Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Hello Riley County Democrats!
My name is Kim Zito, and I was elected chair of the county party on November 15th. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to drive the bus for the next two years. It is an honor to represent you all and to work on electing D candidates.
I'll be completely honest: When Carl officially called Brennan Walter (Vice Chair), Corey Broughman (Secretary), Gabe Kerr (Treasurer) and myself as the elected Executive Committee for term 2020 - 2022, my heart pounded, and I thought, "Oh sh!t. What did I just get myself into?"
Let's start with the GOOD NEWS. We have a President Joe Biden and a Vice President Kamala Harris. I'm hoping with a new tone - a hopeful tone - the optimism and the civility will return and will trickle down upon us from coast to coast, like Glenda's snow undoing the harm of the poppy fields.
Re-electing Senator Tom Hawk and Representative Sydney Carlin will provide us some protection in the Kansas Legislature - even just having a voice of reason standing up for Riley County against the Truth Caucus. This gives me peace of mind.
Adding a Democrat - Kathryn Focke - to the Riley County Commission, District 3, will not only provide a policy shift on the board of county commissioners, but I believe her presence will add some empathy, compassion and common sense (which sadly had been missing). And I'll also add: knowing how hard of a worker Kathryn is, I know we'll hear exactly what she's been doing on our behalf, unlike her predecessors who inform us weekly that they've checked their emails and cleared brush on their properties.
Now for the bad news:
A Biden Administration still has to fight the dangerous and heinous movement behind Q-Anon, the bombardment of lies and disinformation, 74 million people who refuse to engage with the rest of us here on planet Earth. Add a decimated economy, a pandemic that has a hospitalization and death rate that are growing exponentially, families who are hungry and soon-to-be homeless...this is an entirely different monster of a task than when he came in as VP to the 44th President in 2009.
The 2020 General Election was THE election of our lifetimes - but that was just to stop the carnage. We are still bleeding out, and now is not the time to recede back into our homes, waving away politics because we're simply not in an election year.
Remember: politics is a derivative of the word policy. Politicking is a combination of debating, deal-making, compromising, etc. Politics is what happens in order to enact policies.
It's one thing to have different policy goals and priorities. These can be differences between us and our opponents, as well as differences within our own party. (And certainly, we can debate those policies 'til the cows come home.) It's another thing to witness what is happening in "politics" right now.
This isn't politics. The Republican party has abandoned all policy making. And that's the problem. Because they're still the party in power in our legislatures, we have to interact with them in order to govern. But the GOP isn't interested in governing.
To be honest, I'm not even sure I understand what the GOP's end game is. Is it packing the courts? Is it garnering power? Is it burning down democracy?
We Democrats have to become even more vigilant.
So I am calling upon all of you: We need you.
We have the City Commission election in 2021; and we need to vote in commissioners who will take our public health and our economic challenges with both seriousness and compassion.
We have the re-election of Gov. Laura Kelly in 2022; and we need to start registering voters and persuade them to vote in their own interests - the very interests she is fighting so doggedly to protect.
And we'll have Tracey Mann and Jerry Moran to unseat in 2022.
We have to do this work over the course of the next 18 months, not the last two months before the election.
I know you're tired. I know you're stressed. I know you want this to be over.
But our fight continues on.
And we can't do this without you. The only way to do the work is: to do the work.