Owen Perkins for dnc

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***** Endorsed for DNC by Representatives Daniel Kagan, Lois Court and Joe Miklosi and Senator Irene Aguilar *****


April 11, 2012

Delegates to the CD1 Assembly and Convention,


When I first ran for office in the Democratic Party of Denver, I was told Democrats don’t read.  I didn’t believe it then, and I’m counting on you proving that advice wrong once again.


I've been encouraged to hear from so many great candidates making their case for how they can best represent CD1 and get President Obama nominated for another term, and I'm quite confident that we have a deep enough bench in our Party to ensure that anyone we elect from among the Democrats in CD1 will succeed in securing Obama's nomination.  The most important work will come not during the convention, but before and after Charlotte.  We can't forget the vital role we'll all play in winning a second term for President Obama.


I believe the challenge at this convention is to build the foundation for a better Democratic Party.  And that’s a challenge I feel especially well-suited to meet.  I’ve worked at every level of the Democratic Party here in Denver, from the grassroots foundation, going door-to-door to reach out to voters as a Precinct Committee Person, campaign volunteer, and organizer to serving as our Democratic Party of Denver Secretary, one of four county-wide elected offices.  I continue to work as a PCP, and have already knocked thousands of doors this cycle for Irene Aguilar, Daniel Kagan, and Mark Ferrandino -- thanks to Ellis, Bob and Barry for helping us reach 300 more doors just yesterday! 


I took on the role of House District 2 Captain this winter, eager to take what I’d learned through years of visiting every Denver House District Meeting as often as possible during my term as County Secretary and to bring those good ideas back home to my own House District, where we could absorb the best of our peers and become an even stronger more active House District.  Thanks to inspiring elected officials and a stellar collection of activist who show up in force and in droves, answering the call to build a better Democratic Party, we are thriving in HD2.


That's an approach I'd like to bring to the DNC.  I'm proud of what we've done as Denver Democrats, and I'm eager to be an ambassador to help share the good work and ideas coming from the heart of Colorado.  But I'm even more enthusiastice about the chance to absorb the wealth of experience, knowlege, and expertise from the other delegates from around the nation, bring it all back home again, and invest that wealth in our own local Party.  I love to learn, and I'm passionate about sharing innovative and creative ideas that help us move forward with the gearshift in "D."  


One of my highest priorities as Secretary was to improve our communications, internally and externally, by providing Democrats with the tools for activism through a comprehensive, relevant, content-rich, and constantly updated website, through weekly e-mails that kept people informed about our activities and promoted a Democratic Party message highlighting the values we believe in and framing the opportunities to rise up and turn our ideals into action, and through forums, canvassing, phone banks, and calls to action that helped mobilize our community.  As we became more connected internally, I worked to connect us with the rest of the community through frequent outreach to traditional media outlets and through the growing social media venues.


I'd love to engage those who can't attend the convention in the work taking place there by utilizing my website and social media platforms to make the experience as interactive as possible for you.  As a journalist, you can bet I'll be searching for stories, snaring some interviews, and documenting the experience both on the floor and on whatever off-the-beaten-path I can fall into.


Becoming active in the Democratic Party of Denver has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life.  I've never been one to watch from the sidelines, and in the process of engaging I rediscovered that one of the biggest factors in building a better Party is for individuals from the grassroots foundation to the Party leadership to hold themselves accountable for shaping the character of the Party.  I’ve always embraced the notion of personal responsibility, and when I search for answers to questions about helping our Party reclaim its connection to the soul and conscience of our community, the search begins with a look inward.  The notion that there is some they out there to blame for any shortcoming in our Party has never quite computed for me.  We are the Democratic Party, and it is up to us to be the change we seek. The Democratic National Convention is a chance for us to take responsibility for charting the course and defining the character of our Party, and I relish the opportunity to make our voices heard in Charlotte.


Like so many of us, the 2008 campaign was a turning point for me when I began using my personal skills from a career teaching in the classroom, leading therapeutic wilderness adventure courses with at risk populations, working as an editor and writer at newspapers in Colorado, collaborating as a theater director, and founding and directing two private non-profit youth-oriented programs for over 20 years, and applying those skills to help our Party.  My drive to educate, energize, and engage my community and my optimistic outlook that Democrats can win by celebrating and communicating what is best about our Party served me well in working on behalf of Democrats.


