10.9.19 A watch party, Proposal 2 AND Brown/Todd/Wolpe—So much news this month!

Lots to tell you about this month—a debate watch party, voter registration news, more free MDP webinars, and one last chance to get your tickets for the Brown/Todd/Wolpe Award Ceremony & Fundraiser, our biggest event of the election cycle. 

Update on Republican efforts to overturn Proposal 2

We’ve also included a link to a super-enlightening update on Republicans’ challenge to the state anti-gerrymandering measure approved last fall. Read on!

Lee Kirk has written a fabulous summary of gerrymandering in Michigan and the impact of Proposal 2. It’s posted on our website; you can read the whole article here. 

Kirk includes:

–A brief history of how district lines have been drawn in the past century (you may be surprised!)

–The genesis and ultimate approval of Proposal 2 in last year’s election

–Analysis of the two federal court lawsuits filed by Republicans this summer seeking to thwart the will of the people and keep gerrymandering in place in Michigan

His article also discusses recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including this summer’s misguided holding by the court that gerrymandering is a political question and that federal courts cannot review district-drawing decisions made by states.

And those of you who remember the Voters Not Politicians’ tagline, “Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around,” will be pleasantly surprised to learn who first put that phrase in the public sphere.

Bottom line, If you’re interested in voting rights, you won’t want to miss this! Read Lee Kirk’s article here. 

Lee Kirk is a lifelong Democrat and a retired attorney. He was “all in” early on Proposal 2. “A friend and I went to the Third Thursday farmers’ market four hours after the ballot language was approved in August 2018. We got over 160 signatures that evening, and I knew right then that Michigan voters were ready to start taking back their power.” However, he notes, “There is still a lot more work to do.”  

Volunteers and friends to be honored

We are thrilled to name the individuals to be honored at KCDP’s biennial Brown/Todd/Wolpe Award Ceremony & Fundraiser this Saturday, October 12, 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Niko’s Landing in Comstock.

This is our biggest event of the election cycle! Don’t have your ticket yet? That’s ok. There’s still time. You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to mix and mingle with other Democrats and hear about our plans to win big in 2020!

To purchase tickets, log on to secure.actblue.com/donate/browntoddwolpe. Individual tickets are $50/each. Your evening will include a keynote address from Lavora Barnes, the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, an award presentation, delicious appetizers, a cash bar, and live musical entertainment by The Hackneyed Quips

A little history…

Named for former State Representative Mary Brown, the late Congressman Paul Todd, and the late Congressman Howard Wolpe, this event celebrates contributions made in the past and gives attendees a chance to connect with other Democrats to plan our future work. 

View a brief history of recent Brown/Todd/Wolpe celebrations here.  

Our 2019 awardees

(L-R) Larry Provancher, Namita Sharma, Bobby Hopewell, Betsy Rice

Brown/Todd/Wolpe Award 

A stalwart Democrat, Larry Provancher will be honored for serving and supporting the KCDP  throughout his life.

Ed LaForge Dedication Award

Namita Sharma and the Hon. Bobby Hopewell will be recognized for their extraordinary dedication to the work of the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party and local Democratic politics. 

Jo Ann Betz Volunteer Award

Betsy Rice will be recognized for her exemplary work as a KCDP volunteer.

We will also honor four KCDP friends in memoriam (left to right): Hon Ed LaForge, Jo Ann Betz, Susan Holman, Shequita “Quanna” Lewis.

The big night!

We are thrilled that MDP Chair Lavora Barnes will give this year’s Brown/Todd/Wolpe keynote address.

A veteran political strategist and operative, Barnes has held many state-level leadership positions, including Chief Operating Officer for the MDP, Political and Communications Director for the Michigan House Democratic Caucus, and Michigan State Director for Obama for America in 2012. She is the first person of color elected to serve as state party chair in Michigan.

The program will also include award presentations by State Senator Sean McCann, State Representative Jon Hoadley, and KCDP Chair Jacob Andrews. Andrews will also give an update on the KCDP’s work this year and plans for 2020.

Thank you, sponsors!

