Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eighth District, Hamlet Hosts Rocking Rally for Dems

The Democratic Party successfully scored a myriad of points Saturday. Among them:
By holding its State Executive Committee meeting in Richmond County, rural citizens across the Tar Heel state were reminded that it is the Democratic Party that truly stands up for them and the needs of small towns. This was the first time that the State's Democratic leaders convened in a small town. ...

It spoke loud and clear its support for community colleges. Long-time Democrats were excited to visit the campus led for many years by the late Joe Grimsley, who served as Governor Jim Hunt's campaign manager starting in 1972, and to gather in the beautiful auditorium that was his last project before his untimely death. ...

The Party in no uncertain terms also expressed its unified, intense, dedicated goal of reclaiming the 8th Congressional District for the Party in 2008 after the district's loss to the GOP a decade ago. Not only was that Congressional seat an oft-mentioned item in Saturday's business, but many visitors Saturday participated in a Larry Kissell literature drop specifically targeted in key parts of the community ...

Moreover, many Tar Heel Democrats took the opportunity - while straddling the South Carolina border - to help out their favored candidate down in the Palmetto State's presidential primary that same day.

And, it gave Democrats all over North Carolina a chance to begin acting on the one-word mission of the 2008 election cycle: CHANGE.

All in all, I came away from the State Exec Committee meeting with a sense of personal accomplishment, excitement and inspiration.

When the opportunity first arose more than six months ago for the Party to select a site, I jumped at the chance to champion the countless reasons why Hamlet would be the right place at the right time.

And, based on the number of people served eastern-style BBQ, fried chicken, hush puppies and sweet tea yesterday, and the feedback from those in attendance, my promise of Hamlet being the right place at the right time was fulfilled: More than 700 Democrats rallied their hearts out at the North Carolina Democratic Party's State Executive Committee meeting! By other estimates, when you count candidates, staffers, and observers, up to 900 people converged in Hamlet for a day full of political activity.

Watching everything work as it should made me proud.

The success of the meeting gave many of us in attendance an additional boost of excitement: The meeting was yet another mile marker as we travel down the road to the 2008 elections.

And it gave me inspiration: Here in Hamlet - a town much like Mayberry, and countless other small towns in North Carolina - we heard why Democrats are who we are, and heard passionate words and ideas from those putting their names forward as candidates on the ballot this year.

I was especially pleased to see the growing number of Democratic affiliated groups use this pilgrimage to Richmond County as an opportunity to meet and strategize. There were College Dems, Democratic Women, the African-American Caucus, Senior Dems, Young Dems, Progressive Dems, and also the newly-formed Devout Democrats. The zest and zeal of these groups - and the blogs like BlueNC that were also present in Hamlet - are what will drive us down the road to victory in November.

Stay tuned to this post or the comments for additional information about and photographs from Saturday's meeting.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Information for Persons Attending the Jan 26, 2008 NCDP State Executive Committee Meeting

from WAYNE GOODWIN, Chairman of the 8th Congressional District Executive Committee

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(1) Morning Auxiliary Meetings and Shuttle Parking

(2) FREE Democratic Victory Luncheon

(3) Resolutions for 2008

(4) Information/Directions

(5) Directions to the Winter Reception of the College Dems at the Hamlet Train Depot

(6) Places to Visit While in Richmond County

(7) Select Things to Know about Richmond County

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(1) Various auxiliary organizations and Democratic Party groups are meeting on Saturday morning on the campus of Richmond Community College, prior to the Party’s business later in the day. … As a courtesy to those of you attending any of the meetings being held in the Grimsley Building across campus, the Richmond County Democratic Party is providing a shuttle van between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. It will be parked in front of Cole Auditorium and will begin making rounds every 5 minutes back and forth between the Auditorium and the Grimsley Building. The van should also have a sign identifying itself, or you may ask one of the volunteers at Cole Auditorium. Please utilize that shuttle.

(2) To save time during your visit and full day of Democratic Party business, and as a function of our hospitality, you are invited to a FREE lunch hosted by the Richmond County Democratic Party and the Eighth Congressional District.

Because 2008 is going to be a Democratic year, we have named it the "Democratic Victory Luncheon".

However, the persons who have made this Democratic Victory Luncheon possible - as well as the subsequent Democratic victories that will follow in November - are the following SPONSORS who have provided the necessary funds to make lunch available to everyone at no cost. The sponsors are:

Lt. Governor Bev Perdue, candidate for Governor
Treasurer Richard Moore, candidate for Governor

State Senator Kay Hagan, candidate for U.S. Senate
Jim Neal, candidate for U.S. Senate

Jim Long, Insurance Commissioner and dean of the Council of State

State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin and
former State Representative Wayne Goodwin

Beth Wood, candidate for State Auditor

State Representative Pryor Gibson

David Young, County Commissioner and candidate for State Treasurer
Michael Weisel, candidate for State Treasurer

State Senator Bill Purcell

Sen. Janet Cowell, candidate for State Treasurer

Joint Sponsors / Candidates for the Court of Appeals
and N.C. Supreme Court
Judge Cheri Beasley (Court of Appeals)
Judge Kristin Ruth (Court of Appeals)
Suzanne Reynolds (Supreme Court)

Additional friends include: State Rep. Tricia Ann Cotham, State Rep. Martha Alexander, the Moore County Democratic Party, the Union County Democratic Party, the Honorable J. Richard Conder, Judy Gilbert, District Attorney Michael Parker, and Lee Wallace.

