3.3.20 Be part of our busiest March ever!

Wow! Long-time members are saying they can’t remember an election cycle when KCDP was so busy so early! (See “Coming Soon” for a rundown of upcoming events.) With enthusiasm at an all-time high, we’re ready for the work ahead! 

Neighborhood Captain initiative launched!

KCDP’s first cohort of Neighborhood Captains at training last month. 

Heartfelt thanks to the first graduates of KCDP Neighborhood Captain training! These local Democrats are rolling up their sleeves to chase Blue votes in Kalamazoo County: Susan Atkinson and Rick Wilson, Tami Brozovich, Ron Crowell, Susan Fisher, Deb and Rick Freiman, Luke Howell, Val Janowski, Beth Johnson, Mike Johnson, Ann Kilkuskie, Harvey Liss, Dennis Martin, JoAnn Martino, Dawn Matico-DeLeeuw, Greg Meimers, Rob and Claire Milne, Jim Montgomery, PJ Newland, Stefanie O’Connor, Kirk Parkhurst, Patty Richmond, Jim Voss, Joanne Walters, Lynne Wathen, and Matt Yokom.

About the Neighborhood Captain Initiative 

We’re looking for volunteers in every corner of Kalamazoo County to get out the Democratic Vote in November! We provide training and information that identifies the Democratic and Leaning Democratic voters in your area. Right now, we’re reaching out to let them know how easy it is to vote absentee. 

As a Neighborhood Captain, you can:

  • Reach out to the likely blue voters in your neighborhood (you don’t have to talk with Republicans!)
  • Give whatever time works for you
  • Work with a friend, if you wish
  • Reach out in the ways you choose: doors, phone, text, social media, host a gathering, get creative!

Ron Crowell and Jenny Snyder show the 3rd Thursday crowd the growing reach of KCDP’s Neighborhood Captain program in Kalamazoo County. 

We need you! Kalamazoo County comprises 107 precincts, each with room for several Neighborhood Captains. Remember, Trump took Michigan by fewer than three votes per precinct! It’s never been more important for each of us to help find every blue vote!

Interested or know someone who might be? Check out these Frequently Asked Questions and come to an Information Session (RSVP required—details below). When we join forces, we will make a difference!

Info Session: Saturday, March 21, 9:30 – 11 am

Info Session: Thursday, March 26, 6:30 – 8 pm

     Training followup for March sessions: Sat., March 28, 10 – 11:30 am

Info Session: Saturday, April 18, 9:30 – 11 am

Info Session: Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 – 8 pm

     Training followup for April sessions: Sat., April 25, 10 – 11:30 am

Location: KCDP office, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008. RSVP required. Questions and RSVP to Jenny Snyder, KCDP Neighborhood Captain Coordinator, corresponding@kzoodems.com or call/text 269-929-8888. 

New visibility and outreach coordinator named!

Sue Kovats-Bell

“When I retired after working almost 41 years as a registered nurse in a variety of roles, one of my goals was to volunteer in some way this election year to support the KCDP. As the party’s new Visibility and Outreach Coordinator, I’ll research and coordinate our participation in county-wide community tabling events and parades in coordination with KCDP Chair Margy Belchak and Volunteer Coordinator Pam Gilchrist. Please contact me at outreach@kzoodems.com or (269) 271-2424 if you have questions or would like to suggest events for KCDP to consider this year. I look forward to meeting and working with you!”

Sign up to volunteer 

It’s only March, but we already need volunteers for a variety of roles: canvassing, phone-banking, neighborhood organizing, running fundraisers, staffing tables at community events, voter registration, and other duties. And we’ll need even more volunteers when the  weather warms up! Sign up here. Questions? Email Volunteer Coordinator Pam Gilchrist, volunteer@kzoodems.com

Automatic Voter Registration is up and running 

Now you’ll be automatically registered to vote when you get a driver’s license or personal ID card at the SoS office, unless you opt out. By law, you must use the same address for your driver’s license/ID and voter registration. If the address on your voter registration doesn’t match your license, the SoS will change the address on your driver’s license/ID to match it.  

