To all members of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party Executive Committee,
It has come to my attention that the following individuals have lodged a grievance with the North Carolina Democratic Party Council of Review against me, and submitted a petition to remove me from my position as 3rd Vice Chairperson of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party: Antonio Blue, Chairman of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party; Dianne Little, 2nd Vice Chairwoman of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party; Douglas McMillan, Treasurer of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party; and Dan Yemiola, former Secretary of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party.
According to the petitioners, I have violated these sections of the Plan of Organization: (0.04 PUBLICIZE MEETINGS, 3.02 VOTING ON THE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, 3.05 DUTIES OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OFFICERS, 10.01 GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL, 10.04 SIMULTANEOUS OFFICE HOLDING PROHIBITED IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES, 11.02 MEETING NOTICE REQUIREMENTS). They claim that I have “repeatedly refused to follow instructions by the Congressional District Chair,” and have been “derelict in my duties and usurped the authority of the district Secretary an 1st Vice Chair.” They assert that I am the reason for the District Party’s stalemate, but I must disagree. It is disputes like this that are the reason for our lack of progress.
I am strongly disappointed by the actions of Mr. Blue, Mr. McMillan, Mr. Yemiola, and Mrs. Little. Though I strongly oppose getting involved with inner-Party disputes, this is a matter that needs to be discussed for the betterment of our District Party. No matter how strongly I disagree with any of the assertions they have forged against me, their complaints are not felt alone, and everyone deserves the truth. It is my sincere hope that no-one circulate this memo to those who could harm us, because disputes between members of our Party exist to be healthy and constructive.
Our District stretches across the most valuable history and background of the Tar Heel state. While conservative, the 8th District has been loyal to Democrats such as Bill Purcell, Bill Hefner, and many others. The Democratic Party has always been supportive of our candidates, but throughout the last few years we have seen a specific group of people who have failed to support our candidates and have done more bad than good for our Party. Some of whom are very members of the Executive Board of the 8th District Democratic Party.
Because of the failed leadership of the 8th District Democratic Party, we lost a state Senate seat held by Democrats since before 1997. Democrats across the board did poorly in our congressional district, and many county parties blame the disorganization of the state and district Democratic Party. At a meeting following the 2014 election, Lee Quick, the Chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party, reflected on the 2014 elections that his county had limited resources when it came to phone calls, newspaper articles, poll observers, and general information [Click here for the article] When asked what the 8th District Democratic Party could have done better in 2014, a leader from Robeson County said that we didn’t provide any signs or materials for outreach and campaigning. Our District should have been fundraising to provide materials, training exercises, and any help possible to our counties.
In addition, I was appalled that in 2014 the 8th District Democratic Party did not meet once, and we had only two conference calls before the election. I brought this to Diane Little’s attention on a conference call on December 30, 2014, but she responded by defensively saying that she had done a great deal of work in Union County. To be clear, if counties didn’t get the resources they needed, officers of the 8th District did not work hard enough.
If you are a voting member of the 8th Congressional District Executive Committee, I urge you to vote against the following incumbents.
Mr. McMillan is the current Treasurer of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party and was elected to this position in May 2013. The duties of Treasurer are as follows:
1. Maintain the district executive committee treasury at an insured commercial bank;
2. Maintain all records required by law or by the district executive committee of contributions received and disbursements made;
3. Prepare and file any reports as may be required by law or by the district executive committee;
4. Transmit all records pertaining to the office to successor within ten (10) days of vacating office.
Mr. McMillan has failed in all of the above duties. He did not file a disclosure report for any quarter of 2014 and incurred a $1000 penalty that has since been passed along to the NC Attorney General’s office [12/01/2014 Penalty] [02/04/2015 Penalty]. Mr. McMillan never announced these penalties before the Executive Committee or its officers. At the 2014 District Convention in May he told the body and was quoted in the Laurinburg Exchange, “As I stand before you today, we don’t have and never have gotten the complete financial information for the 8th Congressional District.” [Click here for the article] . Members of the 8th District, Mr. McMillan has deceived you.
Reports were filed every year that the District has been registered with the Board of Elections, and the first year that penalties were incurred has been under Mr. McMillan. His statements were published in the Laurinburg Exchange, as well as our “financial woes” of only having $306.17 in our account.
This is not the first time Mr. McMillan has brought shame to the Democratic Party. Before redistricting in 2010, Mr. McMillan was a citizen of the 7th Congressional District. In 2008 he ran to be a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver where Barack Obama was nominated. Doug McMillan, however, was knocked out of the first round of voting after receiving only one vote. For an unknown reason, Doug then contacted the newspaper of Robeson County, the Robesonian, to tell them that he originally was elected as a delegate but “chose to relinquish the third delegate seat to a white male.” Two days later, Democrats from the 7th District responded. Danny Britt, a Robeson county district attorney and active Democrat asked “How could he relinquish a seat he never won?” Even more insulting is that McMillan’s justification was a racial one. Racial divides in this state are a very real problem, but to facilitate race as an excuse for his own wrong doing insults those who face very real difficulties because of the color of their skin.
And, to pin the tail on this donkey, Mr. McMillan did not even vote in 2014; not in the primary, and not in the razor thin general election where Kay Hagan lost by just a couple percentage points.
