Stephens County Democrats re-elected their previous slate of officers for new two-year terms during their county convention Saturday at the Stephens County Fairgrounds.

Gary Edmondson returns as chair, along with Vice Chair Beverly Merchant and Secretary Diane Crow. Judy Hawkins and Marion Lennox were re-elected as affirmative action officers.

Along with procedural matters designed to change state party operations to acknowledge and alleviate problems faced by rural counties, the Democrats also approved a resolution calling for 10 years of personal and business financial disclosure for any candidate running statewide or for national offices.

“We need to know who these candidates are beholden to, or how accurate are their claims of business success,” Edmondson said later.

In order to ensure the largest possible voter turnout, county Democrats advocated that all statewide ballot measures be voted on only at general elections. 

“Republicans limit their primaries to party members. We don’t, but could at any time,”  Edmondson said. “All voters should feel welcome when we decide matters that affect us all.”

Democrats also called for the reigning in of excessive seizures of property during criminal investigations, limiting such permanent seizures to property connected to actual convictions.

“There have been people stopped for traffic violations who have had cash confiscated, and then who have had to sue the seizing jurisdiction to get their money back,” Edmondson said. “And, it seems like any time a person is arrested at home, we hear about the number of guns confiscated, whether the original cause of action was gun-related or not.

“The Fourth Amendment is very clear about protecting us from ‘unreasonable searches and seizures.’”

These and other resolutions must go through the filtering process of the district convention before being presented to the state convention for inclusion in party policies.

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