By William Clapper – The Manatee County Democratic Gala was certainly a night to remember.
A sellout crowd of 320 Democrats cheered as three of the gubernatorial candidates gave solid reasons why the current governor must be voted out of office. Former governor Congressman Charlie Crist, current Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried and state Senator Annette Taddeo shared personal stories and each gave rock solid reasons why they should be the next governor of Florida.
Two local awards were presented during the ceremonies. Michelle Grimsley, chair of the Manatee County Democratic Black Caucus accepted the Bill McGrath Memorial Award on behalf of the MCDBC for its efforts to register voters and promote vote-by-mail. Graciela Greenberg, former chair of the Manatee County Democratic Hispanic Caucus, accepted the John Lewis Memorial Award for her lifetime dedicated to community and democratic values. The Lewis Award commemorates the legacy and contributions of Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, who fought for civil rights and the elimination of racial segregation.
Manatee County Democratic Party chair Tracy Pratt gave the assembly a glimpse of the party’s accomplishments the past year and prepared county Democrats for the battles ahead. “With right-wing attacks on our school boards and overt corruption on our county commission, we know we must remain vigilant and fight for our Democratic values at all levels of government,” said Pratt.
She further exhorted the crowd to become involved. “We know we stand with the majority of Americans who support voting rights, reproductive rights and acceptance of individuals regardless of race or sexual identity and orientation.”
Gala night was a series of firsts:
· The first major Democratic in-person event in three years,
· A sellout of 320 people,
· The first time military service people and first responders were officially recognized at the Gala,
· The first time all three major gubernatorial candidates were on stage together to answer questions,
· The first time a professional moderator, Rob Lorei of WEDU-PBS Television, ran a Manatee County Democratic Party candidate forum,
· The first time that part of one of our candidate forums received television coverage from Florida This Week, WEDU-PBS,
· The first time the program is available for online viewing,
· The first time Manatee Dems are contributing $555 to the World Central Kitchen on behalf of the Ukrainian people,
· The first time there were eight live auction items earning $19,800,
· The first time the Gala raised more than $50,000 to support party activities, advertising and promotion.
“Thank you to everyone who attended and everyone who helped before, during and after the Gala. We hope this is the beginning of many more firsts for Manatee Democrats,” said 2022 Gala Co-Chairs, Lucy Lapides and Robin Sathan.
Manatee County's Blue Wave Coalition's monthly voter outreach event is Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m. with drinks and snacks provided.
Join us in going to low voter turnout precincts to obtain voter registrations and enroll voters in Vote by Mail (VBM.) A voter enrolled in VBM is two times more likely to vote than one who is not enrolled.
Meet at the Democratic headquarters in Orange Blossom Shopping Center, 435 Cortez Road West in Bradenton. You will go in teams of two to selected Democratic blocks. Training materials will be provided before the event and new volunteers will partner with someone who has visited neighborhoods. Spanish-speakers are needed for Hispanic blocks.
SIGN UP HERE. After completing your assigned blocks, return to headquarters to socialize with other participants. Wine, beer and snacks will be available. Contact BlueWaveManatee@gmail.com with questions.
The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections is looking for Democrats to serve as poll workers for the primary election this August. The SOE strives to an even split of Democratic and Republican poll workers.
Poll workers staff polling places on election day and the number of available poll workers could impact how many polling places are open on election day. There are five paid positions at each polling place: Certified Clerk, Certified Assistant Clerk, Certified Tabulator Inspector, Certified EPB Ballot Inspector and Election Deputy.
If you have the time and ambition to be a poll worker contact the Supervisor of Elections Office, (941) 741-3823, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the SOE website, https://www.votemanatee.com/Poll-Worker/Become-a-Poll-Worker. A poll worker application form is on the website.
The Democratic Women’s Club’s May meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 12, at Peridia Golf and Country Club, 4950 Peridia Blvd. E, Bradenton. Elena Kostenko-Farkas, executive director of Project Light of Manatee, Inc., an adult English learning school, is the featured speaker. She has taught various subject areas for more than 30 years and has worked with different students' age groups as a teacher, program director and university instructor. To register for the luncheon meeting, contact WDC president Joanie LeBaron, email@example.com.
Michelle Grimsley will be the featured speaker at the Anna Marie Island and West Manatee Democratic Club meeting, May 16, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Doctor’s Garden, 5312 Holmes Blvd. #B, Holmes Beach (next to the Doctor's Office).
Grimsley, a third generation Manatee County native, will present and facilitate a discussion, The 2022 Florida Legislative Session: Up, Down and All Around. Currently, she is Chair of the Manatee County Democratic Black Caucus and served as a lobbyist and a legislative staff member in the Florida House of Representatives.
“We are aghast at the outcome of the 2022 Florida legislative session for many different reasons,” said an AMI-WM spokesperson. “Get the low down about what happened from someone who was there. Engage in a conversation about where we go from here.”
Bring lunch, or plan to have lunch at a nearby restaurant. Contact Barbara Beckwith firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the meeting or to ask a question.
The AMIWM Democratic Club is seeking to expand its membership. Join the Go Blue Drive by asking three friends to join. Click here for details.
In this critical election year, Democrats need to have a presence at community events or specific locations throughout the county. Staffing an event or maintaining a specific location is an alternative to canvassing door-to-door to obtain voter registrations and enrollments in Vote by Mail.
There are many events in Manatee County that pose as ideal opportunities to set up an information table or roam through a crowd. Food distribution drive-throughs are also ideal places to establish a voter registration presence.
