Category Archives: Democrats

Nominee Autobiography of Dr. Richard Thripp, Candidate for Board of Directors of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida

Update: Although I did not make the cut, congrats to everyone who won! We filled the Board of Directors with left-wing Bernie Sanders Democrats.

My name is Richard Thripp and I am a 29-year-old Democratic activist in southwest Volusia County. I was elected to be the Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party in December 2020, but stepped down in June 2021 due to an election challenge by my opponent, who discovered a notarial issue with the candidate oaths of myself and others that we were unaware of at the time. Nevertheless, I gained valuable experience in directing a large organization of volunteers and working with various stakeholders. In 2020, I ran for Congress (Florida’s 6th district) with no prior political experience, securing numerous endorsements including Florida for Bernie and Our Revolution Florida, receiving 284 small donations totaling $9,327, and recruiting over 100 volunteers. We achieved 48.5% of the vote in the Democratic primary. I am a strong supporter of a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, student loan forgiveness, and other progressive causes which were core planks of my congressional campaign. My wife Kristy and I have a 2-year-old son, Jonah. We are concerned about his future and other children as the climate crisis worsens.

Immediately prior to launching my congressional campaign, I completed my PhD in Education at University of Central Florida with specializations in instructional design and advanced statistics. My dissertation was on preservice teacher financial literacy and was republished by The International Society for Technology, Education and Science. I taught 11th grade U.S. History and 12th grade U.S. Government at a public high school from October 2020 to June 2021, and am a Florida certified teacher in 10 subject areas. Prior to being a classroom teacher, I taught hundreds of preservice teachers about educational technology as an instructor at University of Central Florida of a 3-credit hour course, EME 2040: Introduction to Technology for Educators, in mixed-mode and fully online modalities in 16-week and accelerated 6-week formats.

At this time, I am continuing to volunteer, to advocate for worthy causes, and to mentor political candidates such as John Navarra, a veteran 10th grade World History teacher who is running for Florida House District 26. I am running to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida in the July 17, 2021 elections to work with progressive Democratic activists and candidates throughout Florida and magnify our positive impact.

Agreement reached ending my tenure as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party

I have stepped down as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party. Jewel and I had a great conversation yesterday. She will serve as Chair until December 2024 and I will remain an active party leader.

This is a joint statement from Richard Thripp and Jewel Dickson. Please welcome Jewel Dickson as our new Chair!

Yesterday, Jewel Dickson and I, on advice from our respective counsels, approved an amicable agreement that reinstates Jewel as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Executive Committee. Susanne Raines will serve as State Committeewoman, and Evans Smith will continue as State Committeeman. New elections will be held on July 19, 2021, for the other three offices. At-large committee members appointed during my tenure, and approved by the DEC at large will also continue in office.

Because the applicants’ oaths to the Democratic Party were not appropriately notarized, the election of precinct captains in 2020 proved invalid. The individuals affected are, however, encouraged to apply to the appropriate committee for membership in the DEC. Their applications will be dealt with expeditiously, and, after approval by the DEC membership at large, they will be eligible to vote in the July 19 election. Specific instructions for application will be provided within the week.

I have asked that the following be included in a joint statement of party unity: “In stepping down in favor of Jewel Dickson as the Volusia County DEC Chair and asking the local and state party to recognize and support Susanne Raines as the state committeewoman, it is my hope we can move past the issues with the December 8, 2020, Volusia County Democratic Executive Committee election. I am pleased we were able to reach an equitable solution that allows us to focus our talents and energies on the elections in 2022.”

It was an honor to serve as Chair from December 8, 2020, to June 13, 2021. I will support Chair Dickson through the transition and I will continue to have an active role in electing Democrats who enact progressive legislation and policy. I strongly encourage others to join us.

Sincerely,
Dr. Richard Thripp
Former Chair

Meet Aramis Ayala on May 24 & Charlie Crist on June 8 on Zoom! + Danny Fuqua & Friends’ Charity Work

Here’s a mass email I wrote today in my role as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party. We have some exciting events coming up and wonderful charitable work going on.

May 22, 2021

Dear fellow Democrats,

I am writing to share with you news of two exciting upcoming digital meetings!

On Monday, May 24, 2021 at 7:00 PM, hear from former State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who is considering running for the United States House of Representatives in 2022! She is our guest speaker at the Volusia County Democratic Party meeting. Click here to RSVP and receive the Zoom link.

On Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 7:00 PM, hear from Congressman Charlie Crist, a Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida in 2022 who knows the job well, having served as Governor from 2007 to 2011. He is the guest speaker at the Volusia Young Democrats meeting. Click here to RSVP and receive the Zoom link.

We would love to see you at these virtual events, and there will be an opportunity for questions. You can also reply to this email with a written question for either candidate, and we will consider it.

Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to spotlight the wonderful charitable work the Volusia County Democratic Veterans Caucus has been doing, including Mr. Danny Fuqua, who will be running for Volusia County Council District 2 in 2022. Last week, they delivered hundreds of care packages to students and veterans in the Florida panhandle who have been displaced by hurricanes. Please click here to read all about it in The Hometown News.

Finally, I have a request: Your donation helps Democrats succeed! Please click here to donate on ActBlue, or write your check to the Volusia County Democratic Party and mail it to:

Volusia County Democratic Party
P. O. Box 11613
Daytona Beach, FL 32120

When we work together, anything is possible.

