Introducing June Mabry

I recently had the opportunity to work with a wonderful woman and NC Democrat, June Mabry. She's the chair of the Stanly County Democratic Party and an amazing organizer. She and her fellow Democratic volunteers in Stanly County worked hard to produce one of the best GOTV efforts seen in the county by the Democratic party. On top of this she serves as the first vice chair of the 8th Congressional District.

She worked in communications with a Fortune 500 as communications manager. June worked in politics on the statewide and national level for 13 years before taking a self-imposed sabatical. She's back and Republicans should be quaking in their shoes.

The following is our interview:

When did you first find yourself interested in politics?

It's probably best for me to answer both of these questions in the same breath. My entré into politics was purely accidental. I was involved in a discussion on how to create a simple, clear message about a very complicated political issue. They liked my idea and asked me to mock it up, which I did, which got me interviewed by the Washington Post. One panel of my mock-up is in the Smithsonian's political archives. That got me in. What kept me in was the creative, chess and probably the thrill of the chase.

How on earth did you wind up in Stanly Co, NC?

Six degrees of separation. Someone who I had worked with in Washington was from North Carolina. Through a friend of theirs, by way of a lunch, I met a friend of theirs - also at the lunch - whom they had grown up with. Both of them were from Stanly County. A friendship grew into a courtship and we married in 1999. He wanted to come home to Stanly to be close to his parents and pick up where he'd left off. So, here I am!

Are you involved in politics now?

Yes, in similar and dissimilar ways though. Until the mid-1990s I was a political consultant. I left politics for numerous reasons. I got back in because I still believe now what I believed then: if we want a Democracy, we have to be engaged in democracy. My involvement is on the grassroots level - something I certainly knew about, but was only marginally knowledgeable about. I wanted and needed to know more about the grassroots, so I reentered politics on the grassroots level by organizing my precinct. I then ran for the North Carolina House and lost, after which I was elected as the Democratic Party Chair. I'm currently still the chair, but have also been elected as the First Vice Chair for the 8th Congressional District.

As a Party Chair, what do you think seems to be working?

Organization, proper analysis, and good old GOTV.

What I mean by organization is this - and get ready, because there isn't a short answer. The key to a success is no different to a [candidate] campaign than it is to a business, with ONE VERY IMPORTANT difference: A company or corporation has at least five years to go EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Interest and Amortization) positive or put more plainly capturing marketshare before it goes belly-up. A [candidate] campaign, has eighteen to twenty-four months from when the campaign organizes (hiring a campaign manager, hiring a pollster, press director, finance director, etc.) to election day.

I could continue comparing, but I think you get where I'm coming from. A political organization's (like a political party) timeline is more like a corporation's because its lifeline is not limited to an election. The purpose of a political party is to coalesce, educate and motivate like-minded people, which is on-going. For instance, if there is no election going on (or if the time is not such that the general populace isn't focused on a candidate) then the party's responsibility is to continue to build its internal organization, keep communications going with people in the party about legislative issues and building and deepening loyalty, until election day is say 120 days away and then the party needs to begin organizing specifically for the election and our candidate.

What doesn't work?

Pitching up the party tent (or getting involved) 60-90 days before the election and shutting down two days after. You might as well be screaming in the wilderness for all that will help.

How can we organize better?

Create a party business plan (the NCDP calls it a strategic plan). Being serious about creating one -- realizing that the best laid plans need tweaking as you go (there's just no better teacher than time and experience) - which means getting it on paper and executing it. Just remember the old adage: Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan.

What was the key to the amazing improvement for Dem congressional voters in Stanly this past cycle?

Magic? Just kidding. The success we enjoyed in 2006 was the result of work begun in early 2005. That included creating a long-term (organization) plan and a short-term (election) plan for 2005. Following the 2005 election we held a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to review and to plan and execute a strategy for 2006 which, by the way, included early voting.

Will you run for office again?

Oh my. I don't have any intention of running. To be honest, I didn't decide to run until the day before the end of filing in 2004. I just couldn't let the Republican unopposed. To do so, is not democracy in action. But back to your original question...while I believe I have the acumen and the drive to be a legislator, I think I am better suited as a consultant - with a conscience, who cares.


