9.9.19 Get Ready for an Election and Other Big Events this Fall!

We bid a sad farewell to summer but look forward to lots of big events this fall, including the election of city commissioners and mayor in the City of Kalamazoo. Read on to learn about our candidate endorsement process, plus the biennial Brown/Todd/Wolpe celebration, Kalamazoo’s  Climate Strike march and more. 

The “why” and “how” of candidate endorsements

We don’t have to tell you that upcoming elections are important. And while 2020 looms especially large, every election impacts our lives, jobs, and neighborhoods.  

So the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party owes it to its members and to the greater community to research and endorse candidates in local Democratic primaries and nonpartisan elections. 

At its September 19 meeting, the KCDP County Committee will consider endorsements in the fall 2019 Kalamazoo City Commission and Mayor races. Here’s how this process works: 

–After the candidate-filing deadline, County Committee members can nominate candidates for endorsement at any monthly KCDP County Committee (“Third Thursday”) meeting.

–All the candidates who have been nominated receive a candidate endorsement questionnaire to be returned by a specified date. The questionnaire addresses issues relevant to the office. 

–After the deadline, completed questionnaires are forwarded to all County Committee members.The KCDP Executive Committee may attach an endorsement recommendation. 

–At the meeting at which endorsement voting takes place, candidates are given equal time to speak. Then the County Committee members who are present cast votes as dictated by our bylaws. To earn KCDP’s endorsement, candidates in the November 2019 Kalamazoo City Commission and mayoral races must receive “yes” votes from at least 75% of those voting.  

–KCDP endorsements are announced to the news media and on our website, Facebook Page, and in this newsletter. 

Questions about our endorsement process? Check out our bylaws or contact KCDP Chair Jake Andrews, kcdp-chair@kzoodems.com.

“KCDP member” vs “County Committee member”

What’s the difference?

As you’d expect, anyone can become a member of the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party. (If you’re not a member, join here and know that your dues will support Democratic candidates up and down the ticket!) 

But If you’re interested in getting even more involved in the work of the KCDP, you can become a member of the KCDP County Committee. 

County Committee members are the voting members who make operational decisions, endorse candidates, approve resolutions, etc. We’re pleased to have nearly 80 County Committee members, and that number is growing. 

To join the County Committee, you must be nominated at a monthly County Committee Meeting and then voted in at the next monthly meeting. 

We suggest an annual donation of $100 and/or 10 hours of volunteer work from County Committee members. Additionally, County Committee members must join the Michigan Democratic Party. 

Membership questions? Contact Nora Gimpel, membership@kzoodems.com.

How about a party at your place? 

A recent KCDP house party hosted by Carol McGlinn and Jennie Hill brought nearly 50 people together on a lovely summer evening. 

Guests enjoyed delicious refreshments and speakers that included KCDP Chair Jake Andrews, County Commission Chair Julie Rogers, KPS Board Chair Patti Sholler-Barber, and our favorite state representative, Jon Hoadley. 

Right now, what could be more important than connecting with fellow Dems? A party at your house would expand our circle of supporters and raise much-needed funds. And we promise it will be fun! 

Host responsibilities are flexible but often include opening your home, inviting your friends and other networks, and providing drinks and appetizers. KCDP invites speakers, sets up an online donation form, and checks guests in. We will work with you hand in hand to make the event fun and successful!  

To learn about hosting a party on behalf of the KCDP, contact Margy Belchak at fundraising@kzoodems.com or call (312) 848-0225.

Sign up for free MDP webinars!

To build a Blue Wave in 2020, we need to get as many people as possible as involved as possible in our local party and races. 

When you know more, you can do more, so take a look at these free webinars offered by the Michigan Democratic Party. You don’t have to be an MDP member to sign up. Get the dates and sign up here.   

This month’s topics: 

Party Structure and Participation – Get an introduction to the party process and structure.

Twitter 101 and How You Can Use Social Media to Win in 2020 – Learn how to use the global sharing site, Twitter, to spread your message. 

VAN and Data for Beginners – See firsthand how to use the Voter Activation Network (VAN) and use data to target voters in your area. Let’s master the basics.

VAN and Data for Intermediate Users – Already took the first VAN webinar and want to learn more about voter data? This one’s for you! 

Growing Your Local Party – Use an Action Plan to grow your party.

Digital Organizing and Party Branding – Build your brand using fresh logos, websites, and social media pages.

The Basics of Fundraising – Learn how to successfully raise money for your PAC or campaign. 

Voter Education and the New Voting Laws – Learn about the new voting laws directly from our new Voter Protection Director. 

Treasurer/Compliance 101 – Make sure you’re on the up-and-up! Learn how to navigate the Secretary of State and file your reports correctly.

Running for Local Office – So you’re thinking of adding your name to the ballot? What’s next? How do you build a plan? Target voters? We can help you on your path to victory.

–You can sign up for as many topics as you like.

–You’ll have to fill out the signup form for each webinar.

–You’ll receive the login information in your email the morning of each webinar.

–While MDP membership is not required, there are lots of good reasons to join! You can do that here

The two-year wait is almost over! The biennial Brown/Todd/Wolpe Award Presentation & Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, October 12th from 5:30 – 8PM at Niko’s Landing!

