The Westchester Democrats held their inaugural meeting in February with more than 45 Westchester residents expressing an interest in becoming involved in local, state and national politics.

Special guests included Edgar Saenz, field representative for Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Rebecca Bernal, field deputy for California State Assemblyman Curren D. Price.

Also in attendance were Marc Saltzberg, from the California Democratic Council, and leaders from the West LA Democratic Club, who have been helping the Westchester Democrats get organized.

“I am excited to see so many people turn out for this initial meeting,” said Sheila Mickelson, a long-time Democrat and Westchester community activist who volunteered to chair the Westchester Democrats steering committee.

Mickelson said there are 30 voting precincts in Westchester with approximately 20,000 registered voters, of which more than 9,000 are Democrats.

“This community has the ability to take a leadership role through its advocacy on issues and its support of candidates,” she said. “We want to provide a vehicle for Democrats in West-chester to organize and begin preparing for the critical 2008 election and further to be a part of changing our country’s future.”

In the spirit of a town hall meeting, attendees introduced themselves and spoke about why they were at the meeting, what they hoped to get from the organization and the issues that they felt were most important.

Concerns that a majority of attendees had were the leadership and direction of the Democratic Party, the war in Iraq, healthcare, public education, the environment, traffic, gangs and Los Angeles International Airport expansion.

A steering committee for the Westchester Democrats has been formed for the purpose of formalizing the organization and chartering it to the policies of the California Democratic Party.

The steering committee is seeking volunteers to become officers and committee chairs of the new organization.

Four members have volunteered to develop draft bylaws for possible presentation at the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16th, at Los Angeles City Fire Station #5, 8900 Emerson Ave., Westchester.

The public is invited to attend this meeting and participate in a discussion with Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who is scheduled as the featured speaker.

Information, Mickelson at (310) 670-5155.