Welcome June

I'm glad to see you jumping in here at BlueNC and appreciate your input and your perspective. Sometimes things are hopping and sometimes things are slow. Expect questions throughout to pop on throughout the day.

I'm sorry I have to run, but my hubby is just sure he's found our dream home.

Be back in a bit.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Welcome June!

I've read this interview twice in the time that it's been posted, and I'm forwarding a link to all of the other officers in my county. (I'm second vice chair in Moore County.) You have put things so well and succinctly. I'm glad you're on our side!

What did you find was the most difficult part of getting your precinct organized? (yep - nuts and bolts question.)

Thank you, lcloud.

Nuts and bolts? First let me say that when you forget about them that's when your wheels start falling off. :-)

At that time I didn't have access to the VAN, (Heck I didn't know about it!), so I went to my local board of elections and got a CD of the county and imported my precinct data into Excel (so I could get rid of extraneous data/columns) to create a call sheet (include a big comments column), printed it out, picked up my phone book and started calling (remember, I'm not from here so I didn't really know anyone), introduced my self (I always started out by telling them that I wasn't a sales call, but a new neighbor), let them know I was their precinct chair and asked them what concerned them and either wrote down what they said, or arranged to go visit them.



I was hoping there was a magic wand or something!

My husband is the precinct chair of our precinct - and it's frustrating to try to get people together. We're in our mid 40's and we seem to be the youngest ones who have any interest at all. Does that seem to be true across the board? Do you have any suggestions to get younger Democrats motivated?

Here, a magic wand -

Here, a magic wand - batteries not included: A whole lot common sense and hard work.

You’re not alone in wondering what it’s going to take or how to get young people involved and I don’t have a magic wand for that either, but here’s what I think:

First the analysis: The most involved people politically are 60-75, who were born during or grew up during the Great Depression and experienced, first-hand, two world wars. If that’s not a reason to get you interested, involved in and keep you in politics I don’t know what will. They grew up with leaders like FDR.

People your age and mine (I’m 49 by the way) are either in the Baby Boom Generation, or close enough to the fringes, and we grew up during Woodstock, Vietnam, and Watergate. Watergate, by the way, was why I registered as a Democrat. The younger we are in this generation, the later we got involved – unless by accident (see my answer to Betsy’s question as to how I got politically involved above).

Now we come to people between 30 and 40. They are the toughest to reach. Why? No world war, no economic crisis (on the scale of the Great Depression), no Watergate (“Clintongate” doesn’t even come close, neither does “Travelgate”) no Vietnam.

Finally you have people Sam Spencer’s age. Ah! Fresh air!! They are your untapped target. (Unless you live in a very progressive area like Chapel Hill, but let’s face it many of us don’t.) Tender in years (no offense Sam), but eerily attuned to what’s currently going on in our country and the world.

They are your untapped target. But only for a while…

As things progress in and with the basic core problems in our economy, the War in Iraq, the immigration issues, etc.) I predict you will see more and more of them get involved. We have – you and me – raised a very “me” generation and we’re going to have to be patient as they grow more political, if they aren’t already.

(Anyone reading this between the ages of 30 and 35, I ask you to stop rattling your sabers, until I’m finished, please!)

In my 13 years involved in state-wide, national and international politics as a consultant, the only people I saw really actively involved between 30 and 40 years old, were those who were passionate about something – whether it was the environment, religion, etc. We’re just too busy with children, paying a mortgage on our first home, paying off college loans and establishing ourselves in both our community and our workplace to give politics the time and focus as a core group in a political party.

Now, the answer:

So, what do you do? Do you sit on your hands and wait?

No, I’d say you whip out that voter registration file and you identify everyone between the ages of 18-25 who haven’t voted regularly and you call them. When you’re done there, call all those 30-40 year olds. And whatever you do….listen to them!

They will give you the answer, if you truly listen.

Let the saber rattling begin!


I'm going to get on the VAN tonight and start with the list.

Thanks, June.

Pay no attention to the saber-rattlers. They are cute, really.

