I’m Running for State Party Office – Election January 23

I remain as Chair of the Coconino County Democratic Party, one of the 15 counties in the State of Arizona and the bluest among them. I’ve thrown my hat in the ring to be Senior Vice-Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.*

Why besides that I’m a glutton for punishment? Coconino has a strong and active county party with fine leaders in addition to myself and generous donors. Many of the other 12 counties that make up what’s called “Rural Arizona” are not so lucky. I’d like to help. In addition, I think the way forward for victories in rural and urban Arizona is to register more new voters and inspire them to vote rather than tailoring our policies to appeal to that very small and elusive group known as “swing voters.” I’ll bring that voice to senior leadership in the Arizona Democratic Party. In addition, as Senior Vice Chair, I would automatically be a member of the Rules Committee, something for which my careers have prepared me.

I’m proud to be nominated by the current Senior Vice-Chair, Mary McCord Robinson, who is Chair of the Mohave and LaPaz County Democratic Parties.

Here is the Candidate Statement I’ve submitted for publication by ADP:

I’m running because I believe ADP needs to refocus. With candidates as bad as Trump and McSally, we’ve won. Still, with unprecedented millions spent on legislative races, we lost and too many county races were lost. We need to give Arizonans – too many of whom still don’t register and vote — positive reasons to vote for Democrats. We should communicate our values daily and forcefully. We will be more effective if we are more community-focused in organizing and communicating. With the likely Chair coming from one of our largest, urban counties, at least one of the next two offices in seniority should represent our smaller counties.

I have been a resident of Arizona for 25 years, hailing from the Midwest (Iowa, Chicago). For 20 years after college and law school at the University of Chicago, I practiced law with a large national firm based in Chicago, where I was involved in firm management. While in Chicago, I was an ACLU volunteer attorney and on the board of a LGBT PAC, which helped achieve enactment of the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance in 1988. In 1995, I became a member of the Arizona bar and my wife and I moved to Flagstaff, where we continue to reside.

Beginning around 2000, I became active with the Coconino County Democratic Party. I also served (2000-2005) on the board and as president of Coconino’s non-profit Victim/Witness Services, during which we established the Sexual Assault Center. During that time, I was in the midst of 7 years as caregiver for my mother and running a real estate business. I retired in 2015.

I became Communications Chair for our County Party in late 2016, was elected 1st Vice Chair in 2019, became Chair in July, and was re-elected last month. Since 2017, our County grew from 35 PCs to over 200 with many additional volunteers. Our revenues have similarly expanded. 

Communication and transparency are key to improving ADP. We must be an organization for all Democrats. Community engagement across the entire state is essential. Honoring our obligation to be neutral pre-primary enhances our credibility. Professional staff are important, with experience and ideas officers may not have; nevertheless, final responsibility resides with the Chair and Executive Board.

Some specifics:

The county parties are the grassroots units of party organization (LDs in Maricopa and Pima). They need respect, funding, and infrastructure support.

ADP staff and budget priorities must include Arizona’s Indigenous peoples, on and off sovereign lands, and our growing LatinX population – our largest minority.

ADP’s communications team needs inspiration and better infrastructure. It also needs a progressive outlook, and inclusion of rural and minority voices.

Our party should represent our people and our values. We should aggressively oppose the white supremacy that has infested the GOP. At this critical time, leadership should have strong management skills, party experience, and inspiring voices.

Note: I’d love to be First Vice-Chair instead of Senior Vice Chair. However, DNC Rules and ADP by-laws require that the First Vice Chair be of the opposite gender from the Chair and both announced candidates for Chair are women, so it’s likely that the First Vice-Chair option will not be open to me. In case there is a nomination of a male from the floor who is then elected as Chair, I’ve also listed my name as a candidate for First Vice-Chair.

Author: Ann Heitland

Ann Heitland is a writer, living in Flagstaff, AZ. She's also a golfer, ex-lawyer, retired real estate broker, and active Democrat.

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