January 2018: Fight Like Hell!

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Tuesday, January 2 

The past is always prelude.  The horrendous political year of 2017 is behind us and will be remembered as the prelude to 2018, the year of astonishing political renewal. Everything I did in my campaign last year felt good and was necessary, but today it looks like it was only to prepare me to do what comes next.  It’s time to fight like hell, as if our future depends on it. Because it does.

So, what else is new?

I ordered a rig (iPad, mike, tripod) to shoot my own video clips and am planning to learn how to shoot good clips, edit them, and post them to social media. I envision a video diary to complement this written diary. My friend and former colleague at The Watch, photographer Will Woody, is helping me get this all dialed in. I have a meeting with the Montrose Dems Lunch Bunch in Montrose on Tuesday, and he and I will shoot it and will work on my social media strategy afterward.

I’m thinking of asking voters when I meet them if I can take a still photo or a video snippet of an expression of their support to post on a “wall” of supporters on my website.  Some of those snippets could make for good social media posts.

Is that a good idea?  There’s only one way to find out, so I’m going to give it a shot. This is because I have already seen that there is a new population of young adults in Cortez and Montrose, far more progressive than older generations, but not yet fully engaged in politics because they are devoted to starting careers and family. They support the idea of building an economy that works in rural Colorado so they can prosper here, and are open to more taxpayer investment in schools and infrastructure, like broadband. This would be a crucial departure from the reflexive anti-tax posture of many older voters. I need these folks as part of a winning coalition and social media is likely the best way to reach them.

Similarly, Will, who managed social media when he worked for Gannett newspapers, says that Latinos are also far more reachable on their phones than by any other medium. I can put my decent fluency in Spanish to work by shooting plenty of video snippets in Spanish. Energized Latino communities in Montrose and Cortez are another critical component of a winning coalition in the 58th.

Another friend and former colleague from The Watch, Barbara Kondracki, is helping me up my game in the graphics department. I will have a new, more artful website soon, and better design of my email blasts. And as the message is honed, Barbara and I will produce printed materials, too.

Working with Maxwell Doyle, an Indivisible activist who recently relocated from Los Angeles to Mancos, I’ve done deeper research into state issues and how I differ from the way Republicans approach those issues. I’ve also worked with Max, who has a marketing background, to think deeper about campaign strategy and managing voter data efficiently so that it can later be deployed in a ground game effort. I’m psyched to have Max’s help.

And I’m working with my friend Anne Brown, who is a marketing pro, about the best ways to frame my positions on the issues to reach the swing voters in this region. She will be talking to some of those swingy voters this month to gather a better understanding of their concerns.

My calendar is not yet sufficiently full. I’ll be working hard in early January to book myself solid: meeting with potential supporters, elected officials across the 58th, and voters. If you are reading these words and want to jump in, please give out a shout:  [email protected] Your participation is needed and valuable. Joining this campaign, and the national movement it is part of will be fun, too!

Hope beats fear. Action beats inaction. Fighting back beats giving up. Together, we will turn back the dark politics that threatens to overwhelm us.

Sunday, January 14

I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to update the campaign diary, which is actually a good thing.

I met with a group of Montrose Democrats in early January. Marta caught a bunch of what I said on video and it was an eye opener for me to watch it.  When Marta, Carlos and I watched the video he stopped the tape to comment, “I like that,” and, more importantly: “I hate that!”

What did he hate?  Anything that sounded the least-bit partisan or negative.

“That’s what people are sick of, that’s what I’m sick of,” he said in response to a comment I made to the effect that Republicans are largely responsible for the ugly tone of today’s politics. “Even if you are right,” said our 28-year-old son, “it turns people off to hear talk like that.  You’re just making yourself feel good by saying it.”

When I protested that I was speaking to Democrats and that part of the campaign is to “fire up the base,” he replied that I shouldn’t talk like that even to Democrats because one of the things people hate about politics is that politicians say different things to different audiences.  The premise of my campaign, he reminded me, is reach across the partisan divide by being my authentic self, and if my authentic self disrespects the voters I want to win over, then why am I bothering to run at all?

He urged me to get myself over to Naturita, as I had planned, sooner rather than later, to talk to the Trump voters. He had been there himself recently, and insisted that my promise to talk to them and to Republicans in general is what is most hopeful about my campaign.

“If you are going to run a partisan campaign, I don’t even want to help you,” he said.

