By Lori Cinnamond, LD9, PC Precinct 171

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick addressing a gathering of Catalina Democrats at Alison Jones’ house.

Moments after the PCDP elected Alison Jones as its new chair last December, former Chair Paul Eckerstrom asked her how he could be helpful.

“Help me revive the Catalina Democrats,’’ Alison replied.

Eckerstom and Marjorie Cunningham, who co-founded Catalina Democrats in 2003, then met with Alison at headquarters to plan a revival-and-recruitment kickoff event. The “new’’ Catalina Democrats debuted with a reception on Feb.  23 featuring CD2’s newly-elected Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

Paul Eckerstrom and Marjorie Cunningham share the reason why they started Catalina Democrats fifteen years ago

Some 50 Pima Democrats attended the event at Alison and her husband, Gerry Lemire’s, home. Along with former, current and prospective members, PCDP headquarters volunteers and staff who give so generously of their time, were  invited. Many had just come from Mark Kelly’s senatorial campaign kickoff at Club Congress, doubling the excitement.

Paul and Marjorie related how they started the club as a way to generate sustaining funds for the PCDP. The club was once 100-strong, providing a reliable funding source for many years. Unfortunately, membership dropped to single digits in recent years. Paul and Marjorie challenged everyone to invite friends to join Catalina Democrats, which more than 25 new members have already done since the revival began.

After Paul and Marjorie spoke, Alison reported on the recent Council of County Chairs meeting in Phoenix (see her Note From The Chair for details), and about the Arizona Democratic Party’s strategies for turning Arizona Blue. She announced an upcoming LD Summit, at which Pima County LD chairs and others will share best practices for voter outreach.

Rep. Kirkpatrick talked about the working atmosphere in Washington and its daily challenges; the path to the White House in 2020 – which goes right through Arizona; her co-sponsorship of the resolution to reverse the declared “national emergency;” the environment and other issues.

While answering a question about the factors that drive Central America migrants to seek refugee status in the U.S., Rep. Kirkpatrick agreed to join the House of Representatives’ Central American Caucus.

Catalina Democrats membership includes four special events per year. The next is  a reception before the Udall Dinner on April 13 with keynote speaker Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (Penguin Books, 2018), a National Book Award finalist.

For more information about Catalina Democrats, call PCDP, 520-326-3716 or click here to sign up.