The Polk County Democratic Party stands in strenuous opposition to everything connected with the violent mob that overran our nation's Capitol building and threatened the lives of our duly elected representatives, and sought to overturn the results of a free and fair election. One of those who helped encourage the mob was our own newly-elected Representative Madison Cawthorn. What follows is a statement we sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on January 12:
Dear Speaker Pelosi,
I am the chair of the Polk County, NC Democratic Party, which is located in our state's 11th Congressional District. We believe that our representative, Madison Cawthorn, breached his oath of office by encouraging and inciting the riotous mob that overran and looted the Capitol Building, disrupted the lawful business of Congress, and endangered your life and the lives of your colleagues. The Polk County Democratic Party urges you to initiate an investigation into Mr. Cawthorn's actions and, if sufficient grounds are found, to expel him as a Member of the United States House of Representatives.
Thank you for considering this request. We wish you and your colleagues safety and wisdom as you help steer the country through this perilous time.
Chair, Polk County Democratic Party
On Monday, December 7, Ray Gasperson ended his 12-year run on as a Polk County Commissioner. As he entered the Womack Building for his final meeting, he was greeted by a large group of grateful Democrats who were there to thank him and see him off. Everyone was masked, and we were well-distanced except for a brief moment when we closed ranks for the photo above. Ray was overwhelmed; he described it as "one of the high points of my life."
This is the end of a chapter, but not of the book. Ray has not closed out the possibility of running again in 2022. During the meeting, Ray gave a farewell message, which is reproduced here in its entirety:
When I review my 12 years on the Polk Board of Commissioners, my frequent approach toward contentious issues on which the BOC needed to take action would result in me on many occasions getting myself into “Good Trouble." This is a phrase coined by the late Representative from Georgia John Lewis. As Representative Lewis would say, “Good trouble philosophy is very simple, when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something, do something, get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.” I believe this philosophy helps summarize the approach I took as Commissioner. I have always focused on taking the necessary actions that would put the interests of all the citizens of Polk County first and foremost, regardless of political affiliation.
10 years ago, during the process needed to approve the site and build the county DSS building, known as the Howard B. Greene Human Services Building, I got myself into whole lot of “good trouble." It proved to be a very contentious issue, especially with many members of the community, for a desperately needed project that I was spearheading. Fortunately, in the end, the majority of the Board worked with me to see this project to completion. Through the years I have frequently engaged in “good trouble” over many issues, for example (just to name a few): zoning, subdivision regulation, Lake Adger and waterlines, annual county budgets, county revaluations, county personnel, and county Health District issues. Even though I often felt like a “voice in the wilderness,” I was always working to find common ground with the public and other members of the Board. And, more often than not, through compromise we did find common ground.
The “good trouble” that I created over the location of the new Sheriff office and Detention Center has been proved to be one of the most positive for me. Five years ago, the other four members of the Board, at that time, had chosen a location that I was convinced was inferior and would prove to be very problematic. Fortunately I was able to work behind the scenes to help secure the option to purchase the site were the new Sheriff office and jail is now located. The vote for this property purchase was unanimous! And, as a major bonus, we also now have a prepared site for a future Polk County Courthouse and County Government Services Building.
It’s important for me to note that the current members of the Board have worked very well together. Over the last couple of years this has greatly reduced me engaging in “good trouble.”
I am convinced that doing the hard work of having a vibrant and healthy democracy often requires getting into “good trouble.” My challenge for all citizens of Polk County is to commit yourselves to doing the hard work of democracy, and when necessary, not hesitating getting into “good trouble.”
Finally, I would like to again thank the citizens of Polk County. My journey over the last 12 years serving on the Polk County Board of Commissioners has been one of the most challenging and satisfying experiences of my adult life. I have had the privilege to work with many remarkable and talented elected officials, county employees and volunteers all striving to make our county an excellent place to live, work, play, raise families, be educated and worship. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me through several election cycles and years of public service, especially my wife Sue and my adult children Laura, Corey and Julia. I realize that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” And now for me, the time has arrived to transition from serving as a Commissioner to other purposes and experiences. Of course I will continue to work to improve our county and, most likely, will occasionally get into “good trouble.”
While we were deeply disappointed at our lack of success locally, we note that there was a small but measurable movement toward Democrats in our state and county: just under 2% in our direction statewide and 1.7% in Polk County. Furthermore, this trend continued across the entire 11th Congressional District.
Turnout was up for both parties in Polk. Overall, 76% of Polk's registered voters cast a ballot in the November 3 election. That's a record, and it's a good thing.
But the reality is that there are more Republican than Democratic voters in Polk County. 25% of Polk voters are registered Democrats, 37% are Republicans, and 38% are Unaffiliated -- but a strong majority of those independent voters appear to vote as Republicans.
In just about every race from president to state House of Representatives, Polk's results were virtually the same: 63% for the Republican candidate and 37% for the Democrat.
