JEFFERSON — On Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. the Ashe County Democratic Party held its annual FDR dinner via Zoom Video Communications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The party has held an annual FDR dinner since 1990.
After kicking off the meeting there was a moment of silence and prayer for all COVID-19 victims, essential workers and firefighters fighting the fires in the Western part of the country.
Chairman Ralph Sorrell then shared some of his thoughts about former United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“He understood that this country was built by working people, when he took office in 1933, unemployment was approaching 25 percent,” Sorrell said. “And he understood not only the importance of getting people back to work, but that everybody’s work was important.”
Sorrell added that Joe Biden, who is a self-described working class kid from Scranton, truly understands the dignity of work.
“As Democrats we need to focus on that message, that we’re the party of working men and women, that we believe in a living wage, we believe in affordable education, we believe in affordable healthcare,” Sorrell said. “We’re all in this together and we can come together and find solutions and get people back to work.”
The remainder of the meeting included introductions of both judges and judicial candidates, as well as keynote speaker David Wilson Brown, who is in the race to represent the 5th Congressional District of NC and Jenna Wadsworth who is running for NC Commissioner of Agriculture.
Chief Justice of North Carolina Supreme Court Cheri Beasley was present and emphasized the importance of supporting judge candidates.
“As the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, I lead the court and I also lead the entire Judicial Branch of government,” Beasley said. “There are nearly 7,000 judges and district attorneys and court reporters and magistrates and a whole host of folks who make up our more than 300 court facilities across the state.”
Beasley asked viewers to understand the importance of the office of Chief Justice because people outside of NC will and will spend millions of dollars against her in the race.
“It is so important that we have people who are in service who care, who will serve with integrity and who have experience,” Beasley said. “And I will tell you, every judicial candidate who is offering themselves for service has more experience than their opponent.”
In closing, she asked everyone to vote for herself and all other Democratic Judge and Judicial candidates in the races.
For more information about Beasley, visit her website at chiefjusticebeasley.com.
Next, Chris Brook who is currently serving on the NC Court of Appeals shared some of his background.
Brook said the state is lucky to have Beasley leading the state’s Judicial branch of government right now.
He completed both his undergraduate and law school degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has only practiced law in North Carolina. He served as the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of NC for seven years prior to being appointed to the NC Court of Appeals by Gov. Roy Cooper in April 2019.
He has represented North Carolinians from every walk of life and he understands the legal challenges that residents face on a daily basis.
“We are so fortunate to have a wonderful slate of Democratic candidates for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals,” Brook said.
He mentioned www.fairjudgesnc.org, which is a resource for voters to access more information about all eight candidates.
To learn more about Brooks, visit the website www.keepjudgechrisbrook.com.
Superior Court Judge Lora Cubbage, who is based out of Guilford County addressed viewers.
Cubbage is originally from the Shenandoah Valley, VA and is a 27 year resident of NC and is happy to be running for seat five in the NC Court of Appeals.
She received her undergraduate degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University and attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“I do not want to be looked at as a Democratic or a Republican judge, because I am a judge that rules independently not leaning toward any party or any agency, impartially and fairly,” Cubbage said.
Cubbage reiterated that experience matters and while every judge has a learning curve, you do not want a novice deciding important cases at the Court of Appeals because it will be cases that will govern for years and generations to come.
For more information about Cubbage and what she stands for, visit www.cubbageforjudge.com.
NC Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman said after working as a trial judge for a decade, she is running for an open seat on the NC Supreme Court. She plans to protect the rule of law and the justice system from partisan politics and ideology that have “absolutely no place in our courts.”
“It is very important for people who are in a city where they’re outnumbered or they are in a county where they are outnumbered, to know that when you get to the Supreme Court of North Carolina politics stops at the courthouse steps,” Inman said.
Inman said she and the other candidates will work to treat everyone fairly, are more qualified than their opponents and are running to keep courts out of the political fray.
Wadsworth then addressed the party to discuss her background and qualifications in the race for NC Commissioner of Agriculture.
She grew up on a hog, cow, chicken, corn, cotton, tobacco and soybean farm on a dirt road in Johnston County, NC.
“This is part of who I am, it is in my blood,” Wadsworth said. “Running for this office is deeply personal to me.”
She strongly feels that the agricultural industry has been largely left in the past and it is time to elect a person with the vision and the passion to be able to move the industry into the future.
“A lot of other young folks like me, don’t think that farming could be a viable career opportunity for them and I am here to change that,” Wadsworth said.
She was elected in Wake County where she has served for the past 10 years as Vice Chair of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. In her first race, in 2010, she made history by being the youngest woman ever elected to any political office in the state.
She believes young people are not just the future but the “now.”
For more information about Wadsworth, visit www.jennawadsworth.com
The evening’s keynote speaker was David Wilson Brown who is running against incumbent Republican Virginia Foxx to serve NC’s fifth congressional district.
Brown has a love and passion for FDR which he said really took off this year when he attended an FDR dinner in Alexander County in January.
Prior to this, he was unaware about the Second Bill of Rights and realized how critical the piece is. According to Brown, a big part of what he has focused on this year has been trying to share how the Second Bill of Rights is part of what he is and what he is running for.
“We have a short time here on Earth, we have to make sure that we take care of everyone that we can and make sure that our government is set up to fight for those rights,” Brown said.
Brown’s motto is “a better road forward”, which focuses on how citizens can work together to ensure everyone has a job and the dignity of work is rewarded with living wages.
For more information about Brown and his campaign, visit www.dwb4congress.com.
In closing, Beth Sorrell who is running for a seat on the Ashe County Board of Commissioners thanked everyone for participating and called it a “great time.”