From the President

Becky McBride

Becky McBride, president
2023 Gaston Senior Democrats

March 2024 

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends, 

He wasn’t the first to say it, but Barack Obama is the one who inspired me:

“If not you, then who?”
At the time, I was living in a newish neighborhood off Modena that had been a locus of the Mortgage scam.  When the bottom dropped out, our developer abandoned the neighborhood and foreclosures had forced many people out of their homes.  The neighborhood entrance was a mess – no one had planted flowers or repaired the neighborhood sign. Apathy and maybe a little despair had infected us.


I decided … if not me, then who?  I planted flowers and kept them watered BECAUSE  I wanted to live in a nice neighborhood.  Some neighbors thanked me, some laughed at me.  But I had made a difference to and for me.

And that’s where we are as Democrats in Gaston County.
The rubber hits the road in November.  I’m asking you to “plant the flowers,” and “repair the sign” along with me.  It might be hard, but we can DO HARD.

We need your help.  I need your help.

THE PRIMARY

Good news/bad news

Bad News:  Trump got a lot of votes, Chad Brown got a lot of votes, Tim Moore got a lot of votes …. And the beat goes on.

Hope your favorite Democrats won their primaries.

WHERE WE ARE

Treasurer:
We have a treasurer, Rachel Pickard.  We converted all the bank paperwork, paid our dues to the NC Senior Democrats and we have filed our 1st Quarter Financial Report with the NCSBE.

Membership:
We have 29 paid-up members, which is down from last year.  I will be doing some asking and listening to see where we can improve.  If you have an opinion about this, let me know (j.becky.mcbride@gmail.com / 704-747-3291)

Money:
Right now, we have $753.99 in the bank

WHERE WE WANT TO GO

As a chapter of the NC Senior Democrats, we have three mandates: Electing Democrats, Advocating for Seniors and Educating Voters.

ADVOCACY MANDATE

Deborah Exum, an officer with the state Senior Dems, outlined 8 priorities for Senior Democrat chapter this year.  They are:

  1. Preserving Democracy
  2. A dignified retirement
  3. Decent housing
  4. Dependable and affordable healthcare
  5. Communication infrastructure (many rural counties do not have reliable internet)
  6. Environmental protection
  7. Lifelong learning
  8. Transportation

The officers and I are meeting this Sunday (March 10) and, among other things will be appointing a committee to tackle which of these topics seems most relevant to Gaston and to make sure our lawmakers (top to bottom) hear us.

Education mandate

The Gaston Senior Dems will continue to provide programs throughout the year addressing not only candidate information, but also those 8 Advocacy topics.

If you have special expertise or interest in those topics or other topics, we ask that you contact Gayle Stewart (gayle.stewart54@icloud.com) or me,  and set up a presentation for the group

Election mandate

The officers will also vote this Sunday on participation in the Progressive Turnout Project’s postcard campaign.  With more than $700 in the bank, we can afford to participate,
At the last meeting of Senior Democrat Congressional Representatives, one rep made another case for PostCards.  She urged us to do more communication with Seniors via USPS – (snail mail.)  She emphasized again that many rural counties do not have reliable internet, many seniors do not have computers and many don’t have unlimited data to read our communications virtually.

The Plan of Organization

Despite more than year of effort by me and others to determine if the NCDP Plan of Organization allows support of one Democrat over another I still have received no reply.
This week, the NC Young Democrats (the state Auxiliary) published a list of endorsements of Democrats in the primary, so it’s time we found out for sure if we could do the same,

The N.C. Senior Democrats says “no.”  So, regardless of whatever changes have occurred in the NCDP Plan of Organization on this matter, we, as a Chapter of the NCSD and its officers cannot endorse one Democrat over another for the same race

JOIN US

Membership this year is $20 per member. Dues goes almost totally toward Election projects.  You have to be at least 50 and a registered Democrat to join.

This year, in addition to your money – we need to have your current or last occupation and employer.  If you’ve never worked, indicate that as well.

Send checks to Gaston Senior Democrats
℅ Rachel Pickard
P.O. Box 547
Gastonia, NC 28053

Or even better:  Act Blue

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdemss

 

Becky McBride

GCSD president

 ***********************January 2024

Happy New Year Seniors!

