LITTLE ROCK — The Democratic Party of Arkansas will hold Party Officer Elections at its regularly scheduled State Committee Meeting on Saturday, December 15, 2018.
Elections for Executive Committee will follow the elections for Party Officer Positions. During this process, State Committee Members will break into Congressional District caucuses to elect two women and two men to serve a two-year term on the Executive Committee.
On behalf of the announced candidates for officer positions, the DPA releases the following statements to the media and the 2018-2020 State Committee. Please note, the following slate of candidates is subject to change. Contact DPA Communications Director Reed Brewer for any questions.
Current DPA Officer Candidates:
Michael John Gray (current DPA Chairman)
Nicole Hart (current DPA Vice Chair)
Emily Kearns (current DPA Vice Chair for Auxiliaries)
Vice Chair for Auxiliaries:
Mosemarie Boyd (current DPA Secretary)
Vice Chair for Counties:
Dustin Parsons (current DPA Vice Chair for Counties)
A. Dean Flanagan
The following statements and biographies are from a portion of the announced candidates. They are listed in order by the date of their announcement.
Michael John Gray
(current DPA Chair)
I am humbled to once again ask for your support to be Chairman of the DPA. It’s my job to listen to you, to get the Party on sound financial footing, and to build the relationships and type of organization we need to get things done for Arkansans.
Over the past two years, the Party has flipped a $250,000 debt into a $200,000 positive balance on our checkbook. After a cycle where Democrats failed to challenge a majority of offices, we channeled renewed grassroots energy into running a record number of candidates. We flipped two state House seats, for the fist time since 2012.
Under my leadership we rebuilt our voter information database and overhauled our communications shop. We are reaching into entire communities that have been ignored by the Democratic Party. Our message is going to be carried into long ignored urban areas as well as neglected rural communities. The Democratic Party has to be at home in every corner of the state, and I want to make sure we get the job done. That’s why I want to help lead this Party.
I am honored by the trust you’ve placed in me, and I pledge to you that as your Chairman, I’ll continue to work every day to rebuild and re-connect. We must do this everywhere and with everyone. Arkansas deserves more, and it’s our job to bring home results. I am ready to continue the work and to stand up for the people of Arkansas.
The next two years are incredibly crucial, not only for the success of the Democratic Party in Arkansas, but for the future of the state as a whole. We need a different strategy. We need to kick into offense, and push for progressive policies so we can take back the state. If honored to serve as the Chair or the DPA, I will push for progressive policies to be on the ballot in 2020.
Progressive issues are a winning strategy, as evident with Medical Marijuana passing in 2016, and raising the minimum wage in the 2018 election. The Democratic Party has no power in Arkansas. The only way for progressive policies passing is to push for ballot measures. Working with county parties to get signatures and support for initiatives will save money too. People will come support the Democratic Party, so long as we push for populist policies.
A few initiatives I would begin working on is:
- Ranked Choice Voting
- Proportional Representation
- Automatic Voter Registration
- Tuition Free College
- Public Broadband
- A Green New Deal
- Recreational Marijuana
- Lower Pharmaceutical Drug Prices
Some may not think that this is a pragmatic path, and that we should focus on incremental change. To which I say, there is NOTHING pragmatic about incremental solutions to catastrophic problems. Democracy is the answer, and there is nothing more democratic than ballot initiatives.
With your support, and if we stand together, there is nothing that we can’t accomplish.
As the most qualified person to have ever run for statewide office in Arkansas, I am excited to announce my run for Chairperson of the Democratic Party. After almost seven years of traveling the state and working with our county parties, I know that we have a lot of work to do to gain ground in future election cycles. The next four years require coalition building, change, and strategic planning. It is time for a true change in leadership—time to stand up and demand that our party do more than just say we are of the people. We must have presence statewide and start re-building the grassroots structures that have been overlooked since the so-called glory days of the party.
Using my extensive background, over 20 years in state and county elections at every level of administrative leadership, I want to conduct a thorough evaluation of our current capacities and begin building not just for 2020, but all future cycles. I know this kind of undertaking will take incredible fundraising and team building. We can do this by highlighting the talent that already exists in this state.
- Former County and State Election Commissioner
- Director of Elections for former Secretary of State, Sharon Priest
- Director of Elections for Pulaski County
- Public Servant of the Year, AR Disability Coalition-2004
- Appointee of U.S. Department of State to monitor over a dozen elections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
- Gressie Carnes Democratic Woman of the Year-2017
(current DPA Vice Chair)
First, thank you for electing me and allowing me to serve as your Vice Chair. It has been an honor and a privilege. While serving I’ve had the opportunity to hear hundreds of voices about the excitement around change. Democrats have shown me during my tenure that they desire a bold party that continues to make its presence known across the state. They want a party that offers support and stands up for democratic values.