As pointed out in my last email, that translates to 1.7 GOP voters for every Democratic voter. That's a hard reality, but we must recognize it for what it is. You've often heard me say that there are more of us than you think, and that's true. But for now, there are more of them than there are of us.
Don't let it discourage you. We know beyond a doubt that we're on the right side of the issues and of history. Besides, we may be outnumbered locally, but we're way ahead nationally. We've elected our guy to the White House by a wide margin. We've elected the first woman and person of color to the vice presidency. And we can look forward to at least four years of competence and strong leadership. That's worth celebrating, wouldn't you say?
Our time will come in Polk County. In the meantime, we need to support one another, build our party, provide a welcoming alternative when voters are ready to come into the light, and live with our fellow community members.
Stay tuned for a new initiative to help us build our community of Democrats.
For 2020 election results, click here to access the Polk County Board of Elections results page.
We held our Virtual Fall Rally on Sunday, September 28. It featured multiple candidates, lots of fun videos submitted by Polk Democrats, and a little music. Andy edited everything into 9 separate videos, which are shared below. Enjoy them!
The Polk Dems Virtual Fall Rally will take place this Sunday, September 27 at 4:00pm, and it's gonna be a blast!
We'll be showing video messages from at least 9 candidates, including Governor Roy Cooper, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth, as well as our local and regional Democratic candidates.
We'll also have brief messages from about 20 of our local Dems and their pets, a Pledge of Allegiance featuring Dems from all over the county—plus maybe a surprise or two along the way.
How To Participate in the Virtual Fall Rally:
This will be a big, fun Zoom meeting. It's easy to join. Email Pat Salomon for a link that you can use to join the meeting.
At 4:00pm on Sunday, go to the link. As the host, I will admit participants one at a time, so be a little patient. You will NOT need a password to attend the meeting.
Feel free to share the meeting info with your friends—as long as they're Democrats. The more the merrier!
If you've never participated in a Zoom meeting, you might want to watch this video to learn how.
How fortunate we were to have the gentle, powerful force of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg among us for so long. She was a tiny giant, a naturally shy woman with a voice that roared truths that will echo across the generations. Now it's up to us. Now, more than ever, we must work and fight and strive to be worthy of her towering example.
Update regarding absentee voting in Polk County, NC: The Polk County Board of Elections has announced that it will NOT be able to send staff members outside to pick up absentee ballots from voters who do not want to enter the Womack Building. This video gives you two alternative ways to deliver your ballot.
ALSO: To check the status of your absentee ballot, go to NorthCarolina.BallotTrax.net.
Q 1: Where are the signs for Democrats?
We have stocked up on signs in the headquarters building. NC law forbids posting political signs along public roads until September 15 this year. You have no doubt noticed that not everyone abides by this restriction, but we do.
Q 2: How can I get signs and stickers?
Please do not put out any signs on public roads until September 15. We have lots of signs for some candidates (with more on the way), and a limited number for some others. Because we have to purchase the signs for Biden, Cooper, and Cunningham, we are asking for a donation of $10 per sign to offset our costs. Bumper stickers are coming as well. The HQ building will be open from 10am to 2pm Tuesdays through Saturdays beginning Tuesday, September 8.
Q 3: Is the headquarters building open?
The HQ building in Columbus is now open for four hours on Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10:00am to 2:00pm through Election Day. If you're interested in taking on a shift, email Pat Salomon.
Q 4: Can I vote as soon as I receive my absentee ballot?
Absolutely. As soon as you get your absentee ballot, you can fill it out and return it to the Polk County Board of Elections, either by mail or in person. We have a brand-new video on how to fill out and return your absentee ballot. Scroll down to see the video, and share it with your friends.
We recommend that you return your completed ballot to the Board of Elections office as early as possible. That way, if there's any issue with your ballot or the return envelope, it will give the elections staff time to contact you so you can correct it. If you haven't requested an absentee ballot but would still like to, there is a new online portal for you to make your request. Click here to do it now. DO NOT WAIT.
Q 5: Which method of voting do you recommend?
All three voting methods—absentee, early in-person, and on Election Day—are equally valid. However, we do recommend that you vote as early as you can. Most of your executive committee members are voting absentee because it's the earliest way get your ballot into the system—as long as you do it early enough. (If you're unsure about the security of voting absentee, check out this video.)
Early voting is another good option. It starts on October 15. In our opinion, voting on Election Day should be your last option, because last minute snafus might possibly cause problems that would make it difficult for you to cast your ballot. If you can vote early, do it.
If you need any assistance — or know anyone who does — email Andy or call him at 828-817-2999. We are here to help.
- Live our values
- Embrace diversity
- Work to elect Dems
- Support one another
- Look ahead, not back
We fight for:
- Integrity in politics
- Human dignity
- Affordable healthcare
- Climate stewardship
- Public education
- Equitable justice
- Economic fairness
- Voting rights
- Women's rights
- Minority rights