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A new party for ‘blue’ residents

Group forms Bryan County Democratic Party

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POSTED: March 6, 2013 10:31 a.m.
J.J. Bellemare/

Andrea Conrad, left, chair; Andrew Hoke, vice chair; Sarah Hyder, treasurer; Ed Sprole, vice chair; and Johanna Redeye, secretary, were recently elected during the first meeting of the new Bryan County committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia Contract for America.”

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A new Democratic Party in Bryan County is giving “blue” residents the chance to band together and let their political voices be heard.
The recently formed group is aiming for equal representation for Democrats in the county, as well as giving people in Bryan County a choice when it comes time to vote, according to Andrea Conrad, chair of the Bryan County Democratic Party.
“As a committee, our goal is to have accurate representation for the Democratic population in Bryan County,” Conrad said in an email. “We want people to have a choice in the election booth other than ‘incumbent vs. blank,’ and we need Bryan County to be an active participant in the larger 1st Congressional District for the 2014 elections as well.”
The group recently held a meeting organized by Amy Tavio, who Conrad said worked hard to bring the group together.
“Our first meeting was Feb. 21, and we had 25 in attendance,” she said. “It was small, but we were able to elect 10 commission district post-holders, five at-large post holders and our five executive committee members.”
Officers were elected, including Conrad, Vice Chair Ed Sprole, Vice Chair Andrew Hoke, Secretary Johanna Redeye and Treasurer Sarah Hyder.
The group is made up of about 25 members from Ellabell, Pembroke and Richmond Hill with ages ranging from 18 to 80, Conrad said. The group has also helped form a Young Democrats club at Richmond Hill High School.
Conrad said there is a need for a Democratic group in the county.
“Data from the 2012 elections showed us that we have a solid 25 percent of Democratic voters, yet we know that our county officials are nearly 100 percent Republican,” she said. “At the very least we should have a fourth of our elected officials Democrat to ensure accurate representation of the populous.”
The goal of the committee is to see Democrats in Bryan County elected, see them succeed and support the community, Conrad said.
“We also want community involvement for Democrats to voice their support openly, and stand up for what they believe,” she said. “We’re here. We have to stand up and be heard. Lastly, we want to support our Chatham County Democrats, our Liberty County Democrats and Effingham County Democrats to bridge the gap and increase our collective strength in the 1st Congressional District.
“Ideally, we’d love to have one of our own run for the congressional seat,” she said of the office being vacated by longtime Congressman Jack Kingston, R-Savannah. “We’ve got strong, smart and dedicated people here, and we don’t plan to let that go to waste.”
This isn’t the first Democratic group to form in Bryan County, although Conrad said the last group dissolved in the 1990s around the time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings and Newt Gingrich’s “Contract for America.”
“We don’t know a lot about the previous party,” Conrad said. “I can tell you, however, that Democrats here are diverse and strong, cunning and confident. We may be the numerical minority in Bryan County, but we are the majority nationally. And we will apply our strengths for the people’s party right here where we live.”
Conrad said the only requirements to join the Bryan County Democratic Party are to be 18 years old, a Democrat and also be registered to vote and live within Bryan County.
The group’s next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. March 28 with a location to be announced, she said.
“Hopefully we are able to alternate between northern Bryan and southern Bryan County to accommodate for those who do not live in Richmond Hill,” she said.
For more information about getting involved, or for the location of the meeting, contact Andrea Conrad at andrea@georgiademocrat.org or see the closed Facebook group Bryan County Democratic Party.

 

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