Of all the luncheon sponsors, the lead or primary sponsors are the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

Lunch will be served between 11 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. in the banquet rooms of Cole Auditorium, located at its proud home of Richmond Community College in Hamlet, North Carolina. (The main campus, adjacent to the auditorium, is on 1042 West Hamlet Ave., U.S. Highway 74 Business.) So that everyone will have time to eat and make it to the 1 pm start of the official meeting, we respectfully request that attendees eat and then make way for others who will be following them in the banquet room line. The room will only hold 322 people at a time so we respectfully encourage you to depart the luncheon room when you have concluded your meal, and proceed to the auditorium.

To learn more about the January 2008 State Executive Committee meeting, please go to An early summary about the occasion also appears in the October 15, 2007 blog entry at "Wayne's World” (

Remember this: Due solely to the sponsorships by the above candidates, every person attending the State Executive Committee meeting will enjoy a FREE BBQ & Chicken lunch. Please express your appreciation to the above sponsors for their thoughtfulness in remembering attendees of the State Executive Committee meeting. And, of course, remember them at the polls when you vote in May and November!

(3) At the August 2007 meeting of the State Executive Committee meeting we handled all resolutions in one form or another that were in the possession of the NCDP Platform and Resolutions Committee. At that Greensboro meeting I announced that we would accept resolutions from auxiliary organizations after their Fall Conventions and that we must receive them before the January 2008 State Executive Committee meeting. None were received in time for the Resolutions Committee to meet before the January 26, 2008 meeting and still keep to the requirement of 14 days notice within the Party Plan of Organization. At the State Executive Committee meeting in Hamlet you will receive the proposed calendar of town meetings around the State as we once again consider our NCDP Platform and review resolutions.

(4) For information and directions once you arrive at Cole Auditorium at Richmond Community College, look for persons wearing a Richmond County Democratic Party badge or someone at the registration table in the main lobby.

(5) The NC Federation of College Democrats is hosting its first annual Winter Reception. This event will take place at the Historic Hamlet Depot, located on the corner of West Main Street and North Bridges Street, Hamlet. (It is primarily on Main Street.)

To get there from the SEC meeting at Richmond Community College, here are the simplest directions:

As you depart the college, turn left onto U.S. Highway 74 Business, also known as West Hamlet Avenue.

Drive less than 2 miles. When you reach the 2nd stoplight, that is Raleigh Street. That is just after the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Turn right onto Raleigh Street and drive toward and across the railroad tracks.

Raleigh Street intersects with Main Street. You will see the Hamlet Post Office across the road. Turn left onto Main Street and drive a couple of blocks. You can’t miss the Hamlet Train Depot.

All in all, it will take you ONLY 5 minutes – approximately 2 miles - to reach the reception at the Hamlet Depot.

(6) Here are some places to consider seeing, visiting, etc.:

Hamlet Opera House, located on Main Street

Hamlet Railroad Museum

The site of the Imperial Foods plant, Bridges Street

Rankin Natural History Museum, approx. 15 miles nort from the college on U.S.
220 Highway in Ellerbe

Ellerbe Springs Inn and Restaurant, approx 17 miles north from the college on
U.S. 220 Highway in Ellerbe; Eleanor Roosevelt stayed there and has
a room named for her. Site of the 1996 State Convention of the
Young Democrats of North Carolina (YDNC)

Rockingham Speedway, formerly the North Carolina Motor Speedway;
U.S. 1 North, approx. 7 miles north of Rockingham

Rockingham Dragway; across the highway from the speedway

(7) While you’re visiting Richmond County, please consider this sampling of trivia:

Hamlet was the birthplace of John Coltrane, American jazz great; he later moved to High Point

Hamlet was the birthplace of Tom Wicker, former New York Times editor, national columnist, and author

Hamlet was the home of many professional athletes, including greats such as Mike Quick, Louis Breeden, Franklin Stubbs, and Doug Thomas

Richmond County’s Richmond Senior High School has won NC’s State 4-A High School Football Championship seven times

Former Governor and U.S. Senator Cameron Morrison was born between Rockingham and Hamlet, served as mayor of Rockingham, and also represented the area in the State Senate before moving to Charlotte.

Family Dollar Store had its roots in Richmond County.

NASCAR and drag racing have deep roots in Richmond County as well; note the Rockingham Speedway and the Rockingham Dragway.

