About 60 Democrats gathered for the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson luncheon Saturday, April 28, at Westminster Hall in Delta. While enjoying a lunch catered by C&J's Cafe, party members heard from several candidates including Sal Pace, candidate for Congressional District 3; Mille Hamner, candidate for House District 61; and Jessica Garrow, candidate for CU regent.
State Senator Gail Schwartz had planned to attend the event but was not feeling well.
Rick Palacio, the chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, opened the luncheon by outlining the steps needed for Democratic candidates to succeed in the November election.
"This is not the bluest county in Colorado," he commented. For that reason it is imperative for local Democrats to make sure they and all their neighbors are registered to vote, then follow up in November by making sure they and all their neighbors cast their ballots.
Palacio acknowledged that Democrats had high expectations when Barack Obama was elected president. While some may be disappointed in the direction of the country, Palacio assured party faithfuls, "We are on the right path because we are being led by President Obama."
Palacio then opened the floor to questions. Several of those attending the luncheon urged the state Democrats to take a stance against oil and gas development, and specifically against fracking. Since not everyone would agree with that position, Palacio said it is not likely Democrats will box themselves in like the Republicans have done. He referred to the Democratic Party as a big tent, where all viewpoints are welcomed and heard. Republicans, he said, are the exact opposite. "They draw themselves into a small box, and that's a dangerous political environment," he said. "We welcome all positions . . . at a minimum, we're committing to sitting down and making sure everyone's voice is heard."
He elaborated on that topic when he responded to a comment about division within the U.S.
"We can't get anything done in this country unless we work together," he said. Starting at the grassroots level, when a debate goes away, "We need to put outselves in check, start where we agree and build from there.
"It's dangerous for us as Americans, not just as Democrats, to draw lines in the sand."
During the luncheon, Les and Ann Renfrow were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from local party officials.FROM PAGE A1
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