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2018 Honorees

The Sonoma County Democratic Party is proud to announce our 2018 Honorees

Democrat of the Year

Linda Hemenway

photograph of Linda Hemenway

Linda Hemenway

Linda Hemenway began her involvement in politics when she joined the Obama for American campaign in June of 2011. She became the Chapter Lead of Organizing for Action (OFA) in January 2013. Her motto is “turn your anger into action”. She encourages everyone to step outside their comfort zone and get involved in local and national issues.

With the help of a team of hard working dedicated volunteers OFA holds weekly actions. Whether it’s tabling about Healthcare, supporting the Fight for $15 or mobilizing voters in districts where Republican are vulnerable, OFA shows up and fights everyday.

A native of Eureka, California Linda moved to Sonoma County in 1982 when she was hired to teach at Sonoma Valley High School. After receiving her Masters in 1995 she was joined the faculty of the Computer Studies Department at Santa Rosa Junior College. She retired from the JC in 2015 and now spends her time with her loving husband John, 3 children and adorable granddaughter.

Linda has always been motivated by hope, determination, and a commitment to hard work. She is very encouraged by the enthusiasm of Sonoma County volunteers. “We are seeing more volunteers in 2018 than we did during Obama’s re-election in 2012. If we keep working until November we can ride the Blue Wave to victory in and all sleep better at night.”

Young Democrat of the Year

Mary Watts

photograph of Mary WattsMary Watts is the immediate past president for the Wine Country Young Democrats. She proudly serves as Assembly member Jim Wood’s Ex Officio on the Sonoma County Democratic Party. She wholeheartedly bleeds blue and registered as a Democrat on her 18th birthday. She is proud to be a member of the people’s party where social justice is vital to the work and platform.

She currently serves as the Deputy Director for Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County. Through her work at CAP, she has learned to truly evaluate the effectiveness of public service programs and policies. Mary’s public government experience and education have allowed her to oversee the direct implementation of several existing anti-poverty programs, as well as contributing to the development of new programs. Mary has a BA in Political Science from San Francisco State University and a Masters of Public Administration in public management from Sonoma State University.

She volunteers her time on many community boards and currently sits as a Board Member for the City of Santa Rosa Water department where she oversees contractual obligations and customer service for water rate payers. No matter what job Mary takes on, her democratic values are at the core of her work.


Roberta Hollowell Award

Beth Hadley

photograph of Beth Hadley

Beth Hadley is a retired Special Education Teacher and a life-long Democrat who has lived in Sonoma Valley for over 30 years. She has 2 grown daughters: Anna is a family and child therapist and Erica is a Pediatrician at Oakland Children’s’ Hospital.

Beth first served as the Secretary for the Sonoma Valley Democrats (SVD) and has been the President since 2014. She headed up the SVD 2016 Campaign Office, scheduling a roster of volunteers to staff the office, make calls, canvass and poll watch. Beth leads the monthly SVD General Meetings and organizes regular local actions including voter registration at the local Farmers’ Market and special events, tabling for Covered California, and phone banks and postcard writing in support of Democratic issues and candidates. She is the OFA phone bank coordinator for Sonoma Valley and is also an alternate member of the SCDP for District 1.

Since the 2016 elections, Beth has been reaching out to the numerous new independent groups. She is a member of Sonoma Valley Resistance (affiliated with Indivisible Sonoma County), helps to represent SVD at the Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition monthly meetings, and has been writing postcards with SwingLeft. Most recently she represented SVD on the committee that planned the Women’s March Sonoma Valley.

Beth is thrilled and very grateful to be selected for the Roberta Hollowell Award and thanks the many great volunteers in Sonoma County, and also her partner Joe who puts up with phone banks at their house and faithfully attends and helps at meetings – onward to a Blue Wave in November!

Trowbridge Lifetime Achievement Award

Helen O’Donnell

Helen O'Donnell

Helen O’Donnell passed away on December 1, 2017. She chaired the Annual Crab Feed for almost a decade. Last year, she received the Roberta Hollowell Award for her dedication to teachers, union leadership, and the Democratic Party.