THE DEMOCRATI PARTY:  Seeks Voters and Leaders for a Hispanic Caucus

By Alan Pacek

Last month, it was my pleasure to introduce Conexión readers to the Okaloosa Democratic Party.  In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary:  1) locally the Democratic Party has long been in the minority, but with actions taken by the Republican (GOP) controlled Federal Government along with GOP elected officials here in Florida – the Democratic Party is definitely growing in Okaloosa County.  2)  For the first time in history, a man of Hispanic descent is leading the Democratic National Committee – Thomas Edward Perez is a Harvard Law School graduate with a long history of advocating for consumer and civil rights.  3) The Okaloosa Democrats meet regularly four (4) times every month with the Democratic Black Caucus meeting on the 2nd Monday, the Democratic Executive Committee meeting on the 3rd Tuesday, the Hootenany Democratic Social Club meeting on the 2nd Thursday, and the Democratic Women’s Club meeting on the 3rd Thursday, plus we have a new Democratic Women’s Club forming in Crestview to serve the northern part of the county.

The four groups are collectively working as a unified front to stop the dangerous policies of Donald Trump.  Progressives and Democrats have attended American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sponsored People Powered seminars – to explain to immigrants and their families exactly what are their rights!  Also the seminars discuss what to do if your civil liberties are violated.

The first efforts of Democrats, in conjunction with the ACLU and many progressive national organizations, will be to help cities use their local-level authority to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation and become a network of “freedom cities” capable of withstanding Trump’s ongoing immigration crackdown.  We are having conversations with local police forces throughout Okaloosa County to encourage local law enforcement to use lenient immigration policies.

The Bannon-Trump administration ratcheted up their profiling of immigrants, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the end of March announced plans to withhold Federal Funds from states and/or cities that refuse to enforce their harsh immigration policies.  It is hard for many of us who have lived through the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s to find our government now dividing people by race, religion, gender, sexuality, or skin-color!

Rewind, Review, Refocus, Renew was the theme last month at the annual Okaloosa Democratic Black Caucus dinner.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. still serves as inspiration to the kind of country Democrats want to call home:  “We may all have come on different boats but we are all in the same boat now.”  The Black Caucus within the Democratic Party is the voice of the black community.  For decades in South Florida, Hispanic Caucuses have had a voice in local politics and are helping to shape national conversations – your input is needed here.

In Okaloosa County, Blacks make up only 10.2% of the population.  Interestingly, with Hispanics at 8.6% of the county population these two groups could represent 1 out of every 5 Okaloosa County residents.  Now just imagine if there were a Democratic Hispanic Caucus to join our forces to help this significant minority population to be fully heard and engaged.  The Okaloosa Democratic Executive Committee has reserved spots for Hispanic representatives.  It is our plan to launch a Democratic Hispanic Caucus group prior to the 2018 election cycle.

Please join us on Thursday April 13 at 6 pm at Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant – 1313 Lewis Turner Blvd, Fort Walton Beach at our Hootenanny Democratic Social Club Meeting to learn more.  We welcome your questions emailed to – Also, please “Like” Okaloosa Democrats on Facebook!




Monday, April 10 – 6:30pm-8:30 – Democratic Black Caucus – TBA see Okaloosa Democrats Facebook Events.

Thursday, April 13 – 6pm-8:30pm – Hootenanny Democratic Social Club at Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant – 1313 Lewis Turner Blvd, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

Tuesday, April 18 – 6:30-8:30 – Democratic Executive Committee at Magnolia Manor Senior Day, 141 Barks Dr, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

Thursday, April 20 – 6pm-7:30 – Democratic Women’s Club – TBA see Okaloosa Democrats Facebook Events.

Saturday, April 22 – 9am-Noon – March for Science at Emerald Coast Science Center, 31 Memorial Parkway SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL – An EARTH DAY Celebration by Scientists, Science Enthusiasts, and People concerned about protecting our environment.