Wednesday, November 22, 2006

LD 26 Goes Progressive

At last night’s meeting of the District 26 Democrats, Peggy Toomey Hammann was elected Chair, replacing the retiring Juana Mase. Hammann’s candidacy was actively supported at the meeting by Rev. Gerry Straatemeier, MSW. Straatemeier is an advocate of, and contributor to, the Sonoran Progressives' web site. The SP is headed by Jeff Latas.

Hammann is a relative newcomer to District 26, but not to the Party. She served as the 1st Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party; Vice Chair, Democratic National Committee (Western States Caucus) and 1st Vice Chair of the Coconino County Democratic Party.

In her introductory remarks before the election Hammann announced that she had been urged to run by Lena Saradnik, District 26’s newly elected Democratic House member. Saradnik did not attend the meeting.

Clearly the Progressives are doing what all interest groups within a party try to do…expand their spheres of influence for the sake of changing the party’s direction. Fair enough, and they’re going about it the right way.

So far the only explicit program the Progressives have had (apart from general statements about promoting various aspects of the general welfare) is urging the rapid withdrawal from Iraq.

By the time Arizona Progressive Democrats achieve enough influence to move the sluggish national party beast in their direction on Iraq the issue may be settled. (Not necessarily to anyone’s satisfaction.)

It will be interesting to see what Arizona-oriented action plans they come up with. How about the complete repeal of Arizona's "right to work" laws?

Now that would be progressive.


George Tuttle said...

Wow, Peggy Toomey now in District 26?

Who'd thought that?

Art, sounds like you were there, who else is in the power structure of the District? Inquiring minds want to know.

Art Jacobson said...

Here y'are, George:

Chair: Peggy Hammann
1st Vice Chair: Francine Shacter
2nd Vice Chair: Tom Cuevas
Secretary: Kathy Pastryk
Treasurer: Martin Bacal
Pima Executive Committee: Sandra Spangler and Doug Ditto

George Tuttle said...

Thanks for the info.

It seems to be quite a change from two years ago-other than Mr. Bacal as treasurer. It begs this question from me, did any of the old officers run and just get beat, or did they just not run? If they were beat, I think this sends a message that maybe some of those people serving did not seem "progressive" enough for those who were there.

I was also surprised to see Doug Ditto made it on the Executive Committee. Everytime I hear about him down at HQ, it seemed no one really cared for him or his person skills.

By the way, as an independent-what were you doing there?

Art Jacobson said...

What was I doing there? Spying, of course. Actually I was not there, I sent a 'leg man.'

On a serious note let me say that I think every political blogger on whatever side of the aisle should take it on as a responsibility to attend the meetings of the party district organizations as members of the "Blog Press." These are open meetings and people are welcome to attend so long as they are not disruptive.

God knows the daily papers aren't covering those meetings.

Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you're enjoying Maine.

cc burro said...

The election of new leadership had little to do with whether the previous leadership was "progressive" enough; it had to do with whether the previous leadership had effectively been promoting "organization" of LD 26 [which it hadn't been]. This long-standing problem was not discussed much at the meeting--but it surely had been discussed plenty prior to the meeting. There is good reason for optimism that this will soon change with the new leadership.

George Tuttle said...

Thanks. Yes we are enjoying the New England area. Hard to come back to Tucson after this holiday. In fact we are staying an extra week.

cc-I heard from a little birdie that Doug Ditto chaired a secret meeting before the district meeting. No one from the previous leadership was invited. That was a classy move by Ditto. No wonder he is pretty much hated by many of those within 26 and the PCDP.

Art Jacobson said...


Have you deleted your blog? I can't seem to raise it.


cc burro said...


I don't think that anyone from the present NEW leadership was at that meeting either.

However,I foresee positive change in LD 26 organization coming. It is important that people work together.

NetrootsDemocrat said...

A change in "right-to-work" (such a misnomer if I ever heard one), would require a change to the state constitution, precipitated by a vote of the leg to out it onto the ballot or a signature effort.