Monday, December 17, 2012

Starting out

I started young. At age 11 I campaigned for my dad when he ran for sheriff.  On the Republican ticket.  He did not win, but I was hooked, walking around wearing my LeMieux for Sheriff sign as big as I was. 

From there I went on to lose my campaign to be class president in seventh grade. But stayed interested in politics.  It was 1960 and John Kennedy was running for President against Tricky Dick.   My Mom was an avid Democrat so you can imagine dinner table talk during the Kennedy campaign. I was 12, and got to stay home to watch the inauguration on TV.

Somehow he wrangled us tickets to the Governor's Ball!  That would Governor Romney, George, not Mitt.  A Republican's Republican his son could never be. 

Then, there was that fateful day in November, 1963. I don't know if school was closed or if we just stayed home, but I saw Oswald get shot on live TV, and knew nothing would ever be the same again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making Nice

Last night I attended the party for our new Assembly member, Marc Levine. Please note that I worked, although in a minor capacity, for his opponent, Michael Allen, an incumbent whose seat was redistricted this year.  As a progressive Democrat, I naturally gravitated to the more progressive candidate, Allen, whose short term in the Assembly was marked with bills protecting consumers, the mentally ill, farmworkers and much more.  Yes, this was not only a redistricted seat, but the first test of California's "Top Two" primary.  So we had two Democrats running against each other for the coveted new 10th Assembly District, covering all of Marin and some of Sonoma Counties.  To the surprise of many a pundit and political insider, the voters spoke out for the less established, more moderate, Democrat. Or maybe simply against what they perceived to be insider vs. outsider in an era of mucho distrust of government.

More about the actual campaign later.  This is a report on a party, held in a crowded upstairs room of a popular venue in San Rafael.  People lined the stairs to check in.  Young men in short haircuts handed out clipboards for us to sign.  Marc graciously greeted guests at the top of the stairs.  Everyone was checking out the crowd.  There were lots of new faces.  The question that naturally sprung to mind was "How many of these people are Democrats?"  Marc had appealed (wisely it now appears) to independents and even Republicans. 

Some of the old stand-bys were there too.  A couple of County Supervisors, sitting or former City Council members, and the usual partygoers.  I got a drink from the bar and worked the room.  A duet sang folky style "soft rock" music, and guests dined on mini-burgers, crab, oysters, mussels, cheeses, and some healthy veggies.

A newly elected school board member from Sonoma expressed her surprise to see me there.  "We're all Democrats" I said, realizing that wasn't even necessarily true, but since she and I both are, she nodded her understanding.

It became apparent the venue was too small, and fire codes must have been invoked. As I was leaving I ran into our Party chair who said they were not letting anyone up.  Everyone wanted to see the new kid on the block it seemed.

It's a new era, and we all must figure out our place in the political strata.  Looking forward to new campaigns in the coming year.