With tables adorned in the honor of notable female politicians, the Bulloch County Democratic Party hosted a sold out crowd for their Seventh Annual Independence Gala. The night celebrated Women in Politics as the party looks forward to upcoming elections while still trying to come to terms with the events of this past November. Among the guest were many candidates from the district including Trent Nesmith (12th District Congressional Candidate) and Jonathan McCollar (Candidate for Statesboro Mayor).
However, sticking with the theme, the night’s keynote speaker featured Stacey Evans. Hope was central to the gubernatorial candidate’s message to the party. Opening with an anecdote about her daughter’s outlook on women and campaigning due to her mother’s involvement, Evans spoke about the work that still needed to be done regarding women in politics. This came after hearing her young daughter say “women can’t be president” due to never seeing one elected. She contrasted that by providing a positive outlook that Georgia Democrats will nominate a female nominee for governor, and should that nominee see victory – it will be a 1st for the Georgia governorship. Evans also spoke to her hope to bridge the gap that Georgians see between rural and urban communities. She advocated for unity among the party in regards to seeing policies through that would address everything from DACA to education to discrimination due to where someone resides. With a call to getting back to the progressive policies that made Georgia a leader in the 90s, Stacey Evans also spoke to the hope that Georgia’s HOPE scholarship gave her as she was the first in her family to attend college because of the program. She closed by saying that if Georgia voted democratic hope and opportunity would be provided for all.
As the night came to a close, the party also honored several women for their service. Both candidates for governor, Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans, were presented with the Charlie Lewis, Sr. Democratic Pioneer award to honor them for being trailblazers within the party for daring to dream, daring to achieve, and daring to change. Nikema Williams, First Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, was honored with the Pat Gillis Democratic Champion award. The final honor of the night went to Columbus Mayor, Teresa Tomlinson. Tomlinson was presented with the Joe Bill Brannon Civic Engagement award.
Bulloch County Democratic Chairwoman, Ivory Watts closed the night thanking the women who were honored and spoke throughout the night for being role models for everyone in our state. Watts called for local engagement to start the change that the Democratic Party hopes to see across the board. She championed that the Democrats had many things to be proud of, but did not ignore the legacy that the party holds including white supremacy and the civil rights movement. Watts encouraged her fellow Democrats to speak up, speak out, and become involved.
By Lindsay Gribble