By SEAN WARDWELL
Two candidates have declared themselves candidates to become the next Hays County Democratic Party chair, when current chair Anna Martinez Boling steps down on May 21.
Courtney Strange, past president of the Texas State College Democrats, and Katie Bell Moore, who cites extensive party experience from her work in Travis County, said they are best qualified to lead the party through the 2010 election.
“I will bring a strong, vital and unique quality to the chair position,” Moore said. “Since I am a relative newcomer, I don’t have strong alliances with any of the factions in our county.”
Continued Moore, “I believe this attribute can really aid me in helping to unite and organize our party for the 2010 election season. We do not have time for factions and dissent among party leaders. As our county grows, our success is dependent upon our unity as strong Democrats.”
Strange points to his experience organizing elections in Hays County and helping organize major party events.
“I’ve been a resident of Hays County for five years, and graduated from Texas State University, with a degree in political science,” said Strange. “I served as both president and vice president of the Texas State College Democrats. During my term as president I oversaw some of the biggest political events ever to come to Hays County, including President Obama’s major campaign speech in San Marcos, Senator Ted Kennedy’s speech on the Texas State University Campus, and local appearances by President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.”
Added Strange, “In preparing for these exciting events, I was able to organize large groups of students, as well as coordinate with the local Democratic organizations to make these events a success.”
The 2010 election will see several seats held by Democrats up for grabs, including county judge and county commissioner precincts two and four. Furthermore, a heated primary is expected between current County Judge Liz Sumter and Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton, though neither has announced their candidacies.
Despite her newcomer status, having moved to Buda last year, Moore has set a vision for the party.
“My priorities as Chair of HCDP (Hays County Democratic Party) will be to increase fundraising, reach out to the younger demographic, upgrade our communications system, and plan a coordinated campaign for 2010,” Moore said. “I have the time, energy and skills necessary to help Hays County Dems take the next step. We must energize and engage the entire party, and keep the momentum moving forward through the midterm election. Our local government has a strong Democrat base, and, in 2010, we can keep it that way, as we grow even stronger together.”
Strange stressed his local ties and familiarity with local issues as the strengths of his candidacy.
“I am familiar with the issues important to Hays County such as water use, land development and new roads, and the differences some Democrats have with these issues,” Strange said. “I want to foster a spirit of unity, compromise and finding common ground on these types of issues that are frequently based on regional differences.”
Continued Strange, “As Democrats, we must also combine our collective wisdom to develop fundraising strategies that will be effective during these difficult economic times. I will always lead by combining fresh, new ideas needed to succeed in the twenty first century, with the experience of our members who have accomplished so much in the past.”
Both Strange and Moore also point to their extensive experience working and volunteering on political campaigns as well.
Boling has declined to make an endorsement in the race, saying that both candidates would be fine leaders for the party. The HCDP Executive Committee, which consists of the party’s precinct chairs, will meet at 6 p.m. in the San Marcos Activity Center on May 21 to elect the new chair to fill out the remainder of Boling’s term.
Though Strange and Moore have openly declared their candidacies, there will still be an open nomination process. The meeting will be open to the public. For more information, contact the HCDP at (512) 392-4775.