We are grateful for generous support from our elected officials, local campaigns, community members, and businesses! Join us in thanking this year’s Brown/Todd/Wolpe sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor

Larry J. Bell

Platinum Sponsor

Michigan Democratic Party

Gold Sponsors

Timothy and Joy Light

George and Clare Todd

Silver Sponsors

Rep. Jon Hoadley

Hon. Zac Bauer and Doug Pearce

Timon Tesar

Bronze Sponsors

Hon. Mary and Don Brown

Anthony Bates for County Commission

Sheriff Richard C. Fuller III

Matt Longjohn and Valerie Miller

Christine Morse for State House

Chris Praedel for Kalamazoo City Commission

South-Central Michigan AFL-CIO

Copper Sponsors

David Anderson for Mayor

David Benac for Mayor

David Burgess

Tracy Hall for State Representative

Hon. Caroline Ham

Hon. Richard Huebler

Sue Kovats-Bell

Rebecca and Paul LaDuca

Millie Lambert

Anne Lipsey

Tracy Lynn and Matt Carpenter

State Senator Sean McCann

Betsy Rice and Barry Allen

Hons. Meredith Place and John Taylor

Hon. Grant Taylor and Kayla Munch

Arthur Roberts and Betty Lujan-Roberts

Southwest Michigan Building Trades

Hons. Mark and Christine Schauer

Namita Sharma and Rex Brueggemann

Cam and Fred Weber

For more Brown/Todd/Wolpe information, contact Margy Belchak, Director of Development, at fundraising@kzoodems.com or (312) 848-0225. 

City candidates endorsed

At its September meeting, the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party endorsed one candidate for Kalamazoo mayor and three candidates in the city commission race. County Committee members voted to endorse David Anderson for mayor, and Jake Andrews, Patrese Griffin, and Chris Praedel for Kalamazoo City Commission. As our bylaws require, these candidates received at least 75% “yes” votes from those voting. 

On Nov. 5, 2019, city residents will elect a new mayor and commissioners to fill three open seats. We thank all the candidates who returned our questionnaire and spoke at the meeting. 

Automatic Voter Registration…It’s a thing now! 

Last month, Automatic Voter Registration rolled out in branch Secretary of State offices across Michigan. It’s one provision of “Promote the Vote” Proposal 3, which passed overwhelmingly last November. 

This is great news! Now, if you visit the SoS for a new driver’s license or personal ID, you will be automatically registered to vote (assuming you’re eligible and don’t opt out).  

Not sure you’re registered?

You can check at the Michigan Voter Information Center website (https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/

At this handy site, you can also…

find out where your city/township clerk’s office is

…register to vote by mail

…learn about absentee voting

…track the status of your absentee ballot

…see what your ballot will look like for the upcoming election

…and much more!

Remember, when more people vote, Democrats win! 

Now: Easier signup 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. All you need is a computer connected to the internet. 

Click this link to sign up for as many as you’d like. New and improved this month: a single signup form for all the webinars you care to join! You’ll get login details in your email the morning of each training. 

Topics this month: 

Tues, Oct 8 at 7PM- Treasurer/Compliance 101

Wed, Oct 9 at 7PM – VAN and Data for Intermediate Users

Thurs, Oct 10 at 7PM – Twitter 101 and Using Social Media to Win in 2020

Fri, Oct 11 at 7PM – VAN and Data for Beginners

Tues, Oct 15 at 7pm – The Basics of Fundraising

Wed, Oct 16 at 7PM – Digital Organizing

Thurs, Oct 17 at 7PM – MDP Party Structure and Participation

Mon, Oct 21 at 7PM – Voter Education and the New Voting Laws

Tues, Oct 22 at 6PM – Growing Your Local Party

Wed, Oct 22 at 7PM – Running for Local Office

Thurs, Oct 24 at 7PM – Robert’s Rules and Parliamentary Procedure

If you do want to join the Michigan Democratic Party, you can do that here

Wendy Flora and Vince Lavieri, Democratic members of the Kalamazoo County Board of Canvassers

It was standing-room only at our monthly “Third Thursday” meeting on September 19. A packed agenda included presentations by Wendy Flora and Vince Lavieri of the Kalamazoo County Board of Canvassers, which is responsible for certifying election returns, and by Dusty Farmer, Oshtemo Township Clerk, who described what happens behind the scenes at your clerk’s office on Election Day. After the presentations, KCDP Rules and Bylaws Chair Mark Miller led County Committee voting on endorsements for the November 2019 City of Kalamazoo election candidates.  

