Breakfast Meeting Notes, April 7

In case you missed it, here are some notes from the

April Breakfast Meeting

In this Newsletter:

  • Candidate Search Committee update
  • Michael Gaskin, candidate for State House Representative, District 13
  • Mary Geren, candidate for US Congress, SC District 3
  • Secretary Update
  • Meeting location & Youth Engagement update
  • Updates from the Chair
    (Precinct Reorg, State Convention & Blue Palmetto Dinner)
  • Open Discussion

Candidate Search Committee Update

The Greenwood County Democratic Party held another room-busting, action-packed breakfast meeting at Inn on the Square this past Saturday, April 7, at 9 am.

After an opening Prayer from Rev. James Thompson, Party Chair, Charles Lewis, quickly introduced the newly elected GWCDP Executive Committee.

Dr. Bob Phillips, chair of the Candidate Search Committee then reported the following:

  • Now that candidate filing is over the committee has shifted focus and has renamed itself the “Candidate Search & Support Committee”.
  • The purpose of this Committee is to support Michael Gaskin for SC House as well as any certified local Democratic candidate involved in a race in Greenwood County.
  • A big “kudos” was given to Mayor Terrence Culbreath on his successful re-election last week in Johnston, SC. Mayor Culbreath is a good friend of the GWCDP, having spoken at one of our breakfast meetings last year.
  • Rep. Anne Parks is seeking re-election for State House Rep, District 12
  • Introduced Ms. Edith Childs, who is seeking to continue her service on the Greenwood County Council. She also encouraged all to sign up for “Blue Day“.
  • Announced that Rev. Melissa Spencer is running for the Greenwood County Council position that Gonza Bryant will be vacating
  • Announced that the Honorable Travis Moore will be seeking re-election for the position of Probate Judge.
  • Introduced Michael G. Monaghan who is seeking another term on the Board of Commissioners for CPW. Mike shared the positive news that Greenwood hasn’t had a rate increase in 10 years and that we enjoy the lowest electric rates in South Carolina.
  • Introduced Claude Wright, Greenwood School District 50 Board Member

Edith Childs Michael Monaghan Claude Wright

Dr. Bob then introduced our two keynote speakers: Michael Gaskin and Mary Geren.

Michael Gaskin, candidate for State House Representative, District 13

Seeking to unseat incumbent Republican, John McCravy,  Mr. Gaskin gave a rousing talk covering a wide variety of topics including:

  • The importance of remembering that being an elected official is about “service over self”.
  • 2nd Amendment rights and the safety of our children and families
  • The cost and availability of public education for every child in SC
  • The problem of human trafficking and what can be done about it in SC.
  • Immigration as a critical element by which our country was built into a great nation and the recent erosion of fundamental human rights that runs counter to those principles.

You can learn more about Michael and contribute to his campaign at

Mary Geren, candidate for US Congress, SC District 3

Mary Geren was the 2nd keynote speaker of the Breakfast and is determined to replace Congressman Jeff Duncan as our US Congressional Representative. The Index-Journal wrote a solid article about her appearance, and we encourage you to read it!

In her passionate talk, she covered:

  • Her blue-collar, working-class background, benefiting from government-funded school food programs to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.
  • The appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education as the primary motivation for her to run for Congress.
  • How the recent tariffs imposed by the President is heading towards a trade war that has direct implications on soybean farmers in South Carolina
  • Her recent endorsement by the People’s House Project, an organization that works to “recruit and support excellent candidates in Republican-held congressional districts in Midwestern and Appalachian states.”
  • A reminder that there is a Democratic Primary on June 12 to decide who will run against Jeff Duncan in November.

