California Democrats, women leaders call for unity!
Day one of the California Democrats State Convention did not disappoint and
may be an indication of what’s to come in the 2020 US Presidential election. Constituents, party delegates, voters, visitors and locals from a myriad of political affinity groups make up thousands of attendees, seemingly with views about presidential candidates that are as varied and polar opposite [that] one could imagine.
Upon arrival, canvassing San Francisco’s massive Moscone Center, site of the state convention, I overheard two men discussing the “whys and why nots” of a particular female candidate, among the top tier of contenders. Both men, passionate about their views pro and con, made impressive arguments that illuminate the need to parse the words and policies of each candidate seeking to unseat Donald Trump.
During a midday press conference, Alexandra “Alex” Gallardo-Rooker, Acting Chair of California’s Democratic Party (CDP), announced CDP’s partnership with media giant Univision for a Fall forum, in Long Beach. In addition to discussing party housekeeping matters, she reflected upon the current culture and temperament within the nation and how it has shifted away from the era that ushered in President Barack Obama. She called for unity.
The Mexico City-born Gallardo-Rooker, in her capacity as acting Chair of the CDP, is the first Latina to ever lead a major political party in California.
Later in the evening, a Meetup group of African American women gathered to
show support for and give visibility to female candidates at all levels within the Democratic Party: highlights of that event included comments from San Francisco Mayor London Breed who enthusiastically commended the organizers, among them Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA), and some 200-plus people for holding the event at the Moscone Center.
Further, she encouraged them to work hard and to enjoy the city’s innumerable offerings. Mayor Breed also declared that as the first African American female mayor of San Francisco, she certainly should not be the last—rousing applause followed.
Virtually every age group of voters occupied that room. I had the opportunity to sit with legendary San Diego lifelong Democrat and party leader Kathleen Harmon. Approaching age 80, Ms. Harmon is stunning, precise in her views and clear that the varied voices of the party must unify to be successful.
She indicated that she has been involved in San Diego politics since 1956. In 2017, the City of San Diego renamed a street in her honor for lifetime community service.
Elected as the first chairperson of San Diego’s Black Caucus, Ms. Harmon went on to share her early beginnings in party politics and the process by which she ascended to leadership. “I began by listening and taking the advice of those in leadership at that time. I wanted to learn the process from those who knew it. It is our job to educate our young people that they don’t have to be in a hurry to take control.”
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