2019 Convention Reports

Ginger Walker, President’s Report 

It has been a great year for the LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina!  The Executive Committee, plus other County Chapter Officers came together for a Strategic Retreat earlier in 2019 to identify our goals, objectives and strategies for the year.  I’m pleased to report that we achieved our goals and started our efforts for infrastructure improvements. Here are a few highlights:

  • We increased Chapters and Membership
    • We organized three (3) New Chapters – Alamance, Buncombe and Cherokee & Clay Counties, our first multi-County Chapter in Western NC. 
    • We re-organized three (3) Chapters – Durham, Forsyth and Guilford
    • We grew our Membership in existing Chapters, with newly organized Chapters, and we also increased our At-Large Membership, which are those who reside in un-organized Counties.
    • Our Chapter organizing/re-organizing efforts continue.  We’re actively working on new Chapters in Lincoln and Pitt, as well as re-organizing Gaston.   We’ve received interest from a number of additional counties, including those in Coastal NC. We expect to have at least one (1) more Chapter organized in 2019 and our goal is to have at least five (5) additional Chapters organized in 2020.
  • We increased our Visibility 
    • We improved our presence on Social Media, this year we added Instagram and Twitter, so we’re now we’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
    • We purchased swag items (stickers & magnets) to be given to and sold LGBTQ Democrats of NC logo T-shirts in 2018 and 2019 
    • We participated in more Pride events in NC in 2019 than we did in 2018.  In 2018, we participated in Blue Ridge Pride, Charlotte Pride, Catawba Valley Pride, Durham Pride and Raleigh Pride at night.  In 2019, we participated in Alamance Pride, Blue Ridge Pride, Catawba Valley Pride, Charlotte Pride, Durham Pride, Gaston Pride, Greensboro Pride, Raleigh Pride at Night and Winston Salem Pride coming up on Saturday, October 19th.
  • We increased Donations in 2018 and 2019 and held a President’s Challenge Fundraiser in 2018 specifically for LGBTQ Candidates, Statewide Judicial Races, Break The Majority and the NC Senate Caucus.  We raised and dispersed over $4,650 with LGBTQ Candidates receiving the most funds.
  • We increased our Community Engagement with other LGBTQ organizations throughout the state and with the DCCC Equality PAC
    • We joined Congressman Mark Takano, Chair Equality PAC, part of the DCCC with a Fundraiser held in Charlotte to raise money for US Congressional Candidates, including Dan McCready, CD9.  Congresswoman Alma Adams, CD 12 was present and the keynote speaker was Congressman Adam Schiff.  
    • We did a Town Hall with Equality NC in Monroe to elevate the critical need to get out the vote in CD 9
    • We joined Equality NC, Charlotte LGBT Chamber, Raleigh LGBT Chamber and The Freedom Center with Watch Parties in Charlotte and Raleigh for the LGBTQ Presidential Candidate Forum hosted by The Advocate, GLADD, The Gazette and OneIowa
    • We engaged with Equality NC and HRC to schedule Equality Act Town Halls, the first to be held in Charlotte on October 9th.
  • I, or a designated Proxy, attended all of the NCDP Executive Council meetings,  Platform and Resolutions Committee Meetings and our Congressional District Chairs and County Chapter Presidents attended District & County Executive Committee Meetings.  These meetings are where being an official Auxiliary gives us a seat and voice at the table!
  • We held our first statewide Phone Banking Get-Out-The-Vote Initiative where we called voters in CD 3 and CD 9.
  • We planned our first 2-Day Convention to be held in Raleigh, NC on October 4-5th.  Highlights to be:
    • Reception at the Governor’s Mansion hosted by Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper with invited guests to include; LGBTQ Democratic Elected Officials, NC Council of State, Statewide Judicial Candidates and speaker Mathew Shurka, conversion therapy survivor and Co-Founder of BornPerfect.  
    • After Party on Friday night with entertainment from The Vanity House w/Candis Cox as the MC, as well as dancing with music by DJ Fin
    • Community Outreach Initiative, chose Haven House Services in Raleigh who provides community based services for at-risk youth and their families.  Each Convention Attendee/Delegate asked to bring an item for their Snack Drive 
    • Convention Business Meeting on Saturday with speakers to include Ted Jackson, DNCC Director LGBTQ Political Engagement and Keynote speaker Representative and House Minority Whip, Deb Butler.

Matt Hughes, Vice President – Membership Committee Report 

It has been a great year for Membership and Chapter growth.  We organized/re-organized six (6) County Chapters: Newly Organized – Alamance, Buncombe and Cherokee & Clay Counties, our first multi-County Chapter.  Re-Organized – Durham, Forsyth and Guilford.

We also increased our At-Large Membership, which are members who reside in non-organized counties.

Our Chapter organizing/re-organizing efforts continue.  We’re actively working on new Chapters in Lincoln and Pitt, as well as re-organizing Gaston.   We’ve received interest from a number of additional counties, including those in Coastal NC. We expect to have at least one (1) more Chapter organized in 2019 and our goal is to have at least five (5) additional Chapters organized in 2020.