Ouch! From my own son!

The next day I started scheduling meetings in Dove Creek and Naturita.

And, yes, it was a revelation. Just two days of talks with residents of these rural areas was an eye-opener. It’s sadly undeniable that Democrats have given up on rural America and rural Americans feel the sting. It’s not as if I haven’t met and spoken with conservatives in Montrose, Cortez and Naturita over the years, but we are all habituated to avoiding politics. We keep to small talk. It’s an entirely different experience to introduce myself as a Democrat who wants to win their vote.

“I’m sick and tired of people thinking I’m a stupid redneck,” said Kathleen Keesling, the relatively new co-owner, publisher and editor of the Dove Creek Press, with her husband Keith, . She talked for a good hour, unprompted, about the multiple frustrations of surviving in a remote, struggling rural community; mostly variations on the conjoined themes of pride at rural self-reliance and resentment at being ignored, forgotten and disrespected.

In addition to putting out a newspaper, Keith and Kathleen run a food bank, serving an average of 70 families a week, in a county of only about 2,000 people, some 500 of whom are a two-hour drive away, in Rico.

Kathleen was also warm and clearly appreciative of the fact that I stopped in to introduce myself, and wide-open to my proposition: that a Democratic candidate for state office should not write off Dove Creek or Dolores County. She made me feel more than welcome to fight for her vote and, by extension, the vote of the entire community. Because the pride born of self-reliance does not obviate the reality of rural poverty and the need for a state (and national) government that pays attention to Dove Creek and the tens of thousands of other communities like it.

I heard others say that Democrats only care about poor people in cities, which is to say blacks and Latinos and minorities in general.

When Dianna Reams, who, with her husband, runs the biggest business in Naturita, a regional construction company, told me that Democrats believe that depopulating rural areas is both necessary and inevitable, because a place like Naturita is not economically viable, I couldn’t argue except to say, “There’s no question Democrats have ignored rural areas, but maybe it is more because the majority of their voters are in cities, and not so much because they are pursuing a deliberate policy.”

But this is a distinction without a difference.

This feeling that Democrats are not just unconcerned but are actively hostile to rural white America is deeply and broadly felt. It offers such a succinct explanation of why rural white America votes so heavily Republican: because if Democrats don’t like them, well, then, they don’t like Democrats.

But to judge from just a handful of conversations I had with folks in Dove Creek and Naturita, this self-reinforcing mutual antagonism is easily interrupted. All I had to say was, “I’m a Democrat and I’m here to listen and I’m committed to winning your vote.”

Of course, it must go well beyond this initial exchange.

What are the problems of rural America and what can Democrats do about them?

When the coal mine and coal-fired power plant in Naturita shut down, the town lost some of the last high paying jobs it had. Is this the fault of Democrats who hate coal because they believe it causes global warming? Of course, it is. But we don’t need to talk about whether coal is bad or global warming is real. We can agree that the loss of coal jobs hurts and that the global forces that are moving the economy away from coal are bigger than any of us. So the people of Naturita, where the unemployment rate is 43 percent and 70 percent of working residents commute an hour and a half each way to Telluride, are busy trying to reinvent themselves.

Nucla and Naturita are beautiful, and can and should have some of the tourism that now overwhelms nearby Moab. They might develop a hemp industry. And as a Democratic candidate for state office, I can pledge to do all I can to help with this transition. The folks I spoke to would welcome more state funding for their schools, for example; they need affordable daycare; and if a large percentage of the population is on Medicare, then the clinic could surely use more funding.

“We don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” said a Naturita resident who I am not identifying now because ours was a private conversation. “We want to talk about the issues.”

She echoed my son: “We’re just sick of politics.”

Would  she vote for me?

“It would be a reach,” she admitted, never having voted for a Democrat. We had easily found the common ground on the big issues: economic development, affordable health care, school funding, but she is convinced that Democrats squander tax dollars and is closely aligned with Republicans on the wedge issues of abortion, gun control and immigration.

We didn’t avoid talking about  abortion.

“Do you know anyone who has had an abortion?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Do you think she should have been stopped from having it?”

“Her parents should have stopped her.”

“But they didn’t,” I said. “And what if someone who wanted an abortion didn’t have parents involved with her life.”

She thought hard.

“The woman you know had the abortion,” I said. “But was it a sin?  Or was it a crime?”

“It was a sin,” she said.

