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Past Executive Director of the AL Democratic Party Speaks

Jim Spearman has a long and important experience in Alabama Democratic politics. For six years, ending in 2011, Jim served as the Executive Director of the Alabama Democratic Party. He was also Vice Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party from 1998 to 2013 and is a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee.

Addressing the current state of the party and concerns about it, he noted that the party has always been changing. What’s happening now is simply one more step in that ongoing evolution. To make his point, he traced the history of the party. The Alabama Democratic Party is the oldest party in the state and one of (if not the) oldest in the country. He mentioned transitions of the party from the era of ‘The Big Mules’ to the party as one that championed the needs of all Alabamians.

He discussed the creation of the Alabama Democratic Conference. In 1972 the ADC became the Black caucus with its president, Joe Reed, as the Alabama Democratic Party’s vice chair for minority affairs. Recent changes reflect the increasing diversity of population within the state. With that diversity comes a need to adjust representation. The revised bylaws, approved by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), make those adjustments.

The new caucuses don’t, as some feared, reduce representation of blacks. Membership of the new caucuses is heavily black. Instead, these new caucuses make the SDEC more inclusive, with representation of other minorities. Especially important is inclusion of younger Alabamians, who were severely underrepresented in the SDEC until now. It is noteworthy that, under these changes, the SDEC elected the first-ever an African-American chair, with the vice chair a member of the LGBTQ community. It is now time to move forward together.

Chair Sheila Gilbert, Jim Spearman and Dee Crumly

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