Named for former State Representative Mary Brown, the late Congressman Paul Todd, and the late Congressman Howard Wolpe, this event honors contributions made in the past and connects local Democrats to plan future work.


Brown/Todd/Wolpe has been an important celebration for KCDP for many years. Find a brief history at https://kzoodems.com/2017/05/brown-todd-wolpe-celebration-history/

Current Sponsors (a growing list!)
Larry J. Bell
Millie Lambert
Timothy & Joy Light

You can reserve tickets, sponsor the event or purchase ad space in our program by clicking here. Individual tickets are $50/ea. If you already have an ActBlue account the address is: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/browntoddwolpe

Sponsor Levels
Presenting: $10,000 – includes 2 full-page ads & 12 tickets
Platinum: $5,000 – includes 1 full-page ad & 10 tickets
Gold: $2,500 – includes 1 full-page ad & 8 tickets
Silver: $1,000 – includes 1 half-page ad & 6 tickets
Bronze: $500 – includes 1 quarter-page ad & 4 tickets
Copper: $250 – includes 1 quarter-page ad & 2 tickets

Program Advertising Options
Full-page ad: $350
Half-page ad: $200
Quarter-page ad: $125
Name listed in the program honoring awardees: $25
Note: Artwork is due by September 20th..

View the event on Facebook here.

Contact Margy Belchak, Director of Development, at fundraising@kzoodems.com  or (312) 848-0225 for more information or to volunteer with the Brown/Todd/Wolpe committee.

What we’ve been up to

KCDP members were among Sixth District volunteers canvassing in Mattawan on Aug. 17. We were out knocking doors to identify Democratic-leaning voters, collect signatures for Sen. Gary Peters’ nominating petition, and spread the word about Michigan’s new permanent absentee voter list. This was one of many “Day of Action” events sponsored this summer by the Michigan Democratic Party

T-shirts have been ordered and will be delivered to KCDP in about a month. When they arrive, we’ll contact you to pick up your shirt at the office (3254 S. Westnedge Ave.) during specified weekend/evening hours. Many thanks to everyone who ordered! Questions? newsletter@kzoodems.com.

Coming soon

The KCDP Volunteer Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 11, 5:30-7pm at the KCDP office, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo. We will discuss committee leadership roles, our training and onboarding process, and re-energizing volunteer efforts to gear up for 2020. New members are welcome. Questions? Email volunteer@kzoodems.com or just show up! 

Everyone is welcome to attend our monthly KCDP “Third Thursday” meeting on September 19, at Traveler’s Cafe and Pub, 5225 Portage Rd, Portage, MI. Presentation (5:30-6:30pm) by Wendy Flora and Vince Lavieri of the Kalamazoo County Board of Canvassers, which is responsible for certifying election returns; followed by business meeting (6:30-7:30pm) to include County Committee member voting on November 2019 candidate endorsements. Free of charge; no reservation necessary. Order dinner, just a beverage, or nothing at all, but do join us! Questions? Email info@kzoodems.com.

Join the Global Climate Strike! On Friday, September 20, people will walk out of their schools, workplaces and homes around the world to demand transformative action in response to the global climate crisis. KCDP will be on hand for events organized by the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition: 12:30 pm, speeches and rally at the WMU flagpoles in front of Sangren Hall, 1:30 pm march to the Arcadia Creek Festival Place in downtown Kalamazoo for speakers, live music and more from 3-6 pm. 

We need as many people as possible to rally and march with us! If you can’t march, join us at the WMU flagpoles and/or downtown. Partisan signs (“Democrats Fight for our Climate” or something more clever!) are welcome. Make yours at home or come to a sign-making party on Friday, September 13, 3:30-6pm at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, 205 Monroe St, Kalamazoo, MI 49006. KCDP needs volunteers to staff our table at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place from 3-6pm. Come for as long as you can and bring a friend! Email volunteer@kzoodems.com for info. See @kalamazoocrisis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram https://www.facebook.com/events/469151490331766/  #StrikeWiithUs #ClimateStrike

Why is our plant so happy?

Doesn’t our KCDP office plant look healthy and fabulous? We thank SWMI Health Matters, PLLC for taking such good care of her in our absence. These friends subleased our office space for much of 2019. By collecting rent, we fortified our finances for 2020! 

On December 1, we resume occupancy of our long-time office at 3254 S. Westnedge!  KCDP will again be open on Saturdays from 10-2, with office hours expanding as next year’s election approaches.  

We think these green leaves are shining in anticipation of our return! 

Why I’m a Democrat – Kushi Matharu

“I’m a Democrat because I genuinely can’t imagine not being one. In a day and age where our basic survival is questioned by climate change, I am proud to be a member of a party that puts forth ideas such as the Green New Deal and works to combat these issues. As an immigrant, the Democratic Party has a proven track record of helping out not only immigrant communities but also various minority communities. I’m a Democrat because it’s time for systematic change, and I’m part of the generation that’s going to make it happen.“

Hitting Reply

Send newsletter content to Jennifer Snyder: newsletter@kzoodems.com

Send membership questions to Nora Gimpel: membership@kzoodems.com.

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You can sign up to volunteer here. 

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And remember to stay in touch on our website

Thanks for reading!


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