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December 11, 2011

Local Democrats adopt platform, look ahead

CULLMAN — The Cullman County Democratic party unveiled a platform of local party values Saturday, setting forth an agenda that asserts many conservative ideals — especially when compared with local perceptions of the party's diverse national platform.

The party's executive committee approved the platform Saturday at its monthly meeting.

In addition to the adoption of a local platform, the meeting also revealed two Democrats who will be seeking office in next year's general election.

Probate Judge Leah Patterson Lust, the Democratic party's strongest incumbent seeking reelection for a local office, announced that she will run for a second term. In addition, longtime Cullman businessman Jerry Waters announced that he will seek the nomination to replace Democratic circuit clerk Robert Bates, who will retire when his current term in office expires.

The adoption of the platform, which touches upon several issues that represent a strain of fiscal and moral conservatism for which Alabama Democrats have been historically known, is an effort for party members to reaffirm that Democrats in the Cullman area are as attuned to local values as they've ever been — despite recent successes Republicans have had in championing those same values for political benefit.

Some of the platform’s 10 statements on issues of both local and national significance — such as the right to bear arms, the sanctity of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and the need for an airtight path to legal citizenship — might, in the current political climate, seem far removed from the views of high-profile national Democrats like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi or even President Obama.

But, said local party member Frankie Jones Saturday, Cullman Democrats needed to stress that the party's foremost concern is to serve and reflect the values of people in their own community — something that Jones said has never changed.

“Historically, the South has been a conservative Democrat part of the country, and we consider ourselves here in Cullman as conservative Democrats,” said Jones. “We always have been, and always will be. We just thought it was time to reiterate some of the things that we stand for, because, in the past few elections, we have been getting some bad publicity.”

* Read more in Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, print or e-editon of The Cullman Times.

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