Dr. Jo Holt elected Chair of Pima County Democratic Party

Dr. Jo Holt, new Chair of Pima County Democratic Party
Dr. Jo Holt, new Chair of Pima County Democratic Party

Dr. Jo Holt who holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry was elected Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party today at the special election following resignation of former Chair Cheryl Cage in late September. The meeting of precinct committeepersons was held in the UA Social Sciences auditorium (1145 E. South Campus Drive)  this morning, with 139 Democrats voting.  Acting Chair Pat Burns welcomed everyone, then former PCDP Chair Jeff Rogers conducted the election.

Dr. Holt ran unsuccessfully twice for LD 11 State Senator (against Senator Al Melvin and Steve Smith, respectively in 2012 and 2014). She said that she had intended to run again for that same seat but stepped forward to lead the county party instead.

Also in contention today for Chair was Democratic activist/former teacher Barbara Cain, 2nd Vice Chair of LD 9.  After both candidates spoke, the vote was taken by ballot and counted.  Dr. Holt received 89 votes, Cain 50. Dr. Holt spoke after she won that “the party was ready to turn the corner to do something different”, that they all needed to “work together”.

From Holt’s campaign statement:

“My career in scientific research brought me to Tucson, via Texas A&M University (bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 1975) and Colorado State University (PhD in biochemistry in 1982). I spent about a decade conducting research in molecular biophysics at the UofA (1983-1992).

The last few years of campaigning in LD11 has convinced me that the Democratic Party needs to grow from the bottom up, through grassroots activity. To this end, I want to help strengthen open and respectful communication between Pima county PC’s and the County Party. Just as all citizens have the right to govern themselves, all PC’s have the right to be involved and heard in their county party. We Democrats have to work together in order to turn Arizona blue, and I want to do everything I can to make that happen. Soon.”

Also attending today were several former Chairs of the PCDP: Paul Eckerstrom, Vince Rabago, Jeff Rogers, Don Jorgensen, and Cheryl Cage. There were several Democratic politicians (LD 2 State Senator Andrea Dalessandro, LD 10 House Rep. Bruce Wheeler and LD 3 House Rep. Sally Gonzales, Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez) and candidates in the room as well, including former  CD2 Congressman Ron Barber.






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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


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