Democrats rally at Mina Weil Park
By Gary Popp
Published in News on October 24, 2010 1:50 AM
News-Argus/MICHAEL K. DAKOTA
Doris Lazenby and Diane Chadwick listen to stump speeches during a Unity Rally at Mina Weil Park Saturday.
State and local Democrat candidates and party leaders mingled with supporters at Mina Weil Park for Saturday's Unity Rally.
Shirley Edwards helped promote the event and passed out beverages to help the crowd keep cool.
"Many citizens want to know more than just what they see on TV and read in the paper. People want to meet the candidates in person," Edwards said.
Bronnie Quinn, Wayne County Democratic Party chairman, spoke to the crowd from the flat-bed of a tractor-trailer.
"This event is important because it gets candidates on a personal basis with the voters," Quinn said. "And, it lets voters see them for what they really are, not on a stage just speaking. They can come out and ask questions."
Nearly 400 people showed up for the event, organizers estimated.
Many people brought their children, who played touch football. Others threw horseshoes.
"It is a family event," Edwards said. "We are family values."
Linda Wilkins-Daniels was at the event to motivate people to be part of the democratic process.
"The Republicans counted Democrats out, but I haven't been part of the poll that said we are going to stay home in November," Ms. Wilkins-Daniels said. "As a matter of fact, a lot of the people I know have already voted early."
Ms. Wilkins-Daniels says she is motivated by the disenfranchisement of African-Americans and women in America's history.
"Voting is something that I don't take lightly," Ms. Wilkins-Daniels said. "I encourage everybody to get out and vote, regardless of color, regardless of party affiliation."
"If you disagree, disagree at the ballot box."
John Stokes, retired from North Carolina Public Instruction, came to the event to show his support and learn more about the candidates' stances on
several issues, including employment and education.
"There is a concern about jobs in Wayne County," Stokes said. "People want to see good teachers kept in place."
While a Democrat, Stokes sees the value in working toward bipartisanship.
"It seems to me that it would make more sense if elected officials worked together."
The event included appearances by officials U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, District 1, state Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, state Rep. Van Braxton, D-Lenoir, and District 3 congressional candidate Johnny Rouse and Wayne County sheriff candidate Glenn Barnes.