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Democratic Party in Johnson County finding its voice in a Republican county

By:  Paula Walter

Assistant Editor


The Johnson County Democratic Party held a reorganizational meeting recently at the Johnson County Courthouse.  Its purpose was to vote on the acceptance of the bylaws, the election of officers and executive committee members.  As the group is part of the Tennessee National Democratic Party, a motion was made and accepted to send $200 to the Johnson City Democratic Resource Center. “It’s important for us to support our candidates,” said Wanda Payne.
In attendance at the meeting were approximately 25 Johnson County Democrats.  In the past presidential election, there were nearly 1,000 votes cast for Hillary Clinton.  “I thought there were only five or six  Democrats in the county,” said one surprised Democrat.

Asked for a show of hands, approximately 40 percent of the people in the room acknowledged that they were cautious or reluctant to discuss their political affiliations in the county.  “It’s presumed people in Johnson County are Republicans,” said another attendee.
According to Wanda Payne, secretary/treasurer of the group, there were 12 people at the previous meeting.  “We need to have a presence in the county,” said Payne. “…we deserve to be respected.” Information was handed out that suggested calling state representatives to discuss topics that are forefront on the minds of voters, such as healthcare costs, possible Russian influence, jobs, income equality and truthfulness on the part of the president.

Suggestions for talking points included asking Representative Phil Roe to hold a town meeting and urge all Democrats in the county to attend in order to express concerns and ask questions. Contributions to the Tennessee National Democratic Party were encouraged in order to help get Democrats elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives and Tennessee Senate.
When talking with your representative and/or senator, some of the topics suggested were the discussion of tax reform, along with single payer health system, such as Medicare, for all health care. Let your representatives know if you believe Medicaid expansion should remain in place as it pays for two-thirds of nursing home patients, medical care for children and disabled. Advise your representative that Canada has a single payer system, along with most of the world.
Other topics include demanding an independent investigation into the president’s possible ties to Russia, and the growing expenses incurred from the president and his family’s travels to Maralago and California.  As of a week, $11 million has been spent for travel expenses for the president and his family in three weeks.  Letters to the editor of local newspapers expressing concerns were encouraged.
The group voted to hold meetings once a month on the last Thursday of the month. Next month’s meeting will be held April 27th at the Tributary Restaurant at 5:00 pm for those interested in attending.