One thing is clear from the letter written by one “T.J. Helms” and that is, for some reason unknown to me, he must hate my guts! For someone who knows so much about my “lineage” and character, I confess that I don’t know “T.J. Helms”; in surveying his name with many others, those whom I contacted don’t know him either. I don’t intend to waste time or lose sleep over the barbs made against me; however, I will take the time to address the issue of the election of officers in the Union County Democratic Party and Democratic Women because it is apparent that “T.J. Helms” is misinformed and he has passed that misinformation on to the public.
In answer to: “Even their Democratic Woman’s Club has only recently had one black woman as the chairlady. She served for only one term, not several like all the other past chairladies, and she served because no one else would.”
First, it’s “Democratic Women of Union County”, and we have presidents, not chairladies. This is the second time Jeanette Sherrod has served as president, having first served in the mid-‘90s. Democratic Women presidents have never served “several terms”. Prior to the Constitution and bylaws being amended to make the 1st vice chair the president-elect, two 2-year terms was the maximum a president could serve. After DWUC adopted the president-elect position, that person served one 2-year term as president-elect and automatically moved up to president for one 2-year term.
In 2005 Jean Atilano, an African-American, was elected 1st vice president/president-elect. Atilano became gravely ill during her tenure and rather than assume the presidency in 2007, she asked to remain as president-elect for another term, hoping to regain her health. In 2007, I was elected President with the intention of resigning when Atilano recovered, as I, too, had already served as president in the ‘90s. Unfortunately and sadly, Atilano died on March 18, 2008 and Sherrod was appointed to the vacancy; in 2009 Sherrod stepped up to President – automatically – not because no one else would.
The ethnic make-up of officers in 2007-2009 was four Caucasians, one African-American, and one Asian, the same as 2009-2011. The 2011-2013 officers will be three Caucasians, one Asian and two African-Americans (president-elect and 3rd vice president).
Regarding UCDP officer elections: The North Carolina Democratic Party Plan of Organization states: “2.03 OFFICERS OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Elected Officers. The county executive committee shall have as officers a chair, three (3) vice chairs, a secretary and a treasurer. The first vice chair must be of the opposite gender of the chair. Among the chair and three (3) vice chair offices, one (1) of these must be filled by a person of a racial or ethnic minority which constitutes at least twenty percent (20%) of the registered Democrats in that county and one of these offices must be filled by a person thirty-six (36) years of age or younger. Officers of a county executive committee shall be active Democrats residing within the county.”
Hearing that Harry Crow had chosen not to run for reelection, an African-American male was encouraged to run, but because of his busy schedule, he was reluctant. I offered to run for 1st Vice Chair and promised to do all I could to relieve as much of the workload as possible if we were elected. He initially agreed but then decided for business reasons that now was not the right time for him to serve, so I decided to run for Chair and an African-American male is running for 1st vice chair. I know of only one other person who was interested in running for chair.
The 2011 Nominating Committee’s slate of officers consists of three Caucasians and three African-Americans. Even though UCDP has a nominating committee to ensure that people are nominated who fill the requirements of Section 2.03, the floor is open for nominations at the convention.
Helms’ final comment about the Democratic Party leadership being pre-occupied with keeping people out proves that he is not at all familiar with what is going on in the local party. Thanks to the hard work of three people relatively new to the party, eight previously unorganized precincts have been organized this year and three more are in the organizing stages.
I encourage “T.J. Helms” and any other disgruntled Democrats to join with those of us who have not given up and help make the Democratic Party of Union County the best that it can be. The UCDP Convention will be Saturday, April 16 at the Old Armory Community Center, 500 S. Johnson Street, Monroe. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. Coffee, sausage and ham biscuits, donuts and juice will be served. The convention will convene at 10:00. All Democratic Party meetings are free of charge and all Democrats are welcome to attend.
Nancy G. Rorie
Democratic Party Activist