At one time, Mrs. Little and I had a productive working relationship. She introduced me to Teen Democrats in Union County while I was President of the North Carolina Teen Democrats which led to their county chartering. However, that was the extent of our involvement with each other. She considers herself very involved, and I have seen her at several events, but being very involved does not necessarily mean doing something very positive. Since then, Mrs. Little has created divisions in our Party, disrupted official meetings and brought negative press on the Democratic Party.
At the 2013 Union County Convention nearly all of the precincts were in agreement about electing a slate of officers to the County Executive Committee. In fact, 38 precincts voted unanimously for this slate at a later meeting. Unfortunately, because of Diane Little’s incorrect interpretation of the Plan of Organization, she assumed power over the convention and refused to hold an election. I will not argue over the logistics of if Mrs. Little actually had authority to run the elections, but she certainly did not have the authority to recess the entire county convention. Her justification was that Randy Voller, Chairman of the NC Democratic Party, had sent her an email directing her to recess the meeting. A clip of his email: [Voller email]
With all of the precincts unanimously supporting one slate, the only slate running, it would appear that the only individual who would lead complaints was Diane Little. Furthermore, nothing in the Plan of Organization gave Randy Voller the authority to do so, and had Mrs. Little respected the will of body over whom she was presiding or even bothered to familiarize herself with the Party’s rules, the Union County Democratic Party would have encountered no problems, and would not have attracted negative publicity. The Democratic Party has long been a party of diverse views with constructive compromises, but barring individuals from voting and even creating an environment where Mrs. Little’s actions “led to a reported assault” in no way benefits our party [Click here for the article]. Accessibility to voting is one of the Democratic Party’s strongest platform, and anyone who stands against voting in any way should not be a leader of our party.
Antonio is the current Chairman of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party and was elected at a special meeting on January 3rd, 2015 to replace Chairwoman Grace Galloway who changed Party affiliation. Before being elected as the replacement Chairman, Blue was the 1st Vice Chair of the District Party since May of 2013. He was also the Democratic opponent to Republican incumbent Richard Hudson for the US Congressional seat in 2012. While he has been a very active Democrat in our District and stepped up to the plate when we needed a challenger to Richard Hudson, not even the Charlotte Observer endorsed Antonio Blue. They wrote, “While we disagree with him on the majority of policy issues, [Richard Hudson] is a better fit for the…8th District than is Blue. Blue has little experience that suggests he’s ready to serve in Congress.” [Click here for the article]
He is a signer of the petition against me and one of the alleged violations of the Plan of Organization against me is on section 10.01 Ground For Removal and a provision of that provides justification for forcing an officer out of his or her office if he or she “directly or indirectly, gives support to, aids or helps any opposing political party or candidate of any opposing party, or either a write-in or unaffiliated candidate regardless of voter registration when there is a Democratic Nominee.” In 2010 Blue campaigned against the Democratic incumbent, Larry Kissell, as a write-in candidate. Individuals replaced Democratic Party slate cards at some polling locations like Albemarle 8 in Stanly County with copies of sample ballots instructing individuals to write in Antonio Blue’s name rather than vote for Kissell. With his accusation of me for violating Section 10.01, I find it difficult to not define Mr. Blue as a hypocrite.
As 1st Vice Chairman of the District Party he did very little for our Party, and failed to appear on our only conference calls of 2014 and did not attend our October, 2013 meeting in Robeson County. He did not coordinate efforts with counties and auxiliaries to give them useful resources, and has not done much more as Chairman.
Since being elected as Chairman, Blue has shown that he is not capable of handling the administrative roles of the Chairman. In February, 2015 our 1st Vice Chairwoman, Veleria Levy, was elected to be the 2nd Vice Chairwoman of the NC Democratic Party. In accordance with section 10.04 of the Plan of Organization, 15 days after Ms. Levy became an officer of the state Party, she vacated the seat on the district executive committee. According to the Plan of Organization, a meeting must be held within 30 days of the vacation of the office to fill the vacancy. After the meeting where Ms. Levy was elected I spoke with Mr. Blue who told me he would be in contact with me about scheduling a meeting. I have not heard from him since and have not gotten a reply to any emails or calls. He has also not contacted any of the executive committee officers about planning for our District Convention, which is supposed to occur in May.
Throughout his time on the Board as Vice Chairman and as Chairman he has been absent and I can assuredly say that he has had no, if not a negative impact on the District Party. He has conducted no fundraising, has not been vocal on fixing the problems we have encountered with the Board of Elections and penalties, and has not proven himself as one who respects the rules of the Party where we democratically elect our nominees.
We Deserve Better
The 8th Congressional District Democratic Party deserves better than how we have been treated by the current officers of the District Executive Committee. Throughout the last couple years we have found ourselves in an impasse because of divisive disagreements and apathy on the part of our officers. Our counties deserve a comprehensive, district-wide fundraising plan that leads to better communication and better outreach for our counties. They deserve more yard signs, more training sessions, and more funds. No matter how involved any of the officers think they have been, they have not benefited the district party.
I have attempted to help our district party, and now I have found myself served with a petition with the Council of Review against me. Please do what is good for our party, and vote against Antonio Blue, Douglas McMillan and Diane Little.