My bridge-building skills came into play in 2008, when I started out as a happy Clinton delegate and ended up as a happy Obama delegate.  I knew bringing the Party together was critical after that prolonged primary, and I’m proud of my work to that end as a volunteer for both campaigns.  I worked again in perhaps an even more challenging capacity in reunifying Colorado Democrats after the 2010 Romanoff—Bennet primary, once again working hard on each campaign and focusing on rebuilding our Party to make the successful stand we did on Election Night.


And perhaps most significantly for me, I’ve worked to bring two more campaigns together in the wake of my running for a State Senate seat in Senate District 32 a year and a half ago.  With three old Democratic friends in the race and two new friends jumping in who I got to know during the campaign, there was a great opportunity to emerge with an SD32 stronger than ever.  When my friend Irene Aguilar won the race, it was an easy decision to join her and work with her at the Capitol and throughout the district as her Director of Communications and her Campaign Manager.  In an arena where character, conscience, and integrity are everything, it’s been a blessing to work with Irene and to put our shared values into action to bring a distinctive approach to the Capitol. 


A big part of what I love about Irene comes down to a shared belief in the inherent goodness government can embody.  As someone raised on the campaigns of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, of Paul Sarbanes and my local State Representative, who happened to be my best friend’s mother, Democratic Party politics has always been about hope, involvement, and positive momentum in a direction true by any moral compass. 


Participating in the DNC in Charlotte would be the culmination of my years of investing my energy and effort in the Democratic Party.  I believe in giving back to the community that has meant so much to me, and I ask you for the opportunity to represent you in Charlotte and to bring the richness of that gathering home to Colorado in a way that ensures our growth and prosperity as a Party.


I’m honored to ask for your vote, and I look forward to seeing you at South High Wednesday night.


Best of luck to all! 


Owen


Recent Political Activity

  • Captain, House District 2B
  • Campaign Manager and Director of Communications, Senator Irene Aguilar, 2011-present
  • Candidate, Senate District 32 Vacancy Election, 2010
  • Secretary, The Democratic Party of Denver, 2009-2011
  • Representative Daniel Kagan Steering Committee, 2010 General Election
  • Romanoff delegate to the 2010 State Assembly
  • Site Selection Committee, The 2010 State Assembly
  • Public Policy (2009-present), Leadership Development (2009-2011), and Diversity and Outreach Committees(2009-present)
  • Precinct Committee Person, Precinct 323/243, 2009-present
  • Obama Campaign for Change volunteer in the 2008 general election
  • Udall Campaign volunteer, Forward Colorado, 2008 general election
  • DNC Host Committee Volunteer, 2008
  • Denver Elections Division--Election Judge, Supervisor, and Field Representative, Voter Registration and Provisional Ballot Processing, 2008-2010
  • Udall delegate to the 2008 State Convention and Assembly
  • Clinton delegate to the 2008 County, Congressional District, and State Conventions and Assemblies
  • Volunteer for Kerry, Gore, Sarbanes campaigns


Professional Experience

  • Award-winning journalist covering Sports, Arts and Entertainment, Environment, Politics, and Investigative Reporting since 1992
  • English and Theater Teacher, college, high school, and junior high school, 1986-1998
  • Wilderness Instructor, 1987-1999


Additional Volunteer Service

  • Committee Member, 2009-present, The John Austin Cheley Foundation, a charitable nonprofit dedicated to making mountain camp experiences available to youth who would not otherwise have the economic means to attend month-long experiences in outdoor-oriented summer programs.
  • President, Secretary, Finance Committee, 1986-2010 for The Robert Perkins Fund, a charitable foundation developing creative projects throughout the nation aimed at providing positive opportunities for young people; working with the volunteer board to raise nearly $1,000,000, manage a large endowment, and oversee programs and grants.
  • Executive Director, Founder, The Rocky Mountain Student Theater Project, 1990-present.  Developing and coordinating all aspects of a nationwide Playwrighting Contest for high school students, Playwrighting Festival featuring professional productions of the winning plays, and a Playwrighting Academy offering intensive workshops throughout the country.


