Newly elected DBCF officers: Cornell Maxfield, Hazel Gillis, Lydia Hudson, Russell Drake and Glenda and Alford Atkins.
By Louis C. Ward
Lydia Hudson was elected president of the Democratic Black Caucus, Florida (DBCF) at its 35th Annual Conference May 20 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Fla.
Expressing his support for the DBCF, United States Senator Bill Nelson showed up at the President’s Kickoff Reception Friday evening, May 19, and the Honorable Congresswoman Val Demings led a host of prominent speakers at the “Excellence in our Economic and Political Progress” Gala Saturday evening, May 20.
Newly elected President Hudson, the former administration’s fist vice, under the leadership of outgoing President Henry Crespo, Sr., was practically given a mandate to lead the organization and its more than 20 county chapters, as she carried more than 70 percent of the vote.
“We must expect to win as a party and a people,” emphasized President Hudson, a resident of Tampa, Fla. President Hudson believes with her leadership the DBCF will create a youth division and reach out to colleges and HBCUs, build partnerships with faith leaders to commit to civic engagement and voter mobilization; provide education and training for all officers and members statewide; use and strengthen technological innovations and social media, and finally she will stay true to her catchphrase: “Expect Results”
President Hudson sees a DBCF that “celebrates all generations and balances traditional strategies with innovative methods and technology, including social media, member online training and electronic newsletters.”
The members of the new administration have the talent and ability to work collectively for the growth of our organization, and be a beacon for Black political progress in Florida, said Henry Crespo, Sr., who served as DBCF President from 2013 to 2017.
Other elected officers can stand on their own regarding the mandate . Orange County’s Russell Drake, elected 1st Vice President, has an impressive six point “R 6 Initiative”: Reenergize, Reeducate, Reengage, Reinvest,, Rebuild, and Relate. Hopefully, his community involvement will provide the opportunity for him to increase DBCF membership with the younger 17 to 35-year-sold age group.
Others elected for the two year term were Glenda AlfordAtkins, 2nd Vice President, an incumbent, who has increased county chapters from 16 to 21. Secretary Hazel Gillis, a former president of the Duval County chapter, has a strong work presence and is known for mobilizing her people and getting things done in the Jacksonville area and Manatee County’s Cornell Maxfield, the treasurer and president of Manatee County Chapter, is well known for working to get County Commissioner Charles Smith elected and getting things done in her “red” community.
“I’ve seen and heard the innovative ideas shared by the newly elected officers, and they are motivational to our members, so I am looking forward to working with the new administration, as I feel the newly elected leaders really have the interest of our caucus at heart, said Lake County Democratic Black Caucus President Lillian Lockette.
Prior to the election, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who has decided to run for reelection, described the negative policies of the Republicans on health care, and encouraged everyone to get motivated and make our voices count.”
Val Demimgs, Congresswoman of the 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, discussed the importance of making Florida Blue in 2018. All speakers were impressive in their discourse. Speakers included Manatee County Commissioner Charles Smith, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, and Michael Blake, Democratic National Committee.
Kevin McNeir was the Master of Ceremony.