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#CDALeads: Staying Blue in a Red State

Kenzi Green Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:30 PM
by , Director of Communications, College Democrats of America

Ever feel like you’re facing an uphill battle? Are you a proud Democrat in GOP territory? Fear not, College Dems! With hard work and great leadership, you can do your part to bring much-needed change to your communities and your state government. Erik Lundstrom, President of the Arizona College Democrats and his fellow College Dems have worked hard to make big changes in the Southwest.

It isn’t always easy being a Democrat in Arizona. Our state legislature and governor are always in the news with a new piece of crazy, right-wing legislation, like when they made the date of conception two weeks before the actual act, enforced racial profiling, or even attempted to require religious oaths as a requirement for a High School Diploma or GED.

Erik Lundstrom (left), President of the Arizona College Democrats

Trust me, it isn’t easy to watch these things unfold. But College Democrats in Arizona aren’t watchers, they’re doers. It isn’t ever easy; its an uphill journey, but every two years I see College Democrats across the state picking up clipboards and telephones, charging toward election day. Like chapters across the country, these CDs ran though neighborhoods knocking on doors every week; the only difference is that we would do it in 110-degree heat.

Beyond the field work that Arizona chapters put in across the state, from the Tucson Valley to the the Mountains of Flagstaff, they managed to do some other pretty incredible things. Students at NAU organized a brand new chapter, helped win legislative races, and put Ann Kirkpatrick back in congress. Students at the U of A worked and interned on almost all of the state’s legislative races and kept Ron Barber and Raul Grijalva in the House. ASU organized a gigantic rally with Richard Carmona and hosted former President Bill Clinton. They also elected Krysten Sinema, the first openly bisexual member of either chamber, to Congress.

For us it was a victory on election night. The country reelected the president, elected more Democrats than Republicans to the U.S. House, and chipped away at the super-majority in the Arizona legislature. That night was a good night; however the next morning we all remembered how much work we still have to do. The races were too close for comfort, and we still have much progress to make in our own backyards.

It will continue to be an uphill journey, but Arizona CDs are already gearing up for the 2013 municipal elections, the 2014 gubernatorial elections, and the 2016 presidential election. I know that as we continue moving forward, we’re going to find more outstanding individuals like Elaine Mills who managed a legislative race and helped to run the UA Chapter, or Seliana Robles who organized the largest political event of the season with President Bill Clinton and Surgeon General Richard Carmona. We need more folks like Pat Burns, who ran a legislative race and worked at the Ritz Carleton while still maintaining a 4.0 in his graduate program. We need another TrevorGervais who at 19 was the youngest RFD on the Obama Campaign, running three regions’ GOTV efforts when he was transferred to Nevada. These young Americans define what it is to be an Arizona College Democrat: we are hard, steady workers, even when facing a tough fight.

You’ll see us this summer, like always, knocking on doors and registering voters. It’ll be 110 degrees, and we’ll be red as cherries, but we’ll be doing it because we won’t rest until Arizona turns blue.

-Erik Lundstrom, Arizona College Democrats President

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