During my term, I was able to actualize our “Heart of the Party” campaign that continues to be a growing effort to ensure both financial sustainability and give a voice to all democrats, whether your pockets are big or small. To our county committees, I truly have enjoyed traveling the state speaking to you and hearing your concerns, and touting your successes here in the capitol city. I am proud to say that during my time as Vice Chair, alongside party staff, we now have over 30,000 new registered voters, over 90,000 new contacts in our list serve, and around ten new county committees who have come on the scene ready to aid us in this great work. I want to continue to be a part of the revitalization of our party and its candidates, to continue this journey, together, stronger, smarter, and now more than ever Ready, to be the Blue that every Arkansans needs us to be. My motto for this second term; “Galvanizing The Energy of Today, to Create Change for Tomorrow”
(current DPA Vice Chair for Auxiliaries)
If I elected, I pledge to be a strong partner and sounding board for our Chair, as he works through the tough decisions needed to move the Party forward. To be, present and available to attend all DNC meetings and votes. To make candidate recruitment and education a year-round Party priority. To work with the Chairman and the Development team to identify new donors and grow our donor base. And to make DPA processes as transparent as possible.
- Wife and mother to four.
- Employed by a national non-profit conservation organization, with a focus on the issues of climate change and clean energy.
- Current Vice- Chair of Auxiliaries for the DPA
- Master in Public Service, Clinton School of Public Service
- Recipient of the Friends of Ed Fry Award
- Former Minority Outreach Coordinator DPA
- Member of the DPA Finance Council
- Former First Vice Chairperson Pulaski County Democratic Committee (PCDC)
- Recipient of the PCDC Chairman’s Heritage Award
This election presents us with the opportunity to begin again. And with your blessing, I look forward to working with our Chair to develop a comprehensive plan for the future. The road ahead is long, but we must remain; focused, united and grounded in our shared Democratic beliefs. I thank you for allowing me to serve and I humbly ask for your vote in December.
Vice Chair for Auxiliaries:
(current DPA Secretary)
Thank you for standing up for our democracy and our shared values during these challenging times.
This year, we won historic mayoral races in Fort Smith and Little Rock—and Louisville. On Fort Smith’s 200-year anniversary, Democratic Rep. George McGill became the city’s first African American mayor by listening to people from all walks of life. He inspired voters to proudly call Fort Smith home. Democrat Frank Scott, Jr., the first African American mayor directly elected by voters, won by celebrating Little Rock’s diversity and unifying the city. Our own Ethan Dunbar won the mayoral race in Louisville. These gentlemen reflect our shared values.
Rep.-Elect Denise Garner and Rep.-Elect Megan Godfrey flipped Republican State House seats in Northwest Arkansas. They knew it wouldn’t be easy, but they reached out to voters from all walks of life who share our values. All of these successful candidates are citizen-statesmen. They served in the military, developed a professional career, built a small business, taught school, raised a family or volunteered for nonprofits, while serving their communities and standing up for our values.
As your next DPA Vice Chair for Auxiliaries, I pledge to help each of our auxiliary leaders recruit new members and mentor existing members to follow in the footsteps of these Democratic leaders. Working together, we can share best practices among our auxiliaries for building relationships, hosting events to increase participation, mentoring leaders, building successful careers, raising money, electing Democrats and improving the lives of Arkansans.
We are at a pivotal place in history; what path we follow is critical to the future success of our party. With this in mind, I announce my candidacy for the Democratic Party of Arkansas Vice Chair of Auxiliaries. I am a participating member of two of the auxiliaries, and as such I can see how the auxiliaries are a thriving part of the party, which serve to both focus on specific elements of the party, and also serve to lift up the broader values of the party. If I am elected, it is my goal to facilitate and serve the advancement of the auxiliaries to achieve their goals, such that their successes serve as building blocks in the aggregate success of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, (DPA).
In January 2017 I was elected Chair for the DPSCA. Under my leadership our county party has tripled its membership, and more than tripled the regular attendance at each monthly meeting. For the first time in several years we were able to open a campaign office to work from during the midterm election cycle, and recruited twelve Democratic candidates to run for county and state level offices. One of my challenges and goals was to involve as many members as possible, so that they felt they were contributing to our growth and success; the midterm election cycle afforded that opportunity, and drew many people into their first active participation in the political process outside of the voting booth.
Andrew C. Pritt, known to many as Drew Pritt, is a resident of North Little Rock. He grew up in rural Bradley County and has been involved in Democratic Party politics since the 1980s.
Pritt, who ran in 2017 for Vice Chair of Auxiliaries, is once again seeking this office. He has worked with a number of Democratic Party Auxillaries and after he was defeated for Vice Chair has remained active with Democratic candidates and Democratic Party Auxillaries. He’s also been active in the Democratic Party of Arkansas since 1992.
