MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — Alabama Democrats will gather for their state convention in October – the first big meeting since electing new leadership earlier this year.
The convention will be held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel in Montgomery on October 14 and 15. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will be the keynote speaker.
According to a news release, the convention will serve as a place to install the new state officers, including Chairman Randy Kelley and Vice Chair Tabitha Isner, as well as a chance to begin the steps to “rebuild the Democratic Party so it can compete with the Republicans across the state.”
The convention will also focus on party building as some counties do not have “functioning officers” or “plans for winning elections.”
“We need to give voters of Alabama a clear choice between Republicans and Democrats when they go to the polls,” said Kelley. “There are some serious issues facing the voters in Alabama. And the Democratic Party will be the party to help voters understand which party is their friend.”
“We have a lot to do,” Kelley continued. “But, as John F. Kennedy said, ‘let us begin now.'”
Kelley, the pastor of Huntsville’s Lakeside United Methodist Church, was elected the party’s new chair in August. In that election he defeated Alabama Young Democrats President Josh Coleman and Isner, a former congressional candidate who earned the vice chair role.
Alabama Democrats have proven to be divided over the last decade.
The 2019 leadership election saw state Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) and former state Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) sworn in as party leaders. Ahead of that election, state Democrats voted to remove Nancy Worley and Kelley, who was serving as vice chair at that time, from leadership.
Worley, who passed away in 2021, attempted to stop that meeting from even happening.
Kelley said in a news release that the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) semi-annual meeting will also be held during the convention, an event that is typically held in October.