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Local Democrats bring party to women voters

Tamara Miller

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – An estimated 22 million unmarried American women did not vote in the 2000 presidential election, and about 16 million more weren’t even registered to vote.Getting this group – considered the largest group of nonvoters by several voter advocacy organizations – to the polls could have revolutionary results in an election. Those statistics helped prompt area Democratic leaders to come up with an idea with revolutionary roots: to host a tea party to rally women to participate in the 2004 election. The event, called a Boston Tea/She Party, will be held Sunday afternoon at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. “What we are hoping is that we can send the women who attend the event to go out into their own neighborhoods and do their own small tea parties,” said Debbie Marquez, a chairwoman of the Eagle County Democratic Party.Marquez and Garfield County Democrat Leslie Robinson got the idea for the event while attending the Democratic National Convention in Boston last month. During their stay, they witnessed a women’s group hosting a tea/she party of their own. The group, in the tradition of the original Boston Tea Party, dumped tea bags in Boston Harbor. The two Colorado women decided to host a party of their own – though there will be no dumping of tea bags in Colorado rivers. “We’ve got to target women to stop complaining and start campaigning,” Robinson said. While organizers hope to attract single women to the event, it is for women of all ages – and just to be clear, men are invited, too. Maggie Fox-Udall, longtime Sierra Club member and wife of Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, will be the featured speaker. Several other female Democratic leaders will speak as well, including Margaret Atencio of the Democratic Latino Initiative and Karen Hammer of the Stonewall Democrats, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.The focus of the event isn’t just on listening to speakers but interacting with other women and motivating them to get involved in politics this year, organizers said. Marquez said she’s seen more “grass-roots” activism in the Democratic party recently. “We’ll start in Glenwood, and hopefully it will catch on throughout the state,” she said. “Because the issues that are important to women are Democratic issues.”


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