MILL SPRING, N.C. — The Blue Wave Bonanza: A Party for our Party was held last Friday at the Campagna Restaurant at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. The formal program included the presentation of member awards:
- Dr. Bobby Flay England was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award “for a lifetime dedicated to helping others—as a beloved physician, and as a dedicated public servant.“ England served on the Rutherford County Board of Education from 1974 to 1994 and represented our district in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2003-2011. England also served as interim medical adviser for our county EMS.
- Robert Hensley was awarded the Democrat of the Year Award. Rob has been treasurer of the party and a loyal member of the part.
- Jerry Wease received recognition for accomplishments during his tenure as the chairman including a state board appointment and was declared a rising STAR in the Democratic Party.
Gina Collias, now a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, spoke briefly of her change of party stating that while she remains fiscally conservative, her 2016 platform more closely aligns with the Democratic Party. She will be challenging Patrick McHenry (R) to represent District 10.
Two term State Senator Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, Democratic candidate for North Carolina lieutenant governor in 2020, provided the keynote speech. Van Duyn welcomed the enthusiasm of the Democratic Party and then thanked them for the opportunity to share time and a meal together. Her speech, The Basis of Poverty in N.C., highlighted the following points in her proposed future work:
- Expand Medicaid – Van Duyn noted how rural hospitals depend greatly on Medicaid. More importantly Van Duyn feels that no NC resident should have to choose between lifesaving medication or a visit to the doctor over putting food on the table.
- End voter suppression. She supports the end of gerrymandering and a new redistricting map.
- Re-establish the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Increase spending on education. Van Duyn supports more mental health professionals in schools.