"Expect Democrats!" —A Note from Carl Reed
County-level political parties are required to re-organize every two years after general elections. Often the mandated reorganization produces little change from previous years. But the RCDP reorganization of January 2019 replaced three of the four executive positions and installed dozens of appointees in precinct-committee positions. Our new party executives are Carl Reed, Chairperson; Karen Hawes, Vice Chairperson; Linda Johnson, Treasurer; and Janis Galitzer, Secretary. These officers constitute the County Executive Committee along with appointed members Christopher Renner, Theo Stavropoulos, and Ellen Clayton.
The new team is motivated by the multiple and massive threats to American democracy and the Kansas public good that have been created by Republican policy under orders from the super-wealthy and allied special interests. Our response will be to build the Riley County Democratic Party into a cadre of informed, diverse and active citizens working hard to protect our people and our democratic institutions from the greed and obstructionism of conservatives.
The new team has been working behind the scenes to define the goals, visions and missions and to craft the strategies and plans that will create the aforementioned cadre. Expect a more activist, more aggressive county Democratic party. Expect that monthly meetings will focus on the damage done to our state and our communities by Republican policies. Expect to learn how the Kansas government came to be the most secretive, least transparent of state governments. Expect to be shocked and angered as speakers explain how Kansans have been exploited for the sake of the wealthy, how our traditions have been disrespected for the sake of powerful special interests. Expect more and larger meetings, more and larger fund-raisers, a larger and louder participation in local events. Expect Democrats!
Chair | Riley County Democratic Party
The Riley County Democratic Party (RCDP) held its reorganization meeting on January 19, 2019 at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium. The Central Committee elected Carl Reed as County Chairperson; Karen Hawes as Vice Chair; Linda Johnson, Treasurer; Janis Galitzer, Secretary; Christopher Renner and Debbie Nuss were elected as First Congressional District delegates. Reorganizational meetings are required by the Kansas Democratic Party Bylaws following each election cycle and provide an opportunity for the party to take stock of previous election cycle and begin planning for the future.
“Although I have no personal history as a political partisan,” said Reed, “I am anxious to begin working toward the election of 2020. Now is the time for ordinary citizens across our country to respond to the threat posed by the large number of elected officials who are servants of special interests. If we fail to act before “all wealth is aggregated in a few hands” as Abraham Lincoln warned, we will lose our democracy and destroy our environment before our grandchildren have the opportunity to enjoy either.”
Overall voter turnout in Riley County for 2018 was 19,982 votes or 56% of the total eligible voters in the county. This number is a reduction of some 3,000 votes when compared to 2016 when 65% or 22,198 voters cast ballots. However, Riley County Democrats and unaffiliated voters did show up in larger numbers for the 2018 general election than they than in 2016. In addition to re-electing Sydney Carlin as State Representative, Democrats carried the county for Alan La Police, First Congressional District candidate; Laura Kelly, Governor; and Brian “BAM” McClendon, Secretary of State.
“There is tremendous energy already aimed at the next election in 2020,” said Karen Hawes. “And we plan on channeling that energy toward a progressive future for Kansas.”
One of the first steps in tapping that energy was changing the format of the RCDP’s monthly meetings. The meetings will now take place on the third Tuesday of each month and will focus more on providing educational content on specific topics that will empower Riley County citizens to act for their own best interests and provide them talking points to help educate the broader public. The first such meeting will occur on March 19th, beginning at 6:30 PM at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium and will focus on Expanding Medicaid featuring Nick Wood from the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas.
“I’m happy to see us providing useful information to the general public,” said Christopher Renner. “In the current political climate when the President of our nation cannot tell the truth, providing people with fact-based information on a broad variety of topics means we will have a better-informed electorate going to the ballot box. For far too long, Kansans have voted against their own best interests because they do not know what candidates and the dark money behind them want to do our society.”
In addition to providing monthly meetings building towards the 2020 election cycle, the RCDP will also develop a 2-year plan with a goal of having a Democrat candidate run for all county and state offices.Read more