Up & Coming Weekly

March 14, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MARCH 15 - 21, 2023 UCW 5 D.G. MARTIN, Contributor. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. In February, the North Carolina Democratic Party's state executive committee elected 25-year-old Anderson Clayton state party chair. How and why this young woman beat the incumbent who had the support of Gov. Roy Cooper are important and interesting ques- tions for another day. But the more important question for today is: what does she do now? What can she do to mobilize the state's Democratic voters whose candidates' poor performances in the recent gubernatorial and state legislative races were disheartening? She might find a useful example in the ac- tions of a Republican, om Tillis. Although Tillis is currently a U.S. Senator, in 2010 he was a recently elected member of the North Caro- lina House of Representatives. His only prior political experience was a term on the Corne- lius town board. Realizing that so long as his party was in the minority he would have little influence, he went to work, driving across the state to identi- fy and recruit candidates to run as Republicans in the upcoming elections, raising money to support those candidates, inspiring and train- ing them. His tireless work, helped by national trends that favored Republicans, brought about victories for enough Republicans to change control of the North Carolina House of Repre- sentatives. In 2011, the House elected Tillis speaker. What do Tillis's experiences mean to Ms. Clayton? She should consider taking a personal role, as Tillis did, in recruiting, training and finding financial support for candidates of her party, being careful not to let conflicts within the party diminish her efforts. Several important state political figures have given and gained valuable experiences as state party chair. In 1985, Raleigh attorney Wade Smith served as Democratic Party chair. On his travels throughout North Carolina, he used his well- tuned trial lawyer skills to recruit and mobilize. He told stories, sang songs, and used humor to bring the audiences together before making his "support the party" pitch. At the end of his meetings, he always said something like "We don't want to get rid of all Republicans. We want to preserve at least one to put in a museum for history's sake." David Price retired in January as a member of Congress representing North Carolina's Fourth District. Prior to his election to Congress in 1980 he had served as chair of the state Demo- cratic Party. He learned how to deal with the state's major political figures and how to show them his strengths. His state party leadership experience helped prepare him for his first congressional campaign. Former Congressman Bill Cobey, who coin- cidently lost to Price in the 1986 congressional elections, served as state Republican Party chair between 1999 and 2003. He reminded me that a party chair cannot simply travel, raise money, and motivate voters. e party chair may have a fractious organization to bring together as well as fundraising responsibilities and various complicated projects to manage. For instance, under his leadership, the party purchased a new headquarters building. Robin Hayes represented the Eighth congres- sional district between 1999 and 2009. From 2011 to 2013, and from 2016 to 2019, he was chair of the Republican Party. In 2019 he was accused in a bribery scheme and later convict- ed of lying to the FBI. President Donald Trump pardoned Hayes on January 20, 2020. e mat- ter showed there can be a thin line in the work of public officials between properly serving public constituencies and bribery. Chairs of both parties have brought a variety of strengths and weaknesses to the job. But the youth that the 25-year-old Clayton brings could make possible a fresh and positive approach that could change the party for the better. Or, her lack of experience-honed judgment could lead to detrimental decisions and actions that could plague the party for a long time. For the sake of all North Carolinians, we should hope her tenure will inspire all citizens of our state to take a role in politics and partici- pate in positive and constructive ways. Editor's note: D.G. Martin, a retired lawyer, served as UNC-System's vice president for public affairs and hosted PBS-NC's North Carolina Bookwatch. Can a 25-year-old woman be a great political party chair? by D.G. MARTIN OPINION Anderson Clayton is the new North Carolina Democratic Party Chair. (Photo courtesy NCDP) Christian music station local your

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