Valley Voices

Michael D. Evans: Democrats are unified for our community

Next year, we will face perhaps the most critical election in our nation’s history. Not since the election of 1860 has the future of our country seen as much as at stake as will be on the line next year. And we have two clear and radically different visions – rhetoric driven by fear and the absence of facts versus rational solutions to right our nation and address the many issues before us.

Perhaps the most critical element to this analysis is the Supreme Court. If you discount everything else, the fact that the next president of the United States will likely control the ideology of the Supreme Court for a generation makes this election of the utmost importance.

We need leadership that brings to the table common sense, strong principles, a firm grasp of both domestic and international policy, and a vision for an America that works for everyone.

Your local Democratic Party is committed to a better America, a better California and a better Fresno County.

Our county is blue. Fresno County went for President Obama twice. Twice. Two-thirds of the city of Fresno is solid blue, and there is a Democratic registration advantage countywide. However, the powers that control decision-making in our county tend be wealthy, conservative and Republican. Our real power brokers need to better reflect our community both in diversity and in policy initiatives.

Your local Democratic Party has spent the past few years networking, developing synergies with like-minded organizations and participating in coalitions designed to better our community. And there have been successes, not the least of which was the defeat of Measure G, Mayor Ashley Swearingen’s effort to privatize the city’s residential waste service. She said that the failure to pass Measure G would cause a financial crisis; instead, its defeat helped to get the city’s finances back on track within a year.

Like most political entities, our local party has a few members who do not seem to share the mission of the larger group. A recent Fresno Bee article gave this vocal minority a forum to present their minority viewpoints as those of the majority. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As a local party, we are equivalent to a small business or nonprofit in that our cash flow fluctuates. We receive no funding from the national or state parties and must raise all of our resources locally. That’s a huge undertaking, but we have done it successfully and will continue to do so. Although interest in and support for voter engagement efforts should be ongoing, it is a fact of life that resources for such efforts peak in presidential election years.

The cash flow fluctuation did require us to lay off staff. As the Bee reported, one person who was laid off responded with a number of accusations. An investigative committee was formed that included highly respected individuals within the Democratic community. Unfortunately, the Bee did not show up at our recent meeting to hear the results of the inquiry, which found insufficient evidence to support the complaints. Therefore, a thorough and complete story was not fully provided to the public.

The Democratic Party is a big tent. We welcome different points of view. We currently have three high-profile candidates for president, and Democrats are split on their choice. That’s creating a healthy debate within the party about the direction of the party and the direction of the country. And once the primary voters have chosen our standard bearer, we will move forward collectively to elect that person.

Locally, we must work to elect candidates who will improve our community and hold those already in elective office accountable to addressing and fulfilling democratic principles.

Your Democratic Party is focusing on the real work of increasing voter turnout and addressing the needs of Fresno County residents. Conflict might drive headlines, but we are united for our community. The coalitions we have built in and around Fresno speak to the success of our local party. That’s the real story in Fresno County.

Check us out. We have a headquarters in downtown Fresno and a Facebook page. Contact us at 559-495-0606 or

Michael D. Evans is chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party.