Kathryn Vandegrift Chair’s Report – Committee for Trans Outreach

Preliminary discussions have been held on the formation of the Committee during the coming year. At present, the plan is for the Committee to function as a broad network of all trans and gender variant individuals involved in the organization. To bring this concept to fruition, the Chair would request from the Presidents of the County Chapters a list of names and contact information for all trans or gender variant individuals who wish to be invited to the Facebook group for the Committee upon its creation. 

Billy Maddalon, Chair – Finance/Fundraising Committee Report 

The LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina had a good year with our donations and fundraising efforts.  We raised over $4,600 for the President’s Candidate Fundraising Challenge in 2018 and dispersed all of the money – first to LGBTQ Candidates, next to Statewide Judicial Candidates and we also provided contributions to Break The Majority, the NC Senate Caucus and the DCCC Equality PAC.   

We increased our overall Donations and were successful securing 2019 Convention Sponsors.  We have plans underway to implement a Sustainable Donor program in 2019 and 2020, as well as Candidate Fundraising efforts in 2020 and a more robust 2020 Convention Sponsorships and Convention Program Advertising.

Jamie Hildreth, Chair – Platform/Resolutions Committee Report 

The LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina submitted Resolutions at the state, district and county levels, some of which made it through the process and were accepted by the NCDP Resolutions Committee and approved by the SEC.

The President of the LGBTQ Democrats of NC or designated Proxy attended the NCDP Platform and Resolutions Committee Meetings.

George Greene, Chair, 4th Congressional District

The district includes central Wake, southern Durham, and Orange counties.

In 2018, the Wake County Chapter President was Matthew Glenn and they had a strong presence at Raleigh Pride. In 2019, Matthew was succeeded by Rev. Clayton Brooks, who organized an important community conference with the office of incoming Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker. When Rev. Brooks was promoted to 1st vice chair of the county party, he was in turn succeeded by Kathryn Vandegrift as President, who organized a Forum on black leadership with Mandy Carter and on gerrymandering with NC Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls.

In 2018, Durham and Orange did not have chapters, but I represented us at Durham Pride and collected over 50 voter registration forms and generated interest in re-organizing the Durham County Chapter. In 2019, Durham organized a chapter under the leadership of Sabrina Huston, and I returned to Durham Pride to sell a dozen t-shirts and collect over 50 new contacts for potential members. 

Clay Eddleman, Chair, 11th Congressional District

During the past two years, the first Chapter of LGBTQ Democrats in the 11th Congressional District was organized in Henderson County under the leadership of Laura Bannister.  A second Chapter was organized in Buncombe County, currently under the leadership of Ellie Daniels.

Under the leadership of Julia Buckner, a longtime Ally, a third Chapter is in the process of being organized as a Bi-County Chapter of Cherokee and Clay Counties, under the leadership of Cindy Nodine.

There has been significant interest from Howard Larsen, Chair, Mitchell County Democratic Party, in forming a Mitchell County Chapter, given that there is a very active local Gay Straight Alliance.  A presentation was made to the MCDP’s County Executive Committee. Exploration was made with Yancey County regarding the possibility of forming a Bi-County Chapter. It was decided at this time, given the few Democrats in Mitchell County which include members of the LGBTQ community, rather than forming yet another organization, available resources should be focused within the County Party.  There remains the possibility that, at some point in the future, a Mitchell County or Mitchell/Yancey County Chapter could be formed.

Luke Hyde, Chair, Swain County Democratic Party, and his wife Leila Tvedt, hosted a dinner at the Calhoun Inn in Bryson City for Swain County members of the LGBTQ community, including members of the Cherokee Nation, to learn more about the possibility of forming a Chapter.  It was decided that, given small numbers, consideration might be made in forming a Bi-County Chapter of Swain and Jackson Counties, which includes Western Carolina University. Again, this is a possibility for the future.

Haywood County has an active Democratic Party and has a somewhat nascent LGBTQ community, which might be tapped to form a Chapter in the future.  Madison County, which includes Mars Hill University and Transylvania County, which includes Brevard College, might also be future areas for Chapters.

For the past two years in September, LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina has had a booth at Blue Ridge Pride in Asheville, during which names of members of the LGBTQ members of the aforementioned counties who are possibly interested in forming a Chapter have been obtained.

Given that the 11th Congressional District spans a distance of well over 200 miles and that many of our LGBTQ members live in relatively isolated locations in the mountains, an idea has been the establishment of a “Virtual” Chapter of LGBTQ Democrats in the 11th Congressional District for community members who are not members of a County or Bi-County Chapter.

It has indeed been a pleasure serving as your 11th Congressional District Chair, LGBTQ Democrats of NC, for the past two years.  Given that I have assumed the responsibilities of being First Vice-Chair for the 11th Congressional District Democrats, I will not be seeking re-election to this position.  Thank you for your support during the past two years.