2024 is going to be a busy year with important elections from the White House to the State House and here on Main Street.

We’ve had good Democrat turnout for office across the state and locally. Turnout will be the key – and our speaker for the January meeting is Reid McCollum of the Progressive Turnout Project … with special attention to the effectiveness of …. POSTCARDS!

Other business:

  1. A report from the Projects committee (Mary Ann Smith, Brenda Friday and Calvin Deshields) on their research and suggestion on projects we Seniors can undertake in 2024

2. A reminder about the GCDP fundraiser — you all should have gotten a notice about it.  Politics takes money, and the GCDP (and us, too). need it.   The GCDP Fundraiser is Jan 27, 7 p.m. at the River Room in McAdenville.  Anderson Clayton (NCDP chair), Josh Stein, Jeff Jackson and Wesley Harris will speak,

Tickets start at $50 — click here to purchase:  https://secure.actblue.com/donate/newgaston2024

3. New year — time to renew your membership.
$20 annually
Check to Treasurer Denton Benfield (and he’s clawing his way back to health)
2061 Shannon Dr., Gastonia 28054
or ActBlue:  https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdems

 

December 2023

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends,  sending you all best wishes for joyous holidays.

Updates on side-lined members:

Treasurer Denton Benfield has completed his cancer treatment, ringing the bell Monday, Dec. 11.  He is still feeling pretty rough and talking is difficult – but he, as always is active on Facebook and you can message him there,

Former GSD President Nancy Moore is currently at Courtland Terrace, recuperating after falling at her home the weekend of the 8th.  I’m sure she’d appreciate cards or even short visits:

Nancy Moore
Courtland Terrace
2300 Aberdeen Blvd,
Gastonia, NC 28054    

December Meeting

At our November meeting, we voted to skip meeting in December and to not have a Christmas party.

Last month’s speaker, Alexandria Abbott from the Charlotte Office of the Alzheimer’s Association, presented an informative session on Alzheimer’s.  And Secretary Pamela Williams included a comprehensive summary in her Nov. minutes.  If you weren’t able to attend, it’s worth it to check out her report now:  www.GastonSeniorDems.org/documents

January Meeting

Membership VP Gayle Stewart is working on a speaker for our Jan 8 meeting (we’re hoping to get a nearby Poli-Sci professor to come give us a history and explanation of the Electoral College.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Also Mary Ann Smith’s committee on projects for 2024 (Mary Ann, Brenda Friday and Calvin Deshields) is working on a report for the meeting.

NC Senior Democrats

I have been tapped to be the Senior Representative for the 14th Congressional District Democrats to advocate for Senior issues by the NCDP.  Please let me know what your concerns are: Medicare? Medicaid? Nursing Care? Housing?

GCDP

At the December Executive Committee meeting, a motion to spend up to $3,000 on a fund-raising event Jan 27 was approved,  (Of course, the budget for the event is more complicated than that, but $3,000 is the bottom line). Speaker for the event is Anderson Clayton, NCDP Chair.  Tickets will start at $50. More details to come.

Forrest Chambless with the Progressive Turnout Project says that POSTCARDS are very effective and is hoping the GCDP will sign up for their project.  I told Chambless that we Seniors LOVE to write postcards!! Only caveat is that they don’t provide postage … so hoping we can work something out with GCDP.

Pam Morgenstern of Cramerton plans to run for NC House 109 against Donnie Loftis

Corey Creech of Ranlo plans to run for Brad Overcash’s seat in the NC Senate.

 

JOIN US!

It’s not too late to be a Senior Democrat (50 & older!) You can pay your dues for 2023 either by sending a check to:

Treasurer Denton Benfield

2062 Shannon Dr.

Gastonia, NC 28054

Or pay online at ActBlue:https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdems

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September, 2023

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends,

August was a busy month! And this is a long message!

We found a home – Gastonia’s Erwin Center, 913 N. Pryor St. Gastonia.  

Meeting: Our next meeting is Sept 11. Noon.  The minutes and agenda are attached with this information. 

Zoom: Our hybrid meetings are becoming more and more successful, so we’ll continue them for members who can’t attend in person, or who choose to attend virtually.

