NORWAY – Maine Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Colwell of Bath was the speaker at a lunch meeting held at the Fare Share Common on Feb. 1, hosted by the Oxford County Democrats.

Colwell expressed his enthusiasm for his new role as party chairman, pledging to “bring our political organization into the 21st century” by building infrastructure, including an updated voter file, interactive Web site and a new party headquarters, as well as providing training and financial support to the county and municipal committees.

He said he plans to be a forceful spokesman on issues of concern to Maine people, including the access to health care and further development of the Dirigo Health Plan as a national model.

The recently enacted property tax relief measure, he said, will provide relief to individual taxpayers and is a first step toward lowering Maine’s overall tax burden.

Colwell praised Gov. John E. Baldacci, Speaker John Richardson, Senate President Beth Edmonds, Oxford County Sen. Bruce Bryant and Rep. John Patrick for being willing to take on the issue and work to the solution, which was passed in January.

The group discussed the upcoming election of the national chairperson for the Democrats, with most favoring former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

Colwell, Vice Chairwoman Marianne Stevens and National Committee representatives Sam Spencer and Jennifer Dechant will participate in the election on Saturday, Feb. 12. Colwell and Stevens, as members of the National Association of Party Chairs, voted for Dean to be endorsed by that organization.

Prior to the luncheon, Colwell toured the Fare Share complex and received an update on development activities in the area from community leaders Marge Medd and Roy Gedat, as well as from Oxford County Democratic Chairwoman Cathy Newell.

Upcoming regional meetings for Democrats in Oxford County include Thursday, Feb. 10, at the Horizon Building in South Hiram, featuring a talk by grassroots organizer Alison Smith of Portland; Tuesday, Feb. 15, at Telstar Regional High School in Bethel, focused on building local organizations; and a session in the Rumford area to be announced.

Information on any activities of the Oxford County Democrats may be obtained by contacting Cathy Newell at 875-2116 or from the Web at

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