Climate Strike rally at WMU

On Friday, September 20, KCDP was ALL IN at the Global Climate Strike organized by the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition. Local Dems joined the rally at WMU, marched down Michigan Avenue, and staffed a table at the Climate Strike gathering at Arcadia Creek Festival Place.   

On Saturday, September 21, KCDP joined the Jon Hoadley for Congress campaign to knock doors for the Michigan Democratic Party’s Day of Action, a statewide effort to identify Dem-leaning voters, register new voters, and sign folks up for the new Permanent Absentee Ballot. 

On Wednesday, October 9 from 5-7pm at the KCDP office, 3254 S. Westnedge, volunteers are phone banking to invite people to our Brown/Todd/Wolpe celebration—our biggest fundraiser of the year! Bring a friend and a charged cell phone and come for as long as you can. Training provided. Questions? Email Margy Belchak, fundraising@kzoodems.com

Join us for soup and chili to cheer on your favorite presidential primary candidate at our Debate Watch Party on Tuesday, October 15 at the KCDP Office, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., beginning at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome; no RSVP required. We’re asking a $5 per person donation for this fundraiser to benefit the KCDP—and bring a snack to share if you wish! Questions? Email info@kzoodems.com.

Everyone is welcome to attend our monthly KCDP “Third Thursday” meeting on October 17 at Traveler’s Cafe and Pub, 5225 Portage Rd, Portage, MI, 49002. We’ll have a speaker (TBA) from 5:30-6:30pm, followed by our business meeting from 6:30-7:30pm. Come for either portion of the meeting or both. It’s free of charge; no reservation necessary. Order dinner, just a beverage, or nothing at all, but do join us! Questions? Email info@kzoodems.com.

You can be part of the MDP Day of Action on Saturday, October 19, 10am-2pm, hosted by KCDP and the Jon Hoadley for Congress campaign. The goal is to inform our neighbors about new voter registration and absentee ballot laws and collect petition signatures to get Jon on the ballot! Meet at Hoadley campaign headquarters: 5320 Holiday Terrace Suite 8, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Training provided at 10am. Come for as long as you can. Bring a charged cell phone and a smile–and a friend! Questions? dakota@jonhoadley.com or or call (269) 220-0416.

Mark your calendar for the KCDP’s 2019 Women’s Luncheon on Friday, November 8, noon-1:30pm at Theo and Stacy’s Restaurant, 4311 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Visit with old friends and meet new ones as we all rally around our elected women Democrats! All are welcome. Come as you are and buy your own lunch. To help us reserve enough space, RSVP to Hadlee Robinson, 2nd-vice-chair@kzoodems.com.

Feeling festive? Or just need some exercise? Join the KCDP and the Jon Hoadley for Congress campaign to march in the Kalamazoo Holiday Parade on Saturday, November 16. Details to be announced.  

Office open Saturdays! 

The KCDP office is now open on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Stop and see us at 3254 S. Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, near White’s Road. Our volunteers will be answering questions, registering voters, and signing up KCDP members and volunteers. 

More good news: We resume full occupancy of our longtime office on December 1! (We subleased it for most of this year to conserve funds for the Biggest Election of Our Lifetime.)  

Beginning Jan. 6, 2020, we’ll be open Mon-Fri 9-6 and Sat 9-3. As the year progresses, we’ll add longer hours, including Sundays.  

Tracy Klinesteker

“I’ve always been a Democrat, although I’m not sure how or why, as I was raised in a staunch Republican household in what was once the Republican stronghold of Orange County, CA. Somehow, I strayed from a well-trod path. 

“I’m a Democrat because I want to conserve our environment. I believe climate change is real, our constitution is in mortal danger, gun ownership is out of control, abortion is ultimately a women’s choice, and government has an important place in society. I earned my pension and no one is going to take that away from me. Medicare for all seems like a great idea; it’s got to be better than what we have now.

“I identify with a Party that strives to improve the human condition for all races and creeds. That’s why I’m a Democrat.”

Hitting Reply

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