Arizona Democrats announce Volunteer Awards winners
At the Arizona Democrat Party's annual Volunteer Awards Dinner on Saturday in Flagstaff, the Pine Mountain Amphitheater provided a dramatic backdrop as volunteers were honored for their service to the party and its candidates.
"Simply put, we could not function without the efforts of our volunteers. We can never thank them enough, so we cherish opportunities like this to celebrate their accomplishments," said Don Bivens, Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. "And, thanks to their hard work, we'll all be celebrating a bluer Arizona this November."
A list of the winners and runners up follows:
Outstanding Headquarters Volunteer
Jim Jaster, Pima County
Jim Jaster has been a volunteer Facilities Manager for the Pima County Democratic Party for eight years. Out of the goodness of his heart, he has fixed everything from clogged toilets to holes in the floor.
1st Runner Up (a tie): Chris Baker, West Valley Democrats; and Meera Paskal, ADP Headquarters.
Outstanding County Chair
Vince Rabago, Pima County
Vince Rabago is the Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party. He is known in the area for his forward-thinking strategies to promote the Party in his County.
1st Runner Up (a tie): Mark Manoil, Maricopa County; and Charlene Fernandez, Yuma County.
Outstanding Young Volunteer
Sami Hamed, Pima County
Now 28, Sami Hamed has been a precinct committeeperson since he was 18. He has volunteered on campaigns from school board to Congress, and serves as the Governor's appointed member of the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind.
1st Runner up: Stacy Hettmansperger, Maricopa County
2nd Runner up: Ruben Gallego, Maricopa County
Democrat of the Year
Jim Woodbrey, Pima County
Jim Woodbrey, First Vice President and Program Chair of the Santa Rita Area Democratic Club, is a go-to volunteer for Southern Arizona. If there is something needed by the Democratic Party or its candidates, Woodbrey is on the top of the list of resources.
1st Runner up: Ken and Barbara Smith, Navajo County
2nd Runner Up: Dan Flores, Coconino County
Outstanding Club or Organization
Nucleus Club of Pima County
For more than forty years, the Nucleus Club of Pima County has sponsored events for Democrats, featuring prominent speakers from the party.
1st Runner Up: Pinal County Democratic Club
2nd Runner Up: Young Democrats
Outstanding District Chair
Doug Mings, LD 17
As Chair of Legislative District 17, Doug Mings has taken his party from the minority to the majority among registered voters in his district.
1st Runner Up: Mohur Sidhwa, LD 28
2nd Runner Up: Debra Boehlke, LD 4
Outstanding Precinct Committeeperson:
Jeffrey Tucker, Capistrano Precinct
Jeffrey Tucker became a precinct committeeperson the hard way, by standing outside the poll in his new precinct on Election Day to solicit write-in votes. He serves as district secretary and chair of LD 20's new finance committee.
1st Runner Up: Wayne Culver, Village Precinct
2nd Runner Up: Shaya Rodriguez, Globe #6 Precinct
Outstanding Campaign Volunteer:
Maureen Cotner, Maricopa County
Maureen Cotner is recognized for her service to several campaigns, including Debra Boehlke's bid for State House in 2006, Robert Boehlke's current bid for State Senate, and Angela Cotera's campaign for State Senate.
1st Runner Up: Demitri Downing, Pima County
2nd Runner Up: Brandan Spradling, Maricopa County
Lifetime of Democratic Service:
Genie Zavaleta, Maricopa County
A tireless advocate for political and basic human rights for immigrants, "Genie" Zavaleta, has been a fixture in Democratic politics in LD 17 for decades. She has been described as "the most effective PC that D17 has ever known."
1st Runner Up: Fred Von Blume, Maricopa County
2nd Runner Up: Bill Risner, Pima County
Congrats to all of the winners and nominees for their work on behalf of Democratic and community causes. They all deserve our recognition and thanks.
Note: Whoooo hooooo! Two highly-deserving D17'ers, Genie Zavaleta (Lifetime of Democratic Service) and Doug Mings (Outstanding District Chair), were recognized for their dedication and hard work! There are certain to be a lot of hearty congratulations at next week's D17 meeting (Tuesday, 7 p.m., Pyle Center in Tempe).