Get heard

Heads up, you elephants. Heads up, you donkeys. The next step toward Election 2004 is upon us. March 13 will be the county conventions for both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Many people who have never been active in a political campaign are getting involved this year, in anticipation of the presidential elections coming this November. As such, some guidance may be necessary.

First, let’s get the nuts and bolts out of the way. The Washoe County Republican Convention will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Harrah’s Reno Hotel & Casino. There will be a Central Committee meeting at 8 a.m., to which all registered Republicans are invited. Only those delegates elected to the convention from either the precinct caucuses or the Central Committee meeting may attend the convention. There’s a $30 cost to attendees, and if you’re going to have lunch, it’s better to schedule in advance at 851-2467.

The Washoe County Democratic Convention will be held from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Atlantis Casino Resort. All registered Democrats are invited to the convention. There’s a $40 charge at the door, which includes lunch. Washoe County Democrat headquarters can be reached at 348-8691.

There are two misconceptions the Dems would like to dispel. First, all Washoe County Democrats are welcome at the convention. If they don’t want to pay or can’t afford the door charge, they can fill out a form to have the charge waived. Secondly, despite what the Web site says, Democrats are welcome even if they did not attend the caucuses.

Now—And did you hear the media reports last week that Nevada had the third-worst record for voting last election?—these conventions are important. While the Democrats have the added requirement to recommend a presidential candidate to the State Democratic Convention, both parties are hammering out platforms, the parties’ position statements.

Do you support President Bush’s plan for immigration reform? Perhaps Social Security’s continued existence is important to you. Got abortion rights on your mind? National defense, treatment of veterans, environmental issues, states’ rights, religious freedom, PATRIOT Act, there are 10,000 possible issues that will either become a platform plank or hole depending on how these conventions go and what ideas are tossed around.

Yes, $30 and $40 is a lot of money in these days of rampant unemployment, but this election may be the one where people who have been politically inactive have to put their money where their mouths are.

It’s time. This election isn’t going to go away just because you ignore it, and if you don’t get registered to vote, participate in the process, assist a candidate and vote, you may end up living in a place you don’t like much.