Georgetown County Democratic Party gathered the morning of Saturday, March 19th, to hold our County Convention, one week after we convened in clusters throughout the county for Precinct Reorganization meetings. After two years of intense COVID precautions and increasing right-wing vitriol, it was therapeutic to be together in one space, even for the business of electing executive officers, discussing and adopting resolutions and also electing delegates to the South Carolina Democratic Party (SCDP) convention.
The following individuals were elected to serve two-year terms with our County Party:
Chair - Marianne Mackey
1st Vice Chair - Larry Snyder
2nd Vice Chair - Ebony Hughes
3rd Vice Chair - Iricia Holmes
Secretary - Deborah Smith
Treasurer - Mary Erickson
We also elected the following individuals to serve on the State Executive Committee:
Executive Committeewoman - Hannah Cromley
Alternate Executive Committeewoman - Marilyn Hemingway
Executive Committeeman - Sheldon Butts
Alternate Executive Committeeman - Marvin Neal
In addition to the procedural items completed, we viewed pre-recorded videos from South Carolina Gubernatorial Candidates Mia McLeod and Joe Cunningham, as well as United States Senate Candidates Catherine Fleming Bruce and Angela Geter. As enlightening and entertaining as our discussion of a resolution related to Ranked Choice Voting in Primary Elections was, the highlight of our County Convention was our guest speaker, Mr. Brandon Upson, Chair of the SCDP Black Caucus.
Even with a misunderstanding of the convention start time and what might have been a hurried drive from another part of the state, he arrived with remarkably positive and peaceful energy. Wasting no time, he emphasized the importance of South Carolina Democrats moving forward together WITH ONE ACCORD. Yes, we will have differences like varying priorities, dissimilar life experiences, even personality conflicts, but Mr. Upson expressed the importance of continuing to:
UNITE AND COMMUNICATE: Build strong relationships with one another and with other members of our community by finding common ground and talking/texting/e-mailing. When we stop communicating, we grow weak. We need to be prepared for new GOP tactics, and they are coming. We need to prepared to have direct conversations with other county parties so that we can UNITE statewide and actually get Democrats elected, get Democrats to believe that we can get Democrats elected.
CREATE A LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLAN: "A long term strategic plan is worth more than a mountain of money." Even with a ton of money, if we cannot motivate people to the polls, MOTIVATE them, not scare them, then we cannot achieve success. Long term community engagement is essential, not making promises that cannot be kept, but empowering people to vote.
ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL: This is why GCDP was thrilled to see so many faces yesterday. We cannot win if we don't have local infrastructure in place. That infrastructure begins with Precinct Reorganization, where Precinct Presidents are elected to organize their neighborhoods. According to the SCDP Precinct Reorganization Guide "The Precinct President is responsible for organizing the canvassing of the precinct and coordinating all campaign work in that precinct, arranging coffees, recruiting volunteers, and training and directing those volunteers." We need more Precinct Presidents to recruit and retain Democrats, personally and effectively.
When Brandon Upson says DEMOCRATS CAN WIN, we believe it. It is our task to spread that belief. We know what we have to do: UNITE AND COMMUNICATE, CREATE A LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLAN and know that ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL. Even if you missed our Precinct Reorganization and County Convention, it is not too late to get involved. Getting the vote out this year is as important as it has ever been, if not more important than it ever has been. Instead of listing all the things we have to fear, which are numerous, let's focus on what we can hope for, what we can work together to achieve: quality public education carried out by competent, well-compensated teachers; healthcare for ALL; a minimum wage that affords a decent quality of life; revitalization of rural communities...the possibilities are endless, but we have to elect Democrats to achieve them. Democrats must show up and organize. Please join us. Please show up and organize with us.