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Join the Club: Santa Clara County Democratic Club

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One of the first Democratic clubs chartered by the SCCDP, the Santa Clara County Democratic Club got its start more than 30 years ago during Ted Kennedy’s presidential primary campaign. Initially launched as part of the Draft Kennedy Movement in the fall of 1979, the group became one of the first in the United States to be sanctioned by the National Kennedy for President Campaign and gained the support of the International Association of Machinists, the United Farm Workers, and the AFL-CIO. After the campaign, and reluctant to break the ties that brought them together or abandon the cause that galvanized them to action, volunteers voted to form an activist grassroots political club. The organization held its first election of officers on April 26, 1981, and, on May 7th, the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee approved the new Santa Clara County Democratic Club (SCCDC).

Since its inception, the club has honored its credo, providing “a grassroots channel for the participation of like-minded people" and dedicating itself to "progressive policies and programs, based upon liberal principles." In addition to its grassroots activities, SCCDC's regular monthly meetings feature guest speakers, including local elected officials as well as community leaders focusing on vital issues. The list includes Representatives Don Edwards, Zoe Lofgren, and Norman Mineta, author Gore Vidal, State Democratic Party Chair Art Torres, author and filmmaker Norman Solomon, Watergate whistleblower John Dean, author and columnist Robert Scheer, and many others.

Over the years, SCCDC members have involved themselves in a number of causes, ranging from the civil war in El Salvador to single-payer healthcare. And, of course, they are always at the forefront of action every campaign season, walking precincts, flooding the Mercury News with letters to the editor, and contacting voters to support progressive candidates at the local, state and national levels. The SCCDC also has a long history in active voter registration, making the news in 1986 when club members were challenged by park employees for trying to register voters at the Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival. Club members stood their ground, however, and ultimately prevailed, even receiving  an apology from the city council.

These days, the SCCDC is very focused. Rather than dispersing its energies over a wide range of issues, the club decided in the late 90's that it would be more effective if it channeled its efforts into one area they felt  would have the most positive and far-reaching effect on our political system: campaign finance reform. As a result, the club has become a leading supporter of the California Clean Money Campaign, whose long term goal is public financing of all campaigns. Its immediate priority is passing the California DISCLOSE Act, SB 52 which will require the disclosure of the top 3 funders of all political ads...in the ads themselves.

The SCCDC meets the third Monday of every month at Harry’s Hofbrau in Saratoga. To find out more, including how to join, visit the club’s website. Learn more about the California Clean Money Campaign here and, how to join locally, here.

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