Sunday, August 03, 2008

Democrats gather for picnic in the park

Attended yesterday's picnic hosted by the Laramie County Democratic Grassroots Coalition. I was a bit late, two hours to be exact, as I had another event in Fort Collins earlier in the afternoon. My contribution to the dessert table was watermelon, all cut up in a big red bowl (symbolic in a red state?). As I arrived, Dem State Chairman John Millin was leaving, as was Mike Bell, head honcho of the LarCoDems. I missed some of the candidates and a lot of the food, but stayed to eat cake and chat with some of the Democratic candidates from around the county.

All four Dems running for the House District 44 seat vacated by Floyd Esquibel were there. I talked to Jim Byrd and his family, including his mother Liz Byrd, a lifelong Democratic activist in the county and former state legislator. The other three Democrats in the H.D. 44 race are Nate Breen, Richard Leslie, and Tammy Rasnake, better known as "Tammy R." on her campaign signs.

Floyd Esquibel was there, too. He's running unopposed in the primary and general election for Senate District 8. While you see a number of unopposed Republicans on the Wyoming sample ballot, you see very few unopposed Dems (Mary Hales from Casper joins Floyd in this category). Floyd's brother Ken was on hand. He's running for re-election in H.D. 41 and is unopposed in the primary.

I had a chance to chat with Tony Reyes of H.D. 9 about various zoning ordinances and redevelopment plans. Zoning is one of my favorite new concerns, as it will have a huge impact on how the city develops (and doesn't). It also could be a big help in forming livable communities, places where you can walk to the store instead of driving. This is the "new urbanist" concept you hear so much about. The odd thing is, all the things we've heard about zoning may be outdated. Energy shortages and global warming are causing us to rethink the residential zoning practices that created suburban sprawl. And yes, we have that in WYO.

Tony is unopposed in the Dem primary, but he will have an interesting Republican opponent in the general election. My work colleague Marirose Morris and incumbent Dave Zwonitzer are battling it out in the Repub primary. I keep teasing Marirose that she sounds more like a D than an R. I would love to see her beat Zwonitzer who has a reputation of not being accessible to his constituency, which included both Dems and Repubs. Marirose sits on the civil rights commission and is an expert on community outreach and accessibility issues. Doesn't she sound like a great legislator? Dems in H.D. 9 might consider switching their party affiliation on primary day to vote for Marirose. We can do that in Wyoming. Don't forget to switch back for the general.

Katherine Van Dell was one of the organizers of the picnic. She recently stepped down as head of the Grassroots Coalition so she could run in H.D. 12. She had a lot of supporters at the picnic, judging by the Van Dell T-shirts in the crowd. She's unopposed in the primary, and then goes up against right-winger Amy Edmonds. We are throwing all of our support behind Katherine.

Phyllis Sherard also had a gaggle of beshirted supporters, some of whom looked like family. She's running in S.D. 6.

I helped with the clean-up and then headed home. By the way, most of the watermelon was eaten. It was the only fruit item on the dessert table. You'd think that Democrats would be more interested in fruit and nuts and veggies. Maybe not in Wyoming...

A Monday afterthought: Didn't see any of the mayoral candidates at the picnic. Only a few of the six are Democrats, but hey -- I brought the watermelon!

1 comment:

Mr Lady said...

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