Substance. Style. Solidarity. Kimberly Ellis Inspires Nevada County Democrats
by Karen Tricomi and Hilary Hodge
During a March 2019 visit to Nevada County, Kimberly Ellis attended two events to speak to the Nevada County Community about her bid to be the next California Democratic Party Chair.
In an afternoon event on March 10th, Kimberly spoke to an eager crowd at the Nevada City Veterans Hall. The event was hosted by Nevada County’s Indivisible Women, a progressive, grassroots organization with more than 3,000 members in Northern California and with several key members who intersect with the Nevada County Democratic Party and its leadership, including Itara O’Connell, Alison Sweetser, Hilary Hodge, Carol Tuner and more. At the event, Kimberly outlined how she intends to unite the state party and highlighted the need for community organizing in under-served and rural communities.
She delivered substance by addressing policy changes exemplified by Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, Rural Broadband, and by reforming California tax law by bringing California big-business’ property tax rates more in line with their share of land ownership in the state.
Her style was underscored in her inclusive tone and unapologetic approach to community-building. Kimberly faces communities and people with an open heart and an open mind in order to acknowledge their daily lives. She strives to make the party meaningful, relevant, and accessible.
Kimberly makes solidarity a priority while finding common ground to unite issue-focused agendas. We all have priorities and Kimberly excels at acknowledging those priorities while keeping the big picture in mind. Whether you are a Rural Voter, an Environmental Voter, or have other forefront issues that affect your community, we know that the Democratic Party can reach out and help. Kimberly understands that all of our issues intersect and that the Democratic Party is an opportunity to unite those issues as a whole system that focuses on all folks from all geographies and all walks of life.
Kimberly took the stage as a leader and then walked the audience as a friend. She stayed to answer questions and address heartfelt concerns. At the event, several people from the Nevada County community gave their endorsements. You can see some of them here.
Later, a smaller group attended a reception hosted at the home of Grass Valley City Council Member, Hilary Hodge. The event was laid back, an oldies music station playing in the living room while the crowd gathered around wine and cheese in the kitchen. Kimberly was open about the challenges she faces as a woman of color becoming a leader in a largely white, largely male organization.
Since then, Kimberly has won the support of progressive groups such as the California Nurses Association and Our Revolution, which grew out of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign. As the video on Kimberly’s Facebook page remarks, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
During the reception, Hilary emphasized how important it is for women to persist in their bids for office. “I had the audacity to run for Nevada County Supervisor against an incumbent and a 27-year entrenched politician in our community. I came within 160 votes,” Hilary recalled in her race for Supervisor in 2018.
“I lost my first race,” Hilary went on. “I knew the groundwork we had laid was essential and I knew how important it was to keep going.” Hilary recollected her race for City Council and what it meant to win.
“I couldn’t have done it without the support from Kimberly Ellis and the program she managed, Emerge California,” Hilary said. “I’m in office today because of Kimberly Ellis.” As Hilary related overcoming her personal feelings to gear up her run for City Council, the music station was playing Frankie Valli’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
Kimberly stayed on site to answer the community’s questions about healthcare, rural representation and the future of the Democratic Party.