BROOKSVILLE — The time has come to bring "a little bit of the Obama magic" and a resurgence of traditional Democratic ideals to Hernando County, the new leader of the local party executive committee said Friday.
James L. "Jim" Singer was elected as the new chairman of the Hernando County Democratic Executive Committee late Thursday and within hours, he was already mending fences, creating committees and making phone calls to further Democratic candidates and issues.
Singer, 85, is a six-year resident of the county who has been a lifelong Democrat. After retiring early from the computer business, he has spent the last several decades painting and writing. A sample of his work can be seen at www.jamessinger.com/index.html. He has donated paintings to Pasco-Hernando Community College to be displayed at the new campus, he said.
He also founded Academia Hernando, a group of about 150 people who meet for scholarly lectures on a variety of topics and who tour nearby art galleries.
Singer replaces Cy Wingrove, who resigned in August citing deep rifts in the party leadership. Singer said the party has reunited and that he sees his election as a reaffirmation of the unity because he was the candidate who had not been involved in any of the previous bickering.
The Democratic Party in Hernando County will now return to its traditional roots, "the party behind the oppressed and the voiceless,'' he said.
Already there are several committees in place to do research and provide support on several key issues. One group will focus on the county's much-maligned public transit system, THE Bus. Singer said it's "immoral and wrong'' to cut back bus service to the working poor.
Another committee will provide outreach and support for the gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual community in Hernando County. Singer said he questions whether the county is "still living in the 1950s" because the community needs to have a voice on topics such as gay troops being relieved from duty because someone "outed" them.
A third group will assist teachers who have suffered mistreatment and a lack of support. "We want to reach the teachers and give them another choice for support along with their fine union,'' Singer said.
The executive committee and other supporters were also busy getting out the vote for the upcoming elections. Singer said that he looked forward to working with Diane Rowden on statewide issues when she is elected to the state House.
Rowden is seeking to unseat Republican incumbent Robert Schenck for the District 44 seat.
Singer joked that his badge of honor was getting fired by Sen. Joe McCarthy after just three months on the job teaching at a Midwestern university. He admits attending meetings of a couple of questionable committees but noted that, "There was more FBI there than commies.''
He said he is unwavering in his support of the party's principles and he wanted to be sure that the county's Democratic leadership was just as committed to elevating the party's activities in the county as he was.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.