By ROBBIE WARD
Daily Journal Starkville Bureau
STARKVILLE – Oktibbeha County Democrats energized themselves Monday night with beans, greens and a little bit of Republican bashing.
Area Democrats and one Republican campaigning for mayor gathered at the Bost Extension Center at Mississippi State University for the annual Beans and Greens Dinner, hosted by area Democrats.
“In Oktibbeha County and in Mississippi, the Democratic Party is alive and well,” shouted Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party.
Many Democratic supporters are still licking their wounds from Republican President George W. Bush's re-election last November. However, Dowdy gave reasons for Democratic faithful to keep standing by their candidates, chiding Republicans for a lack of public school funding and Bush's plan to alter Social Security through private savings accounts.
“We stand for strong support of our public schools,” Dowdy told the group of about 300 people. “George Bush's programs will lead to WorldCom and Enron accounts.”
In a state that usually votes solidly Republican in national elections, Dowdy reminded the crowd of the accomplishments of Harry Truman, the need for better health care and why Republican Gov. Haley Barbour has made wrong decisions.
Local politics wasn't forgotten either.
In a city preparing for fierce mayoral and aldermen races, former MSU College Democrats President Daniel Melder told the crowd about Republican strategies to influence the Democratic primary.
“Plans are already on the way for the MSU College Republicans and the (MSU) Student Association to flood our primaries,” Melder said.
With the primary elections about three months away, many candidates made their annual appearance to appeal to their base. Even Republican Alderman-at-Large Vic Zitta, who is running for mayor, made an appearance.
However, the food and conversation didn't convince Zitta to switch political affiliation.
“Not hardly,” Zitta said when asked if he'd turned to the Democratic Party.
Mayoral candidates Dorothy Isaac, Frank Davis and Dan Camp also attended the dinner.
Contact Robbie Ward at 323-9831 or firstname.lastname@example.org