Fayette County Democrats have a place to call their own. Last weekend, the Fayette County Democratic Committee opened their first true headquarters on Kathi Avenue in Fayetteville.
“It’s been a wish to have a home, a place where we could center our activities, where we could put pictures on the wall,” said Chair Leonard Presberg. “One of the things that people have asked a lot over the years is where are you located. Now we have an answer.”
The headquarters will be a hub for meetings and events for local Democrats as they reach out to like-minded residents.
“One of the problems that we’ve had, and I think any local organization that doesn’t have a place, is where do you have events, where do you meet,” he said. “Certainly a lot of events that we wanted to have that we haven’t had just because of location or a location that isn’t affordable. Now we don’t have to worry about that.”
In their efforts to reach out to the community, they will continue their long-running tradition of Pancakes and Politics at the Fayetteville IHOP on the second Saturday of the month (“Get there early because we run out of seats,” said Presberg) and newer initiatives like Dems after Dark social events held monthly.
It’s all about getting people involved in their community, and a headquarters building can go a long way towards that goal.
“I think it is a great opportunity for people who haven’t been involved to get involved. I think we’ve seen that in elections all across the country, people who want to make their communities better are standing up and getting involved,” he said. “I know that the Fayette County Democratic Committee and its members will get behind and support young people running for office and getting involved.”
Tapping younger members is always a key issue.
“Certainly, reaching out to younger people is something that’s important to us. It’s a little bit hard for me as not a young person to figure out events that young people want to come to,” joked Presberg.
As the vision for the future of Fayette continues to take shape, involvement now is more important than ever. Actions can have long-ranging implications, especially with the movie industry putting down roots.
“There have been lots of demographic changes over the decades here in Fayette, and now we have this global story making industry here,” he said. “We have to remember that we play in this global marketplace and this regional marketplace.”
Protecting what made Fayette great, while being a welcoming place will be the key balance that must be struck.
“We worry about losing that, but we still want these people to come here and make movies and live here and shop in our stores and bring their kids to our schools. People who are moving here do not necessarily have the same background. They’re coming here from different places and have different perspectives,” he said. “People who are growing up now, when they’re looking for what community they live in and what kind of housing options they want to have, how does that fit in with what Fayette has traditionally been? How do the new industries, particularly movie making, fit in with what Fayette has traditionally been?”
Maintaining a rural feel can sometimes butt heads with growth.
“We have to figure out how to preserve what drew us here and what we love here as the world continues to change.”