My husband, Gary Pritchard, is running for State Senate in California's 33rd district. We have raised just over $600 (ActBlue sent our money to the wrong account and their number are wrong, I am hoping the will fix it, the last thing we need is incorrect records) and Friday, I hired someone to help us manage our money. Crazy, right?
Not really, because I know we will raise more and I'm asking you to help me do this. This is not a big race, I know, but a good Democrat has stepped forward to put a "D" on the ballot and we can't do it on our own.
Gary's birthday is Monday, he's going to be 37 years old and I haven't gotten him a present yet. Last year I got him a membership to the NPR book club (oh so romantic, but the books were great and we donated to our local public radio station). I'm at a loss this year and I thought, well, why not raise some money for Gary's campaign?
I know this site is wound up in the Primary battles, but there are many others candidates who need help. This is my brazen plea for your help! Why brazen? We have no website yet and we don't have much to share other than the fact that Gary stepped up when no other Democrat would file and run in this district. It's too red, it's not "winnable". Phooey!
So my Party Loyalist of a husband said he would do it and we would do our best. We have so many events coming up and many things we need to get for the campaign and I realize, we need to raise money. On Thursday evening Gary his first speech as a Candidate and he got a very good reaction, it was encouraging for him. Gary had nothing prepared, he just spoke for two minutes and told Democrats why he was running (Gary spoke at the pre-endorsement conference for our district).
Gary will be going to the State Convention at the end of the month and we will be going to DFA Training the weekend following that. We will pay it out of pocket if we must but like many families, we are getting by. Are we poor? Hell no, we are not. We are blessed with many things but I promised Gary and myself that we would limit our personal spending because it would get out of control very easily. I almost feel guilty for admitting that. The Republican candidates have both borrowed $100,000 each and raised five times as much. We bought our first house at the end of 2006, even if we wanted to borrow money, we have negative equity, just as many Americans do, it's not possible.
So, I thought I would share some things about us, especially the candidate of course. We will be married 10 years on September 12th. Both Gary and I are technically only children, crazy right? Well, I have a half brother that I did not grow up with and Gary has step sisters that he did not grow up with. Oh families get complicated, don't they?
We have a five year old daughter named Charlotte Piper and a 7 month Weimaraner named Sophie. Gary teaches at Cerritos College in their Music Department and he has a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from UCI.
Ethnomusicology is defined as "the study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts."  Formed from the Greek words ethnos (nation) and mousike (music), it is often considered the anthropology or ethnography of music. Jeff Todd Titon has called it the study of "people making music." Although it is often thought of as a study of non-Western musics, ethnomusicology also includes the study of Western music from an anthropological or sociological perspective. Bruno Nettl (1983) believes it is a product of Western thinking, proclaiming "ethnomusicology as western culture knows it is actually a western phenomenon."  Nettl believes that there are limits to extraction of meaning from an indigenous culture's music due to perceptual distance of the Western observer from the culture. However, the growing prevalence of scholars who study their own musical traditions, and an increasing range of different theoretical frameworks and research methodologies has done much to address criticisms such as Nettl's.
His advisors Robert Garfias and Sam Gilmore are both lovely human beings, they nurtured Gary and encouraged him to keep going and finish his dissertation. We are blessed to know them. Robert is retiring soon and Gary was his last Graduate student. What an honor for Gary.
Sam was patient and I know he enjoyed the Jazz Piano lessons that Gary gave him and they bonded over more than just Sociology (There is not an Ethnomusicology degree at UCI so he had a committee degree that also included Frank Cancian, James Newton and Anthony Seeger). Gary played piano for one of Sam's son's Bar Mitzvahs and that was quite a celebration, we were also honored to be included in such an important day.
So, Gary got his Ph.D. (Which yes, we are still paying for and will be for a very long time) and he's teaching full time. The students adore him as well as the faculty and staff. Gary has always been the more likable of the two of us, I tend to stick my foot in my mouth and I've learned the hard way what the phrase "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" means.
Gary's biggest side interest is music (which really isn't a "side" interest, his whole career is about music). He got his BA and MA in conducting and plays a few instruments although the piano is his favorite. Gary has been in a few bands and continues to gig on occasion. Felt (Their myspace - www.myspace.com/feltmusic) is alive and well and they put a CD out in 2001. Gary also plays with the same guys in a blues band called "The Metropolitans". This candidate has YOUTUBE video of the band playing "The Wind Cries Mary"! (Hat tip to Mark Wein, the lead singer to both bands and a very talented musician). The other players are Martin Torres (Gary's other wife) and Scott Francisco (in Felt not the Metropolitans) and Tyler Walton.
So what does Gary believe in? He's a Democrat and he believes that we are the better party, seriously and we are not afraid to say so. Even though we do believe that we honor and respect the opinions of our friends and neighbors who are Republican. Why? Because we are part of a community and fighting with our neighbors and with those who don't agree with us will not get anything done for anyone. It's not worth it. We would rather just speak for our beliefs and let that be what convinces them rather than a heavy stick.
Gary believes in Universal Health Care, Access to affordable education and the separation of Church and State. There is more than one way to balance a budget, how about cutting useless earmarks and raise useful taxes (The 'Sloophole' is one example of this and included in the list of "Republicans" is the candidate he will most likely run against in the GE, Mimi Walters.) The California Assembly decided giving tax breaks to yacht owners rather than trying to help fix California's budget shortfalls was more important. The hardest hit in these shortfalls? Yep, Education.
