Longtime local leader Patsy Keever is stepping down from her post as the chair of the Buncombe County Democrats in favor of joining the state party's leadership team.
A former public school teacher, state representative, county commissioner and congressional candidate, Keever was elected Aug. 17 to serve as first vice chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. In order to accept the position, party rules required her to step down as chair of the county party, a job she was elected to do in April.
"I loved being chair of Buncombe County, but I was asked to step up and I did," she tells Xpress. In her new job, Keever reports that she'll focus on candidate recruitment and fundraising.
"Our party has faced moments of turbulence in recent memory, but our spirit is undeterred," Keever writes in an Aug. 19 letter to supporters, alluding to problems surrounding previous state chair David Parker as well as the party's overwhelming electoral losses last year. "The moment has come for us to redefine our party and what it means to be a Democrat," she maintains.
Keever replaces Nina Szlosberg-Landis of Raleigh as first vice chair, who resigned in June citing differences with Chairman Randy Voller, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. She reports that the Executive Committee of the Buncombe County Democrats will meet in coming days to elect a new local leader. At this writing, a meeting date hasn't been set.
"There is a great deal of energy and enthusiasm throughout the mountains and we all need to keep that positive energy alive and spread it across the whole state," Keever says.
Here's the letter Keever sent to supporters via the North Carolina Democratic Party website:
I am proud and honored to serve as your 1st Vice Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. This weekend was a testament to new beginnings and I look forward to meeting and working with you in your communities.
Our party has faced moments of turbulence in recent memory, but our spirit is undeterred. The moment has come for us to redefine our party and what it means to be a Democrat.
As a mother, grandmother, teacher and public servant, I’m concerned every day for the future of our state and the next generations. We know that the road current Republican leadership has led us down is not one that reflects the values of North Carolina.
Over the years, Democratic leadership has transformed North Carolina. We built our state by providing a quality public education for North Carolina’s children, expanding access to the ballot box and investing in our communities.
Despite what the pundits would have us believe, Democrats have great opportunity in North Carolina. It’s time to build on our past accomplishments and focus on the 2013 local elections and 2014. We need to get to work and roll up our sleeves to re-elect Senator Kay Hagan, regain seats in the General Assembly and elect more fair judges.
On Saturday evening, I was fortunate to listen to the wise and empowering words of Governor Jim Hunt and Chief Justice Henry Frye. These men have dedicated a lifetime of service to our state. Now, we must deliver North Carolina in 2014, 2016 and beyond to defend their great legacies and create more opportunity for our hardworking families.
Our working families need a strong and unified Democratic Party. That is what will lead us down the road to victory in North Carolina.
We stand ready to deliver.
1st Vice Chair, North Carolina Democratic Party