Honors at 2016 County Convention

Brian McMahan, Roberta Crawford and John Leopard were honored for their service to the Jackson County Democratic Party at the 2016 County Convention on April 16.

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McMahan, the Chairman of the Jackson County Commissioners since 2014 and previously the Chairman of the JCDP, received the Liston B. Ramsey award at the 11th District Spring Gala on April 9th.  Current party chair, Frank Burrell, repeated the presentation for all the county attendees.

Roberta Crawford was awarded the Order of the Mountain Laurel.  This plaque reads, in part:

When the first Europeans arrived to North America they noted that this hardy shrub resembled the Bay Laurel used by the ancient Greeks as a ceremonial crown of leaves given to those who had achieved great victory.  The mountain laurel has been described as a symbol representing “Honor and Distinction”.  Like the laurel leaves given to the ancient Greeks, today, the Order of the Mountain Laurel is given to pay tribute to a true mountaineer who is worthy of great “Honor and Distinction”.

John Leopard was the 2016 recipient of the Jackson Award, which is given to a county Democrat for their work within the precinct.  Described by Mr. Burrell as “Mr. Democrat,” John received the award in recognition of his outstanding service, commitment and significant contribution to the Jackson County Democratic Party.

Attendees at the County Convention were treated to talks by local candidates:  Vicki Green, running for re-election to the County Commission district 3; Mark Jones, running for re-election to district 4 of the County Commission; and Jane Hipps, Democratic candidate for state senate.  Brian McMahan discussed the county sales tax referendum, which will be on the June 7th ballot.  Kirk Stephens, the Democratic director on the Jackson County Board of Elections, reported on the results of the March 15th Primary and the upcoming additional Primary on June 7th.  We were inspired by a letter, shown below, from Patsy Keever, Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.  Finally, the official business of the convention was enacted with the election of delegates to the district convention, to be held on May 21st.


April 16, 2016

Dear Fellow Democrats,

This is it!  We’ve started down the long road to winning our state back one position at a time.  This is Arguably the most important election we have faced in many years.  The stakes are high–a new President, a new Governor, a new US Senate member, retention of our current Council of State members as well as gaining some new ones, Legislative races, four seats on the Court of Appeals and all the local county races throughout the state.

Not only must we win these races in 2016, we must keep the momentum going all the way into the 2020 races when we will again have a census and face redistricting.  We must continue to grow our base and strengthen our county parties.  We must work together like never before.  Our work is cut out for us, and you are the front line!

We have developed donor programs to raise the necessary funding to run the day to day operations of the party.  We have made critical repairs to the Goodwin House, the heart of our state activities.  We have increased our digital presence, and started new programs to ensure voters get to the polls and are able to vote when they get there.  That’s the bottom line–getting our voters to the polls and ensuring they are ready, willing and able to elect the candidates who will best serve ALL the citizens of North Carolina.

Thank you for being here today.  Many of you have been deeply involved in your state and county parties for years.  Thank you for the time, effort and money you have already contributed.  Others are just getting involved; we are glad to have you on the team.  ALL of us are needed to fight for the Democratic Party, to make sure it is alive and well and ready to ensure that all of North Carolina’s citizens enjoy strong communities, quality education, and equal rights and opportunities.

In victory,