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Political influence

Local Democratic Club prepares for upcoming election

Created date

August 4th, 2016
Riderwood’s Democratic Club recently hosted State Delegates Eric Luedtke and Pam Queen. (From left) Delegate Luedtke, residents Millie Bluestein and Lyn Doyle, Delegate Queen, and resident Anna Owens.

Riderwood’s Democratic Club recently hosted State Delegates Eric Luedtke and Pam Queen. (From left) Delegate Luedtke, residents Millie Bluestein and Lyn Doyle, Delegate Queen, and resident Anna Owens.

As the U.S. presidential campaign season kicks into high gear, the politically active retirees living at Riderwood, the Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., will no doubt pay close attention to the races. 

About ten years ago, Riderwood residents formed a nonpartisan club called the Political Action Committee. The Democratic Club as well as the resident-run Republican Club and a chapter of the League of Women Voters evolved out of that group. Regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, community members who want to be politically active can find a club for their preferences.

“We each put on programs according to our political views,” says Millie Bluestein, who moved to Riderwood from Washington, D.C., in 2009, and is the current president of the Democratic Club.

Political hosts

Riderwood’s Democratic Club has 300 members and regularly hosts elected officials, candidates running for office, and other speakers on topics of interest to retirees.

The Democratic Club recently hosted State Delegates Eric Luedtke and Pam Queen, each representing Montgomery County in District 14. Luedtke and Queen provided a recap of the recently completed 2016 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. 

Delegate Luedtke serves on the Ways and Means Committee, and Delegate Queen serves on the Judiciary Committee. Following their presentations, they responded to questions from the audience of 60 residents on issues such as education funding, retirement pensions, redistricting, and transportation, including the Purple Line. 

Getting to know candidates

Millie says she has had an interest in politics from a young age and was a poll worker for 15 years. 

“I’ve always been involved in the political process and learning about the people who represent us because politics influences my life and everybody’s life,” Millie says. “I also feel I would like to have a small part in advancing Democratic and other viewpoints.”

In June, the Democratic Club hosted Maryland State Senator Jim Rosapepe and Maryland State Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, who spoke about the hot topics from the recent legislative session in Annapolis. 

Millie says that anywhere from 40 to 125 people typically attend the Democratic Club’s events, and interest in the group is building as the 2016 political season heats up. 

In the past, the club has hosted candidates running for the office of Maryland Attorney General. They’ve also brought in candidates seeking the office held by longtime U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. 

“We have had people come who were competing with each other for the same job, so it’s really a very interesting club,” Millie says. “I think it’s important to know about the people who are trying to represent us.”

The Democratic Club also brings in speakers to talk about topics other than upcoming elections. For instance, they have hosted environmental specialists as well as a professor from University of Maryland who talked about political polls.

“People were fascinated by the talk about polls, so we had a good audience for that,” Millie says. “We try to bring in a variety of speakers.”

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