Membership: Membership is rising, we are up to 44 paid members, up from 31 at the beginning of the year.  Most of these new members were added through the efforts of SD member Rachel Pickard!!

Please welcome new members: Mickey Ledbetter, Pat Martin, Wendy DuFour and Hope Weininger.

 

EDUCATION & PARTICIPATION EVENTS 

GSD members attended the Gastonia Mayoral Forum sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha  Aug. 7

GSD members attended the Democratic Municipal Meet & Greet sponsored by the Gaston Democratic Women on Aug 29.  Speaker was Democrat NCGA Representative Wesley Harris (District 105 which includes parts of Mecklenburg County).  Harris is running for NC Treasurer in 2024.

Advocacy:  

SB 169, A1: The Senior Democrats spearheaded a local effort to get the word out that GOP Gaston House Rep Donnie Loftis sneaked in an amendment to an already approved Senate Bill that would change the way Gastonia elects its City Council.  It was approved by the house and sent back to the Senate and the Senate sent the bill to committee, which we hope means it dies.

Several members (and non-members) wrote personal letters to each Senator – all 50 regardless of party – specific letters to the NC Senate Democratic Caucus, and phone calls to the House Minority Leader, Dan Blue.

We also posted everywhere on Facebook.

Senior Democrats followed up with postcards: Thanks to Denton Benfield, Pam Ledbetter, Rachel Pickard, Gayle Stewart, Jeff Trepel and Jo Ann Groves Our hands were hurting at the end of the session.

State Budget & Medicaid Expansion

We persist:  We joined an effort by the Cabarrus Senior Democrats to phone blast NCGA leadership, Senator Phil Berger and Rep. Tim Moore with calls from around the state every 4 minutes to pass the budget by the Medicaid Expansion Deadline of Sept. 1.  They did what they want (which was to delay Med. Expansion and won’t consider voting until this week._

VOTER PHOTO ID PROJECT 

Some news here.

We have a new one-page flyer to add to our message. Jack Kiser developed (as promised) a flyer that includes a map.  These will be available for you to continue to distribute at the Sept. 11 meeting.

 

POSTCARDS:   Because of the difficulty of coming up with a targeted list for postcards, we’ve dropped that idea at least for this project.  With the flyers posted (by you and Precinct Chairs) we feel we’re covering the general population.  

Why?  There doesn’t seem to be any way to decide WHO needs to know how to get a Voter ID.  We can’t target people without cars (information is violation of privacy), We can’t determine whether home ownership or even income is a key to lack of Photo ID.  Do we target people who always vote?  Do we target people who never vote? Do we target older people?  Younger people?

A list of registered Democrats ages 50-85 in Gaston County who don’t usually vote in municipals provided by the GCDP returned an astounding 13,000 names.

When we dropped our request from ages 50-85 in Gastonia only, that list dropped to 480 names.

We have a lot of personal opinions, so I decided to contact friend and long-time Political Consultant Christoper Dean who has much experience with direct mail. His professional opinion is that fewer than 5,000 – 10,000 names is close to meaningless, especially if we’re only going to send 1 postcard.  It would help in that case to follow up with a phone call.

He suggested a better option would be to send a personal cover letter and handful of flyers to church pastors in the county .. again with some targeting.  Larger churches in particular. There are about 300 churches in Gaston County of “major” denominations, which makes this project much more manageable physically and with our budget.

Mary Ann Smith is a board member for the Gaston Baptist Association and has volunteered to contact all members of that Association.

Brenda Friday has contacts with AME Zion churches and Charles Whitesides, the Presbyterians.  Mary Ann has contacted both Brenda and Charles and got commitments from them to handle those churches.

This leave a handful of other churches (Church of God, Pentecostal, United Methodist, Street Ministries) for our STUFF AND STAMP activity Monday.  I’ll have packets ready for us to stuff, address and stamp.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA AND FESTIVAL DISTRIBUTION

We still want regular reminders on Facebook and other Social Media platforms and ask each of you to share the Gaston Senior Democrats on your personal Facebook, Twitter etc.  Website link:   www.gastonseniordems.or/gVoterID/ 

Here are important 2023 Election Dates

Sept 18: Mail-out absentee voting begins

Oct. 13: Last day to register to vote in 2023 election

Oct 19: One-stop absentee voting (early voting) begins 

Oct 31: Last day to apply for an absentee ballot for the 2023 

Nov. 4: One-stop absentee voting (early voting) ends.

