Early History of the Democratic Club
Pat Burgess, DCSRA Secretary, Researcher & Writer
From the records available, the Green Valley Democratic Club was one of the first functioning organizations in Green Valley in 1964, the same year the Green Valley community was established. It was most likely an informal get-together of like-minded Democrats, who undoubtedly participated with the Pima County Democratic Party in the 1964 election of Lyndon B. Johnson.
Green Valley’s first postmistress, Katherine Heyl, recalled that her husband, Ted Heyl, was active in 1965 in formally organizing the club into an official entity, according to writings of Jim Hodges in 1999. Eddie Adams was the first club President (1973), Fred Cuneo was second (1973-1976) and Gordon Burgess was third (1977-1979). Cuneo, a retired civil servant, and Burgess, a retired educator, sought to build the club as place for citizens concerned about the democratic process. They went door-to-door in Green Valley to find members, worked as precinct committeemen, joined the Democrats of Greater Tucson, participated in county politics, served on the state Democratic Committee and reached out to people in the surrounding area.
In 1978, Gordon Burgess ran for the Arizona House of Representatives. He was President of the Democrats of Greater Tucson in 1979, and in 1980, he was elected Pima County Chairman. As the 1970s ended, the club had area-wide recognition and was a viable and growing organization.
Meetings were held in private homes, the East Recreation Center and the Pima Savings building. Later the club met at the library, Friends in Deed and some churches. A temporary Headquarters opened before the mid-term election in 1978 in Haven Mall (now Green Valley Village). Beginning in 1994, the club opened seasonal Headquarters before the presidential elections. The membership voted in 2014 to keep a permanent Headquarters open.
The club name has changed over the years in an effort to reach a wider recruitment area. The original club covered Green Valley and Continental. By 1976, the Santa Rita Democratic Club included Sahuarita and Santo Tomas. More name changes followed: in 1989, it was changed to the Democratic Club of the Santa Cruz Valley; in 1993, it was changed to the Democratic Club of the Green Valley Area; in 2000, it was changed back to the Democratic Club of the Santa Cruz Valley; and by 2004, the club adopted its present name of the Democratic Club of the Santa Rita Area (DCSRA).
Photos from 1978-1983
Courtesy of Pat Burgess
(If you have old photos of the club or its members and would like to have them posted, please contact me via the Contact Us tab.)
Headquarters photo at Haven (now Villages) Mall, November 7, 1978
President Gordon Burgess, 1977-1979
Democratic Club House Party at the Burgess Home, 1978; Former President Fred Cuneo (1973-1976) is in the Brown Shirt
Gordon & Pat Burgess at Governor Bruce Babbit’s inauguration, Phoenix, 1983
Gordon Burgess with Representative Mo Udall, Washington, D.C., 1983