What, if anything, do you know about your local political parties? Do you know their histories, their leaders, when they meet, their objectives? If not—look no further! This Chronicle special has everything you need to know about the Emanuel County Republican Party as well as the Emanuel County Democratic Party. Read on to find out more!
About the Emanuel County Republican Party
The patriarch of the Emanuel County Republican Party is Auby Womack, who lived in Blundale and served as chairman for a number of years. According to members, he was involved from the early 1950s into the 1970s. After Womack, Judge Bobby Reeves was the party’s chairman for many years during the ‘80s and ‘90s.
The current leaders of the Emanuel County Republican Party are Greg Johnson as chairman, Lisa Parham as vice chairman, Gary Mason as treasurer, Zac Frye as secretary, and Marty Ray as the board of elections representative.
Prior to COVID-19, the organization held meetings the first Saturday of each month and socials the third Thursday of each month. Saturday morning meetings are held inside the cafeteria at Emanuel Medical Center while the socials are held at Berni’s downtown. The party also holds an annual county convention, at which members elect delegates to the district and state conventions. The local convention has traditionally been held at the courthouse.
When it comes to the party’s mission and beliefs, Johnson says, “We believe in and support the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We believe in maintaining a strong national defense and securing our borders by enforcing all immigration laws. We believe in smaller limited government and a balanced budget at all levels of government. We believe in a free market economy that creates sustainable jobs. We believe in fair taxation for all. We believe in the right of the people to keep and bear arms. We believe in the right to life, that life begins at conception and that all life is valued regardless of mental or physical ability. We believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. We believe in freedom of religion, that congress shall make no law respecting or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. We believe in states’ rights, that the powers not delegated to the United States, or prohibited by the U.S. Constitution to the states, are reserved to the States... or to the People.” One of the local members recently noted, “We live in an opportunity rich country. We believe all races have equal value and worth and we want the government to stay out of the way of our pursuit of liberty and happiness.”
Some of the goals of the Emanuel County Republican Party are to educate the community as to the value of conservative leadership, be a visible and contributing part of the community, give Republican candidates a platform from which to express their vision and aspirations, and to cultivate and elect candidates that represent their values.
Johnson went on to say, “I think the most significant accomplishment has been the growth of the party. It wasn’t so long ago that hardly any of our local offices were held by Republicans. Now, the majority are. Our Republican candidates have received approximately 65 percent of the vote over the last several elections.” They also acknowledge they have received increased exposure and awareness of the local party via Facebook and special events.
Members of the Emanuel County Republican Party encourage the community to participate in their local party to further a cause they believe in. As a member, a person can be as active as they choose to be. Some members attend meetings for the information value. Several members are involved in campaigns. There’s an opportunity for everyone that wants to contribute. The most important message they want to get across is, “You can make a difference!”
About the Emanuel County Democratic Party
The current leaders of the Emanuel County Democratic Party are Donald Jenkins as vice chairman, David Gribbin as vice chairman, Sylvetta Young as secretary, and Cathi Davis as treasurer. Chairman Woodrow Billups has resigned this year, and there will be an election for his replacement when the party reconvenes.
Prior to COVID-19, the Emanuel County Democratic Party met every fourth Tuesday inside the commissioners’ board room. Though they have not met since last February, they had operatives which organized voter promotion efforts. These small groups helped with voter registration, securing absentee ballots, and providing rides to the polls during the previous election.
As for the Emanuel County Democratic Party’s beliefs, Jenkins notes that the local beliefs actually differ from the media portrayal of national beliefs. He explains that divisive issues such as abortion or immigration are used to tear communities apart on the “ground level.” The Emanuel County Democratic Party actually just wants to advocate for the common people and lift people up. Whether this be through healthcare, education, or economic policy, they hope to bring equity and equality for all “under the big tent.”
The goal of the Emanuel County Democratic Party is to spread correct information. About this, Jenkins said, “The next generation of leadership needs to be equipped with knowledge, correct knowledge, truth, so that we don’t continue to go down the slope we seem to be on now.” The party hopes to attract young people that “talk to one another, not at one another” to get their message across in order to foster a more unified community.
For those wanting to join their local party, anyone is welcome at a meeting—they just have to show up. To find out when they will meet or to participate in their events, you can contact any of the local party leaders or visit their website at emanueldems.com. There is no formality; you simply join in a meeting.
Why should you get involved in your local party? Well, according to Jenkins, all the great empires fell because of differences in politics within the republics, not from the outside threats. He fears the United States is heading in the same direction. He said, “If we don’t come together, we will be taken down from within.” The party hopes their meetings and events are inspirational, unifying, and informational.