Nov. 7: ELECTION DAY

 As you hear about festivals in the next month, please let me know: j.becky.mcbride@gmail.com, 704-747-3291

 As a personal protest against the GOP for making it harder to Vote By Mail (Absentee) I am going to vote Absentee again AND comply with the stricter rules.

 

MEETING SPEAKERS 

As election business winds down, we’ll be focusing more on Speaker meetings, so we’re still looking for speaker ideas.  Contact me or Membership VP Gayle Stewart.

 

BEYOND POLITICS

With thanks to the Cabarrus Senior Democrats Sept. newsletter. Click on blue text to go to resource.

 

Senior Savvy  Interesting resource for Seniors (particularly on tech issues.  There is a fee)

Take the Age My Way NC survey.  Share your concerns that affect seniors; 

National Council on Aging

Medicare and Seniors’ Health Insurance Information 

The Senior’s Guide to Moving in with a Roommate

Seniorliving.org The Best Apps for Older Adults

Prescription Assistance for Older Adults

Helpful Resources for Seniors Surviving on Social Security

The Senior’s Guide to Online Safety

JOIN US 

It’s not too late to be a Senior Democrat (50 & older!) You can pay your dues for 2023 either by sending a check to: 

Treasurer Denton Benfield 

2062 Shannon Dr. 

Gastonia, NC 28054 

 

Or pay online at ActBlue:https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdems

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August, 2023

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends,

Great news!  We have a home!  Erwin Center!, 913 N. Pryor Street, Gastonia.  Our next meeting is Aug 14, noon, (agenda to come separately)

ZOOM
Last month we had another successful hybrid meeting, so we’re going to try to continue those.  We’ll send that invitation separately.

HELPING NON-DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES
Also last month, we had a lively discussion about party officers helping non-democratic candidates and I made an interpretation of the rule that was INCORRECT.  I re-read the NC Democratic Party Plan of organization and talked to a variety of people with higher “pay-grades” than mine.  Our own organizing documents state that our group is to follow the NC Plan of Organization. 
So here’s that correction:  Any officer of the Democratic party, its caucuses and auxiliaries (Senior Dems), is subject to removal if they help, directly or indirectly, a non-Democratic candidate.  That rule includes all officers of the Senior Democrats, not just the president.  Any complaint about a GSD officer violating that rule must come to the President (me) who will then appoint a committee to hear the complaint.
Complaints about other Democratic party officers will be heard by the NCDP Board of Review

VOTER PHOTO ID PROJECT
We’re starting to move forward on this project – Our message is:
Don’t be intimidated, the new law is just not that big a deal.  There are many forms of approved ID, there are many exceptions to the law.  If you do need a Photo ID, they’re easy to get and free.  And we’ll help.
PHASE I:  Social media, a dedicated page on our website AND distribution of flyers at Festivals as we learn about them.
Social Media: We ask that each member share the Website link: www.gastonseniordems.or/gVoterID/ on their personal Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter pages.  We’ll do a reminder on those platforms just before Early Voting begins.
Festivals: Working with the Ranlo/Stanley Precinct chair and GCDP 2nd VP, Caroline Reid, we handed out as many flyers as there were people on Saturday before the heat stopped us.   GCDP Chair, David Brown, provided 100 flyers to kickstart Phase 1.  And Caroline personally provided a ream of paper (500 sheets) for us to use to print more flyers. 
PHASE II:  We will distribute flyers to individual Senior Dems on Aug. 14  for them to post wherever they can:  restaurants, Vape Shops, laundromats, etc.  We also ask that you post flyers at your church, and ask the ministers to announce the new law from the pulpit.   If you can post a flyer at your place of business, we ask you to do that as well.  I hope to ask for volunteers to help distribute flyers in their own precincts from the GCDP. We’ll distribute August and September and will be a scattergun approach – all ages, income levels and Party Affiliation.
PHASE III:  Postcards.  We are working on a fund-raising campaign to pay for postcards and postage and will reach out to the GCDP for help with an updated mailing list of Seniors from VoteBuilder. The committee agreed that anything we have to pay for should go to getting the word out to Seniors.

