About the Santa Rosa Democratic Club
The purpose of the Santa Rosa Democratic Club shall be:
- to inform and educate its members for active participation in all functions of the Democratic Party and for the purpose of furthering the goals of the Democratic Party
- to promote the active participation of individuals in the political process to seek an improved society;
- to inform and educate its members for active participation in all functions of the Democratic Party;
- to implement and defend the principles of democratic government; and
- to promote and encourage the election of Democrats to partisan public office; and to encourage Democratic candidates to seek elective office and appointive non-partisan office.
The Santa Rosa Democratic Club is Chartered by the Sonoma County Democratic Party.
Executive Board Members:
- President - Sandy Reynolds
- First Vice President - Alix Shor
- Second Vice President - David Cahill
- Communications VP - Janet Reynolds
- Secretary - Jim Neary
- Treasurer - Deb Olcott
- Member-at-Large - Eileen Bill
- Member-at-Large - Terry Bell
- Member-at-Large - Nanci Hoban
- Member-at-Large - Jann Edwards
- Members-at- Large Alternate - Diane Brooks
- Members-at- Large Alternate - Vacant
- Chef - Nicky and Jean Rutkowski
When W.C. “Bob” Trowbridge stepped down from the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee in 1988, it marked the end of an era, spanning 38 years. Trowbridge had served the Democrats since 1950, spending 22 years as the central committee’s chairman. He also helped organize Santa Rosa’s first Democratic Club in 1950.
He was honored August 15, 1988, at the Democrat’s 5th annual Trowbridge dinner at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Santa Rosa. An old Democratic ally, former California Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown was the speaker. As Trowbridge ended his reign atop Sonoma County politics, he stated, “A balance wheel is always controversial. Still it’s time the county Democrats had new leadership. I’d better move on and let the young ones fight it out. I’ve served the cause.”
Since his 1st annual 80th birthday party in 1984, he refused to be over 80, Bob used his birthday as a Democratic Party fund raiser. At his 4th annual 80th birthday party, August 15, in 1987, Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy was that year’s guest of honor and the master of ceremonies was retired Justice Joseph Rattigan, with Judge Dick Day singing and Judge Joe Murphy reciting poetry.
Trowbridge and Pat Brown joined forces in the early 1950’s when Republicans were in power in Sacramento. The only Democrat in state government at that time was Pat Brown who was state attorney general, and Trowbridge was his fund-raising chairman. Trowbridge , the most successful money raiser in Sonoma County’s Democratic history, learned it wasn’t easy for upstart Democrats to finance campaigns. At that time Republicans had the money and the organization.
When Trowbridge turned to politics in 1950 Democrats were scarce in Sonoma County. Even though Harry Truman successfully ran for the presidency in 1948, he did not carry Sonoma County. In 1950, Democrat James Roosevelt ran for governor of California against Republican Earl Warren and lost heavily. Ditto in 1952, when Democrat Adlai Stevenson ran for president against Republican Dwight Eisenhower and lost with the same results.
But the state Democrats had a handful of hard-working activists like Alan Cranston, who founded the California Democratic Council , CDC, in the 1950’s. Cranston later was elected state controller and in 1968 joined the U.S. Senate, where he served more than 20 years.
With state leaders like Brown, Cranston and Stanley Mosk, a state Supreme Court Justice, the Democrats staged a comeback in the late 1950s. In 1958, Pat Brown became the first Democrat to become governor of California since 1942.
In Sonoma County, Trowbridge and other party foot soldiers were vital to the effort. They helped elect Clem Miller to Congress and Joe Rattigan to the State Senate in 1958. Rattigan served 8 years before being appointed to the bench by Governor Pat Brown in 1966, where he served as Judge for 18 years until his retirement in 1984. They delivered Sonoma County for Lyndon Johnson in 1965, the first time a Democrat carried Sonoma County in a presidential election since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.
By 1965, the first issue of the Donkey Tale, the Santa Rosa Democratic Club’s first newsletter was published. The Club’s membership grew to touch 400. Their grass roots efforts registering voters, walking precincts, phone banking, saw Democratic registrations grow to 56%, to the Republicans 32%. Sonoma County was no longer a Republican bastion, but a county that routinely delivers large majorities to Democratic nominees up and down the ballot.
Today, Sonoma County’s three State Assembly members, two State Senators, two U.S. Congress members, and two U.S. Senators all belong to the Democratic party.