Sandra Martin, Is Wicomico Dem Club 2020 Member of the Year
Sandra Martin, corresponding secretary for the Democratic Club of Wicomico County, was named the
2020 Member of the Year by Club
Martin, who manages the club’s membership efforts, is responsible for coordinating the organization’s
primary communication vehicle, Mailchimp, an integrated marketing platform.
During the year, the club’s membership grew from 86 members to 236, a 170 percent increase. Martin has seamlessly added those new members to our existing database which now numbers 653 subscribers. Hardly an occasional messenger, she sent out 11 emails a month to the club’s contact list and over half routinely opened those emails and are engaged with the club and its activities.
Maintaining that database, updating it routinely, has had and continues to increase attendance at monthly meetings, boost the club’s fundraising and promote the club throughout the Wicomico community.
Her contributions to the past county election cycle were not limited to her considerable volunteer production with the club. She worked at the Wicomico County Board of Elections throughout the summer and fall.
Lee Whaley Receives Dem club President's Award
The Wicomico Democratic Club President’s Award, given to a Wicomico Democrat who has made outstanding lifetime contributions to the community, was presented to Lee Whaley at the club’s January general membership meeting.
This year’s recipient was an extremely popular choice, someone admired by Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.
The South Carolina native arrived in Salisbury in the mid-70s and her special event marketing skills were immediately recognized by no less a sports and entertainment promoter than Bill Riordan, who had transformed small town Salisbury into Tennistown, USA , turning the National Men’s Indoor Tennis Championship into a global event.
She made a similar impression on the local community and was soon tabbed business manager for the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center. Her own special events company followed, and if starting that fledgling business wasn’t enough, Salisbury State College, also recognizing her immense talent, signed her up to start an arts administration program—a 10-year labor of love.
Good at promotion, possessing a strong work ethic and liked by all, it was no surprise when Senator Paul Sarbanes tabbed her to become his Eastern Shore field representative in 1991, a position she performed brilliantly for 15 years until the Senator’s retirement in 2006. His replacement, Senator Ben Cardin, recognized a great thing when he saw it, and convinced her to represent him on the Shore for his first six-year term. She retired from the Senate post in 2013 after 21 years.
She didn’t spend the entirety of those 21 years solely as a political operative. She was on the first Salisbury Festival Committee and chaired the event one year. She co-founded the Arts and Entertainment District in Downtown Salisbury. She co-founded Third Friday. She is a prominent member of the Gallery Committee at the Salisbury Arts Space where she personally funds shows and exhibits.
She was the first female member of Rotary in Salisbury, the Salisbury Rotary Club’s first woman president and named Rotarian of the Year. Salisbury University bestowed her with the President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award in recognition, among other things, for her tireless efforts to improve the quality of life for all of us on the Shore. Embedded in that award is her vision of arts as an economic driver.
Since her Senate retirement she’s remained active in the arts and politics. As a board member for the Lower Shore Heritage Area (now the Beach to Bay Heritage Area), she helped lobby the Maryland legislature to make Smith Island cakes the state dessert. She’s the driving force behind Feature Friday at the Brick Room downtown, showcasing young SU performance artists.
She was elected to the Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee in 2014 and served one term. Last year she was elected in the Maryland Primary as a Biden delegate to the Democratic National Convention and organized special events and phone banking on behalf of then candidate and now President Biden. She attracted dozens of volunteers to support his candidacy with the creation of Maryland Women for Biden.
The previous Wicomico Democratic Club President’s Award recipients are Mike Pretl and Dr. Harry Basehart.