This year's Democratic National Convention is the first Mark Reza has missed since 1968.
"I think more work needs to be done here," said Reza, the chairman for Gila County Democrats.
The election is going to be tight in Arizona this year, Reza said, as it will around the country. But Arizona Democrats are making progress in a traditionally Republican state.
"We've been really surprised at the Democratic activity here," he said. The reason the Democrats are gaining momentum lies in their perspective, he said.
"Democrats look at rural Arizona for its majesty and beauty," he said. "The Republicans look at the Grand Canyon and think, ‘landfill.'"
The main goal in this year's election is getting all of Arizona's Democrats to vote.
"Most people have a Democratic leaning," he said. "When you have lots of hardworking people they tend to rely on each other. The other party says ‘What's mine is mine,' while Democrats are more likely to bend over and help each other."
Reza began his political career in college. He had three majors: Journalism, political science and history. Soon after he reported on a young Democrats group for the Michigan Daily, he was hired to work on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign.
Reza became very friendly with the Kennedys. He even carried Robert Kennedy on his shoulders after a softball game two weeks before the senator was assassinated.
"Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump," Reza said. "I've seen so much."
"If you wish to apply yourself, you can do anything," Reza said. "He who keeps watch over freedom can't afford to slumber or sleep."
"People in this country don't realize how fortunate we are to have a tradition and history of democracy," he said. "We expect the government to do so much, and we take it for granted."
Name: Mark Reza
Occupation: Chairman, Gila County Democrats
Birthplace: Kansas City, Mo.
Family: Mother; brother; sister
Personal motto: Freedom with justice
Inspiration: A sense that there is a greater spirit that monitors our lives
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Reading, reading reading. Currently reading 9/11 report.
Three words that describe me best: tenacious, open and confident
I don't want to brag, but: A few years ago, the governor of Missouri declared a Mark Reza Day.
The person in history I'd most like to meet: It's a tie. Ernest Hemingway and Emiliano Zapata (Zapata fought for land rights in the Mexican Revolution).
Luxury defined: Sitting on his new patio, enjoying the view and a cigar.
Dream vacation spot: Lugaro, Switzerland.
Why Payson? I've never seen my mother happier.