Education

  • Master of Arts, The University of Colorado, Creative Writing Program, Boulder, 1993
  • Bachelor of Arts, Colorado College, English Major, Minor in The Arts, Colorado Springs, 1987


Owen Perkins For DNC

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Additional Information

 
Historical photos courtesy of The Denver Public Library, Western History Collection 

DNC Home Page

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SATURDAY ALERT: Got home from the airport at 11 p.m. Friday night -- car dead in the Pikes Peak parking lot and 2 flat tires on my bike.  Karma is telling me to walk.  Join the  HD2 Dems Saturday morning at 11 to walk precincts and activate voters.  Meet at the Denver Dems office at 574 S. Broadway.  E-mail me at owenperk@aol.com if you can join us.

After walking, I'll work on updating the site with lots of new content from the Democratic National Convention.  Loads of new videos from me at the YouTube link directly below here.

WEDNESDAY ALERT:  It's crazy busy, and I haven't had time to update the page, but check my YouTube Channel for videos by clicking here.

NOTE: For Tuesday's Convention Floor schedule, please click here.

Monday, September 3 -- Carolina In My Mind

At the beginning of the day, it looked like the only thing on my agenda for a slow Labor Day kick-off to the Democratic National Conventioin was James Taylor's appearance at Carolina Fest, a free street fair up the street from my hotel that was designed to make the Convention accessible to all comers.  

By the end of a jam-packed day of inspiring caucus meetings, James Taylor was the only event I didn't get to.

We started with the first of our daily Colorado Delegation Breakfasts, and we were graced by a few special guests, including our ownLt. Governor Joe Garcia (click link for video),  Obama for America National Political Director and Colorado's own Kathleen Archuletta, and Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina. 

I shouldn't speak for the rest of the delegation, but when it comes to politics, we tend to be a little geeky, so having Messina at our morning meeting was a great way to start off the day.  As a campaign manager myself, I enjoyed the insights from the man behind the wheel of the Obama campaign, and his focused, strategic comments definitely helped jumpstart my Convention experience. 

In the coming days, we expect to hear from Congressman Steny Hoyer, Congressman Jared Polis, David Simas (Polling Director), James Kvaal (White House Domestic Policy Advisor), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, and Donna Brazille. 

For more videos from the Colorado Delegation Breakfast meetings, please click here.

As I mentioned yesterday, I really didn't have a natural fit for the caucuses being offered throughout the week, but I got everything I hoped for and more by opening myself up to new experiences at three caucus meetings Monday.  (I also enjoyed the new Charlotte experience of deep-fried catfish at the Welcome Party Sunday night, but that's another story.)

I started out at the Hispanic Caucus, Monday morning, where I Wasserman Schulz made one of probably a dozen appearnace Monday appearances or more.

I saw her speak three times in six hours Monday.  She had similar points to make with each group she spoke to, but she had a unique perspective each time out and impressed me in her relentless and far-reaching scope.

The numbers sound good for Hispanic votes in swing states, with Nevada reporting 74% of the vote for Obama, Florida 51%, and Colorado 69%  In Colorado, we won the Hispanic vote by 23 points in 2008, and at this point in 2012, we're looking at a 48 point lead!  Targeted Spanish language commercials (25% of Hispanics get their news in Spanish) addressing the Affordable Care Act (which everying is lovingly calling Obamacare now) and The Dream Act. 

For more videos from the Hispanic Caucus, please click here.

I'll update more later tonight, but here are two more videos from my visit with the Disability Caucus and the Veterans and Military Families Council.

This Congresswoman from Chicago has a great bill, the Inclusive Home Design Act, which would require new homes to spend a few hundred dollars more to ensure from the start that they are accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities:

Tammy Duckworth (below) was probably the highlight of the day for me.  An Iraq War veteran and pilot who lost both her legs and is running for Congress in Illinois told of the day she started out as the highest ranking member of her unit and ended up as the weakest link when her company carried her home.  "You never know when you might go from the top 1% to needing a helping hand," she told us.

For more videos from the Veterans and Military Families Council meeting, please click here.

More to come later tonight, but check my YouTube Channel for all my videos.

Send any suggestions, comments, or questions to me at owenperk@aol.com.

Thanks,

Owen

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DNC Sunday