Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lively April DEC Meeting

Eufaula Frazier with Bennett H. Brummer.

Maybe it was springtime juices flowing, but there sure was a lively spirit to the April DEC meeting. Regularly scheduled – but special stuff happening from the opening bell on April 9.

Chairman Joe Garcia started with a speaker who had to leave early – Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who confessed he had been a Republican for 46 years until seeing the light last year on the road to getting elected.

Next up was Miami-Dade Public Defender Bennett H. Brummer, who brought the house down by declaring he hadn’t made such a mistake – always a D for his party affiliation.

Brummer’s first task was to introduce and extol an old friend – Eufaula Frazier, who received the DEC’s new M. Athalie Range Award, named in honor of the late civil rights pioneer in Miami. Ms. Frazier, with a half-century of civil rights work under her belt at age 82. was cheered mightily by a standing-room-only crowd. Even now she’s planning sessions to train the next generation of leaders in her community. She has been a DEC member for over 30 years.

Brummer said Democrats must campaign as “the party of well-being.” The main elements, he said, should be universal health care, education to reduce the incidence of crime, treating drug and alcohol problems in the health-care system rather than the courts and prisons, economic opportunity, and a policy of treating all with dignity and honesty.

Next to report were activists who directed recent voter-registration efforts with people who just received U.S. citizenship. Bob Goldstein of the South Dade Democrats and Rosa Kasse, president of the Hispanic Coalition, said some 65 percent had declared themselves Democrats.

Joe Garcia appealed for more volunteers to help register new citizens. “We will turn elections,” he said.

Also turning elections: Garcia introduced the first paid organizer sent by the national and state Democratic Party to work in Miami-Dade – our own BJ Chiszar. “Victory starts here in Dade County,” BJ declared, outlining two tracks of training that he will pursue. The first is training in the use of the Voter Activation Network to develop data useful for the 2008 general election campaign.

Second, he appealed for dozens of young people to be found and be trained in the summer as interns in Democratic work.

State Committeewoman Cindy Lerner talked about coming party events and urged all to sign up to receive the Florida Democratic Party’s weekly newsletter. That link is at http://www.fladems.com/.

Joe Garcia announced two appointments: Augusto Granados to be campaign chair, and Larry Thorson to be communications director.

Especially good news: the Miami-Dade Democratic Hispanic Caucus launched its first Florida Spanish-language radio program, Democracy al Dia (Democracy Up to Date). It airs on WRHC Cadena Azul every Thursday 9-10 p.m. Its first broadcast was on April 5. Co-hosting are Millie Herrera, past president of the Florida Hispanic Caucus, and Hector Caraballo, vice president of the Miami-Dade Caucus.

Y’all tune in!


Michael said...

A very positive and energetic meeting! Now let's get to work!

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Jim said...

Great post. Any chance you can post BJ Chiszar's contact info somewhere, and get contact info into the blog where possible. BJ I think announced a Precinct training program -- PLP?

It would be worth a quick post, or a mention for people to get in touch with BJ regarding next steps.