Dems Night Out: Local Democrats plan to become more active in community

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Andrew Cryer

CULLMAN – The Cullman County Democrats recently held their monthly “Dems Night Out” event at Grumpy's Italian Grill, where they discussed what they describe as “activist fervor” growing among local Democrats. The group says they plan to take bold action.

Those present discussed various progressive issues that they say affect Cullman directly, including public education reform, recycling and renewable energy, and homelessness.

The group argues that education must be affordable to all, and that Alabama should look into Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to make college free for middle- and low-income families. Regarding recycling and renewable energy, the group plans to seek reform on how those in the city and county recycle; various proposals were introduced, but the group decided to research how cities similar in size to Cullman have made a profit from recycling and renewable energy.  

The group also alleges that homelessness is an issue in Cullman County.

Angie Frost, a local progressive activist, said, “Whether or not it’s a problem depends on who you ask,” as she expressed her view that Cullman’s homelessness issue has been, she said, “swept under the rug.” She continued, “I’ve seen them at Grandma’s Coin Laundry because they have nowhere else to go.”

Donna Clifton, founder of Cullman AL for Bernie Sanders/Jill Stein, chimed in, “I’ve seen them at Waffle House at 2 a.m. sleeping and eating.” 

The group says they plan on proposing the creation of a Tiny Homes program within the city, along with the extension of existing community gardens, to the Cullman City Council in the near future.

The conversation then shifted to what the Cullman County Democrats, and by extension the state and national parties, must do to win elections.   

The group contends that on a national level, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont received more youth votes than President-Elect Donald Trump and former U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton combined during the 2016 primary elections, and that some scholars are beginning to argue that a new Civil Rights Era-level of energy is starting in the United States, as Millennials begin to flex their political strength; however, Democrats in Cullman County voted for Clinton nearly two-to-one over Sanders during the primary.

Ernestine ‘Erne’ Linton, a longtime Cullman County Democrat, expressed a view shared by some older Democrats following the election, “We must not cater to the old folks; we must cater to the younger generation to keep the party alive,” she said, as the room erupted in agreement.

Roger Duke, president of the North Central Alabama Young Democrats (NCAYD), said quite bluntly, “We want the Bernie people. The party cannot reform itself; you have to be involved.”

He continued, “I hope to soon see the local party become more active and progressive as Democrats and progressives unite for change in Cullman.”

Upcoming events for Cullman Democratic Party and NCAYD include the following:  

  • Monday, Jan.9: NCAYD monthly meeting at Grumpy’s Down Under starting at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 12: Cullman County Democrats monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 14: The Cullman County Democrats will provide rides to those interested in the Birmingham Reproductive Rights March. The march will last from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Those interested should arrive at the Chamber of Commerce parking deck no later than 9 a.m.
  • Monday, Jan. 16: The Cullman County Democrats will provide rides to those interested in the Birmingham Martin Luther King Day March lasting from noon-1p.m. Those interested should arrive at the Chamber of Commerce parking deck no later than 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 21: The Cullman County Democrats will provide transportation to those interested in attending the Women’s March on Washington—Alabama Chapter’s march in Birmingham. The march lasts from 2-5 p.m. Those interested should arrive at the Chamber of Commerce parking deck no later than 12:30 p.m.  

 

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