4.27.20 Stay connected and active in our new normal!

Note from the chair

We had our first County Committee meeting via Zoom last week. It was long, but I think we had some important conversations and took care of a lot of business. I am grateful to the more than 45 County Committee members who attended and voiced their opinions.

In some ways, I see that our virtual events are an opportunity to reach more people — and more equitably. For folks who don’t have easy access to transportation, they don’t have to travel. For others who struggle with hearing loss, they don’t have to fight the background restaurant noise to hear. And for those with schedules that don’t permit them to attend our in-person meetings, many can now since their online meetings can be held back-to-back with no travel time.

As we move forward into spring and summer, it looks like this will be our new normal. Even when things open up, it probably won’t be a good idea to have large gatherings. So, for the foreseeable future, I plan on hosting a public Virtual KCDP Update each Third Thursday at 6:30pm via Zoom. If our elected officials are able to join us, it will give our group a chance to hear from them. As campaign season kicks into high gear, this will be an opportunity to hear from candidates as well. I hope you can join us.

Our County Committee business meetings will now be held on the Fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30pm via Zoom for County Committee members only. To make sure they are shorter and productive, I’ll be changing the agenda to be primarily committee reports as well new and old business. Reports from elected officials and candidates will be given on Third Thursdays. Our Executive Committee (formerly Officers and Chairs) will continue to meet via Zoom on the Second Thursday at 6:30pm.

Also, this week we will be doing virtual phone banks (from home) to promote absentee voting for the May 5th election, which will be done mostly by mail. Check out the events on Facebook or Mobilize. Sign up online and we’ll send you the link to join our Zoom training and event kick-off. We’d love to have your help! You can also email volunteer@kzoodems.com or contact Pam Gilchrist at (269) 267-3409.

Soon, we’ll be announcing new, virtual fundraising events. We’ll be hosting fundraisers with local celebrities, artists and musicians, political figures (from near or far!), and other creative activities that we can do together online. If you know people who would like to share their work, pass their info on to me. In the meanwhile, our important work of electing Democrats must go on, and we can’t do it without your support. If you’re able, during these uncertain times, please make a contribution to our campaign fund. Donate at secure.actblue.com/donate/donatekcdp. And thanks.  

Check out all our news, updates, and volunteer opportunities below. I look forward to seeing you soon — online.

In solidarity,

Margy

Margy Belchak
KCDP Chair and Development Director

kzoodems.com

kcdp-chair@kzoodems.com

(312) 848-0225

The only way to survive is by taking care of one another and rebuilding our relationships.

— Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit Activist and Philosopher

Candidate recruitment update

We laid out goals back in January to find great candidates to run for seats all across the county — and we did! Here are our goals and our results after the April 21st filing deadline. Many thanks to Mariah Phelps, John Curran, Shardae Chambers and the other members of the candidate recruitment committee.

Full Democratic slate for State Representative seats (60th, 61st, 63rd, 66th)GOAL MET
Full Democratic slate for county-wide offices (Sherriff, Prosecutor, Clerk, Treasurer, Drain Commissioner)GOAL MET
Full Democratic slate for all 11 County Commission seatsAll but District 8
Full Democratic slate for Oshtemo, Kalamazoo, and Comstock TownshipsGOAL MET
Some Democratic candidates in Texas, Cooper, and Richland TownshipsGOAL MET: 3 Texas, 1 Cooper, 1 Richland

Important County Committee votes

At our last County Committee business meeting, which was on Thursday, April 23rd, we voted on a number of important items.

The County Committee endorsed a YES vote on the May 5th KRESA millage renewal. Vote by mail from the comfort and safety of your home! This proposal will allow the intermediate school district to continue to levy a regional enhancement millage that expired with the 2019 levy. Pursuant to state law, the revenue raised by the millage will be collected by the intermediate school district and distributed to local public school districts based on pupil membership count. More information: https://www.kresa.org/Page/2258

The County Committee endorsed Fair and Equal Michigan’s ballot initiative to amend Michigan’s Elliot Larson Civil Rights Act to include protections for LGBTQ individuals. More information: https://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_LGBTQ_Nondiscrimination_in_State_Civil_Rights_Law_Initiative_(2020). They are collecting signatures online due to the coronavirus. Sign the petition here: https://www.fairandequalmichigan.com/sign.

The County Committee voted to send our endorsement questionnaire to all candidates running as Democrats in Kalamazoo County. To receive the endorsement of the KCDP, candidates must 1) be nominated for endorsement at a County Committee meeting and 2) receive at least 75% of the votes from present voting members of the County Committee at the next meeting. More than one candidate may be endorsed for each race at the discretion of the County Committee. Or the County Committee may choose to not endorse any candidate in a particular race. Often, the committee has refrained from endorsing in races with contested Democratic primaries. Candidates, keep your eyes open for an email from our team!

