Across the state and nation this month, Democrats are gathering in annual county conventions that are the grassroots underpinning of the party’s formal structure. The Cleveland County Democratic Party convened Saturday morning (April 11) at the County Office Building auditorium in Shelby, decked out in red, white, and blue.
Chief among the approximately 75 attending were voting delegates elected at recent annual meetings of Democratic organizations held for each of the county’s 21 voting precincts. Representing their Democratic neighbors, the delegates acted in convention to carry out party business--elect county party officers, name delegates to the upcoming Tenth Congressional District Democratic convention, adopt resolutions, and hear reports. Those attending also heard a rousing keynote speech encouraging Dems forward and held a lively fundraising auction.
“We have a great race ahead of us and a great opportunity,” said Joyce Sheaffer, elected new CCDP chair succeeding Robin S. Smith of Kings Mountain. “The opportunity is to bring together the great number of Cleveland County people who generally are of like mind regarding the present and future they would choose for themselves and their neighbors. The kind of jobs they hope for, the education and opportunities they dream of for their children, the promise of better health and well-being….”
The party’s job, Sheaffer said, is to provide citizens broader access to the political process.”We share dreams and values,” she said, “Let’s commit now to also join voices and votes to bring them about.”
Sheaffer is a veteran Democratic precinct chair, member of the CCDP Executive Committee, and active member of Democratic Women of Cleveland County. A retired educator and church organist, she and her husband, Cliff, live in Earl.
Also elected to new two-year terms as CCDP officers were Steve Padgett of Casar, first vice chair; Leatha Lockhart of Shelby, second vice chair; Nick Carpenter of Shelby, third vice chair; and Carla Burton-Griffin of Shelby, secretary. Doris Williams was re-elected party treasurer.
Named as CCDP’s representatives on the North Carolina Democratic Party State Executive Committee were Sheaffer, Padgett, Carpenter, Robin Smith, and Todd Hagans.
Resolutions adopted by the convention included one thanking retiring secretary Pat Poston, one thanking candidates and volunteers for their great efforts in the 2014 general election, and, from Grover precinct, resolutions of appreciation for the contributions of Brenda Lipscomb and Leatha Lockhart during their time residing in the precinct.
Joyce Sheaffer, acting as chair of the Rippy Precinct, presented a resolution appreciating and memorializing the late Lisa Dedmon and declaring April 11 to be designated “Lisa Dedmon Day” henceforward by the party. Presented to her husband, Andy Dedmon, and daughter, Victoria, the resolution was unanimously adopted by the convention, standing in tribute.
Earlier in the program, the convention gave standing applause to keynote speaker Chris V. Rey, two-term mayor of Spring Lake, N. C., chair of Second Congressional District Democrats, and frequent speaker encouraging citizen involvement in community service and politics.