Call me anytime. If I can't

Call me anytime. If I can't help you Charles McComas, our first vice chair here can! You can reach me at 704-983-3373. That's our party headquarter's number which is forwarded to my private number if a volunteer is not there or you can e-mail me at: (No, there is no website. I took it down after my run for office, but retained the domain as I have my own e-mail server and may put it back up - in another form - one day.)

Have a good time with the VAN. It's a powerful tool and we have Jerry Meek to thank for it, before he was chair it wasn't available to us in the field.)

my 2 cents

I have had some success in Person Co. gettng young people on board. My suggestion is basically this: get a dem contact at your local high school(s) and see if you can get Teen Democrats going in your county. Talk to principals if necessary beforehand just to avoid ruffling feathers.
We are working on getting Young Dems going now. We came close a few weeks ago to organizing YD's.
Younger dems have really been an asset in Person Co. They have done much of the door to door GOTV activities since 2004.
If you have a college in your county, community or otherise, try to get something going there.
Facebook and Myspace are ways to connect with young voters as well. I just got involved with Facebook and have been stunned with how many people are involved, most under 25.
Mike Barrett

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I’m intrigued about using

I’m intrigued about using Facebook and Myspace as a resource, but I’m curious about how you know who it is? You know pseudonyms? For example, I'd love to have "Poor Richard" as an active member in my group, but who is he? Is he a “D" or an "R"? “Are his parents a “D” or and “R”? Your strategy will depend on what you know – or don’t know. Maybe you can help me out here?

Teen Dems are a great resource and you’re absolutely right about getting them involved in the door-to-door effort in your GOTV plan. They're enthusiastic and tireless! But, they can also get discouraged, so make sure you have a politically seasoned adult as a teen adviser. You'll avoid more than you can imagine if you do this.

Absolutely go into the high schools, but I'd advise getting a YD involved. When Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill said, "All politics is local", he may very well have been talking about personal relationships as much as he was advising us a apply the "bring it home" sensibility to all issues. The same goes for relating to teens, so ask yourself, "Who in my local party would relate best with this group?" and then bring them on board help.

This is how one TD, now a YD got involved here - through a teen adviser at their high school. They got involved at age 17. I adopted them politically, got them involved in helping us organize and arranged for them to go to two Vance-Aycock dinners. They are proud of the pictures we got of them with John Edwards, Larry Kissell and Governor Easley. Next year they’ll be at Appalachian and will be a great asset for the Democratic Party there when their not home during class breaks!

Lessons learned: 1) Learn who their teachers are (that old VAN again) and 2) Provide them with memorable experiences and keepsakes (pictures), both of which will last a lifetime!

This is what we're going to be working on this fall

I'm convinced that the only way to do it is with young dems and trusted teachers.

and I'm pretty sure pizza will help, too.

You have no idea how much this advice is lifting my spirits. Thank you thank you thank you.

Yep ...

pizza, ice cream and the phrase "refreshments will be served" are all wonderful motivators. :-)

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I have it easier than most

as I am the county chair and a teacher at the high school, so I know most of the kids and have access to both county voter lists and the VAN. I can figure out who are the D's and R's without too much problem. Facebook has a feature that lets members enter their political leanings as part of their profile, though many people don't put anything useful there. I am still learning about FB and MS. My hope is to start a group specific to my county, our Teen Dems, to use as a gathering point and information disseminator.
I will say that I have not touched Myspace, seemed "younger" and less serious if that makes any sense. If anyone can inform me as to its potential usefullness, I would appreciate it.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I'd say you are far more

I'd say you are far more knowledgeable and experienced with this age group than I and would very much like to visit with you personally to discuss this in more depth and learn.

I'm working to to create an on-line continuing education program for district, county and precinct officers here in our district and what you possess is valuable information I'd like to make available as a resource!

I am very willing to travel to you! Please let me know.

I'd be glad to help in any way ...

