Last evening some 300 progressives (according to the Tucson Citizen) crowded into a room with just 100 chairs set up(according to Kossack Jeff Latas, who is on the steering committee) to hear Raul Grijalva and Jim Hightower and organize for the future.
Some of us had agreed to try and find each other, and I'll post some notes and photos across the great orange wash.
Raul Grijalva (D, AZ-7) warmed up the crowd, saying the Progressive Democrats of America (where he has been a board member for 4 years) works inside and outside the Democratic Party to push elected officials, candidates and the party itself in a more progressive direction.
PDA, he said, is "what we want the Democratic Party to become," and he also said the CPC is going to become more independent of leadership and the White House in its agenda, which brought a grand round of applause... and he predicts Tea Party voters are already having buyers remorse.
The agenda includes bringing troops home from Iraq and holding the President to his pledge to draw troops down in Afghanistan, single payer health care, clean and fair elections, doing something about jobs and economic disparity, clean energy and environmental protection.
While it's been very easy to divide Democrats, the threat to our democracy and ay of life is so great that we are all morally obligated to come together to assert a message of fairness and shared responsibility, he said.
Jim Hightower followed along with a populist message... "Too few people have too much money, and use it to ride rough-shod over the rest of us." and "Billionaires are out to re-make America into...their country club." (I think he said).
He spoke to the issue of herding cats...said he knew how you do that...have you ever met a can opener? (took me a minute too, lol)
And finally, before breaking up into issue groups to plan future strategy, Tim Carpenter, PDA's CEO, spoke about the concerted and coordinated campaign coming up for a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United, warning that may be a long process, but vital to win back our democracy.
A few of us Baja AZ Kossacks talked to others about joining us, found each other, and got our pictures took together... next time we meet, hope you will all join us.
(That's me with the long hair and denim jacket - others may choose to id themselves or not)