Tuesday night caucuses include community participation, voices
March 17, 2010
Chris Craft said being a Democrat in Moffat County "can be challenging."
But despite the challenges in what is a Republican dominated county, Craft attended the Moffat County Democratic caucus Tuesday night "as is my right and duty," he said.
About 20 Democrats attended the caucus at the Center of Craig to seek delegate nominations for the county assembly and eventually the state assembly, to talk about local and state politics, and to determine which candidates to support.
"If we don't participate, we have no say, and our county is built on people having a say," Craft said.
Unlike some other caucus attendees, Craft was not unfamiliar with the caucus process. He also attended the 2008 caucus and maintains the process is important to communities.
"The need for people's voices to be heard over the special interests and the big money was impressed upon me," he said.
Meanwhile, at the same time across the state, Democrats and Republicans gathered at their respective caucus locations to talk about candidates and nominate delegates.
In Moffat County, Republicans were divided among 13 precincts, which sought to nominate the 90 delegates who would attend the county assembly April 10.
Sari Cobb, a Republican and first-time caucus attendee, nominated herself as a delegate and was voted to the county assembly.
She said she was motivated to attend the caucus and nominate herself for delegate candidacy for several reasons.
The first was that several candidates contacted Cobb, asking her for her support at the caucus and as a delegate, she said.
She also felt the caucus process is unfair in small communities.
"My husband and I talked about it and felt that is was a pretty unfair process," she said. "So I wanted to change the process or make things different."
Cobb said that because of the way a caucus is set up, where candidates can seek support from the delegates, some candidates could be left off the ballot completely if they don't have any delegates in the county assembly.
"Whether or not I agree with the process, I feel it is extremely important," she said. "I have always been a strong believer that you can't whine about something unless you are involved in it."
As a delegate, Cobb said she feels the job is a big responsibility.
"I think I need to listen to my fellow constituents in our district and find out what their opinions are and then carry that vote forward," she said. "It's huge, and that is why I think it is important to listen to the people in our district and represent them well."
Bob Aaberg, Republican Precinct 7 chairman, said he feels the caucus "is something everyone should do."
"We're supposed to have a government by the people, and you have to get the people involved," he said.
Aaberg also said that the caucus process should be a way to get true community voices into an election.
"But you can see the problem," Aaberg said as he held up a nearly 20-page list of the constituents in his precinct, looking around at the less than 20 people who attended his caucus.
"After every election, people complain that there wasn't anyone good to vote for and they voted for the one least dangerous, and that's not a good way to have to do it," he said.
Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.