“So maybe we’re not so far apart on abortion as we think.”

“But I don’t want my taxpayer dollars go to paying for it,” she said.

“Should your tax dollars go to pay to treat someone with lung cancer who got sick because he smoked?” I asked.

“It’s hard,” she said.

“Yes. It’s a hard issue. But do you think we should be ripping each other apart over this issue of abortion, deciding elections on the issue of abortion, when we agree that the issue doesn’t have obvious political solutions?

“No, I guess not.”

“So we found common ground even on abortion,” I said. “Even though you are ‘pro-life’ and I’m ‘pro-choice’.  Those labels have made it hard for people like us to talk to each other. But we have to start talking to each other if we want to heal our country.”

Our conversations about guns and immigration followed the same pattern.

On guns, we agreed that stronger background checks and new gun safety measures should be enacted. But she pointed out that the killer in the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut took a gun legally acquired by his mother, shot her, and then attacked the school.

“So, you think 20 dead children is just the price we have to pay as a society to protect gun rights?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

I decided not to get into the question of what types of guns should be legal. Not then, not yet.

“If I got elected and I voted for background checks on gun purchasers or more gun safety measures, the NRA might say I was anti-Second Amendment, even though we basically agree on background checks and gun safety,” I said. “Do you think that should cost me your vote?”

“Maybe,” she said. “It’s tribal.”

Yes, it is, and that’s the issue that hovers over everything.

“Is there a way you and I could think of ourselves as being in the same tribe?” I asked.


On immigration, she expressed the concerns we hear a lot these days: that immigrants should not enter the country illegally; and if they do they should be deported; that undocumented immigrants take jobs from Americans, commit crimes, and take advantage of the welfare state.

“I guess there aren’t many immigrants around here,” I said.

“Yes,” she said. “There are some. They are good people. They work hard, and pay taxes. I don’t have any problem with them.”

“So where are the bad immigrants?” I asked.

“In cities,” she said, cautiously.

“They’re the immigrants you don’t know,” I said.

We didn’t take the conversation any further, but I asked her if she would be willing to meet with me again, to talk further about the big issues of jobs, health care and education, and also the wedge issues of abortion, gun control and immigration. And anything else. No issue is off the table. Would she consider inviting some friends to join us in a conversation about politics, in the spirit of trying to bridge the big divide in American politics.

“Yes,” she said. “I would.”

She and I had an honest conversation, a good conversation. I didn’t pretend to be any less progressive or Democratic than I am, and she was able talk to me about her deeply held conservative beliefs, up to and including her belief that it was disallowing Christianity in public schools that has sent America in the wrong direction, and neither one of us had to give up any ground at all to discover that we have much more in common than we have that divides us.

“If we can continue our conversation,” I said, “and if we are able to remain honest and respectful; and if at the end of that you are able to vote for me knowing what I believe and believing that I will do exactly what I’m telling you I will do if I’m elected, wouldn’t that be an awesome thing?”

“Yes,” said. “It would be.”

I am all-in, I told her. I want your vote and that of anyone you introduce me to. I’m a Democrat, and I want to represent you and your interests and your neighbors and their interests, and all of Southwestern Colorado in Denver.

I promise I’ll do a great job for you.

Sunday, January 21

Campaigning takes place along the fault line in American life. Sometimes, it feels like the ground could open up and swallow us all.

Cortez Women's March

Here I am at the Cortez Women’s March. There were several hundred marchers!

Yesterday I participated in the Women’s March in Cortez in the morning, attended by several hundred fired-up liberals. That evening, I attended the Nucla-Naturita Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, where Marta and I found ourselves sitting with my likely Republican opponent, Rep. Marc Catlin, and his wife, Kerri, along with his predecessor as State Representative from the 58th, Don Coram, who is now a State Senator.

The tribal contrasts from morning to evening could not have been sharper.

Like Montrose, Cortez is attracting a growing population of liberals. They are drawn to both cities by the outdoors Colorado lifestyle, but are priced out of the other cities on the Western Slope, like Glenwood Springs and Durango, that are a bit closer to the mountains and have already been gentrified.  A big part of the appeal of Montrose and Cortez is the still-affordable housing, (though there are concerns that house prices are rising quickly). Some of these new arrivals are older and retired; some are younger and starting families. Their growing influence seems to put Cortez and Montrose on a trajectory to become, potentially, the next Glenwood and Durango.

