by Brian Washington
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Caucusing in Colorado takes Jon Cefkin back to his roots, back to his childhood, when the precinct caucus in his neighborhood took place at his home.
“I remember, as a child, my father was active in politics, and at that point we used to have caucuses at the house,” said Cefkin, a second grade teacher in Jefferson County.
“It was kind of a cool thing to see your neighbors meet and talk about politics and the issues they thought were important.”
Decades later, he says it is rare to find a caucus taking place in someone’s home. Most of them occur in neighborhood schools or libraries. However, the role they play in Colorado politics remains stronger than ever.
“If you want to have a say in which candidates go on to the next level you have to start at the caucus level,” said Cefkin.
Colorado’s precinct caucuses, which take place Tuesday, March 6, 2018, allow Democrats and Republicans to join with their neighbors to begin the candidate nomination process. It starts at 7pm MST. Doors open at 6 pm MST. Check your political party’s website for more information.
Participants take part in a few straw polls and, this year, at least one official poll, around the state’s gubernatorial contest. They also elect delegates to represent their neighborhoods at the county and state assemblies, which all take place before the state’s primary elections on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
Cefkin, who has been participating in the caucuses since 2004, wants more educators to take part in the process.
“Educators need to go to the caucuses if they expect to have state and local politicians who support public education and the issues critical to public schools,” said Cefkin. “I think it’s important for us to have a say in the game, the game of politics.”
As educators we need to speak up and this is the time to start at a caucus supporting the candidate you believe in. You cannot sit back. You need to get active and participate.
In addition to electing delegates, those attending the caucuses also vote on the party’s platform.
“And that’s a place where educators may want to speak out and help shape the platform for their party, said Cefkin.
“This is politics at the grassroots level, in your community, in your precinct, where you’re able to talk to your neighbors about education issues and the candidates.”
Cefkin says he has seen election cycles where very few people show up to caucus. During those times, if you are one of the few in the room, he says it is almost certain you will be elected precinct chair, a post that carries a two-year term.
During presidential years, he has seen it where the rooms are busting at the seams and overflowing with lots of participation.
This year, with the governor’s seat up for grabs, he expects participation to be somewhere in the middle. However, he is committed to doing his part to get the word out to his education colleagues that they need to show up.
“I am excited about participating,” said Cefkin. “I think this is the year we (educators) can really have a say when it comes to education and the issues we care about. This is the year we need to get our voice out there through our candidates.”