Volunteers work with Manatee County Democratic Party representatives and receive training, clipboards and forms to be filled out by folks attending the event. To volunteer for these event activities, Sign Up Here with the Manatee Dems. You will be contacted as needs arise. If you are new to voter registration, you will have opportunities to shadow experienced volunteers. If you know of potentially productive events or locations, contact Phyllis at email@example.com
Registering new voters is not enough to ensure that they actually vote. Recently registered voters need contact from like-minded voters to provide encouragement and comfort to build confidence and pride in the voting process.
The Follow-up Call Team is an initiative Indivisible Manatee developed to provide support to the voters who register during neighborhood canvassing efforts. A volunteer will call the voter after their registration becomes official. The newly registered voter will be congratulated and asked if they got their Voter ID Card. Closer to the elections, calls will be made to ensure each voter received a mail ballot, answer questions they may have and let them know which candidates and measures Democrats support.
Indivisible provides guidance and training. You will not be given more names than you can handle and calls will be to Democrats. For more information, contact IndivisibleManatee@gmail.com.
Join other Democrats Saturdays in May for Door-To-Door canvassing efforts in nearby neighborhoods.
Canvassing teams meet at Democratic headquarters, 435 Cortez Road, Orange Blossom shopping Center, Bradenton, at 4 p.m. You will be delivering important voter registration and Vote From Home information to Democratic voters' doors.
After canvassing your selected neighborhood, gather with like-minded Democrats for a food and beverages at Democratic headquarters.
Team with a friend or let us know if you would like a walking partner. Never talked to voters before? We give you training and pair you with an experienced canvasser. We use COVID-safe practices when engaging voters. Stop by Democratic headquarters for your materials, walk lists and instructions. We send teams to nearby neighborhoods. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.
S.T.R.E.A.M., a nonpartisan, multi-faith and civic community project, will sponsor a Joshua Assembly, Monday, May 16th at 6:30 pm at PEACE Presbyterian Church (in the Lakewood Ranch area), 12705 SR-64, Bradenton. S.T.R.E.A.M., (Stronger Together Reaching Equality Across Manatee) seeks justice and solving critical problems in Manatee County by addressing the root problems. For more information, contact Tina Juillerat, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.streammanatee.org.
By Patti Shannon - Manatee Dems say, “Come on in!” Office hours are weekdays noon to 4 p.m. at the Manatee County Democratic Party headquarters located in the Orange Blossom Shopping Center at 435 Cortez Road West in Bradenton.
You will find volunteers helping in many ways – assisting with data entry, making phone calls to encourage people to register to vote and vote by mail (phone banking) and training. They are a friendly bunch who gladly greet visitors who have questions about voting, registering to vote, or who want to learn about the wide variety of ways to lend their time and talents to support Democratic ideals.
Volunteer Coordinator Chair Bev Pannee said, “We are looking for a few more office volunteers who are comfortable working on computers and making phone calls. It's a great way to meet people and learn about the Democratic Party and elections in Manatee.”
Another volunteer, Barb Stubbers, provides phone bank training in the office most Mondays 2 to 4 p.m. She has a reputation as a great coach, making it easy and fun. If you are new to phone banking or want a refresher, contact the office at 941-301-4336 during office hours or email ManateeDemOffice@gmail.com.
Anyone who would like to phone bank using the Manatee Dem office phones is welcome to come on weekdays from noon to 4 p.m. Use an office laptop to connect to the virtual phone bank or bring your own device.
For groups wanting to schedule in-person meetings outside of regular office hours, contact ManateeDemOffice@gmail.com to make arrangements.
By Barbara Ehren and Cyndy Rosso – The deep-water injection well slated for Piney Point concerns many Manatee residents. As coastal Floridians, we are especially concerned with the quality of our water. The Piney Point situation has been unsettling to say the least, and we want to feel confident that the solution underway is a sound one.
On April 14, 2022, the Anna Maria Island/West Manatee Democratic Club and the Manatee Democratic Environmental Caucus co-sponsored a webinar on Zoom to explore the science of deep-water disposal wells with speaker Jesse Ehren, an expert in water disposal. Our focus was not on the politics of this issue for this webinar; the talk was about the science.
Mr. Ehren is Director of Water Treatment for Bosque Disposal Systems, Fort Worth, TX. He is a native Floridian with a master’s degree in planning from FSU, focusing on natural resource management.
(Barbara Ehren is president of the Anna Maria Island and West Manatee Democratic Club and Cyndy Rosso is co-chair of the Manatee Democratic Environmental Caucus.)
Don't miss the radio interview with Ed Sabol, president of the Longboat Key Democratic Club and Paul Hylbert, a member of the Republican Club of Longboat Key.
Ed and Paul answer pressing questions about the Miracle on the Key, the groundbreaking project happening right here that fosters civil political discourse in these divided times.
The show aired Tuesday, April 5, on Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly current affairs show (89.7FM) and you can hear the recording on the WUSF website. Click here.
In the May issue: Sellout Gala photos and results, Democratic poll workers sought, Michelle Grimsley to speak at AMI-WM meeting, adult learning educator to speak at Dem Women's Club luncheon, register voters at area events, join the Follow Up Call Team, Manatee Dems voter outreach, Blue Wave voter outreach.
Download the PDF, then sign up to receive newsletters by email.
Have news, articles, ideas or photography? Please send us your name, email and message. We rely on dedicated Manatee County Democratic volunteers to maintain a successful newsletter. Your comments and ideas are appreciated!