Vote YES! On March 10 to keep the buses running

The Central County Transportation Authority’s (Metro) millage expires at the end of this year.  For $45.00 per $100,000 home value, we can replace the expiring millage at a level that keeps our current rates and routes and continues to grow 2.5 million rides. 

Approximately 90% of Metro riders have no available car. The millage is a small price to pay to run this essential and environmentally friendly community service! Please help keep the buses running by voting YES on March 10. 

Get them while they last… 

“Hate Has No Home Here” Signs 

Stop by the KCDP office, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008, to get your sign for a suggested donation of $10. 

Our wonderful front desk volunteers … part 1

(L-R): Office volunteers Jennifer Worley, PJ Newland, Dawn Matico-DeLeeuw, Heather Morgan and Marirose Meimers 

The office is running on all cylinders, thanks to the efforts of Volunteer Coordinator Pam Gilchrist and 21 new and returning front desk volunteers! We’re introducing a few here; watch for more friendly faces next month. 

Jennifer Worley is now a stay-at-home mom after spending many years in corporate training, learning and development. 

PJ Newland returns to KCDP after volunteering in 2018. She’s a retired administrative assistant who lives in Richland Township.

Dawn Matico-DeLeeuw is a lifelong resident of the area who recently retired from her business as a Subway restaurant franchisee. 

Heather Morgan is a former journalist and writing coach at KVCC who recently relocated with her family from Wisconsin.

Marirose Meimers recently relocated from Chicagoland and lives with her family in Texas Township.

KCDP Office Hours—March

Monday: 9-3

Tuesday: 9-3

Wednesday: 9-6

Thursday: 9-3

Friday: 12-3

Saturday: 10-2

“Throughout my life, I’ve seen the difference that volunteering efforts can make in people’s lives. I know the personal value of service as a local volunteer.” ~ Jimmy Carter

The Fergusons enliven events and parades in patriotic superhero costumes Lisa created!  

Vance and Lisa Ferguson 

They were hooked when…

“We are passionate about Democratic causes and we have been looking for a place to volunteer where we can make a difference and meet great, like-minded people. So we stopped in, and here we are, and we love it so far.”

Why volunteer?

“How can you complain about how things are without getting up and out and doing something about it? This is a way to fight the fear and negative thinking with something very positive.”

Something you may not know about Vance… 

“I collect comic books, cameras, watches, chess sets and monopoly games, but I’m not a hoarder …. really.”

Something you may not know about Lisa…

“When I was two years old, I sat on Walt Disney’s lap when he was in a parade in the area!” 

See our website calendar for details about KCDP events.

Chili Fundraiser, Wednesday, March 4, 5:30 – 7pm at KCDP Headquarters,  3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. MI 49008. Join us for a chili dinner to raise $3,000 to cover the annual cost of the VAN, our voter database, which is essential to KCDP work. Delicious homemade chilis, salads, and desserts for a suggested donation of $10. Vote on your favorite chili! Want a to-go order? Bring your own containers! Questions? Call the KCDP at 269-342-4217 or Margy Belchak at(312) 848-0225 or fundraising@kzoodems.com. Donate online: secure.actblue.com/donate/kcdpsoupsupper

Poll Greeters Wanted! Michigan Primary Election Day, Tuesday, March 10. We’re looking for volunteers to greet voters outside polling places all over Kalamazoo County. You can distribute information about important local races they might not have heard about and sign them up to volunteer. This is a great way to get involved and doesn’t take a lot of time—sign up for a 2-hour shift or whatever time you can spare. Fill out this form and we’ll get back to you ASAP. 

Help us Register Voters, Fridays, March 13, 20 and 27, 4 – 6 pm, Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St. Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Come for as long as you can…as many times as you can! Training is provided. Dress warmly; we’ll be outside. RSVP required; contact Michael Kohler, kohler@dccc.org or text (309) 368-9123. 

