Outnumbered by Republicans, North Carolina's Watauga County Democratic Party swept the ticket in 2006. Watauga was the only 5th-district county where Roger Sharpe defeated incumbent Representative Virginia Foxx. The irony: Representative Foxx calls Watauga home.
County Chair Diane Tilson attributes her party's success to many things. But she is most proud, not of their victories at the polls, but of their efforts to improve their community. Click on the one-minute video below to hear her explain how she wants her party's actions to speak louder than words:
Democrats started winning in Watauga several years before Diane got involved. According to her, the party had been developing organizational methods that work. But, most of all, Diane says, "They had amassed a wonderful group of volunteers."
What does she personally bring to the table? "I'm organized. I'm a part of a lot of the committees. I'm a real hands-on person . . . I'm a worker bee and that translates well to leadership." Most of all, she emphasizes the importance of listening as well as keeping people in the loop. "I try to be a good communicator . . . people are more willing to be involved in an organization when they feel like they are a part of it."
Click on the two-minute video below to hear Diane talk about how Watauga's Democrats win:
Before 2000, when a friend asked for her help, Diane's political history consisted of a a consistent voting history, and a short stint with the Young Democrats of Rowan County in the 70s. But once she got asked to help a candidate, she said, "You know what happens if you become involved in an organization and you're willing to work."
All that work, as well as her commitment to detail, keep her away from her family and the small construction business she runs with her son and her husband, Joe. What keeps her at it, she says, is her desire to "help make changes that I think need to happen."
In the shorter clip below, she talks about her slightly unconventional political history:
"Politics should always be local. Things that really matter to me and things that really matter to Watauga County . . . need to be handled by people who care about the county."