Democrats back on the scene in Marshall County
By Karen Hall
After several years when it seemed like there were no Democrats here, they are back in a big way.
The choice of Meechie Biggers as chairman of the Marshall County Democrat Party has revitalized the group and supporters came out in force to a rally in Rock Creek Park this week.
"Meechie did a great job of getting everything together," said Grover Collins, a former chairman of the local party.
Lively music was provided by The Melting Pot Band, an eight-member group from Nashville, and hotdogs with all the fixin's and soft drinks were served.
The hotdogs were cooked there at the park.
"Patricia (Hawkins) said, 'I'm going to bring a little grill,'" joked Collins. In fact, the grill is part of Hale's Kitchen, a kitchen on a trailer custom-made by Doug Duke that the Hawkins family plans to take to Titans games for tailgating. Locals got their first view of the impressive special kitchen Tuesday night, and could not help but be impressed.
People could register to vote, pick up candidates' materials, and learn about Amendment 1 and the reasons to vote against it.
Collins introduced the first speaker, Gordon Ball, stating, "He can whip old Lamar (Alexander)!"
"I'm going to be your next US Senator," Ball began confidently, and this was greeted with loud cheers.
The cheering continued during Ball's speech, along with applause and cries of "Yes, sir!"
"I feel we're in good hands with this guy," said Collins when Ball was finished.
Next to speak was Kim Sasser, a veteran campaign manager.
She called herself "an engaged citizen," but said, "A lot of people are never going to see or hear anything from these candidates" -- if you don't listen to TV ads, throw away direct mail and hang up on robo-calls, you can avoid learning anything about the politician and what they represent. Then, on election day, if you vote at all, you're taking a wild guess, or choosing a name you recognize.
The way for everyone to combat this, and get voters to the polls to vote for the right candidates (in this case, Democrats) Sasser said, was to engage with friends and neighbors, and start conversations about politics, even though you don't normally do this.
"Have guts!" she exclaimed. "It's really important that we do this for all the people who are affected by what happens in Washington and in Nashville."
"I met Lenda Sherrell in 2010," said Biggers, when Sasser was finished and it was time to introduce Sherrell. "She made me believe I had guts."
Sherrell called Biggers "one of the hardest working volunteers I have ever worked with."
Emily's List endorsed Sherrell after the primary, and the candidate called this "a huge milestone."
Emily is not a person, but an acronym for Early Money Is Like Yeast. It is a political action committee, founded by Ellen Malcolm in 1985, that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office. It is one of the largest PACs in the United States, and the nation's largest resource for women in politics.
"The 4th District is now on the national scene," said Sherrell about her race against US Rep. Scott DesJarlais. "Voters are ready for a change."
After Sherrell spoke, it was the turn of state executive committeewoman Brenda Ables, and then finally the spotlight turned to Vicki Cain.
"How fired up are you?" Cain asked the crowd, and they responded with loud cheers. "If you're fired up, we will come out on top. Get out and go vote! Let's do it!"
Democrats led by Biggers will be going door to door Saturday afternoon to talk to voters, and at 5 p.m. every Thursday they plan to meet at Biggers Market to make phone calls.
"Early voting starts Oct. 15," said Sherrell's aide Janelle Sinclair, who plans to be at the market for the phone sessions. "We have to have a personal touch; we have to let people know they have choices."
Biggers thanked a number of people for making the evening possible, and ended with special thanks for Collins and Walter Bussart.