Back to Work!

Welcome back from summer, PDC’ers! I hope everyone had a happy, safe, and healthy summer. It was great to see so many of you at the August picnic. We had over 100 attendees and raised over $3,500 from the auction. Thank you for your generosity. Many of our PDC activities (voter registration, our lunches/speaker events, meetings) are self-supporting. But the money raised will help fund other PDC activities, such as funding the Peninsula Young Democrats, and our donations to candidates and causes. In the 2012 election season, the PDC was able to contribute over $10,000 to candidates and causes, due to your generosity.

If you weren’t able to attend the picnic, you missed a really good time! Our new board member, Judy Plaska, had some big shoes to fill, and she did a great job. It is a really big job – thanks to her for such a well-run and productive event. We had a great mix of the usual and the unusual suspects – many newer members attended. As much as raising money, the best part of our events is getting great like-minded people together to catch up with each other!

Thanks to everyone who obtained and/or donated things for the auction. And thanks to everyone who helped with the logistics on the day of the event. The new website/online registration and taking payment by credit card helped a lot, thanks to Carole Kuiper and Dave Walter. I especially want to thank our high bidders/donors, Arthur, Carol and Ralph, Diane and Joe, and Kavita and Raj (and your kids!) – you went above and beyond.

Many elected officials attended, including Palo Alto City Council Member Pat Burt, PAUSD Member Heidi Emberling, Assemblyman Paul Fong, Palo Alto city Council Member Liz Kniss, Mountain View City Council Member Margaret Abe Koga, PDC Board member and former Los Altos School Board Member Carol Kuiper, former Assemblymember Sally Lieber, El Camino Hospital District Board member Julia Miller, Los Altos City Council Member Jan Pepper, former Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, and PDC Board member and former Los Altos Mayor Jim Thurber. And of course State Senator Jerry Hill was our emcee – he was amazing. Seriously, wasn’t he like a professional auctioneer? He has a backup career, for sure. We are so grateful for his terrific participation!

Next year’s off-year election is so crucial that I am hoping to grow the PDC membership and raise twice as much money for that election season. We must not see a repeat of the 2010 election when the Tea Party roared in and helped the Republicans take over the House of Representatives, resulting in the most unproductive, obstructionist Congresses in history. Over the next few months we’ll be looking at what the 2014 election looks like and what can we in the PDC do to hold the Senate and make progress in the House. Briefly, the good news in the Senate is that there are 52 Democrats, 46 Republicans and 2 Independents. The bad news is that we have work twice as hard as the Republicans to hold onto what we have: of the 33 Senate seats up for election in 2014, 20 are held by Democrats, 13 by Republicans. And of the 20 held by Democrats, 5 will be open seats due to retirements (Carl Levin MI, Jay Rockefeller WV, Max Baucus MT, Tim Johnson SD, and Tom Harkin of IA); these are not necessarily easy seats to defend. The Republicans have only 2 Senators retiring.

In the House, The Republicans have a 33 seat majority. With redistricting in California, our Congressional delegation is strongly Democratic, more accurately reflecting the state. Of California’s 53 house seats, 38 are Democrats, 15 are Republican. If we could flip some of these races in California, it could have a national impact. The PDC can develop and strengthen our local political community and leaders and raise money and campaign for candidates in California and other states.

Growing our local community starts with voter registration, which Board member Diane Rolfe has been diligently organizing all summer with her band of happy PDC members. This summer they have registered 100 voters at area events, of which 72 have been Democrats and they are still going strong.

We have a little more than a year to work on this – let’s get started! 

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