“The purpose of the listening tour is just that: listening to people – to hear what they have to say about the Democratic Party, what the platform should be, how we should restructure, what we should be doing,” said Peter Corroon, chair of the Utah Democratic Party.
“We’re a big tent party we have a lot of people with a lot of ideas and we want to hear them,” he said.
The listening tour was conceived in the wake of the 2016 election. While the Democrats lost the presidential election, Utah Democrats lost a legislative seat yet also picked up two new ones from Salt Lake County.
Corroon, along with state party staff, met with around 20-25 area Democrats at the Gardner Center on the DSU campus Friday night to discuss, hear and share ideas. When recommendations were made, they were written on a large sheet of paper set on a stand. While a little slow to fill out at first, it was covered with suggestions by the end of the meeting.
Among the suggestions made by attendees were getting the party to focus more on “core issues” and finding better ways to reach out to those outside of the party.
While Democrats believe in and will pursue matters related to civil rights and equality, said gathering attendee Della Lowe, a former chair of the Washington County Democratic Party. She noted those could become “wedge issues” for them and thus not necessarily on their priority list of issues to focus on. She suggested the party work on presenting everyday issues that appeal to a broader range of people first. “People have everyday issues that are terribly important to them.” Lowe said. “They need to understand that you (as a Democrat) care about those issues.”
Lowe and Corroon said those core issues the Utah Democratic Party espouses are education, health care, having a clean environment (air quality and water) and fair wages. “If you look at the issues that we care about as Democrats,” Corroon said, “we think those are issues that best represent Utah families.”
As for better party outreach, Chuck Goode, a former candidate for state House District 71, said one of the best things the party can do is to “get personal” by getting out into the community and getting to know the people firsthand. While campaigning for House 71, Goode said, he went door-to-door in the district and got people to know him as a person and not as “just a Democrat.”
Goode also said that while Democrats do well in urban areas like Salt Lake County, they do not do so well in heavily-conservative rural Utah.
St. George Utah, Jan. 6, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, Written by Mori Kessler
St. George News