BETHEL — The Oxford County Democrats held a combined training session and business meeting on Dec. 6 at the Crescent Park School.

BJ McCollister of the Change that Works campaign conducted a briefing on health care. McCollister, from Canton, is the organizer for the Western Maine region. He has conducted house meetings during the past few months and will continue to work on health care and other issues in the coming months.

Mary Erin Casale, field organizer for the Maine Democratic Party, conducted the caucus convenors training session, attended by more than 20 of the convenors for the Jan. 31 caucus meetings to be held for all Oxford County towns. She will do a follow-up session by phone for the towns unable to attend.

Following the trainings, the group held a social time with Rosa Scarcelli of Portland, one of the candidates in the gubernatorial primary. Scarcelli spoke at the start of the county committee meeting, stressing her commitment to job creation based on her business experience.

Former Commissioner of Economic Development John Richardson also addressed the group, highlighting his legislative record and his work in economic development since leaving the legislature following a term as Speaker of the House.

Roy Gedat of Norway presented the Treasurer’s Report and County Chairwoman Cathy Newell announced the launch of the year-end fundraising appeal. The minutes from the August meeting were approved.

State Representatives Helen Rankin of District 97, Matt Peterson of District 92 and Sheryl Briggs of District 93 were introduced. Newell paid tribute to activist Rich Plante of Mexico who recently passed away.

Julian Federle, State director for Organizing for America, spoke about the Obama agenda, specifically health care reform. He outlined the aspects of the health care bill currently in the Senate and corrected several of the misconceptions in circulation.

Newell and Casale spoke about the plans for the caucus.
A snow date will be established this year and all caucuses will occur between 1 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31. There will again be regional gatherings in Rumford and Bethel for area towns.

Caucus convenors include: Albany, Allison Rosenblatt; Andover, Bob Duplessie; Bethel, Mike and Eileen Broderick; Brownfield, Rose Rogers-Wells; Buckfield, Rep. Terry Hayes; Rumford, Byron, Roxbury, John Patrick and Rep. Matt Peterson; Canton, BJ McCollister; Denmark, Mari Hook and Carol Farnsworth.

Also, Dixfield, Jon Albrecht and Jenni Plante; Fryeburg, Rose Mahanor; Gilead, Cynthia Handlen; Greenwood, Rosemary McLean; Hanover, Henrietta List; Hartford, Anita Pottle; Hebron, Daniel Eichorn; Hiram and Porter, Rep. Helen Rankin; Lovell, Carolyn Carter; Mexico, Jimmy McHugh and Jarrod Dumas; Newry, Wendy Hanscom; Norway, Roy Gedat and Julie Peterson; Otisfield, Maureen Howard; Oxford, Christopher Pottle.

Also, Paris, John Jenness; Peru, David Buck; Stoneham, Kaitlin LaCasse; Stow, Jim Wilfong; Sumner, Don Berry; Sweden, Kathiann Shorey; Waterford, Skipp and Judy Green; West Paris, Andrew Kronstadt; Woodstock and Milton, Nancy Willard and Mary Ellen Gartner; Upton, Lincoln Plantation and Magalloway Plantation, Cathy Newell.

Details of locations and times for all caucuses will be publicized in the coming weeks. All convenors welcome assistance from others in their town.

The Democratic State Convention will be held on May 21 and 22 in Lewiston. Barbara Arsenault of Rumford is on the Platform Committee, Eileen Broderick of Bethel is on the Permanent Organization Committee and Mike Broderick of Bethel is on the Credentials Committee.
Democratic State Committee Steve Hayes of Buckfield and Rose Rogers-Wells of Brownfield were re-elected.

Additional information about the Oxford County Democrats is available on the Web site, or on Facebook. All individuals interested in electing Democrats are welcome to become involved.

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