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A Tribute to Ron Platt… a legacy of courage and community service. Calaveras County grassroots Democratic activist Ron Platt was not always focused on.

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Presentation on theme: "A Tribute to Ron Platt… a legacy of courage and community service. Calaveras County grassroots Democratic activist Ron Platt was not always focused on."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Tribute to Ron Platt… a legacy of courage and community service. Calaveras County grassroots Democratic activist Ron Platt was not always focused on politics. There was a time in his life he wanted to be a saxophone player. His wife, Colleen, remembers how he had to summon all of his courage to overcome his basic shy nature, so he could play his beloved saxophone in public. He brought the same determination to his local political activism. He took on projects for which he had no prior experience, but he recognized their importance. He taught himself what was necessary to get the work done, and in the process, he galvanized the Calaveras County Democrats – and through example – inspired them to become their best. As a founding member of TBRC, again stepping outside of his comfort zone for the good of the whole, Ron was consistently humble, respectful, humorous – and always willing to take that new step it meant making things better for our community. May 12, 1952 - March 2, 2008

2 If anyone deserved the Volunteer of the year award for our region it was Ron. I remember the first time we met. It was at a TBRC gathering in Berkley. We had a lot in common, both of us being from construction background, he as a union pipefitter and myself as a union electrician. He and I both attended the meeting and were afterwards invited to attend a function at a private home. We were both very much taken in with work TBRC was setting about to accomplish. Ron of course began working with TBRC soon afterward and I with my county Committee. Ron and I loosely stayed in touch over the next three years and when I ran for Region 7 Director he was right there to support me. There are few people in our lives that leave lasting impressions through such chance meetings, Ron was one of those. As you said if anyone had mentioned leader to him when we first met he would have laughed to say the very least. I don't think either of us would, or could have predicted what the political scene had in store for us at that time. I do know that I trusted Ron to the fullest extent to be honest and sincere in both word and deed. I considered him not only a political colleague but a friend as well. Ron left a legacy in Calaveras that will be a driving force for years. He instilled awareness of community, of the political situation in our country, of the Democratic Party, and the need of Calaveras County to organize itself politically for a better future. I intend to keep on trying to help my counties. Ron had the faith in me to help get me elected as Region 7 Director and I am trying to help the eleven counties that are in Region 7 as best I can. Region 7 Volunteer of the Year - 2008 Ron was posthumously awarded the Region 7 Volunteer of the Year at the 2008 CDP Convention in San Jose Gary Robbins, Region 7 Director

3 A Tribute From His Friends Members of the Calaveras County Democratic Central Committee miss Ron and will always remember all that he did to bring us together. Ron Platt was a man of strength, of wit - and a fellow blessed with the gift of persuasion. When he spoke you felt there was a sense of mission in his tone, and a sometimes playful seriousness. Ron was a man always grounded in his beliefs and his desire to make sense of the world – and pass that good sense along to others. Ron first made his political presence known in Calaveras County by promoting the re-election of Barbara Boxer in the 2004 election. From a little patch of garden on Main Street, Ron let residence know there are Democrats in Calaveras. From his efforts, he galvanize a small group of people who planned a successful house party honoring Senator Barbara Boxer. Ron was also instrumental in coalescing the Calaveras County Democratic Central Committee. He was an ever driving force in making certain that Democrats were engaged, and had visibility. We owe our friend much gratitude and appreciate. We miss that eye-twinkling persuasion that was uniquely his.

4 2009 Ron Platt Courage Award Charlie and Jan Brown - both active duty Air Force veterans - again dove into service, when in 2006 Charlie challenged John Doolittle in the highly conservative 4th Congressional District. With no institutional support, they built a strong grassroots campaign and nearly dislodged the nine-term Republican incumbent. Their success effectively challenged the whole notion of “safe” Republican districts. In 2008 Charlie, again with an actively engaged grassroots base, ran against Tom McClintock – and came within a hair’s breath of becoming the first Democrat to represent this region since redistricting. Throughout the ‘08 race (while their son, Jeff, served oversees), they kept “true patriotism” and veterans issues at the forefront; the campaign contributed 5% of their campaign donations to veterans providers. Their remarkable effort has helped galvanize Democrats in one of the most conservative districts in California. Lt. Col. Charlie & Jan Brown

5 2009 Ron Platt Courage Award In November 2004 Francine Busby, long time community activist and school board member, ran a grassroots campaign against seven-term incumbent Randall “Duke” Cunningham. She improved the vote percentage from previous elections, but still Cunningham won. In November 2005 Cunningham resigned his seat when evidence of his blatant and venal corruption became overwhelming. With the support of a broad coalition of grassroots and official Democratic Party organizations Francine ran in the special election to replace him. In a district with less than 30% Democratic registration she led all candidates in the first round with nearly 44% of votes cast. In the second round with all of the RNC resources trained on her she still took 45% of the vote, but her opponent had 49%. She ran for the 50th once more in 2006, as the Democratic candidate in the November election. Francine Busby

6 2009 Ron Platt Courage Award Democratic activists (including the late Ron Platt) recruited Dr. Bill Durston in 2006, to oppose Republican Dan Lungren in CD-3. Bill Durston, an ER Physician, a Marine Corps combat veteran of Vietnam, and the President of the Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (supported by his wife Diane) entered the race on short notice and against long odds. Though Bill lost to Lungren by 22%, the campaign built a progressive base around issues Bill identified as “life threats” – the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, universal health care, and firearm violence. When he ran again in 2008, Bill took 44% of the vote (49.5% for Lungren), the biggest Democratic gain of any congressional rematch in the country. With no institutional support, he and his grassroots supporters have put this district into play. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) recently listed CD-3 as one of its top 10 races for 2010. Dr. Bill & Diane Durston

7 2009 Ron Platt Courage Award Jerry jumped in as a write-in candidate just two weeks before the 2004 primary. Although he lost that primary, and was under- funded and unknown, he geared up for 2006. Because he had developed a strong base of grassroots support, he won a stunning 2006 primary victory – which he followed by winning the DFA Grassroots All-Star competition, and becoming one of Russ Feingold’s Progressive Patriots. Then, with virtually no institutional support, but with the backing of grassroots activists from all over California, Jerry McNerney shocked the pundits by beating Richard Pombo in November 2006. In 2008, he was easily re-elected to his Congressional seat. Congressman Jerry McNerney (CD-11)

8 2009 Ron Platt Courage Award Russ, a 30 year resident of the 26th congressional district, was inspired to run for congress by his son Greg, who served 17 months in Iraq. He and his wife Kris raised three sons and have a successful small business that was started from the ground up. He is another representative of local grassroots candidates who are the stalwart beginners in taking red districts and turning them blue. Russ Warner Russ Warner & his son, Greg

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