Guest column: Ellie Cantor ... Collier Democrats have come a long, long way

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By Ellie Cantor

Naples

This year the Collier Democratic Club will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

And what a quarter-century it has been.

It has been indelibly marked by tragedies both natural and man-made: Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina and Sandy; super tornadoes and wildfires; the terrorist bombings in Oklahoma City, The World Trade Center and the Boston Marathon; the ongoing wars against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq; shootings at Columbine and Newtown, in Phoenix and Virginia Tech to name only a few.

But it’s a period also invigorated by social and political change: the birth of the Internet and social media; the 24-hours news cycle; the push for legalization of same-sex marriage and marijuana; the acceptance of openly gay and bisexual armed forces members; the Arab Spring and its drive for rule by the people in the Middle East; the burgeoning of the Tea Party in the U.S. and its impact on social and economic policy.

In addition the past 25 years have seen the greatest booms and busts in U.S. history: the Dow plummets 554.76 points in 1997, rebounds to over 10,000 in 1999, only to crash again in 2008 as a result of greed, financial manipulation and bank failures. Political change has also been noteworthy: the retaking of control of the Houses of Congress by Republicans in 1995 and by the Democrats in 2006, two government shutdowns forced by unwillingness to compromise; the election of the first African-American as President and the first woman as Speaker of the House of Representatives; political scandal on both sides of the aisle leaving the ethics and morals of our election representatives in serious doubt; and the passage of legislation which allows law enforcement agencies to expand searches in cases of suspected terrorism, thus diminishing privacy for all, all over the globe.

With these forces in play, and others such as the undue influence of money, corporations and lobbyists on the political process, the Democratic Club is proud to celebrate its milestone. A fundraising gala is being held on Saturday at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. The goals of our fundraising:

To ensure that every citizen of Collier County has a voice in the political process,

To support Democratic candidates at the community and state level,

To assure open access to the polls and

To ensure that the districts in which we reside are designed to fairly reflect their demographic character and geography.

The CCDC is a grassroots organization led by volunteers who care about the future of our community, our state and our nation. Our fundraising efforts go toward maintenance of our Naples headquarters, and to help Democrats win elected office so that a full spectrum of political views and policies can be offered and enacted on behalf of our citizens.

While Democrats represent a minority of voters in Collier County, it is essential that their voices, opinions, concerns and values be fully visible and appreciated by our fellow citizens and by those who have been elected to represent us all.

That is why celebration of 25 years of participation in the political process is a worthwhile endeavor. It is why it is so important for every Democrat who can join in marking this occasion by attendance at the Gala. But even more important, by letting your voice heard you can have a real impact on the social, economic and political issues which will shape our future.

For dinner ticket information, call or email Cantor at 239-594-1091 or EPCantor@aol.com

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