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Have You Met?

Just try to keep up with Donna Red Wing! This woman lives her life “I can’t imagine being bored or depressed. I guess I’m blessed with a real love of life in whatever I’m doing. I wake up thinking I can’t wait to get my hands around the day.” Donna has been working on the Howard Dean campaign. “Howard Dean isn’t finished. Now he’s starting an organization that will help the Democrats garner more strength by getting back to grass roots.” And what about the upcoming election? “I’ll re-engage myself into Presidential politics as soon as we have a nominee.” Donna says this is an ABB year. (Anything but Bush.)

Closer to home, Donna has decided to run for a seat in the 25th House District. Her campaign will center on the needs of the people living in the district. “I plan to spend the first month of my campaign listening to the people and finding out their concerns.” Her life encompasses politics. “I have the privilege of working towards justice. I get to make a difference, and more importantly, I help other people, on the ground, make a difference.” As Donna sees it, “We live in a world of have and have nots. It’s a scary place for children. We all have an obligation that the more vulnerable among us have a hope for the future. We need to make sure that everyone has food, clothing and the basic necessities.”

Donna tells this story about her beginning interest in politics: “My first political work occurred when I was thirteen years old and I peered into a store front where an old man was stuffing envelopes. He welcomed me inside and talked to me about the “bomb,” which I knew a little bit about because of the air raid shelters and the ‘cover and duck’ exercises in school. We talked about Viet Nam and the draft and while we stuffed envelopes, I learned a little bit about activism. A few weeks later, I thought I should be moved up to ‘more important work’ and this man, Thurston Taylor, said to me, ‘Donna, there is no small work in a big movement.’ I still stuff envelopes.”

Tell me a little about your career. Before I went out on my own as a consultant, I was the Policy Director as well as the Training Director at the Gill Foundation. Before that, I was the National Field Director at the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy-lobbying group in Washington, DC. I have also worked on just about every democratic presidential campaign starting with Bobby Kennedy

What’s important in your life? Integrity, grace and honor; my family and friends, clean air and water; democratic participation, celebration

What’s in your future? More politics. Grandchildren, I hope, and some international work. I hope to grow into an eccentric and mildly amusing old woman.

What are your volunteer activities? Gay & Gray in the West Conference. I serve on boards of the Advocacy Institute and the Mautner Project and I volunteer time as a speaker and a fundraiser for many organizations. I also volunteer for the National Selection Committee of the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World.

Which social event is your favorite? The Democratic National Convention and the Oscars

Favorite restaurant? I love LeCentral in Denver, Durgin Park in Boston and Art & Beer in Cabos San Lucas

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Walter Cronkite

If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part. Kathy Bates

Do you have any pets? My wire-haired dachshund “Doc Watson” and my pixie-bobcat, “Honey Bunch”

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? That I’m a pretty laid back kind of person. I love where I am and have no pretensions. I’m comfortable and I have a need to be away from people sometimes.

What word describes you best? Integrity

How would you like others to describe you? Smart, political and fun

What was your first job? I worked at the Woolworth lunch counter in high school.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Impatient

What trait do you most deplore in others? Dishonesty

What is your greatest indulgence? Grey Goose dirty martini up with three olives

What type of clothes do you like? Black suits, jeans and oxford cloth shirts

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I talk to my partner and my dog

What’s the last thing you do before bed? I talk to my partner and my dog

Favorite comfort food? Chinese food

Tell me something about yourself that people would be surprised to know about you. I love to cook and I am very good at it.

What meal do you most like to cook? Swedish foods. I cook up a smorgasbord with 47 different recipes

What is the best gift you have ever given? A trip to Paris

What is the best gift you’ve received? A fabulous juicer

What or who is the greatest love in your life? My partner Sumitra, my son Julian and my dog, Doc Watson

What is your current state of mind? Fabulous!

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Haven’t done it yet. I’m not there yet. Right now, it’s living a life of integrity and having a resonance with other people. I hope that at the end of my life I will have left this world a little bit better.

What is your most treasured possession? My dachshund “Doc Watson”

What is the quality you most like in a man? Personal power

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Personal power

Favorite books/writers? Molly Ivens, Al Franken, Stephen King, Jane Smiley

What is the best advice you have ever received? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize and drink plenty of water

Do you have a motto? Carpe Diem

If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why? Exactly who I am and where I am. I’d like more security, though. I don’t know what the future holds for me and that’s sometimes a little scary.

What are your hobbies? Other interests? Reading, walking, cooking, CNN

Who is your mentor? I have many mentors. One of them is Howard Dean, who’s taught me by his example; My partner who is always reminding me that I am what I am and teaches me grace and dignity and Marge, a PFLAG mom, who has taken me on as her daughter.

What would you most like to be remembered for? That I was a person of integrity with a passion for justice

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be? The Ice Hotel in northern Sweden for a week

What do you like about the town you live in? Evergreen is a town of extraordinary beauty and pristine wilderness with a lake that we can walk around and go boating and ice-skating. It has a funky downtown with fabulous shops, mountain views, friendly folks, elk, mountain lions, red-tailed hawks and black foxes.