KINGS MOUNTAIN, N. C. (April 9, 2011)--Delegates from Cleveland County precincts gathered here today for the Democratic Party’s annual county convention, electing new party leaders and organizing for the two years ahead that will include elections from courthouse to White House and a national party convention in nearby Charlotte.
Outgoing party chair Bobby Rauf of Shelby sounded the call for enthusiasm and action, affirming messages sent to the convention by N. C. Gov. Beverly Perdue, N. C. Sen. Kay Hagan and State Democratic Party Chair David Parker. Meeting in the Joy Performance Center, delegates elected Davy Lowman of Shelby to a two-year term as party chair succeeding Rauf. A Cleveland County native, Lowman is a college instructor with prior experience in party organization and political campaigns. Curtis Pressley of Kings Mountain was re-elected second vice chair. Other new officers are Caroline Dedmon of Shelby, first vice chair, Nick Carpenter of Shelby, third vice chair, and Pat Poston of Oak Grove, secretary. Jeff Ames of Mooresboro is continuing to serve as treasurer.
Lowman said he was optimistic about Democratic opportunities in Cleveland County, expecting growing momentum from the 2012 presidential convention, the number of key offices to be filled and growing voter awareness of what’s at stake politically. Named to the N. C. Democratic Party Executive Committee were Lowman, Brenda Lipscomb of Grover, Leatha Lockhart of Grover, Willie McIntosh of Lawndale, Steve Padgett of Casar and Betsy Wells of Grover.
Convention delegates also enthusiastically endorsed the candidacy of Ms. Wells, longtime county party leader, to become chair of the Democrats’ Tenth District at its convention May 14 in Valdese. They selected delegates to attend the convention and carry forward local support for filling the seat, not held by a Cleveland Countian since the 1980s.
The convention unanimously endorsed a resolution to be forwarded to the May 14 district party convention opposing the consolidation of existing local voting precincts. Also unanimously approved were resolutions recognizing the longtime service to the party and community by Dean Westmoreland and the Rev. Eddie Lockhart, both of Grover and both given standing applause. Also honored by unanimous resolution presented to her family was the late Arrie B. Ellis of the Rippy precinct, former mayor of Earl.
Chair Rauf recognized and thanked outgoing party officers present, including Secretary Dora Ley, Treasurer Jeff Ames and Collyn Warner, third vice chair. Speaking on behalf of the county party and elected Democratic officials, Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman presented Rauf a service plaque and with others, commended him on his hardworking leadership over the past two years.
Decked out in red, white and blue bunting and balloons, the Joy Performance Center made a lively venue for the Dem convention, Chair Rauf said as he recognized delegates from the Kings Mountain precincts. (Their place in the alphabet happened to place them front row center in the hall.) During the opening ceremonies, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department Color Guard respectfully marched flags to the stage, and Ms. Dedmon led the national anthem. In what has become much-anticipated annual tradition, baked goods, potted plants and handicrafts wee auctioned as a fundraiser for the party. They were contributed by members of the local Democratic Women organization, elected officials, precinct chairs, and party officers. Veteran auctioneer Roy Dedmon managed the event, and bidding was lively.