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From the Road: Antelope County

Carmyn and I stopped by to talk with the Antelope County Democrats about the 93 County Strategy at their monthly meeting last night in Neligh.

Ian Russell discusses the 93 County Strategy with the Antelope County Democrats.

Barb Ross, the county chair, is working with a dedicated group of folks to rebuild the Democratic Party in this rural area. They've started meeting monthly to share ideas and find candidates for local offices.

We talked about where they can find great candidates for local offices: economic development boards, the Chamber of Commerce, community leaders, etc. Since a good name goes along way in a rural area like Antelope County, it's important to find potential Democratic candidates who are already opinion leaders in small town politics. Barb brought up the fact that many candidates don't actually campaign for local offices, meaning that we can win them by knocking doors and turning out voters.

Thanks to the hard work of the resurgent Antelope County Democrats, they'll be new local Democratic elected officials in 2006 and more votes for our statewide candidates.

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Open Thread

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The Sick Reality of Health Care and Race

For those people who claim we've overcome the racial divide in this nation, I encourage them to read the follwing:

The New England Journal of Medicine released the results of three studies indicating we have a long way to go in regards to access to health care, and in fact, it seems to be getting worse.

In the last decade, black Medicare recipients were less likely to get nine kinds of potentially life-saving surgery than whites, even when the overall medical needs were the same.

In one study, despite much higher rates of cardiovascular disease, 63% of black men enrolled in Medicare were less likely than their white counterparts to have heart bypass surgery. Black women were 30% less likely.

Blacks of both sexes were less likely than whites to have angiograms to detect blocked blood vessels -- in addition to procedures opening those blocked vessels.

Seems to me we have a long way to go. Remember, if you vote Democrat enough you'll never have to pay another medical bill as long as you live!

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From the Road: Nance and Dodge Counties

This week has been a busy one for the field department -- and it's not over yet!

We have spent time traveling to Nance, Dodge, Adams, Wayne, and Cuming Counties meeting with county party activists, chairs, and interested community members.

Kerry, the Nance County Chair spoke of ways her community is getting involved and the potential for a barbeque in the near future. We also heard from Annette Dubas, our candidate for Legislature in 34. She is a wonderful person -- I certainly encourage you to attend her kickoff on September 5th at the Loup River Inn in Nance County.

The Dodge County meeting last night was highlighted with a special visit from Steve Achelpohl, the Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. He spoke to the group in part about the new national interest in Nebraska from organizations like the DNC. He talked about issues of importance to the people of Nebraska like finding quality and affordable health care for our children, outsourcing, and agriculture.

Today we are off to Antelope, Merrick and Polk Counties. Stay tuned!

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Competing Across the State

In case you weren't able to see last week's front-page Lincoln Journal Star story about the "93 County Strategy," check out some of the excerpts:

"This will be a concerted effort to build a structure in all 93 counties (and) compete in areas that now may be considered hostile," said Barry Rubin, the Nebraska Democratic Party's executive director.


"The party plans to create a permanent ‘political force that still is operating the morning after the election,' said Ian Russell, who will travel the state as field director, building upon what the party calls its ‘Democratic community' in every county."


"In devising its plan, the party decided its first obligation was just to ‘show up' in counties it had previously abandoned or simply forfeited to Republicans…No longer, it decided, would Democrats in some communities be left alone on an island…What the Nebraska party is doing is similar to the effort now under way nationally, Rubin said."

But what the Lincoln Journal Star article failed to mention was that only you can make this strategy and Party work.

Help grow the NDP community by sending out an email about the "93 County Strategy" to your friends, family, co-workers, and classmates:

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From the Road: Hastings

I stopped by the Hastings Democratic Meetup to talk with them about the 93 County Strategy and get feedback on what we can do to help them build the party.

Hastings is an important community in central Nebraska. With four city council seats and several county offices up in 2006, it's important that we begin to build a strong local party that can help elect Democrats to these positions. Also, our statewide candidates will need to do well in this city, since it's one of the population centers in the area.

The Meetup folks will be working hard over the next few weeks to build up the Democratic community in Hastings: they're meeting in two weeks to address and handwrite postcards to other Democrats in Hastings, inviting them to the next Meetup, and they'll be meeting monthly to strategize on implementing the 93 County Strategy in their community.

