By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The Edgecombe County Democratic Party nominated William Solomon as chair during its organization meeting Saturday at the Edgecombe County Administration Building. The nomination was apparently a surprise to Solomon.
“I don’t know whether to thank you or be mad at you,” he jokingly said. Speaking on North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly, Solomon said, “We've got a lot of work to do. We have to make sure that we have strong leaders on the ground in Edgecombe County. We've got to make sure that we select strong people to challenge these people."
“My objective is to have more bodies in these seats.”
Solomon, 33, an attorney from Rocky Mount, ran in the 2012 election for North Carolina House of Representatives District 23 seat. He lost to incumbent Rep. Joe Tolson in the Democratic primary, his first race for public office. For the Democratic Party Chair seat, Solomon went up against the Rev. Roosevelt Higgs, who nominated himself.
Solomon replaces Alan Mitchell, who stepped down after serving four years. Mitchell presided over the meeting until Solomon was nominated. Mitchell thanked the Democratic Party for allowing him to serve as chairman and then vowed that he would continue to assist in another manner.
“It has been a privilege for me to have worked with this party, Mitchell said. “Just because I’m stepping down, doesn’t mean I’m not going to do my part.”
For the 1st Vice Chair seat, Gladys Shelton, 87, was the only nominee and was re-elected to fill the seat. Shelton, 88, a former Edgecombe County Register of Deeds, said she owes so much to her party because it stood behind her when she was in office. She gladly accepted the re-election.
“I appreciate the confidence that you have showed in me,” Shelton said. “I will serve you the best that I can. As you know I’m up in age now and I don’t know how much longer I will serve. I'm glad to see some younger people come out and take over."
Also re-elected were 2nd Vice Chair Bob Byrd; 3rd Vice Chair, Bob Byrd; 3rd Vice Chair Martha Johnson; Secretary, Viola Harris; and Treasurer Stephanie Hunter.
The party also selected Stephanie Hunter, Mitchell, Byrd and Florence Armstrong to serve on the State Democratic Executive Committee. Solomon and Shelton will also serve on the committee as permitted by regulations that allow chairman and 1st chair to serve.
Before the officers were elected, Edgecombe County Clerk of Court, Carol Allen White, was the keynote speaker. Also playing off the Republican-led General assembly, White told her party, “It’s time to stand up and act.”
“As many of you know, the North Carolina General Assembly is out of control in its campaign to attack the rights of the majority of North Carolina,” she said. “Just this past week they introduced legislation to cut Early Voting, ban same-day voter registration and end Sunday Voting. …They also are now trying to make students vote at their parents’ address if they are being claimed as a dependent, crippling campus voting. …These are just a few examples. More outrageous and mean-spirited bills emerge daily that will have devastating impacts on minority communities, women, seniors and the poor.”
The Democratic Party is by far the most dominant in Edgecombe County. Of its 55,000 citizens, 39,833 are registered Democrats compared to 6,184 Republicans, 3,844 unaffiliated and 37 Liberterian.