Back in the saddle

Back on the job: New Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sinclair previously served in the volunteer role during the busy 2008 election cycle.
Back on the job: New Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sinclair previously served in the volunteer role during the busy 2008 election cycle.

Kathy Sinclair was elected Sept. 14 to chair the Buncombe County Democratic Party. She succeeds Patsy Keever, who, after four months on the job, stepped down to join the state party's leadership team.

Sinclair works as an employment consultant supervisor for the N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions (formerly the Employment Security Commission) and is a longtime Democratic activist, Sinclair previously chaired the Buncombe County party from 2007 to 2009. In the days leading up to the Sept. 14 special election, she touted her previous service in a letter sent to voting members of the party's executive committee, which includes precinct leaders and elected officials.

"In 2008, volunteers organized 94 percent of the county’s precincts, coordinated efforts to work collaboratively across multiple campaigns, staffed headquarters six days each week during election season and got 71 percent of voting Democrats to early voting in the general election," she wrote. "The party raised sufficient funds to pay our bills without default and we WON 36 of 36 Democratic races on the ballot. My experience has proven that I can lead the party to victory."

Sinclair added that regaining a Democratic majority in the state General Assembly is a top priority. Republicans earned control of the Statehouse and Senate in 2010 for the first time in more than a century. The GOP subsequently redrew its own district lines in politically advantageous ways, making it more difficult for Democrats to win in a majority of districts without demographic changes.

"These are unusual times for North Carolina, and we have to think outside the box in order to win back a Democratic majority in the General Assembly," Sinclair wrote. "We must embrace all members of our Democratic Party and engage in civil dialogue beyond party lines to help restore North Carolina's reputation as a state that respects and cares for all its citizens. It takes leadership, experience, and a strong network of volunteers to seize this crucial opportunity."

This year's local municipal elections are nonpartisan. General Assembly officials aren't up for re-election until 2014. In the meantime, Sinclair tells Xpress that she's excited to get started in her new volunteer position.

"I appreciate the support from the executive committee and the confidence they've placed in me to lead the party," she says. "I'm excited to join the other very capable and talented officers, and I'm ready to get to work."

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