Minutes of the Suffolk Democratic Committee General Meeting of August 10, 2021

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:33 by chairperson Sharon Eaton. The committee had a quorum. The meeting was held at the Hampton Inn with some members joining via teleconference

Routine Reports

Robert Barclay moved that the minutes from July’s meeting, which Benjamin Goldberg had emailed to members, be accepted. The motion passed.

Catherine Anson presented the treasurer’s report which was approved for filing. Sharon Eaton moved that the treasurer’s report be accepted. The motion passed


Robert Barclay said Princess Ben Coker and David Boyd were two membership applicants who were approved by the membership committee. Leslie Rinaldi moved that the two be accepted as members. The motion passed.


Shameka Council said that canvassing is ongoing and will announce upcoming canvassing events through the committee’s Slack instance. She said canvassing would best be done in the evening because of the heat during the day

Leslie Rinaldi also asked for volunteers August 20th


Leslie Rinaldi thanked members for participating in National Night Out

Leslie Rinaldi had postcards ready to be filled out for voters in the 64th and the 76th. Ms. Rinaldi asked members each to take a pack of 10. Ms. Rinaldi said she would be scheduling post card parties when she gets more cards in

Peanut Festival

Karen Jenkins announced that the committee needs volunteers for Peanut Fest. Ms. Jenkins also said this year we have to well represent the Democratic party to help combat misinformation. Sharon Eaton said she was able to get a tent, which was necessary because this year the festival organizers will not rent tents to vendors. Ms. Eaton also noted that this year the festival will be three days instead of the usual four

Redistricting Information

Leslie Rinaldi encouraged members to be involved in the redistricting process and speak at leave comments for meetings of the redistricting commission

Lou Ward and Johnnie Edwards each spoke of the importance of attending city council meetings and not to lose sight of the importance of municipal redistricting as well a as state redistricting

Ms. Rinaldi said she would put together a committee to work on redistricting and Michele Faulk passed out a signup sheet


Benjamin Goldberg noted that the hybrid portion of the meeting had technical difficulties and would bring a microphone to the next meeting.

He also mentioned the website redesign by Zaki Edwards.

Mr. Goldberg also encouraged members to join the committee’s Slack instance and said that doing so can help alleviate problems with participation in activities that occur between meetings

Bylaws regarding Non-Partisan Elections

Robert Barclay discussed proposed changes to bylaws to be voted on at the following meeting. Mr. Barclay summarized the changes as follows: In order to get the Democratic endorsement in a nonpartisan election, candidates seeking the endorsement must sign a pledge that they support Democratic principles and will not publicly oppose Democratic nominees in the upcoming election. The procedure for the committee to decide who to endorse will be similar to how votes are counted according to the Democratic Party of Virginia plan for counting votes in caucuses.

Arthur Singleton asked if the bylaws prohibit endorsement for borough elections. Mr. Barclay said that currently the bylaws do not restrict endorsement in borough elections and that no such change is in the draft.

Shameka Council motioned that the committee not endorse in the 2021 election for city treasurer. The committee did not vote on the motion. After discussion, committee members agreed that current bylaws prohibit endorsement in elections which allow party nominees even if no Democratic nominee is in the election, as such the motion is not necessary

General Assembly Updates

Delegate Clinton Jenkins said the General Assembly has made historic progress recently. Among several examples, Mr. Jenkins said that the General Assembly has appointed more than 20 African American judges, including one from Suffolk. He said $800 million in the state budget went to local schools. $700 million went to broadband initiatives, and $709 million to rental release. He said the General Assembly did not defund the police despite any rumors.

Participation in City Council Meetings

Members were encouraged to take part in city council meetings. The discussion began with a question about getting the planning board to get more youth services and build less housing. Arthur Singleton clarified that the planning commission does not decide what to build. The commission ensures projects meet requirements. Councilman Lou Ward said members should contact their own council members with ideas, and said there is not currently enough public participation in the city council


The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 PM