Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
News of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting rocked the Pima County Democratic Party’s reorganization meeting today in Tucson. A Facebook post from the Three Sonorans sent shockwaves through the Democrats’ media brainstorming session as smart phones lit up around the event.
Tears and disbelief spread amongst the precinct committee members and party officials who had gathered to elect new party officers and begin to develop strategies for the future. Many in attendance had worked tirelessly on multiple Giffords’ campaigns.
The meeting suspended temporarily as delegates made phone calls, tuned in radios, and watched the TV news which were conflicting early on. At one point, NPR, CNN and local TV affiliate KOLD all reported– prematurely– that Giffords had died. At the time of this writing, Giffords is recovering from surgery at University Medical Center (UMC) after a bullet that went through her brain. According to a press conference at UMC, 10 shooting victims had been taken there, and one– a child– had died as of 3 p.m. today. National Public Radio reported 18 shooting victims, including 6 dead.
After the meeting resumed, Democrats unanimously elected a slate of new officers for 2011-2012 and unanimously passed a resolution condemning HB2281– the Arizona law banning ethnic studies at Tucson High School.
The new officers are:
Jeff Rogers, returning for another term as chair of the Pima Dems
Deya Nevarez, 1st vice chair
Paul Eckerstrom, 2nd vice chair
Paul Durham, treasurer
Elaine Lim, recording secretary
Martin Bacall, corresponding secretary
After the quickest election in the history of the Pima Dems, more than of the 100 party faithful adjourned to the party headquarters for a vigil for Giffords. Multiple Tucson Police Department squad cars were dispatched to the Democratic Party meeting at Rincon High School and to the subsequent vigil; Giffords had been scheduled to speak at the meeting today.
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