.... though I do not feel much like an expert on teens. Working with teens is a lot like herding cats. Activity A will tank or I will have to do much of the work then activity B will come along, and I just sit back (mostly) and watch good things happen.
The teens do seem to have a cycle which (I hope) is due for an upswing with 2008 fast approaching
I would be glad to meet as I would like to pick your brain a bit concerning your experiences in DC, helping dems in Stanley Co. and as a candidate.
I would be glad to shorten your trip a bit by meeting in Chapel Hill or Durham if you are familiar with those "cities" at all. As for when - I'll be heading to Yankee land for a couple of weeks starting next thursday. I am not sure what timeframe you are thinking of. End of July? Or are you a member of the State Executive Committee? I am a teacher in summer (heaven?) and so am rather flexible.
Let me know. Glad to help.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I herd my cat all the time.

I herd my cat all the time. Takes a little fancy footwork.

I have to say this, (sorry) there is no "e" in Stanly. There is a Stanley, South Carolina. I'm beginning to believe that that's where all the companies our local economic development board says their talking to is going...sigh.

As for picking my brain. Sure, you learn, I learn, we both win.

I'll be out of pocket until June 9th, so the end of July works well for me. Call me when you get back.


I started using MySpace to keep an eye on my teenage son when he signed up. The condition on him having an account was that he had to "friend" me so that I could see all of his friends, etc.

It's like any other social networking site - it can be incredibly silly sometimes, but I've actually had old friends from high school find me there (I'm 47, and [gasp] they are now planning my 30th HS reunion![/gasp])

MySpace allows you to enter a profile, where you can detail whatever your interests are. You can put your political leanings in if you want to, and of course add political candidates and figures as friends. I don't use it for political stuff, though. I use it more as a social thing - now that I've found my old friends. Can't believe it.

Right there with you at 49!

Right there with you at 49!

How's your VAN project coming along, btw?


My real job is running a non-profit whose fiscal year ends in two days. So I'm busy with the paying job mostly right now. But I've got the lists printed and a game plan.

I've also got my 17 year old primed to get his debate team buddies together to talk politics right before the school year starts so they can "speak truth to power" (so to speak). I'll have our party chair there along with selected other Dem officials that I know will be able to listen and respond without sounding judgmental. I was even toying with making it non-partisan and asking the R's if they wanted to join us, because I wanted to be inclusive...but um, thought better of that the minute it went from my right brain to my left.

I think we'll get a Teen Dem club going by December. At least, that's my goal. A few of the teachers at the hs are active dems, so they can help with the effort, I think.

Thanks for the encouragement.

A Teen Debate. What a great idea!!

I love it!

Don't worry about inviting the Rs if the venue is for Democrats, but I would film it, and send (or take) the CD to the principals in the middle (or junior, depending on how your school system is structured there) schools and ask them to have the students hold a debate on the same subject in their school. If they don't want to do that, or if they don't have a debate team, is there a local media personality or someone in your community that is a "star" who could do something "Oprah" style so that kids in the audience could participate too? Maybe both.

And, coordinate a voter registration drive at the same time.

If the principals are non-committal or not willing, go directly to the county school board and present your idea!

I like it, I like it, I like it.


Trying to close the open tag

PS it worked.


When you do a post, in the code, everything inside tag needs a closing tag like .

If you don't, the web page uses fuzzy intelligence to insert them anyway, usually not they way they were intended.

It happens say if I click on Italics when I meant to click on Bold but didn't clean up the code when I hit submit. It's easier to correct in a blog post but comments are inaccessible (except to Lance/God) once they have received a reply.

Sam Spencer is an idiot

You meant to say, "people of Blue South's age." Sam Spencer is an idiot; he's lazy and bad for the party.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Hey, June!

I'm kind of new here myself, so I feel a little weird welcoming you. But I'll do it anyway:

Welcome to BlueNC!

I've known these folks for weeks, so if you have any should probably ask someone else. :)

Thank you, sc!

BTW, I'm looking for my sewing machine...I think I still have make that cape for you.

Dog-gone-it! Betsy tells me I'm using the wrong internet browser, which is why I keep getting knocked off. Something about Godzilla? Here...tie this ballgown around your neck and help me out!

Mozilla Firefox

It's much better than the microsoft stuff.