MEETING SPEAKERS

As new NCSD president Vince Vezza told us last month, the Senior Democrats are not only interested in politics, but also in issues specifically relating to Seniors (nursing homes, housing, health etc.).  If you have an idea, or a subject you think would be good, please let me or Gayle Stewart, GSD Membership VP know.  She’s spent the last month trying to reach some people involved with Alzheimer’s care and research without  much luck

JOIN US

It’s not too late to be a Senior Democrat (50 & older!) You can pay your dues for 2023 either by sending a check to:

Treasurer Denton Benfield
2062 Shannon Dr.
Gastonia, NC 28054
Or pay online at ActBlue:https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdems

**********************************************************************************************

July 2023

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends.

The toughest part of this job as president of the Senior Dems is:  Finding a meeting place that meets most of our requirements.  I get so frustrated scrambling for a location each month.

Our requirements are tough (no stairs, small enough to hear easily, WiFi access, projection capabilities, standing appointment, free)

Thanks to Ron Phillips, we’ve secured a place that meets MOST of those requirements, starting next month:  The community room at Erwin Center in Gastonia.

(Pause to give Ron applause)

In the meantime, we are using the Gaston County Police community room for our next meeting: MONDAY JULY 10!!  They ask that we all park at the side of the building, not in the few spaces in front.

At this meeting we will present the plan for educating the public on the new requirements for Voter ID.  There is the possibility of coordinating with the county party – VP Jack Kiser is checking into that for us.

We will also attempt another Zoom option for those who want to be IN THE KNOW but can’t come.  We’ll send out the invitation separately.  And we will need to know how many people plan to attend virtually.  The agenda, last month’s minutes and treasurer’s report are on this website under Events

NC Senior Democrats Convention

The NC Senior Democrats 2023 Convention will be held on Saturday, July 22, starting at 9:30 AM via Zoom.  Notices have gone out to all active members of the GSD. And, the NCSD will be electing new officers this year.  You have to have already paid your dues in order to vote in this election.  I have not yet seen what the program will be, but it’s always good.

JOIN US

You can pay your dues for 2023 either by sending a check to:

 Treasurer Denton Benfield
2062 Shannon Dr.
Gastonia, NC 28054

Or pay online at ActBlue:https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdems

**************************************************

June 2023

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends.

It’s just the basics in this newsletter.

June meeting
June 12, noon
New Hope Baptist Church, Gastonia (corner of Redbud & New Hope Rd.)

Agenda and Treasurer’s report under Documents on this website.

We’re trying out a hybrid meeting this month — if you can’t come in person, join us at this link:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/6950956201?pwd=S21DTmpFNHlaZWFJeFBZNldZQ2hwQT09

Meeting ID: 695 095 6201

Passcode: 5iVqA5

BONUS:  There’s a doorprize!!  We’ll draw a name at random from both online and in person attendees. to win a voucher for 4 tickets to the Gastonia Honey Hunters.

New officers
In May, the Gaston Senior Democrats officers and nominated a member for consideration as NC Senior Democrat of the year to the state Senior Dems.

We had a record 20 member attendance!

New officers are:

Becky McBride, president Gayle Stewart, membership VP
Jack Kiser, advocacy VP Mary Ann Smith, liaison VP
Pamela Williams, secretary Denton Benfield, treasurer

Gaston nominee for Senior Democrat of the year: Becky McBride

NC Senior Democrats Convention

The NC Senior Democrats 2023 Convention will be held on Saturday, July 22, starting at 9:30 AM via Zoom.  Notices have gone out to all active members of the GSD.

Projects

The Gaston Seniors have three projects this year:

  1. Find a meeting location that meets our needs for price, location, handicapped accessibility, AV/WiFi capabilities for speakers.
    1. We have not been able to find a place that meets all those requirements, but we are working on it. 
  2. Educate voters about new Voter ID regulations
    1. After we hear from Adam Ragan on the rules, we will form a committee to formulate plans for how we can help (possibly provide rides to get photo id, flyers to be distributed around the county, other ideas welcome
  3. Work with Tarheel Seniors contacting state representatives about legislative matters affecting senior citizens.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

May 2023

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends,

The repercussions of last November’s election are starting to materialize and while we shouldn’t be surprised, they’re still disappointing.
Our new Republican NC Supreme Court:
Ruled partisan gerrymandering is constitutional (And Jeff Jackson is a known target)
Ruled Photo ID for voting
Ended voting for felons

BUT …
Trump’s in the hot seat.
The Gaston Board of Commissioners has agreed to fully fund the Gaston Museum of Art & History.  (Thanks to the Gaston Senior Democrats who showed up in support of the Museum.  We made a good showing.)

