Dear Dem Women,
Here’s a recap of what we accomplished in 2016. It’s a lot, thanks to our great members.
Democratic Candidate Support
We supported Democratic candidates, which is essential, since we need people who share our values to represent us:
Chaz Beasley, native son and newly elected representative for District 92: $250. We teamed with Eli Glynn (pictured on left; Carole Hovland is on the right) for the Feb. fundraiser at Eli’s home.
Andy Millard for Congress (10th district): $100, plus $150 to sponsor a table and water station at the ALFA 5k. (He is pictured with Mary Hawkins.) Also our members were “boots on the ground” for Millard in Catawba County. We helped with and attended his events – a town hall in Newton, debate with Cong. McHenry, a health issues discussion in Hickory, among others. Andy was a great candidate and ran a great campaign. We hope he runs again.
Deborah Ross for Senate: Food, flowers, beverages, promotion, and labor. In June, with our group’s support, member Sally Wohlbruck hosted a highly successful fundraiser for the Ross campaign. We helped identify a host committee (those big-dollar contributors) and got a big crowd and helped raise about $10,000. This event was widely talked about and gained us great visibility. Then, in August, we contributed $250 for the host committee for a Ross fundraiser at the home of Mitchell and Tim Gold.
Tracey Stracener for Catawba County School Board: $200. Tracey did not win but she earned 9,067 votes, highly respectable for a first-time candidate. In addition to providing the seed money for her campaign, we provided an entire campaign team. It was great working with such a dedicated team with a wide range of highly valuable skills. Team members were: Colleen Borst, Marguerite Cook, Brenda Craig, Mary-Ann Dore, Lynn Dorfman, Audrey Helms, Deborah Johnson, Ruth Long, Donna Roulic, and Sally Wohlbruck.
Josh Brannon for Congress (5th district): $100. Brannon lost, but in his second run against Foxx, he claimed 41.6 percent of the vote. (He got 27.8 percent in the two Catawba County precincts in the 5th District.)
DWCC also led the candidate recruitment effort for the Catawba County Democratic Party. We approached many people to run for office – high on the list was finding opponents for State Sen. Andy Wells and State Rep. Jay Adams. We made some inroads, planted seeds, and got people thinking about running for office and showed with the Tracey Stracener campaign that when a candidate steps up we can and will provide pivotal support.
Our members were extremely active with Get-Out-the-Vote activities. Ruth Long (pictured above with Tracey Stracener) was key in coordinating coverage at the five early voting locations (17 days!) as well as the coverage at nearly all of the county’s precincts on Election Day. Our members supported both the Catawba County Democratic Party’s efforts as well as worked with the NC Coordinated Campaign. Judge Mike Morgan got 48.56% of the vote in the county; Roy Cooper got 33.08% and Josh Stein 34.99%. Our work contributed to those statewide victories.
Our three standing committees had a busy year.
1) Issues and Voter Outreach / Registration, chaired by Marguerite Cook. We teamed with the Catawba County NAACP and with the League of Women Voters to help register voters and then supported the work of the NC Coordinated Campaign to register voters. We now have issue papers on Education Matters and Voting Matters, which we make available on our website (demwomen.com) and at public events, e.g., where the county Dem Party has a booth. Education Matters is available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.
2) Fundraising and Events, co-chaired by Audrey Helms and Carole Hovland. This group was key to the successes of the Chaz Beasley and Deborah Ross fundraisers. This group also made sure we staffed events – Dem Women took the lead on the CCDP table at the Soldiers Reunion and helped with other events, such as the Gay Pride event and Oktoberfest. Dem Women had a large presence at the protest when Donald Trump visited LRU in March. A primary focus in 2017 will be developing a signature fundraising event for Dem Women.
3) Promotion and Membership, co-chaired by Chris Kliesch and Lynn Dorfman. We now have 38 members. Early in the year, the team initiated outreach activities. Also, many new members came in through the website, managed by Chris, others came through friends, and still more were identified as active Democrats through the efforts of the NC Coordinated Campaign, which operated out of the county Dem Party headquarters. And, some learn about us from our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CatawbaCountyDemocraticWomenNc/, which is updated by Chris and Lynn. We also have a Twitter account: @DemWomenCatawba. Chief Tweeter Lynn does not Tweet at 3:00 a.m. It was great to see the young faces at the November meeting who are interested in getting involved with communications.
Community Service Project – Community Ridge Day Care Center
We ended the year on a high note. We discussed a community service project at our November meeting. Member Carole Dennis, a librarian at Hickory’s Ridgeview Library, reported the staff at the nearby Community Ridge Day Care Center, a United Way agency that serves low-income families, was bereft at the recent death of Donna Ballenger, who had co-founded the center with her late husband, Cong. Cass Ballenger, and who had continued to provide operating funds.
Members Donna Roulic and Priscilla Wilfong met with the center’s director, Janey Connor, and learned the center’s biggest need was new carpeting. Donna led the effort and obtained specifications and price quotes for carpet. Our group reached out to our members and to leading area Democratic women and then teamed with the Ballenger Family Partnership. Combined, we raised nearly $4,800, which covers the carpet cost with some money left over for other needs. We raised about $2,300 and the Ballenger Family Partnership wrote a check for $2,500. Here’s the photo that appeared in the Dec. 24, 2016, Hickory Daily Record along with an article about the project. Pictured, from left to right, are: Lynn Dorfman, D.D. Ballenger Weaver, Janey Connor, Missy Ballenger Jordan, and Donna Roulic.
At the November meeting we decided to hold the January meeting on Jan. 28 in case members want to participate in a Jan. 21 Women’s March for women’s rights. (There is one in Charlotte. See: http://www.womensmarchoncharlotte.com.) We also agreed the committees would meet in early January and develop plans to present at the Jan. 28 meeting.
Here’s some good reading to get geared up for 2017. Just like the NCGA used “surgical precision” in its gerrymandering, we need to use strategic precision to thwart unfair legislative efforts and to elect Democrats. We can do it.
You’ll be hearing from your committee chairs about the planning meetings. Remember, if you have preferences about committee assignments, let the chairs know and please copy me.
Thanks for all that you do. Here’s to a brighter bluer future for Catawba County and NC!
Lynn Dorfman, President