St. Patrick’s Day parade Join us for the 20th annual parade in downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday, March 14 with Grand Marshall Julie Rogers, Chair of the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party. The parade steps off at 11 am. We’ll meet beforehand at a staging location on the Burdick street Mall at Michigan Ave (staging time and place TBA). Then we’ll march south on Burdick Street, turn right onto Cedar Street and end at Rose Street. The parade goes on, rain, snow or sun!! To participate, contact Pam Gilchrist at volunteer@kzoodems.com. More information: www.kalamazooirish.org/st-pats-parade/.

Canvass for Andrew George, Saturday, March 14, 10 am – noon, Three Rivers. Hosted by the Sixth District Democrats. Help turn the first county commission seat in St. Joseph County blue and help Democrats win up and down the ballot. Meet at 10am at the St. Joseph County Democrats office, 113 Portage Ave., Three Rivers, MI 49093. For information contact Andrew George at andrewmgeorge@gmail.com.

Women’s History Month Dinner Fundraiser,  Wednesday, March 18, 5:30 – 7pm at KCDP Headquarters, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008. In support of the KCDP and  Women’s History Month, men will be cooking their signature dishes, which you can enjoy for a suggested donation of $10. Stay tuned for the identities of our celebrity chefs! Want a to-go order? Bring your own containers. The 2020 Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote,” which  honors “the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.” Questions? Call the KCDP at (269) 342-4217 or Margy Belchak at (312) 848-0225 or fundraising@kzoodems.com.

KCDP’s monthly “Third Thursday” County Committee meeting, March 19, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Traveler’s Cafe and Pub, 5225 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49001. From 5:30 – 6:30 pm, Democratic County Prosecutor Jeff Getting will speak about criminal justice reforms being made in our county system. A business meeting will follow from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Come for either portion of the meeting or both. Free of charge; no reservation necessary. Everyone is welcome. Order dinner or just a beverage and join us! Questions? info@kzoodems.com.

Neighborhood Captain Information Sessions and Training

Info Session: Saturday, March 21, 9:30 – 11 am

Info Session: Thursday, March 26, 6:30 – 8 pm

     Training followup for March sessions: Sat., March 28, 10 – 11:30 am

Info Session: Saturday, April 18, 9:30 – 11 am

Info Session: Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 – 8 pm

     Training followup for April sessions: Sat., April 25, 10 – 11:30 am

RSVP required. Location: KCDP office, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008.

It’s time to get to work to win in November! KCDP is looking for Neighborhood Captains in every corner of Kalamazoo County to head up grassroots efforts to get out the Democratic Vote in their own neighborhoods.  For details, read the article in this newsletter and check out these FAQs and come to an Info Session. Questions and RSVPs to Jenny Snyder, KCDP Neighborhood Captain Coordinator, corresponding@kzoodems.com or call/text 269-929-8888. Join the team! 

Kalamazoo Redistricting Commission Application Workshop, Tuesday, March 24, 6 – 7 pm at  the Alma Powell Library, located in the Douglas Community Association/Boys and Girls Club, 1000 W Paterson St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Join Voters Not Politicians volunteers to learn more about the Citizens Redistricting Commission. You can complete your application and have it notarized free of charge at this event. Please bring a photo ID. Sign Up Here

Campaign Launch Open House, Saturday, March 28, 1 – 3 pm at KCDP headquarters, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Join your local elected officials and 2020 candidates as we officially launch campaign season! You can mingle with other committed Democrats and enjoy light appetizers provided by our Crock-pot brigade. A short program is scheduled for 2 pm

Kalamazoo Redistricting Commission Application Workshop, Tuesday, March 31, 6 – 7:30 pm at Oshtemo Public Library, 7265 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Join Voters Not Politicians volunteers to learn more about the Citizens Redistricting Commission. You can complete your application and have it notarized free of charge at this event. Please bring a photo ID. Sign up here.

Day of Action Coordinated Canvass, Saturday, April 4. Join your local elected officials and 2020 candidates as we officially kick-off the political canvassing season! Meet up at KCDP headquarters, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008, for one of two shifts: 10am or 1pm (or come and stay all day!). After a short training, each shift will head out to knock on doors in a turf we’ve targeted to receive our absentee voting message. Snacks and meals provided by the KCDP Crock-pot Brigade. Bring a smile, a friend, and a fully-charged cell phone! Stay tuned for details.