April 29, 2020

Vowing to work tirelessly in 2020 to accelerate the Democratic Party’s growing momentum on the Central Coast, and to get out the vote this November, the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party’s (SLOCDP) Central Committee convened on April 22, to elect a new slate of officers. With 50 members meeting on-line, the Central Committee elected Rita Casaverde — a professional with a background in engineering, design and software development, who is described as “a true force of nature” as a SLO County activist — to be its new Chairperson. In selecting Casaverde, the Central Committee also voted to approve five Democratic Party stalwart leaders to serve with her in key roles on the Executive Committee.

Outgoing Chair Rosemary Wrenn — a teacher educator at Cuesta College and Cal Poly, who helmed SLOCDP for the past three years while also pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at California State University Fresno — expressed “great admiration and confidence” in Casaverde. Wrenn said that her successor, “… has demonstrated time and again in her multifaceted career — and exemplified in her positive activism — the vision, energy and temperament of a great leader.”

In addition, Wrenn warmly welcomed the incoming Casaverde-led slate of officers, noting that the two Vice Chairs, Ellen Beraud and Gabriel Granados, the Recording Secretary, Gail Bunting, the Corresponding Secretary, John Alan Connerley, and the Treasurer, Tim Jouet, “… will provide a powerhouse of experience and skills” for SLOCDP. The outgoing Chair added that, “Each one of the team has demonstrated their commitment to Democratic success through collaboration, coalition building, and actively campaigning for our candidates.”

Casaverde, who immigrated from Peru to the U.S. and San Luis Obispo County eight years ago, said that, “I am enormously proud to be an American citizen by choice, and I am both humbled and energized that San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party’s members have chosen me to be their new Chairperson.” Stressing the need to broaden the Party’s base and mobilize voters — and emphasizing her inclusive leadership style — she likes to paraphrase President Obama, saying that, “The most important title is not Chairperson; the most important title is ‘citizen'”. Casaverde says that a positive message is vital for success, and promises to “… focus on what brings us together, rather than what pulls us apart, especially as we adapt to the COVID19 crisis in these unprecedented and challenging times.” 

The two new Vice Chairs, Ellen Beraud and Gabriel Granados, bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Executive Committee. A healthcare professional, a small business owner, and a former Mayor of Atascadero — where she has lived for over 20 years — Beraud is especially focused on increasing Democratic voter registration in that corner of the county. Granados is a lifelong resident of San Luis Obispo County, a Cal Poly graduate in Psychology, and for the past eight years has worked with the County of SLO Behavioral Health Department. Granados said that, “While building partnerships and coalitions to elect Democrats at every level of government, I want to ensure that the best interests of our community’s most vulnerable neighbors are protected.”

Gail Bunting, the new Recording Secretary, served previously as SLOCDP’s Vice Chair and is a co-organizer of the notably successful Women’s March SLO. Saying that she was, “… spurred into action after the disappointing 2016 election,” Bunting wants to apply her well-honed organizational skills to help SLOCDP accomplish its immediate electoral goals. A professional musician and diplomat, SLOCDP’s new Corresponding Secretary, John Alan Connerley, will serve as the organization’s press officer, and says that he will, “energetically look for every opportunity to articulate and broadcast our Party’s positive message.” Bunting and Connerley also are both senior volunteers with the Dawn Addis California State Assembly campaign, and look forward to ensuring close coordination between SLOCDP and Addis’ efforts.

Tim Jouet, a life-long environmentalist and avid bicyclist, was reelected by SLOCDP to the position of Treasurer. Not surprisingly, his colleagues look to him not only for his accounting and bookkeeping acumen, but also for his detailed institutional knowledge.

The San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party (SLOCDP) is the California State Democratic Party’s official governing body in the County. In addition to its efforts to elect Democratic candidates to local, county, state and federal offices, SLOCDP organizes and supports Democratic Clubs throughout the county, and the clubs in turn support the party with activities and events.  For more information about the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party, see its website at: https://slocdp.org/.

Corresponding Secretary: John Alan Connerley