Here is my Republican rival, Rep. Marc Catlin (center) sitting to the left of his wife, Kerri, at the Nucla-Naturita Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. To Catlin’s left is his predecessor in the office, Don Coram, who is now a state senator.

One of the speakers at the rally that preceded the Women’s March was Mary Beth McAfee, a longtime county resident making her first bid for public office as a candidate for Montezuma County Commissioner.

MB described waking up after last year’s election and looking out at the gorgeous southwestern landscape from her home on a hill and thinking to herself, “Not here!”  The deep feeling that we cannot allow Trumpism to roll over our Western Slope home was MB’s motivation to run; as it was for two other first-time candidates, Mike Lavey and Jonathan Walker, both running for the Cortez City Council; as it is for me, running for the Colorado House of Representatives.

The theme of speakers at the rally before the Women’s March, and concerns voiced by the many participants to whom I introduced myself during the march, would be familiar to any Democrat at the end of the first year of the Trump era. We see Trump and Trumpism as direct and immediate threats to ourselves personally, and to people like us. We see the fury on the right as an assault on democracy itself. Our core values are defense of civil rights for classes of citizens who have traditionally been outsiders: racial minorities, sexual minorities, women, immigrants, persons whose morality is not explicitly Christian; and defense of the public sphere, or those places supported by taxpayer dollars that are open to everyone. In Colorado, protection of vast public lands is a signature issue, because these lands provide the foundation for the Western lifestyle that drew us to the area in the first place.

These liberal core values lead inevitably to receptiveness to taxes that take more from those who have prospered most in our capitalistic society in order to provide services to everyone, without discrimination; and to voice support for laws and regulations that protect the public sphere from exploitation by private interests. At the same time, laws that regulate private behavior that is of no harm to anyone else are anathema.

These folks are my base, and I speak their language.

After the march, and after a lunch meeting of activists and candidates to discuss how we can work together in our campaigns, Marta and I typed up our notes in the comfortable Cortez Public Library, its floor-to-ceiling windows offering a great view of the incoming storm, before driving two hours north, through the virtually unpopulated Disappointment Valley and Dry Creek Basin to Naturita and Nucla. We arrived early enough for a drink at the one bar in Naturita, at The Rimrock Hotel. We were welcomed at the restaurant, Uncle Reed’s Good Grub, by none-other-than the owner, “Uncle Reed.”

The place was quiet, he explained, because of the Nucla-Naturita Area Chamber of Commerce banquet set to begin in about an hour. We sat at the bar and chatted. Primed by my experience in Cortez earlier to readily introduce myself, I told Uncle Reed I am a candidate for the state House of Representatives. We shared a little data about ourselves: he arrived in Naturita by air in the mid 2000’s, landing his plane at the Nucla airport “because my wife had to pee,” took one look at the landscape and down-at-their-heels neighboring towns, and decided to stay. He bought the rundown motel and spent over a million dollars to upgrade it. He had been living in Denver, and later Las Vegas,  but had grown to hate living in the city.

I told Uncle Reed that my father had been a uranium prospector in the region in the 1950s. A middle-aged couple who had come into the restaurant and were sitting nearby joined the conversation. The man had been a uranium miner, he said, for twenty years.

“One of my earliest childhood memories is playing with my father’s Geiger Counter,” I said. “There were boxes of ore samples I assume were radioactive.”

“And see, you look like you’re all right,” said the former miner’s wife.

“You can test the ore by putting in in your mouth,” her husband said, as if to affirm that exposure to uranium is harmless. “You can taste it.”

The miner appeared healthy, too, although very likely less prosperous than he was when the mines were open.

I asked Uncle Reed if he would ever vote for a Democrat.

“Probably not.”

“Why is that?”

“The Democrats have done such galling things at the State Capitol,” he said.

“What have they done that galls you?”

“The legislature has been taken over by the homosexual lobby,” he said. “They’re in there with their partners, and it disgusts me. I’m old fashioned. I don’t care what they do, but they should keep it private.”

“What else?” I asked.

“I don’t like legal marijuana,” he said. “They say it generates taxes, but I don’t think it does a bit of good.”

“Well,” I said, “it keeps a lot of people out of jail who really don’t need to be imprisoned.”

“I’ll agree that’s good,” Uncle Reed said.

“You’ve mentioned two social issues,” I said.

