More than 70 people showed up for the Democratic Women’s picnic July 1 at Pearson Springs Park to hear candidates speak and listen as party leaders exhorted them to action in the county and national races.
Laura Rule said women play a key role in the party’s success. “We are the glue that holds it together. Through good times and bad, we’re there. You always can count on us.”
Sharon Hannum said she hoped more people got involved and voted during the August and November elections. “People died for their right to vote,” she said. “You just don’t understand the power of just one vote.”
Gerrae Messer asked those at the picnic to get involved in the campaigns. “It’s very important that we, as Democrats, unify. We need to step in and start helping,” she said.
Tony Webb, vice chair of the Blount County Democratic Party, said the Democrats have a plan for change. “We’re going to turn Tennessee blue,” he said of the traditional color associated with the Party. “East Tennessee is going to get out and support Barack Obama.”
Lucy Meares asked for volunteers with the Circuit Court Judge Mike Meares’ campaign, and Messer followed that with a plea. “This should be our priority, his campaign. We’re trying to build up the party, and this is the priority,” Messer said.
Joe Gallagher said if change could happen in Blount County, change can happen in the state and in the nation. He then spoke on behalf of Meares. “We’ve got to have a focus to elect Mike Meares on Aug. 7,” he said.
Mike Meares thanked the Democratic women of Blount County for their support. He then commented about County Mayor Jerry Cunningham’s reference to “his” circuit court judges. “Judges aren’t to be beholden to any public officials.”
Of General Sessions Judge David Duggan, who is running against Meares for the Circuit Court judge seat, Meares said he thanked him for “being proud of his contributions from attorneys. I’ve decided not to take contributions from attorneys. Judges need to serve people and not be a club for lawyers. Every legal system has to be run for the benefit of the public.”
Meares also made reference to Judge Dale Young regarding a disagreement they have over statistics regarding the number of cases he has cleared since Gov. Phil Bredesen named him to the circuit court.
“There have been statistics of my performance which are in error,” said Meares. “They don’t reflect the good job I’ve done. I hope this will be corrected in the coming days and weeks ahead in our media.”
The judge asked the listeners what experience a circuit court judge should have. “I ask you to compare my experience with jury trials with my opponent David Duggan,” Meares said.
Not everybody at the picnic was a Democrat. Linda King, who said she was a political Independent, said she was glad to see everyone getting out. “To me, this isn’t about the party. It’s about the right to vote for the person. I feel Meares is the right person,”
Bob Scott, candidate for U.S. House running against Rep. John Duncan Jr., also dropped by to introduce himself to the Blount County Democrats. Scott said the Duncans have been in the U.S. House seat for 40 years. “The House of Representatives was not meant to be a lifetime job,” he said.
Blount County commissioner Dr. Bob Proffitt encouraged the Democrats to keep working to get their candidates elected because success at the polls doesn’t just fall in place. “It takes a lot of time. You never know what that extra phone call will do,” he said.