In a wide-brimmed hat, white dress and red pumps, Ruthee Goldkorn would have no trouble standing out from the crowd of fervent Demo-crats at the state convention, if only she could stand. She's been wheelchair-bound for 15 years due to multiple sclerosis, but the physical limitation focuses her passion instead of diminishing it.
'I'm a political junkie. Everyone in my family is a political junkie,'Goldkorn told CityBeat.
No doubt about that. She's vice chair of the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state Assembly in 1994 and 1996, Volunteer of the Week for David Roth's failed 2006 congressional bid, a participant in several lawsuits against local businesses over access for people with disabilities and, lest we forget, Ms. Wheelchair California 2001 (she is now executive director of the pageant). So she keeps busy.
CityBeat caught up with Goldkorn at the meeting for Democrats with disabilities on Friday. In the background, delegates shouted loudly through a procedural debate, but Goldkorn wheeled herself to the back so she could lay out the issues for the disabilities community: assisted suicide (against it), parking (for it) and access to candidates' offices (for it).
'If we can't physically support you, we're not going to support you monetarily,'Goldkorn said.
But perhaps most striking about Goldkorn, besides her command of the issues and passion for the cause, has to be the stuffed creatures attached to the footrests of her chair. On the left, find 'Buddy Bruin,'a stuffed UCLA bear and a perpetual reminder for her of the Oklahoma City bombing,'so we remember the babies.'On the right, Margaret, a doll created by permission from 'Dennis the Menace'artist Hank Ketcham, wearing a T-shirt that reads: 'Someday a woman will be president!'
A fine ideal, but identity politics will not define Goldkorn's vote. She's an Edwards backer.