Meeting Purpose/Title: Lowndes County Democratic Party General Meeting
Date & Time: Monday, March 02, 2020 @ 6:30 p.m.
Location: LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 1800 Club House Drive, Valdosta, GA
LCDP Committee Members Present: Chairman Gerone Anderson, Dennis Marks, Vivian Miller-Cody, Kathryn Grant, Ronnie Pierce, Constalina James, George Burns, Angela Greene, Carol Mikkelsen, Gretchen Quarterman, Stan Tullos, Willie Rayford, Janie McGhin, Jeremiah Lawton, William Lamb, Tyler Tucker, Debra Tann.
LCDP Committee Members Excused: Lizzie Gordon, Sandra Tooley, John S. Quarterman, Dexter Sharper.
LCDP Committee Members Absent: Gregory Moore, JD Rice, Tina Valenti, James Parker.
***PLEASE NOTE: All Lowndes County Democratic Party Membership Dues Run from January 01 through December 31***
Chairman Anderson led the body in the Pledge of Allegiance and then introduced Pastor Stone to conduct the prayer.
Secretary William Lamb proceeded with the roll call of LCDP committee members.
Chairman Anderson and Dr. Marks introduced Cynthia Hair from the Board of Elections who was present to explain Georgia’s new voting machines to our members. She was here to show the machines, let people use them, see how they work, and try to answer any questions the members may have. She then proceeded with a demonstration of the voting machine for our members. Chairman Anderson then introduced Ed Rinder, who is the voter education co-ordinator. He emphasized encouraging college students to know in advance that they cannot be registered to vote in two different places, one at their college and another one at their home. He stated it would be helpful to contact students and have their parents mail them an absentee ballot which would remedy this situation. He stated this would prevent college students from showing up to vote on the day of and find out they are registered in a different place. Chairman Anderson then thanked the Board of Elections representatives for coming in and showing members the new voting machines.
Chairman Anderson then called upon Parliamentarian Jeremiah Lawton to speak. Mr. Lawton wanted to remind members to respect the Chairman at all times. He stated one reason we respect the Chairman so as not to show division in front of guests. Members need to use parliamentary procedures in order to move forward with the meeting.
Vice Chair for Elections Dennis Marks then began the election to fill the vacant position in District 3, Post 4. Dr. Marks reminded members that if a committee member misses three meetings then the remaining committee members can declare that position vacant and find someone else to fill the position. We have a vacancy because of absences and that is District 3, Post 4, previously held by Gregory Moore who has missed five meetings. Dr. Marks then proposed a motion to declare District 3, Post 4 vacant because of excessive absences. The motion was moved by Tyler Tucker and then seconded by Constalina James.
By unanimous vote, committee members raised their hands in favor of declaring the position vacant. Dr. Marks then asked members who lived in District 3 if there were any volunteers to serve on the committee. Randy Brown volunteered to serve and Dr. Marks stated he will check to make sure Mr. Brown lives in District 3. Dr. Marks then added that Glenn Ritchie who resigned as Vice Chair of Qualifying at our previous meeting was also resigning his position from the committee so we also have a vacancy for Super District 5, Post 4. Lee Touchston, George Bennett, and Kevin Reddick volunteered to serve in the position. Dr. Marks stated he will check the residency for each volunteer and we will table this issue until our next meeting.
The minutes for our meeting held on February 03, 2020 were distributed to the general body for review. Chairman Anderson entertained a motion to approve the minutes as presented, the motion was seconded, all members voted in favor for approval, and the motion was approved.
Chairman Anderson called upon Treasurer Ronnie Pierce to deliver his report. For the period ending in February, we had a balance of $4,147.25. At the last meeting we collected $8.00 in shirt sales; we collected $281.00 in membership dues; $150.00 for NAACP banquet; and $60.00 for the raffle. For the BBQ ticket sales we deposited $375.00, making a total deposit of $874.00. The balance including the deposits was $5,021.25. Of that amount, we spent $31.50 for phone bill, $59.00 for storage, $360.00 for Mathis Auditorium fee, $180.00 for NAACP banquet, which total disbursements were $630.50, leaving us a balance of $4,391.75. We also had a balance in Paypal of $276.14. The grand total in both accounts $4,667.89. Chairman Anderson asked for a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report as presented, that motion was proposed, then seconded, and the body approved the motion. Dr. Marks then spoke about the upcoming election schedule. He reminded members that early voting for the presidential primary had begun and will last for three weeks from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. He also stated there will be mandatory Saturday and Sunday voting, so there is plenty of opportunity to vote.
The final day to vote will be on March 24, 2020. He emphasized that this is our chance to decide who the Democratic nominee will be. He also stated qualifying has started on March 02, 2020 for the November election and non-partisan election that will take place in May. The only Democrats who have qualified so far are Joyce Evans for Commission District 1 and Ashley Paulk for Sheriff. He also announced that Dr. Treva Gear has qualified for Senate District 8. Teresa Tomlison has qualified to run versus David Perdue. In District 1, Joyce Griggs has qualified and District 8, no democrats have qualified. He emphasized that we need democrats running in every local, state, and federal election. Dr. Marks stated Kathryn Grant is
going to spearhead reaching out to all of these candidates to see if they will attend our upcoming banquet on March 26, 2020. Chairman Anderson then asked if any person present was planning on running in any elections. Alvin Payton introduced himself and stated he will be running for District 177. Ronnie Pierce stated he plans on running for Joyce Evans’ District 1 County Commission seat. Chairman Anderson then called upon Vice Chair for Membership Vivian Miller-Cody to give her report. She reported that we had 5 new members pay their membership dues tonight. Charles Willis asked to speak and he wanted to remind members the importance of getting out and voting. Mr. Willis stated this country is in a desperate situation, our healthcare is an absolute disaster, we are the only industrialized nation that does not recognize healthcare as a right, we spend more money than any other country for prescription drugs, a woman is more likely to die during childbirth than a woman in 50 other countries, a working person has no more rights than other workers in third world countries. He stated that we need to make changes in this country and the only way we can do it is to vote.