The longest-serving Sheriff in North Carolina history – R.W. Goodman – was born and lived here in Richmond County. He was elected 44 years straight, and was the strongest Democrat you’d ever find.

Bucky Covington of American Idol fame is from Richmond County and still has family here and calls the county home. He is now receiving kudos for his first country music album.

At one time, when the railroad was in its hey-day in the 1920s through 1960s, Hamlet was the premier and primary stop between New York City and Jacksonville, Florida.

The movie "Billy Bathgate", starring Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman, was filmed in Hamlet. The soft rock band, Hootie and the Blowfish, filmed a music video at the ruins of an old mill in Rockingham.

Former Governor Jim Hunt’s campaign manager during his statewide races, the late Joe Grimsley, became President of Richmond Community College in 1985 and honorably served the college for many years until he passed away several years ago.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Jim Long for President?!?

By Wayne Goodwin, 13 January 2008 ©
Like many folks interested in politics and elections, I frequently traverse the Internet for the latest information, policy positions, and political punditry, and regularly Google various candidates and political leaders.

To my surprise on Saturday morning, I happened upon a website with the address … Is this for real? Yes, there it is with the presidential seal, video clips and the like: Jim Long is, indeed, running for President!

Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that this site - and this candidate - is not about the very familiar Jim Long of North Carolina that voters have grown to love over the last 23+ years that he has served as Insurance Commissioner.

Instead, this other Jim Long is a former New Yorker who now resides in Texas and is a candidate for President running on the "American Party" slate.

What stands out on first viewing - besides the wall of presidential seals staring out at you - is a video that Mr. Long features. He apparently filmed it as he is going to his brother's "bunker" (his word, not mine) in the backyard. From that mere point forward I had an idea what end of the political spectrum that this fellow is on (or has fallen off of). He then proceeds to borrow extensive clips from the Nicolas Cage film "National Treasure" and Will Smith's "I, Robot." He uses the former to promote that section of the Declaration of Independence which sanctions revolution and overthrowing despotism, and the latter to take vicious snipes at Senator Hillary Clinton, even going so far as to superimpose the Democratic presidential candidate and former First Lady's face onto the robot in the movie. This other Jim Long then relies upon significant TV footage from various news networks covering the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001.

Then in what would cause whiplash in anyone watching, and in what can be called a bizarre twist at the least, the Texan then surprisingly airs very risqué video before segueing into heavy-metal rock band Motley Crue’s video of "Girls, Girls, Girls." To what voters is this Mr. Long pandering for President? Certainly not the educated, morally-upright ones.

That lengthy latter portion of campaign video also raises numerous questions about this fellow, particularly when one considers the Presidential candidate's statement that "faith is central to his family" and to him, and how he stresses his strong Catholic upbringing. His own video clips earn him the rather ignoble office of hypocrite.

And then there are his links to other Internet sites. This other Jim Long links to Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, among other right-wing conservative hatemongers.

Then something clicked with me. Scanning back to the first page of the website I noticed that this Jim Long is actually the American "Party" candidate, not the "American Party" candidate! I had misread the home page.

This has proven to be an example of American politics at its finest (read sarcastically). Almost anyone can still run for President. After a little more sleuthwork I determined that the actual "American Party" has been essentially defunct since 1992. So this fellow is flying by the seat of his pants for President, with no Party to back him except perhaps the one held every Friday night by his drinking buddies.

And, according to his website, all he needs is 690,000 people so sign his petition online and he can appear on the ballot in all 50 states.

Even if that were true and the blogosphere did its magic, I just don't see it happening for this fellow.

However, this is not the first other Jim Long to run on our Jim Long's good name.

Just a few years ago back here in North Carolina a fellow named - you guessed it - Jim Long ran as a Democratic candidate for the N.C. General Assembly against incumbent Republican State Representative Debbie Clary. Not only did that other Jim Long allegedly use Insurance Commissioner Jim Long's campaign signs (I think he cut off the words "Insurance Commissioner" from them) but the legislative district's own newspaper used a color photo of Insurance Commissioner Jim Long (wearing a Christmas tie) instead of the legislative contender Jim Long in its issue dedicated to local candidates for office! Confusion and hilarity ensued. Unlike the Insurance Commissioner - who yielded the largest vote percentage of any person running Statewide in 2004 - the "imposter" down-ballot in the legislative district was soundly defeated. (Of course, one caveat is that Rep. Clary's district is mostly Republican in registration.)

Though Jim Longs here and there run for President and for state legislatures all across this land, and though they appear in an abundance of other official positions as evidenced by surfing the 'Net, the good Lord truly broke the mold when He created our original Jim Long.

After all, our Jim Long is North Carolina's longest-serving Commissioner of Insurance - the longest currently serving in the Nation - and surely the Jim Long who will carry the banner to Election Day victory in North Carolina once again in 2008!

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