by Alison Jones, Pima County Democratic Party Chair

Another month has passed, and we continue moving forward. The Udall Dinner was a success – check out Cat Ripley’s column – but the fundraising efforts never end. Paul Eckerstrom, a former PCDP chair, told me this would be the case, and he was right. After meeting with several former PCDP chairs in January, I was honored to sit down with several recently to hear about their experiences. They offered to provide advice as an informal advisory committee. I am very grateful for their input.

HQ is a busy place these days. Volunteer Coordinators Leftie Vaughn and Barbro Drott Huth bring expertise honed by running the Obama office in Tucson. We are fortunate to have these accomplished women organizing our office. Stop by and meet them. Bill Laray is managing the facilities and helping Cat with special projects. He has wonderful energy and doesn’t retreat from a challenge.

The Arizona Democratic Party came to Tucson on April 27 and 28 to lead PC and leadership training, which we’ll offer again. These trainings are for experienced and new PCs. It never hurts to brush up on skills! PCDP is moving ahead with trainings/seminars on two tracks: one for PCs and volunteers on subjects such as voter registration, canvassing, best practices, and using the miniVAN; another track is of interest to the general public. The latter track, which is consistent with the Speakers’ Bureau concept, is a party-building mechanism designed to bring people into the party and get them active. Larry Bodine and Lori Cinnamond kicked it off on April 4 with their “How to Get Active in Local Democratic Politics” Seminar, which brought new faces to HQ. To anyone who loves public speaking and teaching: Let’s talk about how you can be a part of this! We hope to take these on the road.

When the LD chairs met on April 2, the hot topic was PC recruitment. Pima County has about 500 PCs right now, and yes, we need more. The numbers don’t tell the whole story, however. There are gaps in the PC geographic distribution, and we’re looking at that too. Each LD has its own strategies. For example, Steve Witthoeft, LD11 chair, has been tireless in calling every PC to discuss his/her experiences, and holding a successful PC Summit.

Pima County Young Democrats and University of Arizona Democrats deserve kudos for their Tucson mayoral-candidate forum on April 18. It was well organized, informational, educational, and thought provoking. The turnout was excellent. Tucson is fortunate to have Regina Romero, Randi Dorman, and Steve Farley running for mayor. Kudos also to LD2 and LD3. They had a great turnout at their recent Town Hall on April 28 and the discussion topics were lively. 

PCDP had a presence at the Pima County Fair, successfully signing up new voters and collecting petition signatures for initiatives and candidates. Organizing to staff the 10-day event is challenging, particularly as we were in the throes of Udall Dinner planning. I am thankful that PCDP First Vice Chair Luci Messing took on the task of organizing the volunteers. I enjoyed working a Saturday afternoon shift. Not everyone was happy to see us, but that’s exactly why we needed to be there.

Mary Matiella, leader, activist, CD2 candidate, and a woman of integrity, resigned as PCDP treasurer on April 15 to move to Annapolis, MD, to be near her family. Never shirking responsibility, she waited to leave until the Secretary of State got our first-quarter filing. She recommended that I appoint Maggie Winchell who, along with Diane Witthoeft, helped Mary get PCDP’s finances in order. Maggie, a retired CPA, agreed to take the job. The team of Mary, Maggie, and Diane instituted a level of financial rigor that will serve us well. I will miss Mary, who was fearless in standing up for her beliefs and always wanted to do what was best for PCDP. 

Cat and I have been working on strategic objectives for PCDP, which we’ll roll out soon. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the key elements are communication, training, fundraising, and party building – all with the goal of electing Democrats and advancing our values. I want all PCs to know I value communication above all, and I encourage anyone with questions about what’s going on at HQ or in the party to contact me directly. Second-hand messages can get garbled, like a game of “telephone.” I am available by phone or in person by appointment.

I would like to thank everyone who is working in our community to promote Democratic values and the candidates that represent those values. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but I am confident that Together We Will Win!

Alison