He nodded, and then said he was glad that the new administration in Washington was going to stimulate the oil and gas industries. He cited the opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling as a policy change he welcomed.

“That area where they want to drill is the size of a postage stamp in a huge wild area,” he said. “We can extract oil there easily, and we should.”  He asserted that the State of Colorado should not subsidize renewable energy, which is only good “when the wind blows and the sun shines.”

“Wind and solar already provide ten, fifteen percent of electricity in a lot of places,” I said.

“When the wind blows and the sun shines.”

Uncle Reed called it right. I don’t think I can win his vote. And yet, he offered me a free room when I return to the area to do a “meet and greet.”

“I respect anyone who sticks his neck out,” he said.

“Well, my neck is stuck out pretty far,” I rejoined.

Marta and I headed out to the Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

Small-town America is has been sentimentalized  in countless movies, country and western songs, church sermons and political speeches. But the celebrated heartland values of loyalty, patriotism, religious faith, neighborliness, and self-reliance were on full and authentic display at the banquet for roughly 120 adults. They were a tightly knit community of friends and neighbors who all seemed to know how each other’s children are doing; and are working cooperatively to advance their town.  Marta and I, seemingly the only strangers, were welcomed warmly.

What were the odds that Marta and I, who arrived early, would pick seats next to where Dianna Reams, the Chamber of Commerce president, would choose to sit, with her husband, John, soon to be joined by my Republican opposition? Maybe it wasn’t exactly a coincidence. Sooner or later my path and Marc Catlin’s were bound to cross. I had sent him an email shortly after I decided to run against him, and he replied cordially. We had wished each other luck. In his email reply, he had added, graciously, “I know you care about the 58th House District.”

There were endless door prizes, donated by local businesses; a display of local arts and crafts for sale; entertainment from gifted singer-guitarist Ethan Archer (check out his compelling cover of the Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels”), home for the weekend from college in Grand Junction; Dianna’s summary of how much progress the community has made in the past year; and the introduction of the visiting politicians.

Sen. Coram is Dianna’s partner in a nearby hemp-growing business, one of the region’s economic development activities, and very popular.  He is also a very shrewd and talented politician, who, after serving three terms in the state house, was appointed to a senate seat. His house seat was, in turn, filled by the appointment of Rep. Catlin.  Both Coram and Catlin are up for reelection to their seats in November. If either will face a primary prior to reaching the general election ballot, I’m not aware of it yet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the canny Coram run for Congress someday.

I was introduced first, and, not knowing the ropes, kept it short, saying I had already introduced myself to a number of the people in the room and hoped to meet the rest in the course of my campaign. Catlin, who was better prepared, or, perhaps, just more in sync with the vibe, told the crowd how proud and impressed he was by their progress in demonstrating just how a rural community faced with economic challenges can build its own future.

If civil rights is a core Democratic value, the corresponding Republican value is self-reliance.

Sen. Coram began by telling a joke.  It seems a Newfoundlander found a lamp and rubbed it. When the genie asked what he wished for, the Newfoundlander asked for eternal life. The genie said that wasn’t possible, and told him to make a different wish. The Newfoundlander thought a moment and said, “I want to live until the day a liberal government lowers taxes and balances a budget.”

The genie said, “You are a sneaky bastard.”

The crowd laughed. I wondered why the protagonist in the story was from Newfoundland.

Then Sen. Coram described a state-funded economic development program that had given out millions – was it a hundred million? I couldn’t quite hear – in loans to businesses in Denver and Boulder and Fort Collins, and, yes, one tech startup in Telluride (but nothing else in rural Colorado). As an aside, he noted that not all of those loans will be paid back. So, Coram said he threatened to sponsor a bill to cut the program’s remaining budgeted $18 million in half and give the other half to rural Colorado; the agency director asked Coram not to run the bill, and promised to award the $9 million to rural Colorado herself.

Some of that $9 million, Coram said, would be coming Nucla’s and Naturita’s way in 2018.

Sen. Coram, you are a sneaky bastard . Or, is it that you’re a natural conservative politician?

In brief remarks, Coram had adroitly identified spendthrift liberals as the polar opposite of those folks at the banquet, whom he praised specifically for their self-reliance and for “not looking for a handout,” and yet, in the next breath he reported delivering his proud constituents with the very state support that is shameful when liberals in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, and, not incidentally, Telluride, grab it for themselves. His constituents, one imagines, given their sterling character, to which he had just paid tribute, will be a far better bet to to pay the loans back than those shifty, lefty tech startups.