In the words of Voter Registration Queen Mary Ann Smith: “Never give up.”  
So, rest up, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Let OUR voices be heard
In April, we heard from Gayla Woody with NC Tarheel Legislature who presented a number of opportunities to advocate for Senior issues with the NC General Assembly.  They are looking for postcards, phone calls and emails to legislators in support of their efforts.
More about these projects will come in the next few months.

 

GSD elections

We will be electing new Gaston Senior Democrats officers at our May meeting:
May 8, noon,
Tabernacle Baptist Church gym

Our by-laws require a quorum of 40% of active members in order to conduct business – like electing new officers.  Currently our active membership is 31.  A quorum is 12.4 (we’ll round down to 12)  So your attendance at the meeting is CRITICAL.

If you HAVE NOT paid your dues for 2023, you CANNOT vote for new officers.

Our candidates are:

President – Becky McBride

Vice President, membership – Gayle Stewart

Vice President, advocacy – Jack Kiser

Vice President, liaison – Brenda Friday

Secretary – Pamela Williams

Treasurer – Denton Benfield

What else?

Gaston BOE:  If you’re interested in serving on the Board of Elections for Gaston County, Nancy Moore has decided to not run again.  Contact GCDP chair David Brown chair@gastondemocrats.org

NC Senior Dems:  New officers this year.  Convention this summer.  They’re also looking for nominees from each of the chapters for Senior Democrat of the Year.

Democratic Women: Katie Mae Oates dinner is back on the plate.  The Democratic Women of Gaston County will hold their first fundraiser since Covid restrictions on Sept. 16.  Details to come.

Young Dems: The Young Democrats of Gaston County have reorganized their chapter with Virginia Pittman as president.

GCDP:  Details to come, but meeting is planned for Tuesday, May 9

March 2023

Greetings Senior Democrats and friends.

Since we don’t have much (any) business to decide on, this month, we’re just going to gather for lunch.

 The Deets:
March 13, noon
Union Road Diner
1101 Union Rd., Gastonia

I have invited candidates for officers for the new Gaston Democratic Party board to join us and tell us their plans, but it was pretty last minute, so not sure if any can come.

Treasurer’s report:  No activity since last month. Balance is: $427.25.    Feb 2023 Treasurer’s report uploaded to documents page at www.SeniorDems.org

 Minutes:  We do need to review two months of minutes – both January and February uploaded to documents page at www.SeniorDems.org.

Membership report:  31 paid-up members

Annual survey:  8 responses returned out of 43 sent

Voter Registration:

We registered 14 new voters during the Black College Expo at Eastridge Mall.  Several were from other NC counties, and several were 16-year-old pre-registers.  Thanks to volunteers Jeff Trepel, Ron Phillips, Denton Benfield, Pam Ledbetter and Karen Bringle for making this work.  We did extend invitations to the Democratic Women and GCDP to help.

Advocacy Report

Jack Kiser composed a letter about budget, deficit, Medicare and Social Security to Congressman Jeff Jackson and will bring copies Monday. He is also working with City Councilman Robert Kellogg on what we can do locally about homelessness and housing affordability

Precinct organization.

Haven’t heard back from GCDP on results of our efforts to organize Armstrong & Health Center.  One volunteer said that Health Center may cluster with Pleasant Ridge.  We may also have one volunteer from Armstrong, but waiting to see what happens with clustering there, deadline is March 11.

Coming up:

We will need a Senior Democrat representative for the NC Senior Democrats to District 10.  Generally, someone from Meck snatches up District 14.  This person needs to live in District 14.

Nominees for the NC Senior Democrat of the Year.  We need one nominee from Gaston County to submit to the NC Senior Democrats.  The award is to recognize the volunteer who has done the most to advance Senior Democrats in the last year.

