Letter: Democratic Party looks to the future

My odyssey started back in January when I attended the Democratic precinct caucus. By the end of March, through the county caucus and county assembly, I had volunteered to be a delegate at the Democratic State Assembly. The assembly, held in Broomfield on May 22, proved to be both an interesting and exciting affair.
I was reminded that the Democratic Party of the 21st century is not the party of the 1960s. Yes, there was plenty of discussion regarding regulation of business; the financial industry, the energy industry, the healthcare industry. Recent history has shown me that if government does not take its regulatory job seriously, private industry, unwilling or unable to regulate itself, can bring about catastrophic disasters. There were calls for government to be more efficient and transparent; to continue the Democratic ideal that government is not the problem but must be part of the solution. There was visible anger regarding the recent Supreme Court decision granting First Amendment rights to corporations. To resounding applause, the candidates spoke of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for all people.
The Democrats have a strong slate of candidates. John Hickenlooper, our gubernatorial candidate, is a geologist turned businessman who helped turn around lower downtown Denver by creating jobs and increasing revenue (helping both the public and private sectors). John Salazar, U.S. House Representative for District 57, understood that he serves a diverse constituency and the balancing act he strives for. Although both candidates for the U.S. Senate seat are “progressive liberals,” each man (Romanoff and Bennett) spoke about their responsibility to serve all the people of Colorado. Cary Kennedy spoke with passion about the importance of economic understanding in her position as state treasurer. Although each candidate raised points of philosophical differences with their Republican opponents, they did not call them evil or question their love for this country.
Each and every candidate spoke of the future, not the past. Our country faces serious challenges from economics to energy to education, and unfortunately we are split down the middle as to what is the best way to address these matters. I believe it cannot be an either/or — conservative or progressive. As in the 1930s and ’40s, we must come together as a nation to solve these problems. As stated in the party platform: “The Democratic Party stands for a return to civility in the political discourse in our local, state and federal governments. Legislators should meet with the intent of promoting legislation to better our communities rather than obstruct legislation for strictly political gains.”
I found through being a part of this entire process, change does start at the local level. It is here that party platforms begin and local candidates are chosen. It is here that we have our greatest voice — until we stand before the ballot box.
It was an assembly of hope and change for the future. If you find yourself interested in knowing more about what the Democratic Party stands for and hopes for, visit the website of the party platform — www.coloradodems.org.
Kristine Hicken