Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
The Pima County Democratic Party elected a slate of new officers— including Don Jorgensen as chair– by acclamation at Saturday’s reorganization meeting. The whole election took about 30 minutes.
Although there were rumors about wild card candidates (from the business friendly Latinos who took over Legislative District 3) running against the suggested slate and although the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) met with progressive precinct committee (PsC) people to encourage them to run for statewide or county offices, there were no surprises on Saturday. (The progressive faction and the business friendly Latino faction are represented on the Executive Committee and on the State Committee, making both groups more diverse in multiple ways.)
Nearly 150 voting PCs attended the reorganization meeting at Amphi High School; 51 were needed for quorum.
Chair Jeff Rogers– who led the local party with a strong hand through two, often-contentious terms– called the meeting to order and ran it. He started by congratulating the Dem foot soldiers for helping to elect President Barack Obama and a Democratic majority of Congressional seats– Ron Barber, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Kyrsten Sinema, and Ed Pastor.
Arizona State Senator Steve Farley nominated Jorgensen (pictured at left), a candidate who he said “has blue blood, in a good way”.
In a short speech after his speedy, uncontested election, Jorgensen– dressed in the Dem Party Chair “uniform” of blue jeans, cowboy boots, and a blue blazer– came across as smart, friendly, inclusive, and spot-on with the issues that reflect Democratic values.
“I know that it is wrong to have more laws to regulate a woman’s vagina, than assault weapons; more laws that support prisons more than public education; and laws that allow you to be pulled over because of the color of your skin,” Jorgensen said, alluding to multiple right-wing bills passed in recent years by the Arizona Legislature.
“We need to work smarter and speak louder,” Jorgensen continued. “We are not going to be complacent as we were in 2010. The work starts tomorrow.” More about the elections after the jump.
During the nominations, former Pima County Chair and former candidate for State Attorney General Vince Rabago sounded the similar themes.
“A second term for Obama, 5 Congressional seats. We have a lot to be proud of,” Rabago, current head of the local Dems Latino Caucus, said. “Republicans have been stomping Latinos down for a long time. When Democrats are silent, we are complicit. We have a lot to be proud of but still lots to do.”
The other elected Pima County Democratic Party officers are:
“Wow. That was fast,” Rogers remarked when the speed voting was done, and he turned the meeting over to the new chair.
Jorgensen said he wants more transparency in the local party, particularly in communication. As an example, he said that all Executive Committee minutes will be distributed to all PCs– not just to the Legislative District chairs.
“We are one big group with big ideas”– including support of the local gun buy-back, spearheaded by Councilman Steve Kozachik– Jorgensen concluded. “Going forward, we are taking no groups for granted, as Vince [Rabago] said.”
Many local politicians– including Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Councilwomen Karin Uhlich and Regina Romero– as well as Tucsonan Bill Roe, head of the Arizona Democratic Party attended the meeting.