mesa dems newsltr.indd - Mesa County Democrats

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
2.......2014 Candidates
3.......Volunteer Award
3........ 2013 Highlights
4............. School Board
4............... 2014 Events
Mesa County Democrats
P.O. Box 2361
Grand Junction, CO 81502
970 • 316 • DEMS (3367)
email addressXXXXXXXX
Like us on Facebook
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.
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
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
March 21, 2014
Save the Date!
De ms
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
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
Your Name Here!
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."
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
Mesa County Democrats
P.O. Box 2361
Grand Junction, CO 81502
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 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
— 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
several presentations of Brian Malone’s documentary, “The
Reformers,” helped assure the victories.