The Hastings Meetup takes place on the third Tuesday of every month at Blue Moon Coffee on 2nd Street.

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Catholic Democrats of Nebraska

This is a guest post by Dan Schnizel from the Catholic Democrats of Nebraska.

The role of faith and religion in the American political arena is an issue as old as the country itself. Yet, it seemed to reach a boiling point with the 2004 presidential campaign and election, which forced Americans to confront the uneasy relationship that exists between personal faith and political belief in this country. Though our forefathers intended to create a wall of separation between religion and government, we do not and cannot practice democracy in a moral vacuum. Every voter brings a set of moral convictions, usually influenced by a particular religion, to the voting booth. Though these convictions vary in scope and depth from one person to another, the political reality is that to be successful, a party or candidate must acknowledge that faith is often the decisive factor in determining how an individual votes.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the Catholic vote. A generation ago, the term Catholic Democrat was redundant. At that time, Catholics were heavily blue collar and, because of the strong ties between labor and the Democratic Party, were a consistent voting block. Times change and upwardly mobile Catholics became more affluent and the voting pattern changed. Many Catholics became the Reagan Democrats of the 1980

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From the Road: Scotts Bluff County

I attended the Scotts Bluff County Democrats' monthly meeting last night in Gering to discuss the 93 County Strategy and how they can take ownership of it in their community.

In addition to an open State Senate seat, there are numerous local offices in Scotts Bluff County that Democrats can take back in 2006, from city council seats in Scottsbluff and Gering to county board seats, other county offices, and local boards.

The Scotts Bluff County Democrats are also working to find precinct captains and be visible participants in their community. They'll be at their county fair and other regional festivals.

As part of the 93 County Strategy, we'll be holding a training in Scottsbluff for Democrats in the panhandle (similar to the training we just held in North Platte). The training will be on September 24. You can sign up for the event here.

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Friendt Mailings Unmasked

I shouldn't have been surprised when I got a call from KLIN Friday about the anonymous campaign fliers circulated during this year's Lincoln City Council race. The big news? Glenn Friendt was involved in creating and funding the mysterious mailers targeting Terry Werner and Dan Marvin.

It's no secret that there was bad blood between Friendt and Warner; Friendt appeared in a TV ad criticizing Werner. But Friendt tried to hide his connection to the mailers, and an investigation is underway to determine if the absence of a disclaimer identifying the source of the mailings was illegal. It took a lot of digging to bring this information to the surface, but now through articles such as the one in Saturday's Lincoln Journal Star, Lincolnites know the truth.

When Friendt decided not to run for reelection, he cited partisanship and bickering on the council as one of the main reasons for his decision.

"I'm certainly disappointed" about failed efforts to heighten the level of civility on the seven-member council, he said. Though officially nonpartisan, voting patterns often make it apparent there are four Democrats and three Republicans on the council."

"I don't believe those efforts have been reciprocated by the mayor's majority on the council."
Lincoln Journal Star 5-20-2004

I interviewed Friendt myself that day, and he told me the same thing, that some council members were too partisan. Not knowing that much about the history of the council, I originally thought the street ran both ways and that both sides were equally to blame for the interpersonal problems. The revelation of Friendt's involvement in the election mailings shows that he was the most partisan, grudge-holder on the council. He was a sitting City Council member while actively campaigning against a co-worker. The kicker is, he tried to hide it in a way that might turn out to be illegal. This is not the kind of deviant leadership the folks in Lincoln or the rest of Nebraska deserve. It's just another example of the culture of corruption in the Nebraska Republican Party.

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A Little Help From My Friends

In order to successfully build our Democratic Community, we need to know what we're working with.

This post is a chance for us to learn everything we can from one another -- how each of us can make a contribution to building the Nebraska Democratic Party.

Use the comments area below to join the conversation.

We need to learn from each other the best ways that you folks are doing what you're doing.

How are you able to recruit volunteers?

What has gotten the most attention at your county fair booth?

What are some creative and effective methods you've seen in the past?

How do you encourage college students in your area to become active?

Do you know any good projects for seniors?

How did you always get a good turnout for your events and meetings?

Please take a few minutes and jot down some successful ideas that you have. We'd love to hear from all corners of the state--and beyond.

Keep checking in as we gather more ideas--and make sure to follow up on anything you see that's interesting below:

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