Voter rights update: Good News

Earlier this month, a panel of three federal judges ruled that Implementation of the Michigan redistricting commission should proceed as planned. 

Republicans had brought two cases to declare the voter-approved commission unconstitutional and halt its formation. The judges upheld the decision of Michigan voters, who overwhelmingly approved the new redistricting panel in 2018.

This removes control of redistricting from the whichever party is in power in the state legislature. For two decades, Republicans have controlled this process, but not any more! The nonpartisan commission will redraw political boundaries after this year’s census. Read more here

Volunteer opportunities

Call voters from home

Join us to call local voters about the importance of mailing in their absentee ballots for the May 5th election. We will have a 15-minute Zoom training, followed by calling from home, and a 5-minute debrief via Zoom. 

Make sure you have a fully-charged phone, a computer or tablet, and your excitement to talk to voters! We have four dates/times available. Join us for one or more of the events!

Tuesday, April 28, 1pm-3pm. After you register for the event via Mobilize, you will be emailed the Zoom link. Register here: https://www.mobilize.us/dashboard/kalamazoodems/event/269999/

Wednesday, April 29, 5pm-7pm. After you register for the event via Mobilize, you will be emailed the Zoom link. Register here: https://www.mobilize.us/dashboard/kalamazoodems/event/270002/

Saturday, May 2, 3pm-5pm. After you register for the event via Mobilize, you will be emailed the Zoom link. Register here: https://www.mobilize.us/dashboard/kalamazoodems/event/270004/

Sunday, May 3, 1pm-3pm. After you register for the event via Mobilize, you will be emailed the Zoom link. Register here: https://www.mobilize.us/dashboard/kalamazoodems/event/270005/

Donate meals for hospital workers

With the Borgess hospital cafeteria almost completely closed down, the ICU team there is welcoming meals delivered by KCDP volunteers. Sign up here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/174Dppnij8P7jo03OiUYXp1wzWmhaNYVFx_0GFu1h3io/edit#gid=0. Delivery instructions are on the sign-up document. Please use disposable containers that do not need to be returned. Questions? Betsy Rice is managing the delivery schedule. You can reach her at stonewood7@gmail.com, by text to (269) 760-8981 or on Facebook messenger. Questions may also be directed to Barb Hammon on Facebook, at barbarashammon@gmail.com, or by texting (269) 929-4875. 

Call voters in your precinct

KCDP Neighborhood Captains are making phone calls to Dem-leaning voters in their precincts to encourage absentee voting. New volunteers are welcome! A sample script, training, and a  phone list will be provided. You can make calls at your own pace and whenever it fits your schedule. Home computer access is required. For more information, contact KCDP Neighborhood Captain coordinator Jenny Snyder, corresponding@kzoodems.com or (269) 929-8888. 

Parade your creativity

KCDP Outreach Coordinators Sue Kovats-Bell and  Mary Hess-Quinones are looking for 2-3 volunteers to work with them to plan a fun and creative entry for the Kalamazoo Do-dah Parade, which has been rescheduled for August 15. This year’s parade theme is “Hindsight is 2020.” If that sparks ideas for a theme, costume or props for our marchers, contact Sue at (269) 271-2424 or outreach@kzoodems.com

Protect voters

The Michigan Democratic Party Voter Protection people are looking for your assistance. Email Margy Belchak at kcdp-chair@kzoodems.com for more information.

Help candidates 

Contact Pam Gilchrist at volunteer@kzoodems.com to be put in touch with our many candidates who need your help! And thanks!

Thursday, May 21st @ 6:30pm – Virtual KCDP Update with Senator Sean McCann and Representative Jon Hoadley. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88546015570.

Thursday, May 28th @ 6:30pm – Virtual KCDP County Committee business meeting for County Committee members only. Zoom link to be emailed out separately.

Stay tuned for more information on virtual events, speakers, and engagements as we get things on the books! Make sure to check out our Facebook page where we post lots of relevant info and upcoming events.

More ways to connect

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

Did a friend forward this newsletter to you? Subscribe here. A few back issues are here.  

You can join the KCDP here. Send KCDP membership questions to Jan Mazei: membership@kzoodems.com.

Donate online. And thanks! 

Sign up to volunteer here.

Follow and share our Facebook page. 

And remember to stay in touch on our website

Thanks for reading!