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Democrats to celebrate Obama's 50th birthday

Day has plenty of support

POSTED: August 4, 2011 11:00 p.m.

Democrats across Georgia are using the president's birthday as an opportunity to get their party going.

The Hall County Democratic Committee is hosting two birthday parties Saturday for Barack Obama at Wilshire Trails and DeSota parks.

The parties are two of 35 events across the state Saturday for the Georgia Democrats' Day of Action.

Birthday cake and lemonade will be served at both parks, and there will be a band at DeSota Park, said Diana Dokken, secretary for the Hall County Democratic Committee. The festivities will last from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Obama turned 50 Thursday.

The committee is also collecting canned goods for the food bank and personal items such as toothpaste and deodorant for Gateway House, a support center for women and children in Gainesville.

Attendees can also submit their best wishes for the president. The committee is providing birthday cards for children and adults to sign.

"We just hope with the people that go to the parks on Saturday, with their kids and all, that we will have a good turnout," Dokken said.

Democrats from Forsyth, Dawson, White, Habersham, Banks, Lumpkin, Towns and Union counties will also host events Saturday.

Georgia Democrats organized the Day of Action to revive Democratic interest in Georgia, said Eric Gray, the communications director for Georgia Democrats.

"It's supposed to inspire Democrats all over Georgia to get back involved in the Democratic Party and get back involved in what our values are," Gray said.

The Day of Action began as a single birthday party for Obama in Atlanta or Macon, Gray said. The birthday idea snowballed into a host of events to "let Democrats throughout the state of Georgia know that they're not alone," he said.

"It just morphed into more of a community-building kind of exercise," he said.

Georgians threw a surprising amount of support behind Obama during his campaign and election, he added.

But since then, enthusiasm has waned.

"Over the course of time, as we've seen people get more disenchanted with government, more disenchanted with the leaders that we have here in the state House, we've found that people aren't responding like they should," he said.

The Day of Action has received a wealth of support from the northeast region of Georgia, where Gray has seen the best participation in organizing and planning events such as the birthday parties in Hall County.

Hosts from the counties received a set of guidelines from Georgia Democrats, but they were largely on their own to plan events. From there, ideas took flight, Gray said.

"It's truly a grass-roots thing," he said.

Even more impressive is the amount of support the event has seen in the 9th District, noted for its Republican roots.

"The 9th District is probably the most conservative district, not in Georgia but in the nation. And it's high time we took it back," Gray said.

He added he hopes the Day of Action will mobilize Democrats in Hall County and throughout the state to support and participate in local, state and national elections.

"We need to flex our muscle. We need to show that we can organize, we can get people to these events, we can bring voters to the polls, and this is the first step of that," he said.



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