04/14/13 — County Democrats to work to reverse losses

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County Democrats to work to reverse losses

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 14, 2013 1:50 AM

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Stephanie Kornegay, outgoing chairman of the Wayne County Democratic Party, exhorts her fellow Democrats to take back the county, state and country from the Tea Party Republicans.

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Stephanie Kornegay, outgoing chairman of the Wayne County Democratic Party, welcomes and congratulates new chairman Gary E. "Gene" Britt II during the 2013 county convention Saturday.

The Democratic Party faces a Herculean task in overcoming the political reversals suffered at the hands of a Tea Party Republican Party that is working to take the state backwards, Gary E. "Gene" Britt II told his fellow Democrats Saturday morning.

But, the 28-year-old said as he was sworn in as the youngest ever chairman of the Wayne County Democratic Party, it can be done.

The good news is that Democrats are more united and new party members are stepping forward, said outgoing chairman Stephanie Kornegay.

State Sen. Don Davis spoke about challenges Democrats face in the General Assembly, and Assistant District Attorney Terry Light said that she will run for the district attorney's office now held by Branny Vickory, who is retiring.

Also during the convention held at the Wayne County Courthouse, tribute was paid to the late J.D. Evans, who served as a county commissioner for 16 years.

Joining Britt, 28, in leadership roles were: Agnes Batts, first vice chairman; Ray White, second vice chairman; Ed Cromartie, third vice chairman; Roger Brogneaux, secretary; and Lynn Dail, treasurer.

"We have a long ways to go," Britt said. "We went from the biggest victories that we had in 2008 to one of the most disparaging defeats that we have had in state history. We have to remind people the reason that we were able to guide this state for so long is because of the progress that we brought to this state and this county.

"We hear all these things being said that we are doing this or that to make it more business friendly. Well, the last time that I checked all of the other states in the South have being doing this and businesses haven't been going there, they have been coming to North Carolina."

The state has made much progress, but now the Republicans want to go backward, he said.

"They want to shift the tax burden from those who can afford to pay taxes to the middle class and those on fixed incomes," Britt said. "They want to limit your right to vote, not just for minorities, but for all people. So we have to stand up. We have to organize. Part of that is facing the fact that voter ID is going to be passed. Voting is going to be more limited."

That means that Democrats will have to work that much harder, Britt said. The party will need to conduct voter ID drives, not just voter registration drives, he said.

Logistics is an issue as well to assure that those without a way to the polls can get there, Britt said.

"Most importantly, we have got to find candidates who can run, and be viable candidates" Britt said. "We have to be able to support them, which means that we have got to be able to raise money and get out the vote."

Ms. Kornegay said the Tea Party dominated GOP had brought in a new brand of "divisive politics" that was so successful in Wayne County that it has now a model nationwide.

"Good, honest, fair county leaders were beaten by a carefully crafted series of steps from the national Republican Tea Party passed down to the state legislature then down to the local level," she said. "Honesty was often tossed aside. Facts were irrelevant. The only thing that mattered was the pursuit of power."

Perhaps the most chilling aspect was the use of God and Jesus, she said. The latest trend is wanting everyone to stockpile weapons, something that Ms. Kornegay said she had never seen in the Bible.

She said she also was concerned about the failed effort to establish a state religion by saying the U.S. Constitution does not apply, but on the other hand, extol the Second Amendment to push a gun agenda.

Some people, she said, feel duped and confused by what the Republicans are doing.

"Our Republican tea party friends believe that 150 years ago we formed a perfect Union and we need to go back to it," she said. "They believe that. They told us so. They are passing legislation to take us back and take their country back.

"Seriously? Who was it perfect for? Not me, not you. It may have been perfect for a few. But that is not America."

Democrats were fooled, too, she said.

"You see we all thought that we were a little further along in the quest for equality in Wayne County than we were," Ms. Kornegay said. "We got a wake-up call."