Tellico Village takes control of Democratic Party

Former Tennessee Democratic Chairman Gray Sasser, Dana Zehner background & Dixie Damm, new chair 

At training seminar, Sasser asked, Do you want to be a Club or a Party?

By: Pat Hunter

March 30, 2009

Every 2-years, the Loudon County Democratic Party meets to elect officers and Executive Committee. The Loudon County Democratic Party Convention started late after the Mayor's secretary forgot to show-up to open the door at the Courthouse Annex. Eventually the Annex door was opened and the meeting convention began.  

Saturday's rain didn't dampen the spirit of the group. A large contingency of Tellico Village residents attended the meeting as did some notable politicos including Mary "Jim Eblen" Williams, Dr. Mary Lynn Fletcher, Sharon Addison, Martin Brown, Betty Brown, Sue Jane Hartsook, Dana Zehner, election coordinator, Richard Vest, Wayne Gardin and Nancy Paulee.

The race for Party Chair stirred much interest. Dixie Damm has lived in Loudon County for 11-years. She resides on the lake and she is a former Ohio resident. She was praised for her achievements, hard work and dedication. She attended two national conventions. She worked on numerous national campaigns. She went door to door and registered 113 new voters. Damm worked on the Obama campaign and helped on a fund raiser. Damm planned parties and her supporters felt that she deserved to be Party Chair. Dixie Damm asked attendees to please mail or email comments, not by phone, your three desires of what you want from the Democratic Party.

Another supporter spoke about Pat Hunter's activism in local government. Hunter knows the politics of Loudon County. She attends all the commission meetings and school board meetings. He commented that one problem that he saw was discussed by former Tennessee Chair Gray Sasser. Almost 2-years ago, Sasser asked local Democrat leaders, you have to decide whether to be a club or a party. We pretty much decided that we want to be a club but, you need to be a party. Even in the most Democratic areas of the county, Republicans get elected. The people who are on the Executive Board need to enter into the politics of the county. You can't come down here once a month and throw your hand up in the air and never participate in commission meetings or school board meetings or any of these things and not know the politics of the county. We are never going to get people elected on the local level. We got to get started on the local level to get people elected. If we can't get people elected in the most Democratic part of the county, something is wrong! 

Here’s how the races for the various offices shaped up. The names of all candidates that ran for office holders are listed below with an asterisk next to the winner's name. 

Loudon County Democratic Party 2009-2011

* New officers elected to 2-year term

* Party Chair - Dixie Damm -

    Pat Hunter, District 5, was nominated by outgoing Chair. 

    Commissioner Wayne Gardin dropped out at the last minute. 

* 1st-Vice Chair - David Holladay - D-7 Tellico Village 

    Alice Vest, Eaton Crossroad District 5, nominated to 1st Vice Chair.

* 2nd Vice Chair - Nancy Carpenter - D-6 Highland Park

    A. Will Schmidt, Tellico Village, was nominated to 2nd Vice Chair

* Secretary - Arnette Hintz  - D-7 Tellico Village

    Nominated by Chair Damm. Damm worked with Hintz during the Obama campaign.   

    Uncontested seat

* Treasurer - Don Scott - D-7 Tellico Village

    Bonny Rose Early, Lenoir City District 2, was nominated to Treasurer.

    Ms. Rose served as outgoing Treasurer.

* Sargeant-at-Arms - J. C. Ingram - D-2 Lenoir City -

    Uncontested seat.