic development. That background helped me develop skills that I believe can be directed toward legislating for the common good of people living in our valley. I want to protect our water, and find ways to help our young and our displaced workers to find hope again. I want to serve the people of Mesa County, not the corporations that spend millions on lobbyists. This isn’t about me; it is about giving back to a community that has given me so much. I believe that our current legislators do not represent most residents in our district. We are farmers and families working to put food on everyone’s table – mine, yours, and our fellow Coloradoans. The people of Mesa and Delta counties do not have the luxury of being political extremists. The most important issue facing the Western Slope today is economic development – driven by agriculture, energy, and tourism. I’ve chosen to raise a family and run a business here. I want to reach across parties to address the real concerns of our district. The issues that are important to the majority of constituents get lost in the rhetoric when politicians start playing partisan politics, or pursuing extremism in either direction. I’m not interested in a blanket party platform. I will reach out and ask you what’s important. I’m asking for your support so that we can work together and refocus on what puts food on the table. Your Name Here! T RU E B LU E 3 Mesa County Dem named state Volunteer of the Year Democrats are thought to be a rare species in Mesa County. It's even rarer for a Mesa County Democrat to be honored as Volunteer of the Year by the state party. This year, however, Rick Baer of Grand Junction shared that honor with two Front Range volunteers. The awards were given at the 80th annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in downtown Denver last March. Rick Baer Former Mesa County Democrats chairperson Martelle Daniels nominated Baer for the recognition. "It's a huge honor to be the Democrat's Volunteer of the Year," Daniels said. "I don't remember if, ever, there was someone from the West Slope. Rick is truly devoted to the principles he believes in. He works year-round, making calls, writeing letters, showing up at legislators’ offices and organizing rallies." Baer began an apprenticeship with electrical union local 969 after moving to Mesa County in 1966. He supports the right of collective bargaining. "The National Labor Relations Act was the strongest anti-poverty program we ever had," Baer said. "Prior to that, we didn't have a middle class in this country." Baer attended precinct caucuses and state conventions, then became more active in politics after he retired five years ago from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, where he worked as a union organizer and a construction organizer. He was involved with Obama for America and remained active after the election with Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. "I watched the middle class slide (and) wages stagnate," Baer said of his motivation to help elect President Barack Obama in 2008 and in 2012. "The only hope of turning that around was getting progressive people in office. We never thought we would win in Mesa County, but we needed every vote. The votes count as much in Mesa County as Denver. Our goal was to get electoral votes in Colorado." Many locals keep their political affiliation quiet for fear of discrimination at work, Baer said. "There are a lot of closet Democrats in Mesa County." The 2008 presidential campaign was unique in the number of Democrats who volunteered in the Grand Valley, he said. "A lot of people expressed surprise there were that many Democrats.” Baer volunteered as a Redlands-area team leader during the campaign. He recruited other volunteers, registered voters, identified supporters, made phone calls, and knocked on doors urging people to vote. One of the volunteers Baer recruited was Scott Beilfuss of Grand Junction. The two met at a February 2012 caucus meeting. "I had never worked on a campaign before," Beilfuss said. "Rick believes with all his heart in what he's doing. He inspires people. He's our hero with his work ethic and his passion." FromFeb.21,2013,articlebySharonSullivanintheGrandJunctionFreePress. 2013Notan“Oﬀ ”YearforActivities,Events Although 2013 was an “off ” election year, Mesa County Democrats were busy across the Valley — staying visible, recruiting new members and getting information to the public. Some of our 2013 events and activities included: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Strategic Planning, began March 16 Spring Fling Annual fundraiser, April 20 Climate Change Action event, June 3 Grand Junction Farmer’s Market, June 13, July 4, Aug. 15, Sept. 19 OFA* Food Drive, June 22 OFA* The Dream is Now, June 25 4th of July Parade, July 4 Summer Picnic, July 14 OFA* Core Volunteers, August 3 Climate Change event, August 13 Affordable Care Act meetings in Grand Junction, Fruita & Palisade, August 20-22 OFA* Immigration Reform event, Sept. 6 Century Club Social, September 13 Palisade Farmer’s Market September 15 Sherwood Park picnic, September 23. Fruita Fall Festival Parade, September 28 Brad Webb announcement for House District 54, Oct. 4 • • • • • • Hunter’s Safety classes, October 5 ACA informational meetings, October 5 “The Reformers” documentary at Mesa Theater, October 7 Claudette Konola announcement for Senate District 7, Oct. 11 Colorado Young Democrat meeting, Dec. 7 Democrats’ holiday party, December 11 *OFA (Organizing For Action) events are coordinated by Rick Baer and are part of the national OFA efforts. Rick also coordinates about 20 volunteers who do a great job assisting Hilltop in getting enrollment information out for Colorado’s Connect for Health marketplace. Many volunteers make these events and activities possible along with the following committees and coordinators: Scott Beilfuss, Recruitment & Events Committee Andy Hamilton, Communications Committee Ginny Braeuer, Fundraising Committee All committees welcome new members. To volunteer or participate in events, contact a Mesa County Democrats board member or sign up for email notices at www.mesacountydemocrats.org/make-a-differencein-mesa-county. Mesa County Democrats P.O. Box 2361 Grand Junction, CO 81502 INDICIA LABEL AREA REQUIRED BY P.O. Printed locally on part-recycled paper Volunteers overcome outside $$ to elect common-sense school board candidates Mark Your 2014 Calendar Below are some highlights on the Mesa County Democrats 2014 calendar. Many additional activities and events will be added throughout the year. • Mesa County Democrats meet the 4th Monday of each month in the Operating Engineers Building, 431 Kennedy Ave, Grand Junction, at 5:30 p.m. After months of canvassing, campaigning, and nail-biting, • Spring Fling, Friday, March 21, Colorado Mesa University Ballroom. Mesa County Democrats’ annual fundraiser, get Mesa County public school advocates, as well as District 51 together and political campaign kickoff. Ticket informastudents and teachers, were rewarded in November when all tion will be posted at mesacountydemocrats.org or call three Republican-endorsed candidates lost their bids for seats 970-316-3367. Enjoy an evening meeting local Dems and on the District 51 School Board. many local and state legislators and candidates. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents banded • Precinct Caucuses, Tuesday, March 4. Elect precinct cautogether to elect Greg Mikolai, Tom Parrish, and John cus representatives, discuss upcoming elections and canWilliams to serve on the school board for the next four years didates. — a victory for common sense. A win by even just one of • County Assembly, Saturday, March 22, at Central High the losing candidates would have given the board majority School (time to be announced). to those interested in turning the public school system into a • State Assembly, Saturday, April 12, in Denver. profit-based, private enterprise. Substantial contributions from outside sources made this • Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Saturday, April 12, at the Sheraton Downtown Denver. the most expensive school board election in Mesa County history, yet a community-wide effort to inform voters about the issues and importance of this election resulted in victories To receive email notices of 2014 events, for progressive candidates. Countless volunteer hours and sign up at www.mesacountydemocrats.org/ several presentations of Brian Malone’s documentary, “The Reformers,” helped assure the victories. make-a-difference-in-mesa-county.
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