By Valerie Baldowski
The Henry County Democratic Party turned its December meeting into a holiday fund-raiser.
The group recently held a Henry County Democratic Christmas Party at the historic Hazlehurst House in McDonough. The Democratic Party raised more than $2,000 during the event, according to party member, Jim Nichols.
Guest speakers at the event included a number of candidates for state and federal office.
Nichols said President Barack Obama has brought new energy to the Democrat Party, on a national level, and that the energy may translate into successes for Democrats in 2010 elections.
"Along with that brings an opportunity for a new group of leaders and activists to arise at the local level, who can bring in new energy and ideas to the Democratic Party," he said.
Nichols said Henry Democrats have a number of goals for 2010.
"We hope to elect a new chairman and vice chairman in January, and begin a very important election year," he said.
Robert Abercrombie, the former chairman, announced his resignation in October due to increased career responsibilities. Former Vice Chairman Christie Jean-Baptiste announced her resignation in November, due to a job offer in Washington, D.C.
The elections to replace both are expected to be held during the group's Jan. 26 meeting, said Nichols.
Democrats in Henry face a number of challenges as well as opportunities, he continued.
"I believe the Democratic Party has let down the citizens of this state for a number of years, and has needed to get its act together," said Nichols. "Democrats bring together a much larger tent of ideas and policy preferences -- just look at the health-care debate -- which means we struggle from time to time staying organized and effective as a party."
Other goals for next year include expanding the group's membership, training volunteers to work on campaigns, and assisting statewide Democratic candidates in their efforts to reach residents in Henry County, said Nichols.