On Saturday, April 20, the club held its regular monthly meeting. Prior to the presentation by Laurie Richards, several club members who attended last weekend’s State Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento shared their exciting experiences. Mary Borevitz described the 2,100 delegates as the greatest “variety of people you’d ever want to meet”, explaining that the convention attendees represented every demographic possible – a true reflection of the diversity of the party and the makeup of the Californian citizenry. All elected statewide officers were there giving rousing speeches reminding us of the Democratic sweep of all state wide elected offices. CA is solidly in the blue column now.
Mary was particularly pleased to have attended the luncheon with featured speaker Nancy Pelosi, who reveled in the success of this past election as Democrats regained 11 House seats. The focus of her speech was on the rising threats to the middle class, citing income disparity, immigration reform, women’s right to choose, protecting Social Security and ensuring healthcare for all among many. “Organize, not agonize” was her rallying cry!
Pia Harris-Ebert’s enthusiasm and joy at having been a first time attendee was still evident from her presentation. As she explained, “It was awesome, now I know why I’m a Democrat!” She attended both the Women’s and the Labor Caucus meetings and was equally inspired by the diversity of the party. Surveying the makeup of the Labor Caucus attendees she said, “I didn’t realize how many people, how many walks of life, how many different unions were the foundation of the Democratic party”. But she was most inspired by Congressman Raul Ruiz, who defeated Mary Bono-Mack in the November election for the House seat in the Palm Springs area. He explained how he grew up in a trailer and slept each night on a makeshift bed on the kitchen floor with his brother. He had no money for college, but was determined to go so he went fund raising throughout town, promising that if he was able to get through medical school he would return to the town as their physician. And that’s exactly what he did! “It brought me to tears”, Pia said.
Bill Jaynes also attended the Women’s Caucus and was particularly inspired by Sandra Fluke, who spoke along with the mother and daughter Pelosi team. “She’s a very impressive person and we’ll see more of her”, he explained. He was particularly impressed by a more intimate visit he and others had with Majority Leader Toni Atkins, with whom he got to personally speak. Finally, he relayed the story told by a speaker to the full convention floor, a nervous young lady who worked for WalMart but was on strike in support of a living wage. She explained that she made the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and that although considered a “full time” employee 40 hours were not guaranteed nor could they predict the number of hours they would be given to work any given week. While on strike now she is not getting paid and has had to seek public assistance. John Burton, California Democratic Party Chairman said, “There goes another union thug” as WalMart calls them, as she left the stage.
Overall the attendees were inspired, excited and can’t wait to return next year. They highly encourage anyone interested to pursue attending. As Pia said, “I’m so glad I’m a Democrat” and if you are too, next year’s convention might be the place for you.