Coram later won a pocketknife as a door prize.  I saw it clearly, since he was sitting across from me, and the labeling described it as an “outdoor edge razor-lite EDC knife.”  I felt that Coram had skillfully gutted me, as the liberal in the room, with the razor-sharp rhetorical equivalent of that knife. I wondered for the rest of the evening who I could be, or what I could possibly say, to the good people at that banquet that would separate them from Coram and Catlin, politicians who not only know them a lot better than I’m likely to get to know them no matter how hard I try, but who are of them.

Underlying this entire dynamic is the fact that as tight-knit and forward-thinking as the residents of Nucla and Naturita and the West End are, they feel every bit as threatened by Denver, Boulder and Telluride liberals as the Cortez liberals feel threatened by Naturita conservatives.  Liberals want to take their guns, threatening forms of recreation — shooting and hunting —  that are as prized as hiking, skiing and camping are to liberals. Liberals want to undermine traditional families by sanctioning gays, allow illegal immigrants to compete for scarce jobs, and take money from those who have worked hard for it so they can give it to people looking for a handout. Then, for good measure, liberals want to impose dumb regulations on private business that make it harder for self-reliant people to succeed.

Several months ago, I saw Sen. Coram at a meeting of Indivisible in Ridgway, and he struggled to find the common ground with the anti-fracking activists there. I respected him for showing up, but that doesn’t mean I’d vote for him or that he won many, if any, other votes at that meeting. In Nucla last night, I sensed that he couldn’t entirely dismiss me, because I showed up. He has to hope, and maybe assumes, maybe accurately, that few voters in his base would consider voting for me.

It’s been a long time since a Democrat fought for votes in Nucla and Naturita, at least a couple of generations. The demographics suggest that the Republicans don’t need to compete for votes from the Democratic-leaning voters in the 58th House District, whereas I surely need to win swing votes to have a prayer of winning. But what has got to have Coram and Cantlin thinking is that while the progressives in southwestern rural Colorado may still be a minority, we are an increasingly vocal minority, and we just might be growing in substantial numbers. From the rural and conservative perspective, progressives have already conquered Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and …Telluride. We’ve made inroads in Glenwood and Durango. Maybe they are already lost. Are Montrose and Cortez next?

In fact, it is this very sense – that nationwide, progressives could grow to outnumber conservatives – that underlies Trumpism. The rural culture in Nucla and Naturita and likely all over rural America is not much changed since the 1950s, except that it is facing greater economic headwinds and threats to its very survival. Ghost towns in the rural west happen with regularity, after all. Conversely, the culture embodied by the Cortez Women’s March is something new: multicultural, diverse, secular, foreign. From the conservative perspective, Donald Trump may be embarrassing, but he’s light years preferable to multicultural, diverse, secular and foreign!

Given all of that, what to make of the fact that the driving forces behind the Nucla-Naturita economic development program are impressive, strong women?  The emcee at the banquet dinner was Doylene Garvey of Garvey Brothers Outfitters and Garvey Brothers Land & Cattle, a natural comedienne, who spoke proudly of her daughter Sara Bachman, who has come home after a decade away to open a local law firm. Chamber President Dianna Reams leads with obvious skill and dynamism. The chamber’s visitor center is run by charismatic Norwood native Amanda Tomlinson. Nucla native Aimee Tooker, president of the West End Economic Development Corporation, has overseen impressive economic startup activity, not to mention she recently opened her own business on main street in Nucla, the Tabeguache Trading Company.  WEEDC’s economic recovery coordinator is yet another impressive woman, Deana Sheriff. This team is an advertisement for empowered women everywhere.

Rapid change happens along all vectors at the same time.  The changes are social, political, technological, and economic. Heck, even our climate is changing. This has put enormous strain on democracy, because change displaces some communities while it spares or even advantages others. What used to be political differences in ideology or policy preferences have morphed into deep tribal and cultural differences.  As the fault lines deepen into fissures, the ground beneath our feet shifts and shakes. Our best hope for survival is to stand on common ground, which is the safest ground, or we really could fall into the abyss.

Common ground is the only message I’ve heard that resonates, for the most part, with both sides. This is the good that can, that might, culminate in November 2018, in a necessary reaction to Trump.