NORWAY – The Oxford County Democrats met on Jan. 27 at the Norway Town Office for a potluck supper and business meeting. Sam Spencer of Portland, Democratic National Committee representative, spoke on the election of the national party chairman set for Saturday, Feb. 12. in Washington.

Members of the Maine delegation, Spencer, Jennifer DeChant, Maine Democratic Party Chairman Pat Colwell and Vice Chairman Marianne Stevens, are part of the 447-member body selecting the new chairman.

Spencer described his efforts via the Web site, www.samspencer.org, to gather input from Maine Democrats on the election, which to date has logged about 95 percent support for Gov. Howard Dean, a sentiment reflected at the Oxford County meeting.

The chairman must receive 50 percent to win and it is expected that there will be much activity prior to the election and possibly several ballots.

Those present said they appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the Democratic National Committee’s role in building infrastructure, raising funds and shaping the party message.

Former State Rep. Tom Lapointe of Portland was also a guest at the meeting.

County Chairwoman Cathy Newell presented a report from Andrea Quaid of Congressman Mike Michaud’s office as well as reports from Sen. Bruce Bryant and Rep. John Patrick. Bryant is chairing Inland Fisheries and Wildlife again this session, and Patrick is chairman of Legal and Veterans Affairs. Both committees will deal with a lot of major bills during the session.

Bryant was successful in achieving a resolution to the tax reform complications affecting SAD 44 prior to the passage of the governor’s tax reform package on Jan. 21, which he and Patrick supported.

There was discussion of the partisan approach taken by the majority of the Republicans from Oxford County in refusing to take the first step to tax relief, in contrast to other members of their party who chose to work in a bi-partisan manner in crafting and supporting the measure.

Marge Medd of Norway reported on the governor’s State of the State address and on a recent Michaud visit to the University Center.

Democratic State Committee members Mike Broderick, Roy Gedat, John Patrick and Cathy Newell were present at the Jan. 9 State Committee meeting when Pat Colwell of Bath was elected chairman and Marianne Stevens of Kingfield vice chairman, both supported by the Oxford County delegation.

Newell reported on recent organizational efforts undertaken at the state level.

Elections for the 2005-2006 period were held with Cathy Newell of Greenwood re-elected as chairwoman, Mike Broderick of Bethel re-elected as treasurer, and Roy Gedat of Norway elected as vice chairman.

A Maine Democratic Party Rules Committee vacancy will be filled by Marlee Turner of Brownfield. Revised bylaws were adopted. It was decided to hold full county committee meetings in odd-numbered months and regional meetings in even-numbered months.

Marlee Turner and Myra Bethell announced that the initial meeting of the southern Oxford group, which will also welcome attendees from neighboring towns in York and Cumberland counties, is set for Thursday, Feb. 10, in South Hiram.

Hilary Ware and Miriam Laster will take responsibility for the Oxford Hills towns, and meetings will be set in the Bethel area and in the Rumford and Mexico area. The county meetings will occur on the third Thursday of odd-numbered months, with the next meeting on March 17, location to be announced.

Plans are in the works for a variety of issue forums and for a major fund-raising event in the spring.

Anyone interested in becoming active with the Democratic party in Oxford County may contact Newell at 875-2116 or [email protected] or through the Oxford County Democratic Web site, www.oxforddems.org.


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