The Assembly also refused to close loopholes for Oil Companies. You read that right.
The Assembly Republican Caucus yesterday voted against legislation to close tax loopholes on big oil companies and dedicate $1.2 billion to preventing the layoffs of teachers throughout California.
The legislation, AB 9XXX, called for California to join every other oil-producing state by placing a severance tax on oil produced in California. Some 21 other states, including Texas have the tax. Under the bill, oil companies would be prohibited from passing along the tax to consumers at the pump. The Board of Equalization would be given the authority to monitor and investigate instances where producers or purchasers of oil have attempted to gouge customers.
"Last week, Assembly Republicans sided with yacht owners and this week they’re siding with Big Oil," said Senator Art Torres (Ret.), Chairman of the California Democratic Party. "Clearly, the Assembly Republicans’ values are out of sync with their constituents, particularly when thousands of teachers across the state are receiving pink slips."
And one of the best of all, Mimi Walters has proposed a new law that would require people to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Mimi Walters Introduces Voter ID Bill
SACRAMENTO - Today, Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) introduced Assembly Bill 2317. AB 2317 will require voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Walters' bill requires those registering to vote to provide any one of the following documents proving citizenship:
A valid birth certificate;
A United States passport clearly showing the applicant's passport number;
United States naturalization documents, or official certificate of naturalization from the government of the United States and verified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; or
Any documentation as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-603).
"Fair elections are critical to the confidence the public has in our representative government. In order to ensure that each citizen's vote counts, we must ensure that others who are ineligible do not vote fraudulently," said Walters. "AB 2317 is an important step in ensuring free and fair elections."
Am I naive to think that if someone is in this country illegally that they would spend time worrying about voting? This is just more red tape and bureaucracy that we can't afford and would only serve to discourage many people to register to vote! And I'm talking about citizens. I want to know why the Republican Party is not utilizing current laws already on the books to enforce the laws to prohibit the hiring of illegal workers? In the long run, that would save California the most money out of anything we could do!
Or how about rather than building a wall, invest in Mexico and try to help them bring their living and working standards up to ours. We can't disown them as neighbors, it's not like selling my house when I get in a tiff with neighbor. This is a permanent issue which will need more humane and permanent solutions. It's easy for Californians to blame immigration on all our woes, but it's always more complicated than that, isn't it?
I have written about this at The Liberal OC and feel strongly about the issue. I sincerely believe that the cultural influences of our neighbors below us is valuable and important. It's not just, keep "those" people out, "those" people are here. They are our friends and neighbors, they are the people who help keep this State running. It really comes down to putting people before the need for "cheap labor".
Okay, so this is my rant, I would have Gary look this over if it weren't supposed to be a surprise. You want to hear from the candidate, soon. The following is his rough draft of his Biography for the Democratic Party. The thing is, it could be completely different by the time he submits it to the Party (for the Convention at the end of the month)
Gary Pritchard is an energetic and optimistic candidate who maintains an openness to finding new solutions to the educational, economic, and energy issues that our district and state will face over the next four years.
Gary is a 37 year old California native who lives in Aliso Viejo with Heather his supportive spouse of 10 years; Charlotte their exuberant five year old daughter; and Sophie the family’s high-strung weimaraner.
He was born in the Central Valley town of Bakersfield where he lived for the first nine years of his life until his family moved to the small mountain community of Oakhurst located near the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park. In Oakhurst, Gary spent much of his childhood nurturing a life long love of the arts and environment.
Gary’s professional background is in education. He completed college in Southern California where he attended Chapman University, the Claremont Graduate School, UCLA, and UCI. He holds a Ph.D. in the Social Sciences and is a tenured professor in the Fine Arts and Communication Division of Cerritos College where he has taught since 1999. During the summer, he also teaches at UCI.
At Cerritos College, Gary has served as a department chair, sat on curriculum and program review committees, co-authored grants for the National Endowment of the Humanities and federal vocational education programs, and chaired tenure committees. He has reviewed textbooks, authored new curriculum including distance education courses, and has participated in local and national conferences and symposium on issues ranging from education to culture and politics.
Growing up in Oakhurst instilled in Gary a strong sense of community, family, and the importance of volunteerism. These values drive Gary’s enthusiasm for serving as your next State Senator.
So, please help me give Gary a great birthday and a great start to the campaign. We need the money! We both believe in public financing but we aren't there yet, so please help us finance his run so the Republicans will know we are serious!
Both Gary and I support Obama (Gary voted Obama in the California Primary) and we were inspired to stand up for what we believe in. We both took this phrase very seriously, "Be the change you want to see"! Gary is considered young for a candidate but why should we wait? And Gary is not just another old white guy (not that there is anything wrong with that, (some of my favorite people are old white guys!). Gary's background is unique, his father was a white boy from Bakersfield and his mother, Esperanza, was a Native American, a Mojave Indian. Esperanza's father was a Mexican native and her mother was 100% pure Mojave Indian, not many of them left, sad to say. As far as I know, he would be the first Native American State Senator in California.
So, please help us out! I offer up the following symbolic increments of $3 (for the month he was born), $17 (for the day he was born), $37 (for Gary's age) and if you are feeling very generous, $71 (For the year Gary was born).
And to honor St. Patrick's day, here are some photos from our new favorite place to walk with Charlotte and our dog, Laguna Niguel Regional Park. Gary likes to run around the lake when he has time. This was my first visit and I took some photos.