Democrats honor party members

Published 8:27 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Polk County Democrats honored their own during the county convention Saturday, April 14. Recognized were Jack Jolley, Liston B. Ramsey award; Dr. Marian Bosien, Lifetime Achievement; Jean Prewitt, Volunteer of the Year; and Franklin Smith, Community Service. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Polk County Democrats gathered Saturday, April 14 for their annual county convention at the Steps to Hope community room. They honored party members and made plans for fundraising, selection of convention delegates and candidate support.
“Our county is one of the best organized Democratic parties around,” said acting Democratic Party Chair Margaret Johnson. “I hope you realize that we have a lot of people working behind the scenes to carry on these events and get out the vote and spread the message.”
During the county convention, Democrats discussed the upcoming Democratic National Committee (DNC) Convention to be held in Charlotte. Johnson said anyone interested in being a delegate on the national level must go to the district convention in order to be vetted and voted on.
The following people from Polk County do plan to attend the district convention in Haywood County May 19: Becky Kennedy, Ambrose Mills, Laura Price, Chris Price, Frances Parker, Katherine Smith, Alice Payne, P. Chrelle Booker, Mary Parker, Donna Radich, Preston White, Pete Santos, Mary Hardvall, Margaret Johnson, Fred Eaton, Blake Arledge, Ernie Giannini, Lena Jackson and Susan Albee.
Meanwhile, Booker, Santos, White, Radich, Eaton, Johnson, Parker, Albee, Hardvall, Rachel Ramsey, Russell Meirop, Laura Price, Ambrose Mills, Lena Jackson, Katherine Smith and Virginia Walker will also attend the North Carolina Democratic Convention June 16 in Raleigh.
Party members also offered their services for committees should representatives in the area need to be replaced. Serving on the prosecutorial district executive committee will be Blake Arledge and Margaret Johnson; state senatorial committee, Franklin Smith and Benny Smith; and state house committee, Donna Radich and Jim Johnston.
Mary Hardvall also discussed the party’s work with Organizing for America, the group supporting Obama’s reelection campaign. People interested in participating with this group will meet the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Meeting Place. Volunteers expect to begin canvasing door-to-door by end of May.


Polk Democratic Party awards
Liston B. Ramsey Award – Jack Jolley
Jack Jolley won the Liston B. Ramsey Award.
Polk County Board of Commissioners Chair and Democrat Ray Gasperson said Jack Jolley lived a similar life to that of Liston B. Ramsey of Madison County, N.C. From that rural area, Ramsey was elected in 1960 to the state house, serving 19 terms, including four terms as speaker of the house beginning in 1981.
Ramsey’s aim was to get more funding for the often-neglected Western N.C. region.
Gasperson said Jolley too was born in mountainous rural North Carolina, went through the public education system and served during World War II.
“He, too, saw the best and worst of the human experience. He returned home to serve his community through faith, family and community service,” Gasperson said. “Jack Jolley is also representative of what I experienced growing up… because in the 50s and 60s I was surrounded by men and women like Jolley that came through that wartime experience. They showed me that when you take on a task you don’t stray from the course, you stick with it.”

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Volunteer of the Year – Jean Prewitt
Mary Hardvall announced Jean Pruitt as the 2012 Democrat Volunteer of the Year. She said Pruitt has led the way in bringing in new registered voters this year.
“Whenever we needed somebody we would call this person and they would say, ‘whatever you need I can do it, I can help,” Hardvall said. “Jean has done an amazing job – she delivered with her team like 87 in the first quarter. This is unheard of for voter registrations in Polk County.”

Community Service Award – Franklin Smith
Democrat Laura Peek said Franklin Smith, winner of the community service award, lives out his commitment to help and serve others in many ways.
“Whether it is bringing people together to solve safety issues in the community or simply to discuss an issue,” Peek said. “He is always busy to help others and strengthen his community.”

Lifetime Achievement – Dr. Marian Bosien
Dr. Mary Bosien, winner of the lifetime achievement award, moved to the area with her husband in 1954 and worked side by side serving patients. The couple even once skied down the hill from their home during a severe snowstorm to see patients.
The two were also highly involved politically. Bosien’s husband died before he could run in a primary in 1980. Bosien, however, carried on the couple’s love of service.
“She has been a faithful and active Democrat and a strong supporter of our party,” said Frances Parker.