KANSAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY ELECTS NEW OFFICERS AT ANNUAL WASHINGTON DAYS CONVENTION
On Saturday, members of the Kanas Democratic Party met virtually for their annual Washington Days convention, where they elected their most diverse leadership team in history. Vicki Hiatt was re-elected as Kansas Democratic Party Chair. Edgar A. Pando, who is Hispanic, was elected as Kansas Democratic Party Vice Chair. Frances Calloway Jackson was elected as Kansas Democratic Party Secretary, and Yolanda Taylor was elected as Kansas Democratic Party Treasurer. Both Jackson and Taylor are African American.
In what may be another first, the leadership team is also overwhelmingly female.
“I am thrilled to be working with such a diverse and talented group of leaders from across the state and can’t wait to get to work with our new officers,” said KDP Executive Director Ben Meers.”Our outgoing officers left the party even stronger than they found it and the Kansas Democratic Party owes them a huge debt of gratitude for their service: Vice Chair Brandon Johnson, Secretary George Hanna, and Treasurer Gina Long, each of whom played an integral role in helping us with the unprecedented 2020 election cycle — most notably, the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary pivoted to an entirely vote-by-mail, ranked-choice election due to COVID-19 and garnered record voter turnout.”
Chair Vicki Hiatt
Born and raised in Kansas, I grew up in Olathe and graduated from Olathe High School. My father worked for KCP&L as a truck driver. He was a strong advocate for unions and maintained his membership with IBEW for the duration of his work life. My mother stayed at home to raise me and my three younger brothers. I am the proud product of a traditional middle-class family with values of hard work, responsibility for myself, and compassion for others.
I am committed to increasing the number of Democrats in Kansas through grassroots activities. The upcoming 2022 elections will bring new challenges. We must reelect Governor Laura Kelly, State Treasurer Lynn Rogers and again protect our 3rd District Congressional seat. The January 6th Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has shown us that we must have U.S. Senators and Representatives who will stand up for our Democracy and Constitution. Recruiting strong candidates to run for these federal seats will be critical. And with the turn to more conservative extremism indicative of the Brownback years in our state legislature, we must elect more Democrats to our state House and Senate. Organizing and recruiting for these goals must start immediately. With the KDP staff, I have prepared a proposal to begin organizing throughout the state this year. I am ready to begin on day one.
Vice-Chair Edgar Pando
I am an attorney in Dodge City who was born and raised in Southwest Kansas. My grandparents immigrated to Southwest Kansas decades ago and I’m blessed to still have family here. Like many in Southwest Kansas I grew up in a household with family who are immigrants. Also like many in Southwest Kansas I grew up in a household that was conservative-leaning. After 2016 I became completely disaffected with the Republican Party and in 2020 I officially changed my party affiliation and ran for State Senate in SD38 (the only majority-Hispanic district in Kansas). Despite a disappointing result, there has been a local surge in momentum on the heels of my campaign which has sparked multiple new candidacies and interest in organizing the area. I am now dedicating my time to fostering these new candidates and establishing relationships that will be the backbone of the future organizational structure I hope to help build in SWKS.
During my campaign I focused on using KDP policies framed in terms that would most appeal to Western Kansans. The result of my efforts was that I never once had any negative comments on my platform. But what I did run into was a consistent criticism against the perceived platform of the national Democratic Party. This criticism was nearly universal as it came from republicans, independents, and even the majority of democrats I had the pleasure of talking politics with. I believe that this is a problem that can be addressed with a conscious change. In the shadow of the January 6th insurrection, many Republicans are now beginning to re-think their party allegiance. I believe that the KDP has an incredible opportunity from this year forward to define itself as the sane option in Kansas politics with a distinct identity of what it means to be a KANSAS Democrat. We have the better policies. It’s time we now focus on outreach that is directed to invite more people to our party. I believe that my experience and background as an attorney, Western Kansan, child of immigrants, and former Republican competently informs me of what is necessary to be a leader within the KDP.
Secretary Frances Jackson
Frances Calloway Jackson has devoted her career to leadership in the areas of citizen participation, community activism, and service on behalf of youth, their families, and other vulnerable groups that are victimized by poverty and discrimination. She continues to provide workshops, seminars and speaking engagements that address these topics.
Frances’ teaching and ability to inspire have touched thousands of lives. She has served as Dean of the School of Christian Mission for the Kansas West Conference of the United Methodist Church; on the Kansas Corporation for Change; as President of the Kansas Family Partnership; and as President of the YWCA. Frances was also President of the Soroptimist International of Wichita; a founding member and Director of the Wichita Area Nonprofit Chamber of Commerce; President of Sedgwick County Democratic Women; President of The Kansas Federation of Democratic Women; and co-host of “Voices from the Village” on 95.9 FM.
Frances currently is Queen Mother of the African American Council of Elders, where she was also a past presiding Elder and has been a precinct committee woman for many years. Frances’ first experience running for elected office was USD 259 School Board. In 2015, Frances was the first African American woman to run for Mayor of the city of Wichita, KS. As an active member of AARP and mother to four children and four grandchildren, she believes it is important for elders to be living examples of civic leadership to younger generations.
Treasurer Yolanda Taylor
I am Yolanda Taylor, the new Treasurer of the Kansas Democratic Party. I have been committed to the Kansas Democratic Party for over 20 years where I have served as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair for the African American Democratic Caucus of Kansas.
My commitment to the party also led me to served as past Chairperson for the African American Democratic Caucus of Shawnee County. After a number years of inactivity for the local Caucus, last summer with assistance from a few African American political leaders in our community, the African American Democratic Caucus of Shawnee County was re-started with the purpose of increasing the participation of African Americans in the Democratic Party. I am serving once again as Chairperson for our local Caucus where we meet monthly educating many within the African American community on the political process while encouraging active participation in the Democratic Party, which includes stepping into numerous leadership roles.
Your vote for me as Treasurer gives me the opportunity take on a major leadership role within the Executive Committee of the Kansas Democratic Party. In this position, I will share my knowledge, skills and abilities which I effectively demonstrated in my past role as Secretary/Treasurer for the African American Democratic Caucus of Kansas.