New GSD officers

So far, we have the following nominees for Gaston Senior Democrat officers. Candidates can self-nominate and we will take nominations from the floor in May.  No officer can serve more than two terms in the same position, except the treasurer.  So far only Denton Benfield and I have said we want to run again.

President – Becky McBride

Vice President, membership – Gayle Stewart

Vice President, advocacy – Jack Kiser

Vice President, liaison – Pamela Williams

Secretary – Brenda Friday

Treasurer – Denton Benfield

Membership

If you haven’t paid your dues yet, there’s still time.  Only paid-up members can vote at our local “convention”

Dues is now $20 annually.  You can pay with cash, check or online through ActBlue: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdems

*************

 

February, 2023

For me, February is always just a month to endure.  Often cold and gray and rainy.  Being around good Democrats helps, so thanks!

Postcard Posse:

Hoping that everyone who took Thank You postcards has finished them.  Bring them with you to our meeting on Feb. 13 and we’ll stamp them and mail them out.

Precinct organization

I think the biggest news in our neck of the woods is an exciting new focus and energy at the county party level, and new efforts at organizing precincts.    Feb. 25 is the county-wide precinct organizing meeting with the “deadline” for organization is March 11.

On the Gaston Seniors’ behalf, I’ve accepted two precincts to work — Armstrong and Health Center.  This will go a long way toward increasing voter registration and voter turnout.  I’ve started making calls in Armstrong and will reach out to you all for help in this effort.

Meeting & Program

An agenda will be shared via email and on the Documents page on this website.

Gastonia City Councilman Robert Kellogg will present our program at the February meeting — Feb. 13, noon, Gaston County Police community room, 420 W. Franklin, Gastonia. He will talk to us about what the City of Gastonia is working on regarding homelessness and affordable housing.  If you are fortunate, like I am, to own my own home, you may not be awared that Seniors are the most vulnerable in our community to rising rental rates and ending up homeless.

Elections

2023 is an election year for both the officers of the GCDP and the Gaston Senior Democrats.  All officer positions are open.  The GCDP convention is set for April 15.

The Gaston Seniors will elect new officers at the May meeting (hoping some Gaston Seniors will be elected precinct officers or County Party officers in April) and we will form a nominating committee at the February meeting.  Officers can only serve two terms (except treasurer). so there are lots of opportunities on the Senior Democrts for fresh, new leadership.

Membership

If you haven’t paid your dues yet, there’s still time.  Our current, paid membership is right at 29.   Next Monday will be a great time to sign back up.  Dues is $20, the fiscal year is Jan-Dec.

You can pay with cash, check or online through ActBlue (https://secure.actblue.com/donate/srdems)

Annual Survey

I’m working on our annual survey to get feedback from membership and for suggestions moving forward.  Look for it in the coming days.

Liaison

Jan 25, I met via zoom with the leadership of the Young Democrats and Gaston Democratic Women to work on communication and working together.

The Democratic Women are in their annual membership drive and invites us to visit & join their Facebook page: Democratic Women of Gaston County.  Also if you’d like to receive their emails, contact: gastondemwomen@gmail.com  to be added to their email list.

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January, 2023

It’s our first meeting of the year — Jan 9 at noon, at Tabernacle Baptist Church on 19th St. in Gastonia.  We’ll be in             the Family Life Center (no stairs).

The theme for this year is “Thinking Outside the Box.”    After our regular meeting where we will discuss MONEY               and our plan to pay our NC Board of Elections penalties, we’ll have a PostCard Party.

We have postcards and stamps left over from our 2022 mailing effort and we have a list of young Democrat who             voted for the first time in November.  So what’s the plan?

We’re just going to thank them for voting.

That’s it.

No request for money.

No request for volunteering.

Just thanks.

If that’s not thinking out of the box, I’m not sure what is.   When’s the last time any Democrat send you a thank you note?  Well, OK I got one from Roy Cooper and maybe Jeff Jackson.  But when’s the last time you got one locally?

This theme is one we’re going to explore this year, and I’ve got some ideas to share, because, well, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity.  Democrats in North Carolina still think like they’re the majority party.  Gaston is crimson and N.C. — despite some wins is Magenta. 

