Rural Slate Wins on Sunday, Jan. 13! — Candidates want action for mountain needs—

  • Victoria Hungerford-Hurst helped organize a slate of AD34 candidates who will give the Mountain Communities a voice.

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    Victoria Hungerford-Hurst helped organize a slate of AD34 candidates who will give the Mountain Communities a voice.

  • Mel Weinstein of Pine Mountain Club says he is “concerned about the direction the United States is heading. I would like to have a voice in choosing [state and national ]candidates [to] steer the country back to a more sensible and caring direction.”

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    Mel Weinstein of Pine Mountain Club says he is “concerned about the direction the United States is heading. I would like to have a voice in choosing [state and national ]candidates [to] steer the country back to a more sensible and caring direction.”

  • Kathleen Weinstein is a candidate in Sunday's election. Her goal is to help to rebuild the Democratic party in Kern County to be able to support a candidate to successfully challenge Kevin McCarthy as the representative to the U.S. Congress in 2020.

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    Kathleen Weinstein is a candidate in Sunday's election. Her goal is to help to rebuild the Democratic party in Kern County to be able to support a candidate to successfully challenge Kevin McCarthy as the representative to the U.S. Congress in 2020.

Frazier Park, Pine Mountain Club, Cuddy Valley, Lebec, Lake of the Woods, CA (Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 at 7 p.m.)— They did it! According to candidate Mel Weinstein, the rural slate of candidates, seeking to extend the voice of rural residents of Kern County into regional, state and national politics, has won their election. The group includes three Mountain Community residents. See the story below, available in the January 11, 2019 issue of The Mountain Enterprise. The story of the victory, and what it means, will be in the January 18 issue. Congratulations to this hardworking local group.

Rural communities may win a voice at the state level in Sunday election

By Marcy Axness and Patric Hedlund, TME

Three Mountain Community residents will compete in a grassroots delegate election this Sunday, Jan. 13 for the California Democratic Party. But few people here know about it. Local candidates are urging their neighbors to participate, to help give rural concerns a spotlight.

Representing Rural Issues

“You can see our community suffering economically,” slate organizer Victoria
Hungerford-Hurst of Lake of the Woods said in an interview. “If Democrats only focus on urban issues, then we’re not really a party for everyone….”

Kathleen Weinstein of Pine Mountain Club (a retired registered nurse) said in her candidate’s statement, “Healthcare is a human right. Graduates should leave college free of debt. A salary should pay for decent housing, good food and transportation. We need candidates in our state who will fight for these ideals. It’s time for change in our country and I want to be part of making it happen.”

Mel Weinstein, also on the delegate ballot to represent rural needs, wrote that he is “concerned about the direction the United States is heading. I would like to have a voice in choosing [state and national]candidates [to] steer the country back to a more sensible and caring direction.”

This “is a chance for Democrats in the rural communities to have a voice at the state level,” Hungerford-Hurst explained. “When you look at how Beto [O’Rourke] lost Texas [in the surprisingly close 2018 U.S. Senate race], his team didn’t do outreach in rural communities. We can no longer assume there aren’t progressive voters in rural areas.”

Creating a Flippable District

The progressive Democrats on the rural slate have a tactical eye on the future: “This is …geared to party building,” Hungerford-Hurst explained. “Looking toward 2020, if we have delegates who can push for issues that represent rural constituents, we’ll have a good chance of having a strong candidate to run against U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy [who is also Republican Minority Leader in the House and a close ally of President Donald Trump]. We’ll have a chance to turn a historically unflippable district into a flippable district.”

What Do Delegates Do?

Assembly District delegates elect party officers, endorse candidates for statewide, legislative and congressional office, help develop the Democratic Party agenda and vote to endorse resolutions and ballot measures.

Every two years the California Democratic Party elects 14 delegates from each of its 80 assembly districts. District 34 is a horizontal slice of the state, merging all our local Mountain Communities with a big bite of Bakersfield, then moving east to include Tehachapi and Ridgecrest.

The local slate is aligned with the nonprofit Our Revolution, a group that grew out of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Its mission is to “reclaim democracy for working-class people” by empowering progressive leaders.

“No other slate has any rural or mountain representation,” Hungerford-Hurst said. “Our slate is very diverse. The youngest is 18. We have an executive board member of the California Nurses Association. We have students, teachers, an attorney and a current AD34 delegate running for reelection,” she said.

Hotly Contested Race

This Sunday’s election is a one-day event that begins at 10 a.m. with candidates’ speeches, followed by voting from noon to 2 p.m. You can also register to vote on site at the event. The location is just off Stockdale Highway, at 201 New Stine Road, Suite 350, Bakersfield 93309.

The progressive candidates’ website (www.adems.vote), says the delegate race “is hotly contested and will determine how welcoming, grassroots-focused and innovative the party becomes, or how beholden it will remain to big money interests.”

Who Can Vote?

Any Democrat who is already registered can vote, or people may register on the day of the election. Hungerford-Hurst said voters may even change party affiliation temporarily to vote for local mountain delegates, noting that many voters switched after the 2016 election to NPP [No Party Preference].

“They can register as Democrats [this Sunday, Jan. 13] and then a week later revert back to NPP,” Hungerford-Hurst said.

Photo captions:

An optimistic slate of progressive Democrats is focused on rural concerns, including healthcare, the cost of college, a living wage and election financing reform. Local candidates (below, l-r) are Victoria Hungerford-Hurst (LOW), Mel Weinstein (PMC) and Kathleen Weinstein (PMC). Mountain residents are urged to vote in the delegate election this Sunday, Jan. 13 in Bakersfield.

According to communications director Matt Fleming, the California Republican Party’s delegates are chosen by candidates and lawmakers, not through this kind of open election process.

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This is part of the January 11, 2019 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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