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WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Democratic Party met for a regular session meeting on Sept. 28 at the shelter in West Jefferson Park to discuss recent events and upcoming elections.

The meeting was headed by party chair Ralph Sorrell along with around 12 group members.

Steve Panella gave a treasurer’s report stating the party had a total of $2,474 at the end of July and the balance for that meeting was $2,305. The party gained $110 in contributions, which were from the party’s ice cream social held on Sept. 24. Expenses were $228 for postcards, stamps and donations. The report was approved by the party.

Next up on the agenda was the minutes from August, which needed a correction regarding the upcoming litter sweep’s contact information, which is Elsie Hall and not Carolyn Weckstorm as stated in the minutes. The amended minutes were approved.

The party then discussed the ice cream social, which worked well in their favor as they set up camp at the Farmers Market shelter and the concert from the Lucky Strikes was moved next to them due to an impending thunderstorm.

“We got better exposure than we otherwise would have,” Sorrell said. “We talked to a lot of people and got some contributions. Everybody enjoyed the ice cream and listened to some classic 60s music.”

In regard to the free food pantry created by the party, vice chair Kelley Breiding provided an update via email to Sorrell. Breiding said she spoke with the property manager near the old Salvation Army building and expressed that she had a good feeling about acquiring the space.

Sorrell gave a canvassing update and said he hopes to get their voter list up to date. He said it is most difficult this time fo year to motivate themselves as no Democratic candidates are running in the county. He said it will help to canvas to find out what people are thinking about and to let them know the party is here and are willing to listen to their concerns. Sorrell said if anyone is interested in canvassing to contact him and that Jodie Feimster recently canvassed at the Locust Street Apartments and spoke with many eligible voters.

Party member Elaine Jacobs then gave an update on redistricting. She moved for the party to let the General Assembly know what they think about the issue.

“We need to know what the maps are soon,” Jacobs said. “The main thing I think we should do is let the General Assembly legislature know that we’re looking for fair and open redistricting.”

Sorrell also suggested that the party send letters to the editor to encourage people to pay more attention to the upcoming maps.

For new business, the party discussed the Keep Ashe Beautiful litter sweep happening on Oct. 9 beginning at 10 a.m. The DOT has assigned the party a stretch of highway on Deep Ford Road in Lansing. Volunteers and aspiring participants were encouraged to contact Elsie Hall at

“There’s a lot of litter out there, which is good since we’re going to go sweep it up,” Sorrell said. “Hopefully we’ll get a good turnout.”

Sorrell then said he is working on Century Club letters although the party will not hold a dinner this year due to COVID-19. The Executive Committee is set to review before the letters are sent out.

The trailer that the party uses for the Christmas in July celebration has been obtained and is currently parked at Carolyn Weckstrom’s place but is unfortunately out in the open between two barns.

“We need to find covered shelter or a barn to park the trailer in before the weather turns bad,” Sorrell said.

The party said if they cannot find a suitable location for the trailer, they may purchase a heavy duty tarp to attach across the barns.

Sorrell then encouraged anyone who would like to make phone calls to Democrat neighbors to see what they’re thinking and how the party can help to reach out to him directly at

In recent news, Steve and Jackie Schwinn will be moving to their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. This will open up his position as third vice chair for the party. Members gave their thanks and well wishes to the couple as they embark on their new journey. They have been strong supporters within the party and will be missed.

“We will miss you all being here,” Sorrell said. “Thank you for all you’ve done and we wish you luck in your new home.”

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