After the many challenges of the 2020 election, Democrats around California may be thinking they can hang their local politics hats up for a bit. Georgia’s Senate race consumes much of our time and activism, but there’s one more local race we must all vote in.
Assembly District Elected Members (ADEM) elections are in January. Every two years the California Democratic Party (CDP) holds meetings for voters to elect 14 Delegates from each of the 80 Assembly Districts to represent them at the annual California Democratic Party Convention. These people represent Democrats in every Assembly District across the state, and are elected to make important decisions on your behalf. Among other things, these delegates vote on state party resolutions, positions on ballot propositions, legislation for official endorsement by the Party, the Party platform, and vote for the endorsements of the CDP for partisan legislative and statewide offices.
This process is a way to put the idea “Think Globally, Act Locally” into practice. Local party activism can be an incubator for ideas and practices that can be tested, implemented, and studied for use at state and national levels. With 2021 looming, it is imperative we face the out-of-control pandemic, record unemployment, greater housing insecurity, and the healthcare crisis. These problems are too urgent to wait, and too great to be solved with the same old status quo. ADEM elections bring grassroots activism into the Party, to guide its priorities now, and in the future.
Running for these positions is hard work – I would know! I ran in 2017 and 2019, and I’m running again now. I believe community representation is the best way to address the myriad of challenges ahead of us in 2021 and beyond. We must come together as communities, and bring our collective voice to our State Party, to work more effectively together to serve the needs of our citizens.
Delegates also get to meet candidates and elected officials, affording us many opportunities to have hard conversations about the issues that matter to us, and how to resolve them. Once elected, delegates have the opportunity to apply to join any of the 9 standing committees, which meet during the annual convention and at each of the 2 annual executive board meetings. My first 2 years as a delegate, I served on the Credentials Committee. Since 2019, I have been a member of the Resolutions Committee. During our convention that year, the Resolutions Committee was lobbied by Labor icon and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who urged us to support endorsing Prop 13 for the 2020 ballot. Of course, we did, and of course, I got to take a photo with her, one of the most impressive political activists I know. Serving on these committees has broadened my understanding of how our party works, how ballot endorsements happen, how our Party leadership is chosen, and has deepened my working relationships with other delegates, activists, candidates and elected officials. If you’ve ever wondered how these decisions get made, ask a delegate! But first, we have to get elected!
You can help! Take the next step in making a tangible difference in your local politics, and vote for the Democrats who best represent the future of the Party you want to see.
Register to vote in this election here.
About the author:
Andrea Beth Damsky is a National Board Certified Acupuncturist and Nutritional Consultant with a varied background. Professionally, she’s worked in journalism, synagogue administration, teaching Hebrew school, and tutoring b’nai mitzvah students. She is a lay cantorial soloist who still thinks of studying for the rabbinate.
Politically, Andrea Beth has been active since her teen years in environmental, feminist and LGBTQI politics, having helped elect Democrats for the past fifty years. She is former President of National Organization for Women in Atlantic City, NJ. Andrea Beth is a founding member and Past President of San Diego Progressive Democratic Club, and currently serves as Vice President of Political Action, for Democrats for Peace in the Middle East. Andrea Beth is a California Democratic Party delegate, and a member of the Party’s Resolutions Committee. Her most recent achievement is being elected Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Commission of La Mesa, California.
She is happily married to her wife, and lives in San Diego, California.