Officers Elected For Elk Grove Democratic Club, Members Hear Presentations From Candidates, Elected Officials

Out-going Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club president Dan Schmitt
and president-elect Kendra Lewis. |

November 15, 2017 |   

In a well-attended and highly spirited meeting held at the Elk Grove Public Libarary, members of the Elk Grove-South County Democratic club elected news officers at their Tuesday, November 14 monthly meeting. Along with choosing new officers, club members heard several presentations and discussed next year's elections.

Among the new officers elected for 2018 were Kendra Lewis, president; Scott Matsumoto, vice president; Nancy Fox, treasurer; and Bob Ireland, secretary. New officers will be sworn in during the club's December meeting.

Just before holding the voice vote for the slate of officers, outgoing club president Dan Schmitt thanked club member for the privilege of serving. Schmitt led the club for the last three years and said his involvement in politics before joining the club several years ago was limited.

"It has absolutely been my pleasure," Schmitt said. "I have learned so much."

"I'm excited about a lot of things that we are doing, and where we are going," Lewis said after being elected. "I think it is important that we have a big year coming up, and we are a big group, and I hope we come together as a club."

Noting that Elk Grove and the surrounding areas are no longer small or medium-sized communities, Lewis said it is important that club members work as Democrats to continue changing the political composure.

"It was very red when I moved here, it became purple after Ami [Congressman Ami Bera] ran, and now it is blue," she said. "And that is because of all of us and all of our hard work."

Also speaking to the group was Elk Grove resident Jim Kelly, who is organizing a signature-gathering operation to place an initiative on next year's Elk Grove ballot asking voters to change to a by-district form of representation on the city council. Kelly, who also recruited several volunteers, implored club member to continue to apply pressure during city council meetings on Democratic council members Stephanie Nguyen and Darren Suen to have the initiative voluntarily placed on next year's ballot. 

Democratic candidates appearing before the group included Harry He and Brad Westmoreland. He is challenging Democratic incumbent Jim Cooper for the 9th California Assembly seat while Westmoreland is one of three challengers for fellow Democrat Ami Bera for the 7th California congressional district. (Audio posted on the right column).

"We need public campaign financing," He said. 

Noting that there is tremendous pressure on any candidate to raise funds, He said the current system compels candidates to spend more time with donors than the constituents they hope to represent.

"The majority of money coming in is not small donors," He added. "It is really special interests giving money."

Democratic congressional candidate Brad Westmoreland who is one of three people challenging Congressman Ami Bera focused on the need for a single-payer healthcare system and other progressive ideals.

"I know a lot of people talk about district 7 like it is a purple district," Westmoreland said. "District 7 is a blue district that has voted purple, and we can change that."

Westmoreland went on to say to change congressional representation to blue, people who are disenfranchised within the district to get involved in the political process. 

"That means we need to put forth policies and initiative they care about," Westmoreland noted. "That means thing like Medicare for all, that means public education tuition free, and that means to demonstrate that we care about refugees, the disabled, we care about people who don't have a voice and can't speak for themselves."  

Perhaps the most spirited conversation of the evening for the standing-room-only audience followed a presentation by Cosumnes Community Services District Director and longtime club member Orlando Fuentes. Elected to the CCSD in 2016, Fuentes urged club members to stay involved to ensure Democratic principles such as equality are pursued in the city.

During the conversation several club members said that the Democratic city council members ought to support switching to by-district from the current from-district form of representation. Additionally, several club members suggested those same council members should also open a discussion on the formation of community police commission as a follow-up to the recent city-sponsored race relation meetings.

Along with Fuentes, CCSD Board President Rod Brewer also spoke to the club. During a brief question and answer session, Brewer said he would ask his fellow board members to consider changing the CCSD to a by-district from their current at-large form of elections.    

Of significance, during comments made earlier in the meeting, club vice president-elect Scott Matsumoto noted the influence the club now has on local politics. Matsumoto said since the time he joined the club in 2011, every elected body in the Elk Grove area has changed to a Democratic majority from Republican. 

"This year is an important year, it is an election year," he said.  "The endorsement of the club has grown in stature to where it actually means something now." 

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Eye on Elk Grove said...

Kendra Lewis will be an excellent president of the Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club. Under her leadership, she will take the club to the next level. And I agree, with three Democrats on the Elk Grove City Council who want the club's support for themselves, want members to walk precincts for them and then turn around and support Republican challengers is outrageous!

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