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.


Leanne said...

Wayne, you sure do know how to throw a good party. It was a great day!

DrFrankLives said...

Heard it went great, Wayne. Sorry I couldn't be there.

Just wanted to than you for the excellent job you did with the LG debate. I think that was a big success and I look forward to the next one.

Talk to you soon.

Wayne Goodwin said...

Below is what I posted on the NC Democratic Party website/blog tonight:

Democrats from around the Tar Heel state have my many thanks for journeying to Hamlet - my hometown - for last Saturday's meeting of the State Executive Committee meeting!

Though our Richmond County Democratic Party (as part of the 8th Congressional District) hosted the event, it would have not have been the incredible success it was but for the dedicated work of countless folks. I especially appreciate the sponsorship of the Democratic Victory Luncheon by certain candidates, officials and Yellow Dog Democrats. (They are identified at my "Wayne's World" blog, ...)

I also extend my appreciation to the many Democratic Party-affiliated groups that chose to make Hamlet a place to strategize that same day. Their collective and individual zest and zeal will carry us to victory in November, no doubt!

In sum, you all coming to Hamlet - the location of so many good things and some not-so-good things over the years, and reflective of what many other small towns have experienced during the Bush-Cheney years - both inspired me and excited me. This sojourn, this pilgrimage, translates into many things to me. Among them: Our Party cares about us. It cares about small towns. It cares about rural counties hard-hit by unemployment. It cares about our community colleges. And it cares about education, insurance, infrastructure, security, and our future, and helping families to make ends meet. And our Party is truly a big tent that will stand up and fight for every one of us, and not the privileged few.

As far as I am concerned, when you came to Hamlet, our North Carolina Democratic Party came home.

LindaCloud said...

Wayne, it was an awesome, inspiring day that made me proud to be a Democrat. Hamlet was a great location, and the auditorium was large enough to seat everyone who wanted a seat! No more sitting on the floor for SEC members.

The speeches by candidates were the most inspiring part to me; it gave me a feeling of being at a convention. Absolutely a wonderful day.

Wayne Goodwin said...

To see photos of all candidates who sponsored the Democratic Victory Luncheon, please scroll down to my entry of December 21, 2007.

I have just added a terrific photo of Beth Wood, Democratic candidate for State Auditor.

Wayne Goodwin said...

In response to a February 7th question at from a reader of Stephen Gheen, also a stalwart Democrat, I posted the following:

"Jenny questioned why the State Executive Committee meeting was held in Hamlet. As one of the Richmond County hosts, I have several reasons:

First, there is more to this State than Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte. Scheduling one SEC meeting in a rural area out of the last 30+ is the least we can do for us Democrats who do not live in urban NC.

Second, the Eighth Congressional District is a Democratic congressional district held by a Republican; the State party's commitment in word, finances, and deed to re-taking the Eighth will insure that we do not lose it by 330 votes but win it instead in 2008. Having the SEC meeting in Richmond County - the 8th District - struck a tremendous blow for re-taking that Congressional seat for Democrats, particularly with the literature drop and publicity that it gave Larry Kissell that same day.

Third, despite Jenny's negative allusion to the contrary, and according to Jerry Meek's email today, turnout for the meeting in Hamlet was extraordinarily HIGH. Furthermore, more then 200 ADDITIONAL observers and guests joined the 480+ SEC members, many of whom are from rural NC and where we need to regain our Democratic foothold. (We fed 640 people for lunch at the SEC meeting, and not everyone ate ...)

Fourth, Hamlet/Richmond County is less than 2 hours from Mecklenburg, Guilford, Durham, Wake, Cumberland, New Hanover - and most other metro areas - except the very western part of NC, and located along U.S. Highway 1 so it is a weak contention to say Hamlet was too far for SEC members to visit; besides, it is in 3 major TV media markets.

Fifth, with the SEC meeting being held on the same day as the South Carolina Democratic Party presidential primary, there was also great interest and attempts to bring one of the Democratic presidential candidates or their spouses across the SC border to our SEC meeting; though it did not happen, on good authority we were very close to snagging such a visit until the last minute.

Sixth, with a tip of the hat to our good friend Steve Gheen, areas where we have seen Democratic voter registration drop has been in rural NC; the Democratic Party's attention to rural NC for this SEC meeting, at least to the 8th District's corner of the world, gives those of us working on increasing voter registration something tangible and new to hang our hat on when making our case to prospective registrants.

Seventh, having the SEC meeting at Richmond Community College in Hamlet underscored the Democratic Party's legacy and ongoing commitment to the mission/role of community colleges in North Carolina.

Finally, and certainly NOT the least, isn't it worth it to show a HIGHLY reliable Democratic county that we do not take the county and the district for granted? ... I rest my case, but reserve the right for rebuttal!"

Steve included my reply and his summary - which agreed with my position - at his February 10th posting on his site. I encourage you to check it out as well as review his excellent analysis on other matters.