Sunday, July 23, 2017

It’s Alive! Local Democrats Resuscitate the Official Shelby County Party

In Part One of a reorganizational process on Saturday, conventioneers in a packed hall at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church gathered to revive the fortunes of a decertified SCDP.; UPDATED WITH NAMES OFNEWLY ELECTED SCDP MEMBERS

Posted By on Sun, Jul 23, 2017 at 11:54 PM

click to enlarge State Democratic chair Mary Mancini was on hand Saturday to re-christen a new SCDP to replace the old "dysfunctional" one she decertified a year ago. - JB
  • JB
  • State Democratic chair Mary Mancini was on hand Saturday to re-christen a new SCDP to replace the old "dysfunctional" one she decertified a year ago.


Several hundred Democrats gathered in (and filled) a cavernous meeting space in the even more cavernous Missisissippi Boulevard Christian Church on Saturday to elect members of the newly revived Shelby County Democratic Party.

Given that the last group that went by that name numbered only in the scores and was split into irreconcilable squabbling
click to enlarge Ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (here chatting with process co-host David Cocke) was there.... - JB
  • JB
  • Ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (here chatting with process co-host David Cocke) was there....
factions, there would seem to be ample room for optimism by party members, especially since a significant number of the attendees on Saturday for Part One of a convention process were bona fide new faces.

One old face was conspicuously missing —- that of Del Gill, a long-term party member who had been a principal in Democratic Party wars as far back as the ‘80s. Gill was known either as a stickler for the rules or as an obstructionist pedant, depending on one’s point of view. The latter attitude may have predominated on Saturday, to judge by the reactions of other party veterans asked on Saturday about Gill’s absence.

Few of them were shedding tears over his widely reported refusal to involve himself in a local party whose decertification (on grounds of dysfunction) was declared in August 2016 by state Democratic chair Mary Mancini and whose rebirth was substantially midwifed by the selfsame Mancini, who was on hand Saturday to cheer on and effectively re-christen the new version of the SCDP.

Gill was not alone in having taken umbrage at what several
click to enlarge ...So was House Democratic Leadert Craig Fitzhuigh, like Dean a gubernatorial hopeful. - JB
  • JB
  • ...So was House Democratic Leadert Craig Fitzhuigh, like Dean a gubernatorial hopeful.
 former SCDP executive-committee members saw as Mancini’s having dictated a setllement to resolve former local chairman Bryan Carson’s questionable accounting of missing party funds. Rick Maynard, a Gill ally in that stand-off, was also unreconciled and said so to numerous bystanders during his brief early attendance at Saturday’s convention.

But most of the other former members who thought Carson had been let off easy or who had other grudges had sucked it up and participated in Saturday’s convention one way or another. There was, all things considered, a general sense of harmony to the event, the end point to a series of countywide reorganizational forums presided over by ad hoc co-chairs David Cocke and Clarissa Shaw, with considerable input as well from Danielle Inez, the Young Democrats’ new local chair.

Among the onlookers Saturday were several distinguished party figures with a vested interest in a newly revived, aggressive, and well-functioning local party. Two — former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and current state House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley — are probable opponents in the forthcoming 2018 Democratic primary for Governor, with Dean having already announced.

Another dignitary was 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen, the ranking Democratic Party figure in Shelby County, who hailed the reborn local party in a brief but spirited address.

After the speeches, attendees to Saturday’s convention broke off into 13 caucus groups, each corresponding to one of Shelby County’s established County Commission districts. They proceeded to elect 150 members to a new Democratic Grass-Roots Council, which will meet on a quarterly basis to discuss issues and policy and to generate momentum. Two members — one female and one male from each district caucus — were then elected from the larger groups to form a new party executive committee, which, like the old executive committee, will hold monthly meetings and formally execute party business.

All the elected members will gather again on August 5 at a traditional party venue, the IBEW meeting hall on Madison, to elect a new party chair. Several aspirants to that position were nominated from the floor on Saturday, but more nominations can be made as late as August 5, from the floor of the IBEW meeting itself.

(More details to come both here and in this week’s “Politics” column in the print edition of the Flyer.)
click to enlarge Caucus participants in District 6 vote their choices. - JB
  • JB
  • Caucus participants in District 6 vote their choices.

LIST OF NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS TO SHELBY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC  'GRASS ROOTS' COUNCIL, WITH MEMBERS OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LISTED IN BOLD:

click to enlarge scdp_list.jpg




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