Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New chairman wants to organize Douglas County Democrats

Organization has become a major goal for Georgia Democrats. The state in recent years has become increasingly Republican despite Democratic gains in other parts of the country.
Martin W. Raxton, the new Douglas County Democratic Party chairman, hopes to use his organizing skills to bring the county back into the “blue” column in upcoming elections.

“I think we can do positive things here in Douglas County,” Raxton said. “I’m optimistic that 2008’s going to be a good year for Democrats, both national and local. Americans are positioned for change.”

Raxton said Douglas Democrats will be working hard during the next year to increase the number of registered voters and to field full slates of candidates in local, state and congressional elections.
“We want to give voters a ballot where they have a choice,” he said.

He congratulated District 1 Commissioner Freddie Ashmon who last year became the first Democrat elected to the Board of Commissioners in recent times and the first African-American candidate elected to county office.

Raxton, who assumed his county chairmanship in January, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his B.S. degree in industrial psychology from Michigan State and his master’s in public administration from Cleveland State.
“I got involved in Cleveland politics while working on my master’s program,” he said. “I worked in campaigns for state representatives and senators and for the Cleveland mayor. It was a strong political arena and I learned a lot about getting people elected.”

Raxton continued his political interests after moving to West Palm Beach, Florida, where he worked in city and county government.

“This gave me an opportunity to learn the administrative side of politics,” he said.
He moved to Douglasville in 1994 and has lived here since. He works with an Internet company in Midtown Atlanta. He and his wife, Machale, have two sons, Christopher, 10, and Cory, 7.

“I don’t want to run for political office,” he said. “I want to organize the local political party and help get Democrats elected.”

Raxton said he wants to “galvanize the community” and bring the “unserved and underserved” voters into the political process.
“I see the county demographics shifting,” he said. “We want to be sure that people moving into the area get on the voter rolls.”

Raxton identified eight major initiative areas for Douglas County Democrats: economic development, diversity, infrastructure, education, healthcare, justice system, peace movement and the environment.

“We’re formulating action plans in each of these areas to educate voters and talk about improvements,” he said.
He’s also planning organizational and fundraising activities to raise money and bring elected lawmakers to the area to meet their constituents. One planned fundraising activity is a golf tournament to be held sometime during the fourth quarter of this year. The location and date are yet to be determined.

Raxton wants to get Democrats more involved with youth in the community.

“They’re our future and we have them at the forefront of all our initiatives,” he said.
“I feel we have a lot of momentum going and I look forward to working with voters in the county,” Raxton said.

The Douglas County Democratic Party meets at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month at the Alice Hawthorne Center at Jessie Davis Park in Douglasville. The meetings are not held during the summer, but will start back in September.

The party’s mailing address is P.O. Box 55, Douglasville, GA 30133 and the Web site is www.douglascountydemocraticassociation.com.

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