Rural Democrats Engage State Party
Glades and Hendry County Democrats traveled to Broward County last weekend to advocate local interests at the Florida Democratic Party's annual Leadership Blue conference. Representing the Glades County Democratic Party was chairwoman Mary Giddens. Mary delivered a report to the Democratic Small County Coalition on restructuring the coalition to better address the economic, health and education issues crucial to smaller counties.
Speaking before the entire Florida Democratic Party Central and Executive Committees was Glades Democrats vice chair John Capece. He reported on actions of the Legislative Liaison Committee, a group assigned to help communicate key priorities of the issue caucuses to Democratic members of the state legislature.
Capece explained, "The Florida Democratic Party has 18 separate caucuses, where we deal with the concerns of veterans, seniors, business owners, Hispanic and other groups. Right now a new caucus is being assembled to focus on agriculture. It represents an effort by Florida Democrats to help bridge the ever widening, false perceptions divide between urban and rural voters."
Representing Hendry County at the weekend working meetings was first time delegate Ramon Rodriguez. His involvement brings Clewiston, LaBelle, and other small communities back into active engagement with Democrats statewide. Ramon will be leading work on a new organizing grant project for Hendry Democrats.
"As a regular working man from LaBelle, I was a little nervous about attending this meeting, but then I was surprised to see how other Democrats wanted to hear from me about our needs and issues. It showed me that we all want the same things - good jobs, quality schools, and affordable health care," said Rodriguez.
The Hendry and Glades Democratic delegations will help plan the upcoming Florida gubernatorial debate scheduled for at Florida Gulf Coast University. Issues critical to rural communities will be part of the questions posed to the five candidates - Gwen Graham, Chris King, Andrew Gillum, Jeff Green and Philip Levine.
Photo: Philip Levine, candidate for Florida Governor and former Miami Beach Mayor, speaks with Wendy Williams (Democratic Small County Coalition Chair), Raymond Rodriguez (Hendry County Democrats) and Mary Giddens (Glades County Democrats).