The GWCDP recently published an interview we conducted with Mary on its website. You can also learn more about Mary and how participate in her campaign at

Secretary’s Update

The GWCDP Secretary, Bill Kimler, provided the following:

  • Review of the speakers at the County Convention in March. Details can be found in an earlier newsletter published on our website.
  • The nationwide March for our Lives that was attended by a number of our members.
  • An update on our Social Media outreach, where we have been trending significantly upward on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. The most popular FB post was related to Jeff Duncan’s recent “lecture” on Energy at Lander University.
  • A review of the wealth of information available on our website, which also contains the state’s largest listing of Democratic candidates, officials, and activists.
  • We are seeking volunteers as well as foot traffic at our table for the upcoming Index-Journal Parents’ Expo and Healthy Kids Day event.

Meeting location & Youth Engagement update

GWCDP 1st Vice Chair, Denise Waldrep, spoke about our relationship with the Inn on the Square as a site for our Breakfast Meetings, reviewing the options and costs to utilize the larger rooms.

Pulling out a construction hat, she reminded all that we are constantly building our Party!

3rd Vice Chair, Rodney Jones, spoke on his efforts at Lander University and Piedmont Tech to start Young Democrats groups in the Fall. He is also working to have an event at Lander soon to host Michael Gaskin and encourage campaign volunteers over the summer.

Scott Thorpe, 3rd Vice Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, introduced himself. He pointed out that:

  • There are 353 Democrats running for office in SC, almost twice the number that ran in 2016
  • All Congressional Districts are being challenged, something we’ve not seen in a long time
  • The upcoming State Convention will also feature mini-Conventions for Young Democrats, College Democrats, and HS Democrats – a first!

Updates from the Chair

Charles Lewis, Chair, covered other Party Business including:

  • The need for more Delegates (and Alternates) to the upcoming State Convention on April 21. Delegates are needed to vote on a variety of issues. Please contact Charles directly at (864) 554-1993 as soon as possible if you’re interested. Greenwood County is allowed 27 delegates.
  • A final reminder about the Blue Palmetto Dinner on Friday April 20 and the opportunity to get a group table at a discounted rate. Again, contact Charles if interested.
  • The annual Dogs & Burgers fundraiser is coming up and a Chair is needed to help build a committee and manage this event. This fundraiser helps us rent a headquarters for the 2020 Presidential election as well as provide literature for voter education, etc.
  • We still have a number of voting Precincts that are in need of leaders. Contact Cathie Swindell ( to step up to the plate for your Precinct.

Charles concluded by thanking all for turning up and “doing something”.

Open Discussion

State Senator Floyd Nicholson shared a few words, speaking about:

  • How we have excellent candidates, but their success depends on YOU! Democrats are concerned about ALL people.
  • The wonderful work done by the Greenwood Promise to provide scholarships to all students who qualify.
  • How the young student from Emerald High School, who was tragically shot to death last week, was a participant in a youth mentoring program that helps with academics and behavior. A charity golf tournament, organized by Sen Nicholson, has raised over $28,000 over the past four years, providing scholarships to students in the mentoring program. The next one is scheduled for June 8 at Stoney Point.

Other miscellaneous business

  • Cathie Swindell was recognized for her years of service as GWCDP Secretary and her continued volunteer work on behalf of the Party. Cathie, in turn, recognized Dendra Lawton for her partnership in Democratic Party activities.
  • Last year’s “Yellow Dog Democrat” winner, Carolyn Simon, was recognized
  • Becky Jacob spoke about Rev. Dr. Barber, who is looking to expand the Moral Mondays movement which seeks to “train an army of activists in the nation’s most conservative states and put the issue of poverty front and center in American politics.”
  • Jill Koczwara shared that Precinct 3 will be holding a family fun event at the Fuji Pavilion on April 28, and that Michael Gaskin will be there to meet the residents. It’s a great example of precinct organization!
  • Paula Goldman, 2nd vice chair of McCormick County Democratic Party, invited all of us to attend their Potluck dinner on May 1. Watch their Facebook Page for details.

Next Meeting: Saturday, May 5

Our next Breakfast Meeting is currently scheduled for May 5, 9 am, at the Inn on the Square.

Please check our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or your E-mail for updated information as we get closer to the date.

Thanks again for another wonderful morning together! Democrats Care!

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