Saturday, December 18, 2004


I've mentioned this a time or two in writing this blog over the past months, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to mention it once again for those who are new, or who may not have heard about the group to this point.

For the past couple of years, a group of generally progressive Democratic activists from throughout West Central Florida have been meeting monthly in Lakeland as a gathering to network and a source of help across county and district boundries. It is at this point an informal organization, so the I-4 Corridor Association (as it is commonly known) does not have officers or bylaws...although the group does plan to formally organize in the next couple of months. The I-4 Group plans to be officially nonpartisan, although it's membership is almost entirely made up of the aforementioned Democratic activists.

It began as a small group of about ten people almost two years ago, and since has grown to an average of 40-50 people attending the monthly meetings held at a Lakeland church. It's regular attendees represent Polk, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties, with occasional visitors from other counties throughout central Florida. Semi-retired pharmacist Fred Williams of Tampa, who is one of the founding members of the group, seeks to expans it's membership throughout the I-4 Corridor from Tampa/St. Petersburg to Daytona Beach. As a matter of fact, we were pleased to have had as guests Thursday evening two of the new officers --- including the new Chairman --- of the Osceola County Democratic Executive Committee. They elected an almost clean slate of new officers, including three Hispanics and an African-American. Their new secretary, who was in attendance, has formed a group similar to the I-4 but has formalized it as a not-for-profit, and has spoken to interested parties in Seminole and Orange counties. We are looking forward to be working with her and her collegues across East Central Florida.

Among the accomplishments that the I-4 Group has done in it's short history --- even as an informal gathering --- are providing volunteers that helped work precincts in Orlando to help Buddy Dyer's victory as Orlando mayor, and the Polk County Democratic Executive Committee's FULL SLATE of officers are active I-4 Group members. Among the things we want to do during the next couple of years --- in addition to electing Democrats to political office --- is assist counties across the region which have weak or almost nonexistant DECs to become active and find people in those areas who are willing and able to become involved.

For anyone that is interested in finding out more, the group meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 PM in the fellowship hall of First Institutional Baptist Church, 932 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue (at the intersection of Memorial Boulevard) in Lakeland (MAP). For more information, contact Fred Williams toll free in Tampa at (866) 266-4273.


Post a Comment

<< Home