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Legislative preview: Democrats keep spirit strong despite 2018 losses
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Arturo Adame of the Hall County Young Democrats canvasses for Stacey Abrams on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

Despite barely losing governorship in Georgia, the fire in Democrats to move their agenda forward under Republican leadership has not dwindled. 

Deborah Gonzalez, outgoing state representative of District 117 in Georgia, encourages her fellow Democrats to not focus on the negative outcomes for the party, but the accomplishments. 

“Look at the other end,” Gonzalez said during the Hall County Democratic Party meeting on Jan. 7. “We’ve got 103 women in that Congress, and we’ve got Muslims in that Congress, and we’ve got progressives in that Congress, and we’ve got mothers in that Congress, and we’ve got young millenials in that Congress and they’re dancing in the Congress halls.”

Gonzalez said Democrats have strengthened their presence one step at a time by knocking on doors, meeting in people’s homes, holding book clubs, walking in parades and finding other ways to become involved in the community. 

“The election is one night,” she said. “Democracy is every day of our lives.”

Members of the Hall County Democratic Party continue to maintain their presence in the county, whether through attending local events or helping recruit, train and elect candidates for Hall County and Georgia state offices. 

Kim Copeland
Kim Copeland

Kim Copeland, the party’s chairman, said the members keep him and their mission energized. 

Denise Lee, who has been a member of Hall County Democratic Party since November 2016, said many Democrats are currently advocating for change in Georgia’s outdated election system. 

Lee said she would prefer touchscreen ballot-marking machines that print a paper record, over touchscreen voting machines, which provide no paper trail to confirm that votes have been recorded correctly. 

Democrats in Hall County like Kyle Gomez-Leineweber and Jennifer LaRose said they are helping push their party’s agenda through being more vocal in the community. 

Gomez-Leineweber, who is the president of College Democrats of Brenau University, said as an individual on his campus he strives to keep political conversations going. 

“I think people say that the 9th District is one of the most Republican districts, but I think it’s one of the most apolitical districts,” Gomez-Leineweber said. “There’s a lot of people that don’t care, or are not paying attention. I think the reason Hall County is as conservative as it is, is because most people get one side for so long.”

Through his experience campaigning for Josh McCall, the 2018 Democratic candidate for Georgia’s 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House, Gomez-Leineweber said he witnessed people changing their political affiliation to Democrat. 

Knocking door to door with McCall, he found that many people had never met a political candidate in person.

“For a lot of those people, that got their vote,” Gomez-Leineweber said. “The Republican Party is so confident that they don’t even go out to the community to ask questions and say, ‘How can I earn your vote?’ They assume they already have it or that person is not going to vote.”

LaRose, secretary of the Hall County Democratic Party, also campaigned for McCall. She remembers knocking on doors of people who lived in government housing. 

“One lady was a die-hard Fox News-watching Republican,” LaRose said. “We talked to her for a long time and she said she was so impressed that a candidate came to her door. She said, ‘I thought that politicians had forgot about us back here.’”

LaRose said the Hall County Democratic Party will continue their canvassing efforts, participating in parades, maintaining a presence on social media and writing letters to the editor to The Times. 

Before people know it, Gonzalez said 2020 is going to come. She urges Democrats to be prepared because she finds that Republicans are fully aware of the fact that Democrats will no longer remain silent. 

She asks Democrats to be intentional and committed with their efforts. 

“I know it’s challenging and there are times when you want to say, ‘It’s not going to happen,’” Gonzalez said. “But, remember, when you give up, how do we ask somebody else to pick it up again?”

For more information about Hall County Democratic Party, visit hallcountydemocrat.com

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