As readers may recall, as a member of the Democratic Party of Orange County I supported my friend Jeff LeTourneau for DPOC Chair earlier this month. No regrets there, but also no recriminations; I’ve never doubted that Henry Vandermeir, the person who succeeded him, could do a great job in the role. This morning, Henry showed what a more activist, grassroots Democratic Party, like the one he promised to bring into being, can do. It’s a good sign for the future.
Part of the county Democratic Party’s problem has stemmed from it’s relatively low visibility. Former Chair Frank Barbaro, who got the DPOC through the past dozen years, is progressive (and has long emphasized issues of race and ethnicity), but he was also burdened by the fact that he’s an extremely successful and busy attorney. Frank has wide-ranging interests in politics, but they’re not what he lives and breathes over the course of his day. With Henry at the helm — and in a nice show of conciliation he announced at the monthly Central Committee meeting Monday night that he had appointed LeTourneau as the head of the important Resolutions Committee — we can expect more and quicker responses from the party about the issues of the day — and, in this case, news that was only about a day old.
This has two benefits: (1) telling people what local Democrats stand for and (2) putting the burden on Republicans to tell the public what they stand for. Readers won’t be surprised to know that I love both of these. I think that they set up contests that we can win. And the public — partisan or not, so long as they care about civic issues — should appreciate it as well. In much of the country, Orange County and Maricopa County (Phoenix) are probably tied in the public’s eyes as being synonymous with the anti-immigration movement. (Seriously, it’s sort of unsettling how people think of us.) So this is a gutsy move — and it’s also the right thing to do. I hope that people appreciate the party taking a stand on the merits.
So, I’ll be happy to post what strike me as worthy press releases here. What I hope to see is people calling on Scott Baugh and the OCGOP to speak up in reply, especially on the issue of immigration — if they think that they can get their story straight. What do you know — an “adult conversation on guns” last week, and now one on immigration! Not a bad time to be watching politics!
|The DPOC Commends President Obama On HisImmigration Reform Speech|
|January 30, 2013, Santa Ana, CA – The Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC) commends President Obama on his speech yesterday regarding comprehensive immigration reform.
DPOC Chair, Henry Vandermeir stated, “The president’s insistence that any proposal include a clear path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the United States is proof we are moving in the right direction on this important issue. As the President has pointed out, undocumented immigrants are in many ways already U.S. citizens. They contribute to our economy through hard work, pay taxes, support their local communities, love the country they live in and share the same hopes and dreams of any other American. The president understands the shared values of building a brighter future for all of our children.”Vandermeir continued, “The truth is, America was built by immigrants who came to our shores with a dream and a desire to work hard. It’s who we are as a nation and why the rest of the world looks to us for inspiration. It’s important that our immigration policy embraces that.”While the president’s plan includes proposals for cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers and unclogging the legal immigration system to encourage highly skilled and educated workers already in the country to remain here, it also addresses key humanitarian concerns to better protect vulnerable immigrants. The president’s proposal addresses victims of crime and domestic violence as well as those fleeing persecution. Another important part of the president’s proposal – which should be incorporated by any plan coming out of Congress – includes keeping families together by allowing individuals to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.
It’s time our country tackle comprehensive immigration reform and the DPOC is proud that President Obama is leading the way with an inclusive vision that incorporates the best of America.