11/07/11 — Caucus sets its sights on issues

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Caucus sets its sights on issues

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 7, 2011 1:46 PM

The fledgling African American Caucus-Wayne County Democratic Party (AAC-WCDP) has grown from an initial membership of 12 when it formed on May 19 to 154 members this month on its way to a goal of 500 members by the end of the year.

While the focus will be on issues of importance to the African American community, anyone who is a registered Democrat and pledges to the principles of the Democratic Party can become an associate member, caucus President Linda Wilkins-Daniels said.

It is not a stand-alone organization, she said.

"We are not in competition with the Wayne County Democratic Party or any Wayne County Democratic Party auxiliary," Mrs. Wilkins-Daniels said. "The purpose of the caucus is to seek full representation of African Americans in all activities of the Democratic Party.

"We will ensure that issues of concern to the African American community are made known to the Democratic Party and that Democratic Party positions on those issues are communicated to the African American community. We will also encourage African Americans to seek public office and participate in delegate selection and committee processes."

The mission of the AAC-WCDP, chartered by the African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party, is to promote political participation and education within the African American community, to encourage African Americans to seek public office, to represent issues and concerns of its membership to the Democratic Party leadership and to work toward strengthening the Democratic Party, she said.

It also will take "appropriate" public stands on issues relevant to the African American community and work with the Wayne County Democratic Party Executive Committee to strengthen the Wayne County Democratic Party, she said.

"We will be working hard to re-elect President Obama and turn Wayne County blue in 2012," she said.

Mrs. Wilkins-Daniels said the group also wants to create a growing youth movement of young Democrats.

One concern of the caucus is state House Bill 351, the Voter ID Bill, which was vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue.

Mrs. Wilkins-Daniels said she views the bill as a way to discourage minorities from voting and that Democrats must remain vigilant in case Republicans try to revive the bill.

Joe Lofton, chairman of the Wayne County Board of Elections, has met with the organization to discuss voter registration issues, she said. The caucus will look at holding voter registration drives, she added.

Meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at the Democratic Headquarters, 138 N. Center St. Any Democrat is welcome to attend.

Officers are Ms. Wilkins-Daniels, president; Mary Rhoe, vice chairman; Hiawatha Jones, secretary; Reva Artis, treasurer; and the Rev. James Williams, parliamentarian.

For more information call Mrs. Wilkins-Daniels at 288-9362, Ms. Rhoe at 735-1058 or Ms. Jones at 330-7743. The organization's website is www.aac-wcdp.org.