Dem chair resigns: Venue packed with people upset at Trump

Allison Arthur aarthur@ptleader.com
Posted 1/31/17

Jefferson County Democrats need two things ASAP: a new chair and a bigger venue for meetings.

A matter of hours before its first membership meeting of 2017, chair Linda Medeiros Callahan announced …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Dem chair resigns: Venue packed with people upset at Trump

Posted

Jefferson County Democrats need two things ASAP: a new chair and a bigger venue for meetings.

A matter of hours before its first membership meeting of 2017, chair Linda Medeiros Callahan announced she was resigning for personal reasons. Callahan was elected Dec. 4 during a reorganization of the party leadership at a meeting attended by more than 300.

The Jan. 26 meeting, set for the Tri-Area Community Center, had to be moved across the street to the Chimacum High School auditorium because so many people turned out to talk about what to do in the wake of actions taken last week by President Donald Trump.

“We’ve used that room a lot, but it’s never been overflowing before,” said vice chair Marty Gilmore. “So we’ll have meetings for a while in bigger rooms.”

NEW CHAIR

As for replacing Callahan, whose two-vote win over chair Bruce Cowan was considered an upset in December, Gilmore said the executive board is to meet Feb. 6 to formally accept Callahan’s resignation. Then, precinct committee officers (PCOs) will need to meet to elect a new chair. Only PCOs can elect a chair, a rule that is both in the local Democratic party chapter’s bylaws as well as state party bylaws, Gilmore said.

Callahan could not be reached by phone after the meeting last week, but did respond to an email inquiry about her resignation.

“I did, reluctantly resign as chair, due to the sudden decline in health of elderly members of my immediate family,” she wrote. “I hope and plan to stay involved in party activities as time permits.”

Callahan also said party leaders had been expecting fewer than 100 people at that Jan. 26 meeting. She said the goal was to create and expand existing platform committees.

“Of course, I no longer speak for the party, but I wanted to let you know, as a member of the Jefferson County Democrats, that no matter who leads us, we are strong, vibrant and actively working on bettering our communities through the work of our committees,” Callahan wrote.

The next chair can be either a man or a woman, said Gilmore. During the reorganization meeting in December, if the person elected chair was a woman, then the vice chair had to be a man, per party rules.

The fact that a man could take the helm from Callahan raised the question of whether Cowan would be interested in resuming the position.

“I haven’t heard of anyone who wants to be chair,” Cowan wrote in an email. “I hope it’s someone who can pull the factions together and heal the party.”

Cowan said he isn’t interested in returning to the position.

Carla Woodward, secretary, presided over the meeting as Gilmore was en route to the Sundance Film Festival and was not in attendance.

Woodward said Monday that she was busy presiding over the meeting, but that someone else had stood back and counted, and there were an estimated 200 people in attendance.

Woodward said the overarching concern she heard voiced was “that we are facing immediate threats from the administration” over health care, the environment, education and Native American treaty rights.

“And I think the urgency is that because those issues have real and potential impacts, people are really compelled and motivated to get to work,” Woodward said.

That’s what Gilmore said was his understanding of why so many people turned out.

“What I’ve heard is that there’s huge interest in political action because of the new president,” Gilmore said of what is going on in the local Democratic party.

Gilmore did not want to go so far as Cowan did and say that local Democrats have divided into factions.

“I don’t see it as organizational disarray at all,” Gilmore said. “We’ve got people on the board who supported Hillary [Clinton] and Bernie [Sanders].”

At the December meeting, it was clear that Sanders supporters had an agenda and that electing a Sanders supporter, Callahan, to lead the party was part of that agenda.

Gilmore said Jefferson County Democrats are more upset about President Trump and his actions than they are interested in continuing the Clinton-Sanders debate, although he acknowledged that some people might not have “gotten over their choice for president losing.”

“The fact that they pulled off a meeting without a chair and having to move says a lot. They got a lot done and they had a successful meeting,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore also said he was aware of a new, emerging grassroots movement associated with Indivisible (indivisibleguide.com), which now has three chapters in Jefferson County.

“I think our goals and their goals, I think there’s a lot of overlap,” Gilmore said of Indivisible.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment