Lydia Hudson Elected President of Democratic Black Caucus
By Louis C Ward
Lydia Hudson was elected President of the Democratic Black Caucus, Florida (DBCF) at its 35th Annual Conference on Saturday, May 20th at the Rosen Centre in Orlando. Expressing his support for the DBCF, United States Senator Bill Nelson attended the President’s Kickoff Reception on Friday evening, May 19th, and the Honorable Congresswoman Val Demings lead a host of prominent speakers at the “Excellence in our Economic and Political Progress” Gala on Saturday evening, May 20th.
Newly elected President Hudson, the former administration’s 1st Vice President, under the leadership of outgoing President Henry Crespo, Sr., was 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. President Hudson believes with her leadership the DBCF, which is called the “Soul of the Party”, will create a youth division and reach out to colleges and HBCU’s; 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 on-line 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, as well. Orange County’s Russell Drake, elected 1st Vice President, has an impressive six point platform and hopefully, his community involvement will provide the opportunity for him to increase DBCF membership with the younger 17 to 35 years-old age group. Others elected for the two-year term were Glenda Alford-Atkins, 2nd Vice President, an incumbent, who has helped increase 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. Manatee’s County’s Cornell Maxfield, the Treasurer and President of the 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 re-election, 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.