Local Democrats caucus in Arlington | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — Attendees of the 39th Legislative District Democrats’ precinct caucuses on Sunday, April 15, laughingly conceded that their proceedings were perhaps not as dramatic as the March 3 Republican caucuses for Legislative Districts 38, 39 and 44 in Marysville, but the Democrats from Arlington, Marysville, Darrington, Granite Falls and other surrounding areas who turned out that Sunday afternoon nonetheless touted the civic value in their event.

Although the Democratic Party’s nominee is incumbent President Barack Obama, as opposed to the host of Republican challengers that the earlier caucus had to choose between, more than a dozen area Democrats met at Arlington High School to submit resolutions that they wish to see carried on into the county, state and national Democratic caucuses.

Marysville’s Rick and Vickie Bligh, like many of the day’s caucus-goers, first became active in local caucuses four years ago, due to their enthusiasm for Obama as a candidate, and while they remain steadfast in their support of him as president, the Blighs also came armed with a resolution in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to reserve Constitutional rights for people, not corporations.

“Vermont passed a similar resolution a few days ago,” Rick Bligh said. “Given that corporations have substantial foreign elements, why are they being allowed any influence over our political process? And yet, as of [the Supreme Court’s decision on] Citizens United, the law allows those corporations the same rights as U.S. citizens.”

Marysville’s Annie Hustvedt likewise expressed concerns about future Supreme Court decisions that might be made by justices appointed by whomever serves as president for the next four years. Like Arlington’s Mary Chesney, Hustvedt also emphasized the importance of backing down-ballot Democratic candidates in order to have a shot at retaking the House of Representatives.

Mary and Doug Chesney have both worked in the health care field — Mary as a registered nurse in home health care, and Doug as a pharmacist — and both expressed their support for “Obamacare,” which the married couple sees as a means of better meeting the needs of not only patients, but also health care providers.

“Many vendors are not able to participate in health care programs because they lose money,” Doug Chesney said. “As it stands, many small communities don’t have many, if any, independent pharmacists or doctors left.”

“The system is sending patients home earlier because that’s the only way many hospitals can survive financially,” Mary Chesney said. “They go home still sick and their families get overwhelmed trying to care for them, which often winds up with those same patients right back in the hospital. That’s poor management.”

As for Arlington’s Jody Mathison and Carole Van Loo, they shared fears that the separation of church and state might be weakening, with Van Loo singling out the recent debate over insurers covering birth control that was inspired by Sandra Fluke’s Congressional testimony.

Arlington’s Mike Dumovich, the area caucus coordinator, answered questions about resolution submission by noting that the committees that decide which resolutions  will move forward are always looking for more members.

“This is the Democratic Party, so we’re going to have 90 different opinions on any subject,” Dumovich laughed. “If you are passionate, your voice will be heard.”

For more information, log onto the state Democratic Party website at or the state Democratic caucuses’ website at


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