Betty Wallach steps in as her husband steps down as Pitkin County Democrats chair |

Betty Wallach steps in as her husband steps down as Pitkin County Democrats chair

Betty Wallach talks to attendees during the Pitkin County Democrats meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, inside the Pitkin County LIbrary in Aspen. She has taken over as its chair.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The library conference room in Aspen was humming with excitement as the Pitkin County Democratic Party elected a new but familiar chair Tuesday evening — former Chair Howie Wallach’s wife, Betty.

Howie stepped down as chair after eight years of dedication and work for the Pitkin County Democratic Party. Betty, who previously served as the secretary of the local party, was elected into his place at the Feb. 7 election.

“We’ve done most things together, and this adventure continues for her and not so much for me,” said Howie.

In his farewell speech, he reflected on the big things he did when he was elected in 2015. The first thing he did was make sure the party was a “neutral agent” in contested races and primaries.

“We want to be a good source of education. We want people to rely on us and trust us,” he said.

A central committee member nominated Betty because “she can meet whatever need arises from the party.” The nomination was seconded, and, once the votes were tallied, she was elected the new chair unanimously.

Betty extended her thanks to Howie for his eight “spectacular and successful” years of service and said she will continue to look to him for advice as she takes over as chair.

She donned a blue scarf and blue shoes while giving her acceptance speech, representative of the party she will now be working for. As the chair of the local party, her job is to help appoint Democrats, she said.

“It will be our job to get a Democrat elected again. That takes teamwork,” she said. “We need to make sure our values are known.”

She is already preparing for the 2024 presidential election as the new chair of the local party and has voter registration at the top of her mind.

“I don’t ask people what party they are going to register for because the important thing is to get people registered to vote,” she said. “It’s a wonderful privilege of citizenship.”

Pitkin County Democratic Party Chair Howie Wallach talks during their meeting on Tuesday inside the Pitkin County Library. Howie is stepping down from his post and his wife, Betty Wallach, is taking over as chair.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

As a retired teacher, Betty considers getting people registered to vote and educating them on ballot measures and candidates a form of teaching.

Getting young people involved with the local party is another goal. She’s hoping to get together teams for their Saturday farmers market booths, Fourth of July Parade, blue card distribution teams, among others.

She will be 74 on election day, but she exuded plenty of youthful enthusiasm and passion for the local party.

“You cannot believe how ready I am,” she said. “Thank you for voting me in, and thank you for trusting me.”