Despite the scorching temperature, enthusiastic Democrats came out in droves on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of the new Macon County Democratic headquarters located in downtown Franklin. It was standing room only as Democrats gathered for fun, fellowship, and to prepare for the upcoming November elections.
Local Democrats surrounded the headquarters to listen to candidates and party leaders rally support for the upcoming election. Kayla Duvall, vice president of the Macon County Young Democrats, attended the opening in hopes of stirring up support from the county's youth. “It was great to see so many great democratic supporters of all ages from Macon County come out for the opening,” she said. “In this pivotal election year, it is essential that we come together to support our leaders running for office.”
David Parker, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party was a guest speaker at the event speaking on the importance of getting to the polls. He highlighted the stark differences voters are being offered in the November elections. Democratic candidates from the federal, state, and local elections were represented and all had one common interest, the importance of the future of public eduction in the state. Parker discussed how it is roads that connect the state and its people and it was Democrats who built those roads. “You got God’s people right here running as Democrats,” said Parker. “The Republican General Assembly is trying to send public money to private schools by allowing businesses to send money to private schools and receive a tax break for doing so. How can North Carolina maintain public schools without having public money going to those schools? We have to get out and vote in November for the candidates who support common-sense politics.”
Former State Senator John Snow was on hand to rally Democrats and share his priorities if elected to return to Raleigh. Snow is vying to reclaim his seat as the representative for the 50th Senate District, a seat he lost to Senator Jim Davis by a few hundred votes. Snow discussed how the Republicans in Raleigh are claiming to be restoring funds to public education with the proposed budget, while in reality according to Snow, the public schools in North Carolina will have almost $200 million less to operate next year than they have this year. “There’s no telling what the damage is to the educational system here in North Carolina,” said Snow.
Snow discussed how he thought legislators could have avoided or reduced some of the other “unfathomable” choices in the budget, like the decision to abolish the N.C. Teaching Fellows program or end all funding for drug treatment courts. He also discussed how budget cuts have left thousands of atrisk four year olds in limbo with pre-k programs such as SmartStart and More at Four. “Next year there will be about $35 million less available for scholarships and in addition to that the tuition at most all our universities is up at least eight or nine percent,” said Snow. “So they’re cutting and cutting things, but by the same token they’re making the cost for people trying to get an education go up – how does that balance out?”
Macon County Commissioner Bobby Kuppers, who is seeking re-election to the Board of Commissioners this fall, emphasized the work county commissioners have done in a bipartisan manner with the intention of building the county for the betterment of all citizens. “We do our best work when we listen to the public, to each other, and do what’s in the best interest of the citizens of this county,” said Kuppers. He highlighted how imperative it was to work together and not have the partisan Washington- style politics on a local level.
North Carolina House Representative Phil Haire attended the event on behalf of Lt. Governor Walter Dalton, who is running for Governor to fill the seat left vacant after Governor Bev. Perdue announced her retirement earlier this year. Rep. Haire underlined Lt. Governor Dalton’s roots in Rutherford County and how he was fighting for working people and against the misplaced priorities of gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory and the Republican-led General Assembly.
Boyce Deitz attended the grand opening on behalf of candidate for the 11th District of Congress Hayden Rogers. Deitz spoke to voters about what it was going to take to win elections in November. “The first thing to remember is that you have to get to the polls and vote. If you don’t get to the polls and vote, it won't matter who the candidate is, without your support, they can not win,” said Deitz. “To win in November it is going to take a fighter. Hayden Rogers is that candidate. The new district lines have made the 11th District the most Republican district in the state. Hayden looked at running for Congress as a challenge. Everyone said a Democrat couldn't win, but I know that Hayden has what it takes to prove them wrong, and with our help, he is going to do it.”
The headquartersis used as a centrel location for all party activities such as meetings and phone banks. It has candidate information and materials such as stickers and yard signs.
It's open everyday from 9: 30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and people can call 828.349.3020 for more information.