LAURINBURG —The state’s new Democrat Party chairman said elections have consequence.
Wayne Goodwin told Scotland County Democrats on Thursday that have only to look at the Republican-led General Assembly or the White House or Congress to see that.
“People need to realize that elections matter,” Goodwin said. “They have consequences, and boy, are we feeling the consequences now.”
Goodwin was the featured speaker for the meeting of Scotland County Democratic Women. About 50 people attended the meeting at Scotland Place.
The chairman, who at times sounded like he was leading a revival meeting, said Democrats needed to be both a big tent party and one willing to help end the divisional politics going on in America in recent years.
Goodwin, a Hamlet native, also took the opportunity to talk with fellow Democrats — many who he has known his entire life — about his rural roots in the Sand hills region. He served in the North Carolina General Assembly from 1996 to 2002, as well as serving as the North Carolina commissioner of insurance and state fire marshal from 2009 to 2017. Goodwin also served as assistant state fire marshal from 2005 to 2008.
Goodwin was elected chairman in February with 92 percent of the votes among the four candidates for the position. He had received the endorsement of Gov. Roy Cooper and other top state Democrats.
“I am not letting a challenge or a hurdle stop me from trying to do what I can to make our community and state better,” Goodwin said. “It just so happened that the party needs very much to reconnect with Democrats and others in communities like yours and others like Scotland County to help us regain the good name that our state has had for a long time.”
Goodwin also took questions from the audience, including one from Rene McNeill of Laurinburg who wanted to know his thoughts on cyber threats from Russia.
Goodwin said regardless of party affiliation, Russian involvement in the 2016 election is problematic.
When asked about Russia ties to the Trump White House, Goodwin said based on his experience as fire marshal, “where there is smoke, there’s fire.”
The Russians “would like nothing more than to see Americans turn on Americans,” he said.
Laurinburg Mayor Matthew Block brought up the fact of low Democratic voter turnout for bi-elections.
Goodwin said one way to increase turnout is for party faithful to knock on doors and spreading the word about what the Democratic Party stands for all year long.
“We need to take every day and treat it as election day,” he said.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171