Groff chosen to serve on Democratic Party’s platform committee

Peter Groff (JD ’92), president of the Colorado Senate and executive director of the University of Denver Center for African-American Policy, has been chosen to serve on the 2008 National Platform Committee by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

The announcement was made May 19.

The Platform Committee is responsible for crafting the National Platform, an official statement of the Democratic Party’s position on a wide variety of issues. The new platform will be adopted during the Democratic National Convention(DNC) in Denver Aug. 26–29.

“I’m honored that Gov. Dean has chosen me to serve on this committee,” Groff says. “It’s critical that Democrats build a strong progressive platform for our next president so that we can move our country forward.”

Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, says that Groff is the first of several Coloradans to be chosen for the prestigious committee.

“Certainly, to have someone of Peter’s caliber on that committee is a very positive development for the Democratic Party,” Waak says.

Groff’s involvement with the convention isn’t limited to the platform committee, however. He is also a state co-chairman of the Barack Obama presidential campaign and, through the DU center he leads, has organized an interactive lecture tour for young people and live broadcasts on XM satellite radio.

Groff and Charles Ellison, who launched to communicate African-American policy and politics via the Web, began appearing on a political talk show on XM satellite radio last fall. On it, they discuss the latest news from the presidential campaign and the U.S. Congress. During the convention, they plan to broadcast live from a site near the Pepsi Center.

The two have also organized “OUTBURST!” an interactive lecture tour planned for the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August, the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. in September and at four cities hosting presidential debates during the general election campaign this fall. Groff says the idea for the tour came from his conversations with young voters, who he says yearn for a way to engage in the intense national political conversation going on this election year.

The Denver event — which will be held sometime during the week of the DNC — will be held in DU’s Davis Auditorium in Sturm Hall. Groff will discuss the issues of the campaign and answer questions about the political process with students. Besides discussion, students will use clickers to answer questions and respond to on-site opinion polling.

Groff says the advantage to using clickers — a technology familiar to most DU students — is that it allows students to remain anonymous, respond to multiple choice questions and ask questions they may otherwise be too embarrassed to ask out loud. It also adds interactive and technological elements to political engagement that he says young people find more appealing than newspapers or television broadcasts.

“It can drive young people to the political process,” Groff says. “Young people should have an interest in the campaign because who gets elected makes a difference in what kind of country they grow up in.”

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