Celebrating Our Democratic Values

This past weekend was a big one for Kootenai Democrats.

On Friday evening we celebrated the 2022 Democracy Dinner Gala at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. This year’s event marked the first Democracy Dinner since the COVID-19 shut down. The gathering brought together about 150 local Democrats along with eminent Democratic representatives from around the state. Among the distinguished visitors were Representatives Chris Mathias and Lauren Necochea. Chris served as our keynote speaker while Lauren acted as emcee. In addition, the following candidates were in attendance: David Roth (US Senate), Kaylee Peterson (US House of Representatives), Terri Pickens-Manweiler (Lt. Governor), Tom Arkoosh (Idaho Attorney General), and Terry Gilbert (Idaho Superintendent of Instruction).

As a part of the event, we honored Democrats whose work and actions warranted special recognition. We presented the Art Manley Life-Time Achievement Award to Kathleen Beechler & Sheila Gary. In addition, we recognized Lindsey Barber as this year’s Rising Star. And as a special acknowledgement, we gave Cindy Algeo an award for her years of service as our Central Committee’s secretary. See photos.

Then each of the candidates took turns addressing the gathering. Between their statements an auctioneer took bids for the myriad items donated by fellow Democrats in the county for our live auction. My favorite was a beautiful blue Fender Stratocaster that brought in $900. All together the auction raised $4700 for the Kootenai Democrats. These funds are a real shot in the arm for us.

Then, on Saturday morning we hosted the Threats to Democracy and the Dobbs Decision Symposium at Templin’s Resort. First things first, a big thanks to Templin’s for making last-minute accommodations. And an even bigger thanks to panelists which included Tom Arkoosh, Cornell Clayton, Terri Pickens-Manweiler, Nathen Melzer, Kate Graves, and others.

These frank discussions were well informed, respectful, and varied. Blending expert opinions with the views and direct experiences of lay people, the forums shed light on implications of the recent threats to democracy, and the overturning of a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The take home lessons were that yes, undermining free and fair elections threatens our Democracy, and yes, the elimination of a woman’s right to an abortion in Idaho will impact the practice of medicine and the lives of our women in our state.

For these two events I am eternally grateful to Shari Williams, Carolyn Mattoon, Katie Mans, & Sarah Andrews, and for musical accompaniment by Crissy Monroe.

Also on Saturday evening, the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations held their annual Human Rights Banquet. The gathered crowd heard from the Task Force’s founding member and current secretary Tony Stewart along with Idaho’s US Attorney Josh Hurwit. The featured speakers emphasized that human rights are on the front burner for the Task Force and the federal government as well. Their words were very reassuring.

In addition, we viewed a new video titled “Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life.” The biggest take home lesson was that those of us who stand by and say nothing in the face of attacks on minorities and other marginalized groups are entirely complicit.

One Month to Win

Donovan Clymer, our courageous field organizer says he wants everyone to know “just how dire the situation is. I know that they feel scared too. But we all need to try or else those alt-right bastards will keep gaining in numbers.”

Canvassing continues both Friday evening and the usual Saturday afternoon. Voter registration is underway on the NIC campus on Tuesdays and Fridays. And phone banking is now on from 5-7 PM Wednesdays and Thursdays. Keep in mind that phone banking does not require you to leave home. Although you are welcome to participate in person at our temporary downtown office space, it is not necessary to take part in this outreach effort. Plus, because a remote computer manages the call processing, it protects your anonymity. In other words, it is easy and painless. In fact, it feels good.

Start by adding your contact info to our registration page. Donovan says, “If everyone signs up for just one thing that could make a huge difference.” Take just a little time each week to save Kootenai County from sure destruction.

Other News

I want to send a shout-out to the Kootenai County Commissioners who will consider stripping the Candlelight Christian Fellowship (CCF) of its status as a polling place during their next County Commission Business Meeting on Tuesday, October 4 at 2 pm. They will be considering the removal of CCF as a polling place to ensure every voter feels safe and secure on Election Day.

Also, I read an article recently that explained how the University of Idaho is advising its employees to refrain from providing reproductive health counseling or supplying contraceptives to students. This recent prohibition is a direct result of Idaho’s new Anti-Abortion Law and is a step toward preventing university employees from violating it. This is unfortunate news; however, we can expect similar actions from other institutions.

Upcoming event:

And finally, I want to draw your attention to an outreach effort we are organizing. It is for a School Supply Drive for CDA Schools. This donation drive is an effort to fill the gap for students lacking needed supplies. Volunteers will take donations at the collection point on Saturday, October 1 from 10 AM to 1 PM. The collection point is at Ramsey Park in the southernmost parking lot which is closest to the Kroc Center. The items needed include backpacks, rulers, scissors, calculators and protractors, watercolor sets, college ruled notebooks, and highlighters. Please be there with an item or two to help our kids and take the pressure off our teachers. Thanks to Cathy Kraus for this generous event.

Have a super week, and thanks for being a Democrat.

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