Friday, August 8, 2008

Dems band together


Local Democratic candidates running for offices ranging in largess from the Goleta Water Board to Congress gathered yesterday to celebrate the opening of the “Headquarters for Change,” a nearly 6,000 square foot space at 430 Chapala Street that will be Santa Barbara’s Democratic ground zero through the Nov. 4 general election.
Hundreds congregated in the sweltering heat to applaud Rep. Lois Capps, California State Senate hopeful Hannah-Beth Jackson and a number of other political leaders. Some said the Headquarters for Change itself is symbolic of a groundswell of support for the Democratic Party that has risen from Sen. Barack Obama’s White House run. And according to Daraka Larimore-Hall, chair of the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County, the energy from Obama’s campaign has spilled over into local races.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought this was possible,” Larimore-Hall said of the campaign headquarters. “We gotta win everywhere, Goleta, Santa Barbara, California. We’ve got to win it all and we can win it all and we will win it all because right here we have the bitchenest headquarters in all of Santa Barbara history.”
The event was heavily attended by a who's who of local politics. The list included Santa Barbara City Council members Das Williams, Helene Schneider, Roger Horton, Iya Falcone and Dale Francisco. Third District Supervisor candidate Doreen Farr and First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal were both there. City of Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett and Goleta Mayor Pro Tempore Roger Aceves were there, as were Goleta City Council candidates Margaret Connell and Ed Easton. School board members, water board members and a number of others were also present.
Larimore-Hall said it doesn’t matter if it’s the Goleta Water Board or Congress, every Democratic seat that can be won will make a difference. He said politicians like Obama don’t just materialize in the ether, but are built at the local level, dealing with local issues.
“Every candidate has a story and every candidate begins by fighting local fights and fighting their way up,” he said.
Rep. Capps said the sheer number of people who showed up to the event in mid-summer is an indicator of the momentum her party has managed to get going.
At stake this coming November, she said, is “everything we hold dear.” Capps said protection of the Gaviota Coast, which is in Santa Barbara County’s third district, health care, ending the war in Iraq and education are all at the forefront of voters and some politician’s minds.
“I guess you could call this a campaign for change,” she said. “It’s up to us and we’re going to make it happen.”
Jackson, who is running against Republican Tony Strickland for the 19th district state senate seat, gave one of the most politically charged speeches, saying the “winds of change are blowing.”
“All of us at all different levels of government, it’s our time,” she said. “We are entitled to a government that functions.”
Carbajal, who is running unopposed for a second term as supervisor, said the electricity that filled the room gave him cold chills.
“In an election year when you can come to your party headquarters and see everybody energized, not only about the presidential election but all the local races as well, it’s great,” he said.

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