By Richard Wiebe
A full agenda greeted the 224 elected PCs who attended the County Committee Meeting on December 7 in a comfortable lecture hall on the University of Arizona campus.
After a moment of silence to remember those killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor 78 years before, Carlos Martinez, president of UA’s Young Democrats, welcomed PCs and observers, and encouraged PCDP to reach out to younger members.
PCDP Chair Alison Jones introduced the elected officials and PCDP officers in the room, and recognized the many volunteers committed to turning Arizona blue. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Cat Ripley, PCDP’s Executive Director, for her tireless work and incredible contributions to PCDP.
“Cat is the most capable person I know,” she said, to resounding applause.
Alison also thanked HQ Operations Manager Bill Laray, volunteer coordinators Leftie Vaughn and Barbro Huth, and all others who, she said, have helped turn HQ into a lively and welcoming hub for the party and our Democratic candidates. Thirty volunteers now staff HQ, up from a small handful one year ago.
”Something magical is happening at HQ,” Alison said.
By any measure, 2019 was a banner year for PCDP. Tucson elected Regina Romero as its first Latina mayor with the highest voter turnout since 2003 (39%–which gives us a LOT of room for improvement). PCDP hosted the primary mayoral candidate debate, managed finances, and contacted voters through phone banks and canvassing. PCDP also hosted the primary and general-election night parties, and the Inaugural Luncheon – Adelante Tucson! – which attracted many from the business community.
Catalina Democrats, PCDP’s most generous individual contributors, helped PCDP exceed its fundraising goals in 2019. There were only six Catalina Dems one year ago; now there are 60, Alison announced. The Udall Dinner raised a record amount in 2019. The ongoing Platform Film Series explores important social issues, brings previously unengaged community members to PCDP, and brings in revenue. It’s not unusual to have 80 new faces in HQ at these events. Alison thanked Cat and others on the fundraising team for their success.
Treasurer Maggie Winchell reported on the financial condition of PCDP. Successful fundraising in 2019 has put PCDP in a strong cash position going into 2020. PCDP is compliant with reporting requirements. A 2020 budget will be presented to the Executive Committee in February, as the bylaws require.
Training and education programs strengthen and grow PCDP. PCDP held workshops this year to train PCs, convention delegates, treasurers, and the voting public. “Civics 2.0: What They Didn’t Teach You in Middle School,” is a monthly speakers series that covers issues, legislative news, and the workings of government.
PCDP’s social media reach continues to see “huge’’ gains in Facebook and Instagram visits, and a 90-percent growth in Twitter followers, Alison said. “While we don’t have the number of followers of the state or Maricopa County parties, visitors engage with PCDP sites at a much higher rate,’’ she added.
Recruiting new PCs and turning out Democratic votes are high priorities. ADP is working on the details of a coordinated campaign for 2020, but it really doesn’t change what our PCs need to do. The mission of PCs is to get out of our echo chambers and engage with those who have not felt a part of the process. “Talk to everyone you know,” she said. “Have uncomfortable conversations. Tell people why they must vote Democrat. You know what you have to do.”
Labor is fertile ground for PC recruitment. “I’ll go to any meeting Labor will let me in,” Alison said.
PCDP faces an ongoing challenge to more closely resemble Pima County’s diversity.
“By far, the biggest shortfall is Latinx representation,” Alison said. “The Latinx community apparently does not see value in engaging with our party. That’s on us. It is our responsibility to fix this.”
After two officers elected in 2018 resigned, Alison appointed an acting treasurer and recording secretary. During the meeting, the body elected by acclimation Maggie Winchell and Zoey Fife, who served well in their acting capacities.
After Michael Dues, a platform committee member from LD9, explained the committee’s year-long process, the full body voted to adopt the proposed platform. Representing a cross-section of PCDP constituencies, the platform committee met at least twice monthly for a year. They consulted local experts and held focus groups of Pima County PCs and others who provided feedback. The committee will recommend updates to the platform as circumstances evolve.
“The platform describes the world in which we want to live. It is aspirational.” Michael said.
The platform can be found HERE.
Bylaws updates can be found HERE.
They will remain linked in the main menu on our website under “About” so you can find them later.