Sunday, April 22, 2007

Meck Dems on Solid Footing and Ready to Move Forward

I spent time at the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party convention yesterday and have decided to take a brief sabbatical from criticizing my local party. There is new leadership and an almost entirely new executive board. There were positive briefings from the state and city and a spirited talk from James Ferguson, a local civil rights leader. The only thing that seemed to be lacking was a good supply of Democrats.

Hopefully, that too will change as new leadership and the approaching presidential elections breathe new life into our local party. The key will be keeping the folks involved year round who just seem to crop up during the big election cycles. Helping make that happen will be the positive energy from new leadership. It will also help to have positive energy from local elected officials and that will improve the further we move away from the scandals surrounding former NC House speaker, Jim Black.

Good news on the financial front for local Dems. We aren't rich, but all bills are paid and there is money in the bank in every account - from GOTV to checking. Woo Hoo! That doesn't let donors off the hook, though. Our party deserves a nice permanent facility. We need a place to hold phone bank sessions and meetings, to organize and to celebrate. If you're worried your money won't be used wisely, then get INVOLVED!

One thing I'd like to see our party do is move away from paid canvassers. If more time, money and energy was put into organizing precincts with effective local volunteers, our outreach efforts would be so much more effective. People would open their doors to canvassers who are their neighbors and not to strangers they are less likely to trust or listen to. Door-to-door canvassing works, but not if people won't open their doors.

Back to the convention......

The meeting chambers were too dark and my flash wasn't powerful enough to get good pictures inside, but I was able to get pictures of a couple of our local candidates before the meeting started. Patsy Kinsey (disclaimer: she's my mother), who represents city council district 1, enjoyed chatting with friends and supporters. I'm not sure how many people were there from her district, though.

Senator Dan Clodfelter was scheduled to bring greetings from the state legislature, but appropriately enough Tricia Cotham stood in for him. Most of you know she's one of our newest reps in the lege, having replaced Jim Black in district 100. She gave a spirited speech that I wish I had caught on tape so I could quote for you. Toward the end she was almost cheering us on and Pam B., my mother's campaign manager and a true saint of a woman, turned to me and said, "I really wouldn't want to have to follow that." Cotham received a healthy round of applause.

Many of the usual suspects were in attendance, but I noticed a few missing as well. One person in attendance, John Autry, announced his intention to challenge Larry Kissell for the Democratic nomination for the 8th Congressional District seat. Most of you, knowing my love for Larry, might assume that I would immediately eviscerate John Autry. Nope. I happen to like John and think he will do great things as an elected official. It just won't be as the congressman from the 8th CD in this state. He doesn't have a snowball's chance on a warm day of winning the nomination. Trust me. I would support Autry in a campaign for just about any other elected office and I hope I will have the chance.

Finally, a word about the MCDP's new chair, David Erdman. First, I know and trust David Erdman. He is a good man and has been a good friend to my family for years. In a past endorsement for political office, the Charlotte Observer had this to say:
Mr. Erdman has a thoughtful demeanor and strong analytical skills and is a creative thinker about government. He has presented an insightful and challenging view of Charlotte's future, from improving neighborhood quality to enhancing the police force....(He will be) the most effective in analyzing the city's needs and contributing to the council's efforts to meet them. We recommend David Erdman, who knows the city well, has an incisive mind and is likely to work effectively with others in charting the city's course.
This is the talent we now find leading our local party. The Mecklenburg County GOP should be quaking in its boots.

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