Wicomico Democratic Club
State of the Club
January 15, 2020
By Gains Hawkins, Club President
- Our bylaws are a good starting point for where we’ve been and where we’re going. Let me reiterate our Purpose and Mission:
- To promote and sustain democratic values as advanced by the Maryland and national Democratic Party;
- To recruit and support candidates for local, statewide and national office;
- To reach out to existing and new constituencies and encourage registration of Democratic voters in Wicomico County;
- To give support to our local Democratic elected officials, including the Democratic Central Committee;
- To provide a forum for discussion of issues important to our voters;
- To educate our local citizens and otherwise to advance the goals and principles of progressive, participatory democracy; and
- To grow the Democratic Party in Wicomico County.
- The Club will pursue these goals through organizing, educational activities, social gatherings, fundraising and electioneering efforts.
How did we do this year?
We re-wrote and approved amended bylaws. This revised document eliminated the at-large board positions and replaced the board of directors’ structure with all elected officers, each
- serving two-year terms with defined duties: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, Treasurer and Sergeant at Arms. Would those newly elected officers please stand and indentify yourself and your position? While we’re at it, how about recognition of the outgoing board members, those folks who made the accomplishments I’m getting ready to cite possible. 2019 club board members please stand. And while I’m singling out key club contributors, I’d be remiss if I didn’t cite Marie Cavallaro for providing the delicious refreshments each month.The other big change in the bylaws was a new definition of membership. Formerly members were required to pay annual dues of $15. We in fact had not collected dues for about three years, switching to an annual fundraising appeal—more shortly on that effort—as a more reliable revenue generator for the club. Now, members only need to be registered Democrats in Wicomico County and fill out a membership form.
- After the club voted to accept the revised bylaws in June, we began a membership drive in August. To date we have 86 club members.
- The three major activities we coordinate each year are a presence at the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield in July, the annual Crab Feast at Schumaker Pavilion in August and our December holiday party.
the Worcester County Democratic Central Committee about sharing the expenses, becoming partners. The Worcester committee members embraced the idea; we continued to be the contact for the event, but now we split the $2,500 up front costs and both Worcester and Wicomico Dem clubs had only 20 tickets to sell. It is still a bit of a loss leader for us, but the pressure to sell 40 tickets abated. We will continue the relationship in 2020.
The crab feast, co-chaired by Keith Henry and Bob Hocutt, was again a financial windfall for the club, as we raised over $2,000, and almost 100 members and guests attended on a lovely Sunday afternoon, with several elected officials in attendance and music by Keagan and Mickey Justice, joined by Dr. Michael O’Loughlin who would deliver a September monthly meeting presentation about the impeachment process that was worthy on an Atlantic or New York magazine feature article. For those who missed it, you can read it on our web site.
The holiday party, I’m afraid, generated deserved criticism of my choice of venue. Poplar Hill Mansion is not handicapped accessible. Contrary to our “All are welcome” invitation, the facility is not welcoming to the physically disabled in our community. This was a learning experience for me, I’m chastened, and won’t repeat my mistake. All future club events will be held at places accessible to everyone. Despite my boneheaded venue decision, those who attended seemed to have had a good time, and my smoked turkey was a tasty treat. And we do meet regularly here at the Salisbury Art Space which is accessible to all.
- At the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet at the Civic Center in January we purchased a table for 10 and filled it with club members, who paid for their respective $40 tickets.
- The gains were partly attributable to identifying 230 more Democratic addresses over the previous year, 582 vs. 352.
- Our fundraising success as well as the Crab Feast profit allowed us to finish 2019 with a cash balance of $5,266. Last January we had a balance of $1,483. The self-generated revenue allowed the club to make $1,750 in campaign contributions to seven Democrats running for elected office in November.
- All of our Salisbury City Council endorsements--Independent Jack Heath and Democrats Angela Blake, Michele Gregory and April Jackson—won in their respective districts. We endorsed Jake Day for mayor, and we’ll take credit for his landslide re-election.
- We were fortunate to attract outstanding speakers throughout the year, including Mayor Day, Tom Horton, Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes, Salisbury University professors Harry Basehart , Adam Hoffman and O’Loughlin.
- We even went on a field trip last year, to meet with Senator Chris Van Hollen at his office in the Hart Building. His staff gave our group of 20 a guided tour of the Capitol. A good time was had by all.
- Our goal is for membership to climb to 120 (about a 50% increase).
- We anticipate raising $6,000 through our annual appeal, adding 100 names and addresses to our mailing list and realizing 75 donors.
- We expect the August Crab Feast to produce a $3,000 profit.
- We anticipate an end-of-the-year cash balance of $9,000. We will prioritize banking as much of those funds as possible--toward supporting local Democratic candidates in the 2022 election.