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.