Fundraising Chairwoman Constalina James stated she has been very busy selling tickets for our
upcoming banquet. Everything is almost paid for, except the meals. We have sold over 75 tickets. March 26, 2020 will be our annual BBQ and Lisa Rayne is going to be our guest speaker.
Chairman Anderson then brought up the issue of video recording our meetings. He stated he has received numerous complaints from people stating they will not attend our meetings because the meetings are video recorded so he is bringing this issue back up to the general body members. He opened the floor for discussion regarding recording our meetings. Chairman Anderson stated he did ask Stacey Abrams regarding the rules around recording meetings and she told him she would confirm with her lawyers to check on the rules and get back to him regarding this issue. As the advocate for recording the meetings, Gretchen Quarterman stated she would like to continue recording the meetings because
our body should be as transparent as possible and be a model for open governance. Gretchen
Quarterman explained that right now she has not had a chance to upload videos since fall and the recordings are located at her home. She is the only person who can access them. Kathryn Grant stated she does not feel comfortable having a discussion knowing that the recording will be available on YouTube. She added that as we move closer to election day we are going to be having discussions that will hopefully give us strategic advantages to win and she does want Republicans to know about those plans. Willie Rayford expressed mixed emotions regarding this issue. He believes recording the meeting through the minutes should be sufficient and we should not video record the meetings. Kevin Reddick believes videos which are recorded can be useful to motivate people who are not here. He believes we should get our message outside the four walls we meet in because they can be a useful tool. Janie McGhin suggested maybe tabling this issue until we hear back from Stacey Abrams. Mrs. McGhin suggested allowing the Chairman the ability to edit the videos. One member stated regarding the issue
of Republicans having an advantage, he reiterated that our meetings are open to the public so
Republicans can just attend our meetings so that should not be an issue. Another member expressed hesitation about attending our meetings for sometime because of the recording. She was involved in something very public in which her daughter received death threats from a stance she took publicly. She suggested that if we want to have a public face of the Lowndes County Democratic Party then we should do a podcast that would be separate from the organizational structure of the party and meeting. She personally did not want her physical body or voice on a video tape from this meeting and put it on social media because of attacks toward her family. Dr. Marks then added that he would also like to wait for a legal opinion from Stacey Abrams before proceeding. He stated the reason for sharing our proceedings
on social media is because the numbers of people who attend our meetings are not sufficient to win an election. Dr. Marks stated that we need to get our message out and we need people to know what we stand for. George Burns stated that because some people feel uncomfortable to be recorded, for that reason alone we should stop recording the meetings. A motion was proposed to table this issue until we hear back from Stacey Abrams, the motion was then seconded, and the majority voted to table this issue.
Kathryn Grant then announced Dr. Treva Gear is qualified and running for Senate District 8. Chairman Anderson then reminded the Executive Committee members that hopefully next month we can meet with Dr. Gear to finalize our strategic planning for the Democratic Party.
Chairman Anderson then opened the floor for members wishing to be heard. Willie Rayford wanted to remind voters of early voting. He hoped members would get out and do some work. Mr. Rayford stated he and Mrs. Miller-Cody had been helping people get to the polls.
Dr. Marks then stated Mr. Rayford reminded him that we need folks to work and we need two
categories of workers. One group to give rides to the polls and Mr. Rayford will coordinate through him. The other group is we need poll watchers. The Board of Elections needs poll workers and those are paid positions. Mr. Rayford then asked if the Democratic Party has money available for food or gas? Dr. Marks stated we are going to have an Executive Committee Meeting to discuss the budget. Ronnie Pierce then brought up the issue of our office phone. At our last meeting the Secretary explained that he was having difficulty getting the phone to work properly. Mr. Pierce was able to get the phone working. He believed that whoever is responsible for the phone must keep the phone on them at all times which is hard to ask someone to carry two cell phones. He stated right now the system we have is somebody has to physically answer the phone. He wanted to suggest possibly hiring an answering service or authorize him a smartphone so he can set up a voicemail system. Chairman Anderson instructed Mr. Pierce to gather some estimates together and we will take up this issue at our next meeting.
Winning 50/50 drawing #2469681 and Janie McGhin won.
Chairman Anderson then stated we have lots of work to do. He told members when they go home to talk to somebody, because we need people to get out and vote. He stated we need everybody going to the polls. He added that we can turn Lowndes County, this state, this country Blue if we get out to vote.
Lowndes County Democratic Party
P.O. Box 2463 www.lowndesdems.org
Valdosta, GA 31604 www.mvp.sos.ga.gov- Georgia My Voter Page