We’ve got to rethink and try new things.

See you Monday!

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December, 2022

     Fellow Democrats, it’s been a wild ride.  We worked hard and did what we could.  Jeff Jackson is going to       Washington, and we had some other wins nationally.  The election was, as is so often the case,                           disappointing. But, we celebrate our wins and we persist.

 

 

Here is a recap of what the Gaston Senior Democrats accomplished in 2022, and some plans for 2023

2022

The Basics

Election of officers

 New president Becky McBride and new treasurer Denton Benfield

 Catching up on paperwork

  • Approving an official constitution & by-laws
  • Having our treasury audited by an unaffiliated third party
  • Filing necessary reports with the NC Board of Elections for both 2021 and 2022
  • Requesting waivers for penalties from 2021 for non-compliance with paperwork (Total $1,000)

Embracing technology

  • Created an ActBlue account (making it easier for people to pay their dues and donate)
  • Started monthly newsletter
  • Added a public “official” Facebook page (now 46 followers)
  • Converting our previous FB page to a closed, private forum (78 members)
  • New logos
  • A website: www.GastonSeniorDems.org
  • Created a specific gmail account for Gaston Seniors. gastonsrdems@gmail.com
  • Created a Google Voice number for Gaston Seniors: (980) 285-2503
  • Sent out 600 emails through free MailChimp account engaging with registered Democrats in Gaston County ages 60-75

Honoring our volunteers

  • Susan Maxon nominated as Senior Democrat of the Year to the NC Senior Democrats
  • Ron Phillips award the newly created President’s award for outstanding service to Gaston Democrats

Programs

Many of our meetings included programs in 2022.

June: Vincent Venezza, president of the successful Cabarrus Chapter of Senior Democrats spoke via Zoom to our group about how to be effective.  (Full disclosure:  he was hard to hear, and so … not very effective)

July: Meet & Greet with Democratic NC Supreme Court candidates Sam Ervin IV and Lucy Inman.  Very successful event

September:  Meet & Greet with two UNA school board candidates

November:  Program on Medicare Advantage with speaker Dr. George Bohmfaulk

GOTV Efforts

  • Held our first Senior Democrats Texting party, sending out 2,909 texts for the Pam Genant for Congress campaign in about 2 hours.
  • Participated in a July 3 virtual phone bank for 14th Congressional District candidate Jeff Jackson
  • Handed out Jesse Caldwell IV literature at Cramerton Car Show.
  • Addressed envelopes for the Pam Genant campaign.
  • Lit Drop for general voting information (where & when). 600 homes in Mt Holly, another 100 homes in Belmont
  • 2,000 postcards to Gaston County Democrats, ages 60+ who don’t typically vote in mid-terms. Got help from the Democratic Women
  • Seniors staffed polls for early voting as well as Election Da

 2023

Moving Forward and thinking Outside the Box

Transparency

GastonSeniorDems.org will have pages:

  • Publishing our constitution and by-laws
  • Publishing minutes and treasurer’s reports
  • Publishing monthly newsletter
  • Informing membership on the status of our NC Board of Elections penalty for late financial report filings for 2021 (total now $500)

Engaging with voters

Activity takes money … and we are investigating fund-raising options for the new year (and to pay our BOE penalty)

January-March

         Contact young, first-time voters (right around 1,000) with postcards, texts and emails, thanking them for voting.  TOTB – just thanking them, not asking for money or volunteers or even to vote.

           Contact the senior Democrats who voted early from our list of 2,000 postcard campaign.  (right around 700). TOTB – just thanking them, not asking for money or volunteers, or even to vote.

           Adopt one or two precincts (which precincts suggested by the Gaston County Democratic Party) to talk, listen and encourage precinct organization

GOTV

2023 will be a municipal election year

Programs

        Brainstorming new ways to encourage voter participation.

        Speakers from Red, Wine & Blue – a new group dedicated to engaging with voters in small groups.

GSD elections

2023 is an election year for the Gaston Senior Democrats and we will be electing a new group of officers in April.

Incumbents who wish to run as candidates for their current positions need to announce early in 2023.

Candidates can self-nominate and the formal nomination and election will be at the April 11, 2023 Sr. Democrats meeting.