By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) has made waves in Alabama political circles by calling for the Chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party, Nancy Worley, and the head of the Alabama Democratic Conference, Joe Reed, to step down.
Thursday, October 27, 2016, the Chair of the Alabama Democratic Reform Caucus (ADRC), Sheila Degan Gilbert, wrote in a statement, “Recent comments by State Representative Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) have again brought forth the need for a more energetic Alabama Democratic Party. One cannot effectively defend the lack of action by our Party during the past several months. The Republican leader of each branch of government in Alabama has been under attack in the courts or in legislative impeachment committees. The Speaker of the State House of Representatives and the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court no longer hold office. The Governor is being investigated. Yet our State Democratic Party has been almost silent.”
Gilbert continued, “At the national level, the Republicans nominated perhaps their most irresponsible candidate for President since our nation’s founding. Our State Democratic Party said little. Our Party has County Executive Committees in only about half of Alabama counties. Where is the Vice-Chair who is responsible for local parties? This position requires an individual who is energetic and driven with a desire to revitalize the democrats in every county across the State.”
Gilbert said that, “Ms. Worley’s defense of herself and Joe Reed by crying racism and sexism is a weak and sad attempt to derail the conversation at hand. These terms have no place in this conversation. The Alabama Democratic Reform Caucus (ADRC) has consistently pushed for a more open and inclusive party organization, yet has been consistently ignored by our State Party leaders.”
Gilbert concluded, “Worley and Reed know what is required of their positions. They know that thousands of local Democrats across the state want change. They know that help is there if they want it…from the ADRC and from the Democratic National Committee. Whether they want to play a part in the resurgence of the Alabama Democratic Party is up to them.”
Ford responded to recent attacks on him by Chairwoman Worley, “Nancy Worley has called me a sexist and a racist for asking her and Joe Reed to resign. But Sen. Vivian Figures, an African American woman from Mobile and also a former Minority Leader in the Alabama Senate, has also called them out for their shady and poor leadership of the Alabama Democratic Party. Their disgusting accusations against me only prove my point that Nancy and Joe need to go.”
The July 11, 2015 comments by Sen. Figures followed a contentious meeting, where a block of state Democratic Executive Committee members refused to approve over 20 uncontested nominees for vacant committee positions. Figures said that we are never going to elect Democrats until we change. Reed and Worley have been accused of maintaining an iron grip on who gets elected to the state Democratic Executive Committee, even though they have struggled to fill the committee with candidates they find suitable. When they lack a candidate, they simply block attempts by reformers to fill the empty seat and it goes unfilled.
The original clip was filmed by the progressive blog, Left in Alabama. While wholeheartedly Democratic Party aligned, Left in Alabama has been critical of the current Democratic leadership structure.
Ford has hinted at the possibility that he might run for Governor in 2018.