A Party Is Waiting For The Willing

REVIEW FEATURE

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The Primary is behind us and the General election is six weeks away. If you want to do more than listen to political ads and note the candidate signs alongside the road, the Democrats and Republicans both have jobs waiting for you.

The two parties each have headquarters in Payson this year, both in the same complex on Beeline Highway. Both need volunteers to see them through Nov. 2.

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Ken O'Dell, manager for the Republican Headquarters in Payson invites residents to visit and if they're interested volunteer their time and talents. The same invitation is being issued by the folks down the walk at the Northern Gila County Democratic Headquarters.

Dr. Virginia Correa Creager is manager of the Democratic Headquarters of Payson and Ken O'Dell manages the Republican Headquarters.

"All ages are welcome to help," Creager said. "Our youngest volunteer is 17 and she's a whiz on the phones. Our oldest volunteers are in their 80s."

Creager said the volunteers helping at Democratic Headquarters are a diverse group too. Some people even bring their grandchildren in and put them to work, doing everything from sharpening pencils and clipping articles from newspapers to making signs.

"Our headquarters is totally a volunteer effort," she said. It's furnished with $5 thrift store buys and donated materials.

"We run on a shoestring. The most expensive things we have are the lease and utilities, so we're looking for contributors too."

But if you have time and any kind of talent, Creager wants your help at the Democratic Headquarters. Among the tasks for volunteers:

  • Voter registration, both on site and store front
  • Phone calls
  • Setting up for meetings
  • Headquarters maintenance
  • Historical scrapbooking
  • Precinct committee work -- during the Primary the county's Democrats elected precinct representatives, but not all openings were filled, Creager said. Those posts still vacant will be filled by appointment.
  • Canvassing the polls
  • Office management and clerical help
  • building and placing signs

"One of our main jobs is making sure the public knows about upcoming events, such as the Victory 2004 Hall of Fame dinner with Teresa Heinz Kerry on Sept. 22," Creager said.

In the past the Democrats did not have a strong presence in Northern Gila County, she said, but the leaders of the Democrats of Northern Gila County - Payson are trying to change that.

"We have a good message. It's political, but it is also patriotic. So, we are pulling people together," Creager said. "Did you know our U.S. Senate candidate Stuart Starky out-polled McCain in Gila County?"

The party has two meetings each month, plus there will be special events throughout the campaign season. There is a meeting the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m., and a meeting at 12:30 p.m. the third Monday. Through the General election, the meetings will be held at the headquarters, which is at 418 S. Beeline Highway.

If Creager is not at the headquarters, there are day managers to help people with requests and direct them to tasks that need to be done. The office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The Democratic Headquarters in Payson is also the base for two Kerry staffers who work around the state.

The Republican Headquarters is at 434 B S. Beeline Highway, just down the sidewalk from the other headquarters. Hours are similar too, it is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Volunteers have already stepped up to man the headquarters in two different shifts through the rest of the month, but there could be some openings next month. And O'Dell said the Republicans still needs people to help get out the vote.

"We're assembling volunteers to get out the voters through phoning registered Republicans," he said.

At the headquarters, volunteers can help people register between now and Oct. 4.

"We're also asking people to take a look at their registration cards," O'Dell said. "We have seen some that have the wrong supervisor districts and people wind up going to the wrong polling place."

He said he thinks that when the supervisor district boundaries changed, a lot of cards were not updated. Voter registration information can also be corrected between now and the cutoff date.

O'Dell said in the coming weeks Republican Headquarters will be hosting some special events. He expects to have visits from Congressman Rick Renzi, Dist. 5 State Representative Bill Konopniki and Dist. 5 State Senate hopeful Jake Flake.

For more information about Northern Gila County's Democratic Headquarters, call (928) 474-2172. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or getting yard signs, call the Republican Headquarters at (928) 474-2923.

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