The Ellis County Democratic Party has a new chairman this week, as the party voted unanimously Tuesday night to elect Larry Wilson as the county’s new party leader.

Wilson takes the place of the outgoing chairman Becky LeBreton who announced her resignation shortly after the November 2006 elections.

Wilson most recently served as the campaign manager for Waxahachie Councilman Chuck Beatty’s bid for county judge.

After Beatty attended a campaign camp in Austin with Wilson, the council member asked Wilson to take charge of his campaign.

“I noticed his interest and his abilities,” Beatty said. “I thought he would have great leadership and he gets along with everybody so I asked him to be my campaign manager. He said he had never done this before and I said well I’ve never run for county judge before either.”

Before the Beatty campaign, Wilson was involved in various smaller volunteer roles in Ellis County and Richardson, where he lived before he returned to his hometown of Waxahachie in 2000.

“I became a Democrat around 20 years ago,” Wilson said. “Before that I was more of an independent than anything else. But I was prompted to register as a Democrat because the Republican Party became more ideologically centered rather than focusing on the people.”

Wilson said he was never very active in politics until a letter published after the Democratic National Convention in 2004 led him to action.

“That letter said a lot of things that I felt really misrepresented the Democratic Party,” Wilson said. “It was then that I decided to get out and take a stand.”

Beatty said he expects to see great things for the Ellis County Democrat’s during Wilson’s chairmanship.

“I think he’ll be great for the Ellis County Democratic Party,” Beatty said. “Hopefully with his leadership we’ll be a big factor in the upcoming elections. We need to get out and encourage people to vote their convictions and inspire them to come and stand tall.”

Wilson said he still believes the biggest difference between the Democrats and Republicans is the Democrats’ focus on people.

“I believe both nationally and locally the Democratic Party is much more people oriented,” Wilson said. “It seems to me that the big business tax-cut people in the Republican Party run their show, where as the Democrats are more focused on the people. And in my opinion the Democrats are more inclusive and the Democrats tend to view issues from the people’s perspective as opposed to an ideological perspective. I’m not saying the Republicans are non-inclusive, I just feel the Democrats are more so.”

While many Republicans and the religious right have often attempted to paint the Democrats as Godless, Wilson said it’s an unfair picture.

“The party has many great Christians and people of faith in the party - locally, on the state level and nationally,” Wilson said. “I think we’ve been painted that way simply for the political gain of the Republicans.”

During the next two years Wilson plans to focus on making sure the party’s voice is heard across Ellis County.

“There are still a lot of Democrats in hiding from fear of voting Democrat,” Wilson said. “I want to help change that. People need to remember that no one knows how you vote unless you tell them. My main emphasis will also be on increasing local funding and our volunteer efforts for all aspects of the party.

“My wish is that the tide would change in time for the next election,” Wilson said. “And I want to see an increase in the Democratic vote. The ultimate goal is to win elections. It may take one or two elections to turn the tied but that’s our goal. I expect it to be a challenge but as I told everyone at the Democratic headquarters Tuesday night, this is about us and looking forward to help more Democrats get elected. We’re going to gear up our presence and make our voice heard.”

As inspiration, Wilson recounted a story he heard after a recent homecoming parade.

“As the Democratic Women’s float came down the road with four members on it, someone in the crowd said, ‘There go the four Democrats in the county,’” Wilson said. “My goal would be that that the situation would be reversed in the near future. I’m ready to make the Democrats’ presence known so people know the Ellis County Democratic Party is well and alive. It’s time to start getting volunteers organized and fundraising going.”

To volunteer for the party or to receive more information, individuals may call Wilson at (972) 935-8868 or call the party’s headquarters at (972) 937-9039.

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