Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Steamboat Springs The head of the Routt County Democratic Party stepped down Wednesday night.
Ben Beall handed his duties over to Ken Brenner after nine years of leading local Democrats.
"It's time that we have some new blood," Beall said.
But the former chairman doesn't plan to bow out of the local political scene.
"I'm not going anywhere," he said.
The dozen or so people who turned out for the meeting in the Routt County Courthouse unanimously chose Brenner for the job.
Brenner made an informal plea for their support and pledged to explore ways to increase local participation and interest in the Democratic Party.
The unceremonious changing of the guard sparked discussion about what direction to take the fledging party.
"We all know we are in some trying times," County Commissioner Doug Monger said.
Those in attendance agreed to hold monthly meetings to draw in fresh faces and new ideas.
A date has not been set, but next month's meeting will feature discussion about a local issue that affects the community.
The most recent election was disheartening for local Democrats. Republican candidates were guaranteed a return to county offices because last April's caucuses did not yield any Democratic challengers.
"What we were missing was a race," Brenner said.
Democrats want to use future meetings to attract people who might eventually consider giving Republicans a run for the votes.
But they agreed Wednesday it was more important to first define what their party stood for and then seek out people to represent their party to the voters.
"There is no local platform," Jim Engelken said.
Despite the absence of partisan affiliation at the local level, Democrats and Republicans still hold different philosophical and political views on local issues, Diane Mitsch Bush said.
Democrats hope to show people in the county their views are alive and well.
In other business Monger, Mitsch Bush and Gary Miller were elected vice-chairmen and Jim Stanko was named the secretary/treasurer.