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New officers were elected to the Los Alamos County Democratic Party board Wednesday evening during a special meeting at Fuller Lodge.
Outgoing Chairman Stephen Fettig passed the torch to his longtime Vice Chair Cathy Chapman at the combined ward, precinct and county meeting.
“Cathy has been involved in the party a lot longer than I have and she’s come to my rescue a number of times,” Fettig said. “She will lead the party in a good direction.”
Fettig served the remaining five months of Abe Jacobson’s chairmanship when he left town in 2004. The party elected Fettig to two additional terms, the second of which ended Wednesday.
He did not seek re-election saying he learned a great deal about the workings of the Democratic Party during his time as chair.
“My stepping aside is part of the encouragement for new people and new ideas,” he said. “It’s also the tradition in Los Alamos County to typically change leadership each two years and occasionally four years. It’s important to have new, energetic people to keep the party vibrant and active.”
While there were sufficient members to conduct the party’s business Wednesday evening, the turnout wasn’t as strong as in the last several years.
“This is the time we need to maintain and stay involved in the political system,” Fettig said. “We need universal healthcare, we need to fix the economy and get a green economy going – there are a lot of things that need our attention. Now is not the time to go to sleep and put the political system on automatic pilot.”
Fettig said it was apparent following the 2004 election and defeat of presidential candidate John Kerry that people wanted to get involved. They turned out in large numbers for Democratic meetings and events, he said.
“Now is the time when it’s critical for us to make important long-lasting structural changes to our country,” Fettig said. “Without our support, President Barack Obama is going to be pushed into a very undesirable place. The only way that we’re going to get the things that Barack promised in his campaign and that our congressional delegates promised is to push for them and support them. Otherwise the corporate pressures will prevent Barack from making his promises a reality.”
Fettig received much applause and praise from local members for his leadership over the last 4.5 years.
Local Democrats elected Carl Newton to serve as their party’s vice chairman.
“I can remember the day that Carl was so motivated to become a Democrat that he changed his party affiliation,” Fettig said.
Kyle Wheeler was reelected treasurer and Carlotta McInteer was reelected secretary.
Each county’s chair and vice chair are automatically placed on the state central committee. Members elected Laura McClellan, Naishing Key and Eric Vasquez Wednesday to also serve on the central committee. Several other members were elected to serve as precinct captains.