Download it here - LINK . It's free, and works better and faster (for me anyhow.)

re: Mozilla Firefox

Not that I don't trust you, sc, far from it, but called my I.T. tech and asked for his opinion. His reply? "It rocks!"

So, I'm now on Firefox! Gosh, I feel like a should get a gold star or somthin'

Oh gosh! I just realized

Oh gosh! I just realized that lcloud, not sc, directed me to Firefox. Turn in your cape and give it to lcloud. Or share, it's nicer!

Sorry lcloud!

(Now I've clicked on the wrong "reply" button and it's outlined incorrectly, but I get the feeling that you all can follow it! While I'm "true confessing here," I'll let you know I can't spell worth a diddle and my self-proofing skills are kind of stinky, too.)

No big deal....

It's because I always wear this sparkly cape....

Never told anyone the

Never told anyone the ballgown had sequins. Is there more I need to know?


I don't know, sounds kinda flashy. And if there's any lace whatsoever? (riiiiip).

I'm on the phone with June

She says no lace, but it is backless...... Need a shave?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Nah, I'm lucky there.

The front yard's way overgrown, but the back yard only has a few sprouts.

I really shouldn't post something so disgusting right around dinnertime. Sooorry. :)


Thank you loftT! Please

Thank you loftT! Please forgive me while I bask in all your nice comments and welcomes like my cat stretching in a puddle of sunshine. I know my day is coming when you'll clip my wings (maybe, even, sooner than later)!

Logging out so I can go see

Logging out so I can go see my mom. She's first generation Japanese (not relevant, but I thought I'd tell you anyway) and in a nursing home here. While she's still sharp as a tack, her memory waxes and wanes. She broke her hip (twice in the same week) and it's just safer for her to be there - at least for a while.

Will check back later today!

Thanks again everyone for the very warm welcome!


Sorry to be late to your welcome party . . . but better late than never. Very happy to meet you.


Thank you Anglico. You've

Thank you Anglico. You've been kind of busy, don't you think? I do feel better now that you've given me a big old "howdy" though. Late? There is no late.

Oh, wait a minute, yes there is! One minute after the polls close and no line. Thank goodness for early voting, eh?


What a magnificent gift! How we need such as that! How glad we are for your offer to help!

What a relief - I am not the only pour speelr. :)

Welcome, indeed, June, to you and your ball gown.

JUNE MABRY?!!! Holy moly!!

June, how great to see you! Do you remember me? We met at a Lillian's List training in 2004 and were kindred spirits. We spoke several times afterwards. The details are a little vague now but I remember you as incredibly smart and funny, and tremendously supportive of me. You talked about getting me appointed to state boards, etc. What a wonderful boon for my confidence, especially needed right then while I was grieving (really!) after Howard Dean dropped out of the race.

I've thought about you since, and I'm thrilled to find you again! Would love to reconnect and tell you what I've been up to in the last three years. You'll dig it. I'll email you next week (need to focus on end-of-quarter work right now) or feel free to contact me anytime, via Traction (see below).

Very very best regards,
Lanya Shapiro

Feel like you're spinning your wheels?
Get some Traction... turning energy into progressive movement

Feel like you're spinning your wheels?
Get some Traction... turning energy into progressive movement

Yes, Lanya, I do remember

Yes, Lanya, I do remember you. I particularly remember your card (I hope I'm remembering that correctly - lot's of new people for me there). I do remember you being a little out-of-sorts because of Dean dropping out, but, hey!, what a wonderful, unexpected gift it was for the party, don't you think?

I'm glad I could help lift your spirits. You impressed me as a very smart young lady with a great future.

I'll catch you via your link and we'll have an "old home" visit!

Two more late-nighters!

Hi. I'm so happy to find some more fellow owls on here. Welcome, both of you!!!

June, My husband, Mark Hufford, says hello.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Burma Shave

'nuf said.

Give Mark a big old bear hug for me!

Hopping in late to the party

but I just had to say Thanks June and Betsy!! This is a most excellent post and the comments are so full of good stuff. I feel like I've just been through a precinct chair seminar. :) Thanks ladies!!!

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."