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Chavoya new president of Yuma County Dems
As the new Democratic leader in Yuma County, Maria Chavoya sees her mission as going beyond increasing the party's membership and raising funds for 2014 campaigns.
Her role, she says, also is making sure Democrats — and, for that matter, resident around the county — are politically engaged.
A month into her post as president of the Yuma County Democratic Party, Chavoya figures to be busy in 2013, even though there are no campaigns on the immediate horizon.
“There are no elections this year in which we'll compete as a party,” she said, “so the task for us is to go to the communities where the Democrats are and find out why they aren't voting, and encourage them to get involved and participate.”
Voter apathy stems partly from a lack of political awareness and political involvement, she says.
“At times, the function of each elective post is unknown” to voters. “The (elected) representatives are unknown, and the results they are giving are not talked about. I don't think that inspires (electoral) participation.”
According to the most recent report from the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, there are 26,876 Democrats voters in Yuma County. Chavoya sees the opportunities to increase that number substantially, but only through energetic voter registration efforts throughout the county.
The party's other priority in 2013, Chavoya said, will be fundraising for campaigns for Democratic candidates in 2014.
“We are a going to be having a lot of activities to raise funds, so that the party has a way to help its candidates. It concerns us that there aren't enough funds to help them in getting out the voters. We have to make sure that in the next elections our candidates can count on the party.”
The party's recent Denims and Diamonds fund-raising gala got the area's Democrats off to a good start in building up the campaign war chest they will need for 2014, she said.
Chavoya, former editor of Bajo El Sol, was elected to her post by Democratic precinct committee members from around the county. Joining her as new officers on the Yuma County Democratic Central Committee are Jessie Lugo and Thelma Lundy as party vice presidents, Sarah Lydick as treasurer and Colby Girard as secretary.