Pritt has worked in 32 states for 27 years for various Democratic candidates from the Presidential to the local campaign level. In 2004 he served as a campaign aide to Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark in his Presidential campaign. In 2006, Pritt was one of the Democrats who ran for Lt. Governor, becoming the first openly LGBT individual to run for statewide office. Pritt also was a member of the delegations to the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Democratic National Convention. In 2016 he was the only filed delegate for former Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland in his Presidential campaign. Pritt also has unsuccessfully run for Little Rock School Board in 2007 and Pulaski County Justice of the Peace in 2014.
Pritt says win or lose he remains an active Democrat and will always devote his time and energy to electing good Democrats and building up the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Vice Chair for Counties:
(current DPA Vice Chair for Counties)
I am the son, grandson, and great-grandson of blue-collar workers! My family homesteaded my family cattle farm and seven generations have lived on this land. I am a proud graduate of PUBLIC schools. I received my high school diploma from Bauxite High School, B.S. and two M.S.E. degrees from Arkansas Tech University. I am a fifth grade teacher in the Bauxite School District and active member of the Arkansas and National Education Associations. When I am not teaching, I work as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Saline County, farmer, community volunteer, advocate, and as a member of New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. I was grateful to represent the Second Congressional District as a delegate to the 2016 National Democratic Convention. I also served as a Labor Caucus delegate.
As your Vice Chair of County Committees, I pledge to:
- Hold regional county chair meetings as a vehicle to aid committees to work together and grow.
- Initiate a County Committee Mentoring Program to allow committees to share resources.
- Implement a public relations plan to promote county committees’ successes.
- Develop a strong and vibrant communication system between the state and county committees.
- Review current bylaws that affect counties to develop a new plan to bring all counties on the same playing field.
As the Chair of the Democratic Party of Saline County, I know we must develop a grassroots campaign across Arkansas with all 75 counties to UNITE, STAND UP, and SPEAK UP!
A. Dean Flanagan
As a member of the Arkansas State Committee, you will be electing new leaders for the state democratic party on December 15th. As a candidate for Vice Chair for Counties, I would like to introduce myself and share some of my ideas for the position.
As a resident of Fort Smith and an active member of the Sebastian County Democratic Party, co-host of Straight Talk Arkansas, and physician I feel I have much to offer for the position. My platform is centered on connection, communication, and building across Arkansas counties. As Vice Chair of Counties, I wish to develop a strong network to better connect local democratic parties among each other and with the DPA in order to share resources, ideas, and support. In addition, as Vice Chair, I would utilize multiple methods of communication, such as face-to-face, phone conversations, email, texts, social media, and the creation of an online forum for wide-based discussion. In order to build a stronger Arkansas Democratic Party I would like to extend efforts to re-establish lost county committees, increased use of the Voter Activation Network (VAN), and encourage inclusion of marginal local groups/organizations. This connection, communication, and building can help us exchange needs, ideas, and solutions across the state.
I am eager to share our democratic party values across our entire state in order to make Arkansas its best. I ask for your support in my endeavor as you attend the December state committee meeting.
It is important to take the momentum we have across the state and elect officers that have a vision for the future. Having grown up in South Arkansas and now working in a rural, diverse school district, I have worked with all people of Arkansas and see the needs across the state.
I bring valuable experiences from my backgrounds to the position of Treasurer. As a school district leader, I have the task of leading a community and working with all stakeholders to develop and integrate change. My experience leading adults is a great asset for this position as well. By listening to the voices of all people we are able to better serve the needs of our communities and organizations.
In 2018 I campaigned with my wife as she ran for House of Representatives. The experience on the campaign trail gave me the insight as to what is needed to bring Arkansas back to the democratic values we believe in. I learned first hand the power of community, the best ways to fundraise, and the effort it takes to run a systematic campaign.
With my experience in managing budgets, fundraising, working on a campaign, and working with policymakers, I am well qualified for this position. I will bring energy to the position with innovative ideas to help spread our fundraising practices throughout state. We will work together to develop goals to meet the needs of our party. I am asking for your support to be the next Treasurer.
“I ran for State Senate because I wanted to ensure all the people living in SD 16, not a few wealthy donors, had representation in Little Rock. I wanted to compassionately work for economic, social, environmental, and political justice in our state. That reasoning hasn’t changed, just expanded. Secretary of the State Democratic Party is the most fitting position I could hold to achieve these same goals,” Gallegos explained. In the role as Secretary, she would be responsible for making sure information about the working of the party is distributed accurately and promptly throughout the state, so every Democrat has a clear understanding of the status of the party’s progress.
Gallegos earned an Associate of Science degree in Business Administration from Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke, Virginia. She continued her education at Virginia Tech, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the Pamplin College of Business. Every day, Teresa strives to live by the Virginia Tech motto: Ut Prosim (that I may serve).
Teresa is passionate about healthy, local food and ending childhood hunger. She serves as a Board Member for Russellville Community Market and a volunteer at River Valley Food 4 Kids. She has also served as Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Pope County. In that role, you would often see her out registering voters and organizing local events.