Sincerely,
Dr. Richard Thripp, Chair
Volusia County Democratic Party
VCDP Text Message line: 386-232-8172

Q&A on My Activism and Our Goals for Volusia Democrats

Here is a questionnaire I completed about my new role as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party, my activism and volunteer efforts over recent years, and our plans for 2021 and beyond to engage in our community and fight for people who have been marginalized.


Tell us about your main professional accomplishments at your workplace:

I was just elected Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party on December 8th, 2020. One of our big accomplishments has been getting young people to be politically engaged. I ran for Congress earlier this year garnering 28,661 (48.5%) in the August 18th Democratic primary. The same volunteer base as well as many new volunteers are joining us to engage with voters in Volusia County. Our overall mission is to help marginalized people, particularly by electing candidates who represent and advocate for everyone.


Tell us about your volunteer efforts in the community in the past two years:

Right now we have a prominent local Democrat matching donations to food banks, so we’re hoping to hit over $2,500 donated with that. People are really hurting right now. I was not politically involved before this year and in fact grew up as a conservative Republican. There was a series of things that transformed my perspective, such as studying financial literacy and the marginalization of teachers, women, and people of color during my PhD dissertation. I’ve become a Black Lives Matter advocate, attending many marches and protests, writing public statements and letters, and so forth. I’ve also become a strong advocate for climate justice and a Green New Deal, having learned the enormity of the greenhouse gases dilemma. What we are fighting for requires political action, because embracing the intersectionality of politics and volunteering provides much more leverage than trying to volunteer while avoiding politics. The causes we are fighting for are as real as ever even though they may have receded in public view recently.

As a teacher educator at the University of Central Florida for over 2 years, I worked to instill a love of learning and of innovative pedagogical practices in our next generation of teachers. Presently I am teaching social studies at New Smyrna Beach High School where I endeavor to bring history alive and meet students where they are at. I have one at-risk student who is showing up to class again, getting excited about U.S. history for the first time, and turning in work. His father is thrilled. In July 2020 I co-chaired the International Conference on Humanities, Social and Education Sciences which brought together researchers from all over the globe in a digital format. Although it may seem a bit unusual, I really love to volunteer as a personal finance educator and want to incorporate this into my role as party chair by holding free events. I have had an enduring interest in this topic having made it the focus of my Master’s degree capstone project in 2016 and Education PhD dissertation in 2019.


Tell us anything else you’ve done to make Volusia and Flagler counties a better place.

I lived in the Holly Hill / Ormond Beach area most of my life and now on the west side of Volusia in Orange City. As a teenager I volunteered (and at age 15 was paid) at the Holly Hill Public Library where I helped put together children’s programs, taught computer classes to senior citizens, and so on. I also worked as a tutor and newspaper editor at Daytona State College, and in 2014–2017 was involved in the Toastmasters nonprofit to help myself and others become better public speakers, as the President of Port Orange Toastmasters for one year and Treasurer for the year after, but I had to give it up to focus on my PhD program.

I am continuing to work now to have a greater impact in this new role as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party. What we are putting together is a team effort of enormous scope. Volusia has been left behind in so many ways, and our neighbors to the north in Flagler too. Cost of living is high, people struggle to get by and often end up having to leave due to lack of opportunity. We need to get more federal dollars flowing in by expanding Medicaid, and we need to push for jobs, industries, laws, and policies that help the people at large instead of a select few. You can expect that our local elected officials will be feeling that pressure under my tenure.


Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I’m half Chinese, my mother having escaped Communist China after the Tiananmen Square massacre. I was born at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach and before you ask, no, did not learn the language.

My wife Kristy and I have a son named Jonah, who is turning 2 on February 27th. He is our world!


New year’s statement from the Volusia County Democratic Party:

We know 2020 has been a terrible year for so many of us. The people of Volusia have lost their homes, their jobs, and their loved ones, and the long winter is not yet over. Here is to a brighter 2021. We are here fighting for you.

Here's to a Bright 2021 from Volusia Democrats

Endorsement of Ione Townsend for Florida Democratic Party Chair

Preface: On December 8th, 2020, I was elected to a 4-year term as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party and took office that evening. These past few weeks have been some of the busiest in my life. As Chair, I am tasked with working on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party to support and elect Democrats in Volusia County, one of the larger counties in Florida with 436,954 registered voters of which 144,154 are registered Democrats, six chartered Democratic clubs, 150 elected precinct chairs, and numerous caucuses. To these ends, it is vital that we have an experienced and effective progressive leader at the helm of the Florida Democratic Party. I have gotten to know Ms. Ione Townsend, Chair of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, and believe she is our best choice. If you are a party elector, please vote for her at the Florida Democratic Party reorganizational meeting that will take place on Saturday, January 9th, 2021.


Saturday, December 26th, 2020

I am so impressed with Ione Townsend. She is exactly who we need to lead the Florida Democratic Party. Her success as Chair of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party is exactly what we hope to replicate here on the other end of the I-4 corridor in Volusia County. She is a grassroots organizing powerhouse, a selfless public servant, and running for precisely the right reasons. Determined, competent, and transparent are her key words and she delivers on these promises in spades. She is fierce and fearless, an accomplished equestrian, nurse practitioner, and progressive leader who will deliver winning results for Democrats throughout Florida.

This isn’t a game. This is life or death. Ione will listen and include all Democrats as stakeholders and as valued voices, not just in our highly populated blue counties but also in red, rural counties that have for too long been de-emphasized. We must get rid of DeSantis in 2022 and win down-ballot races by being visible community leaders. We must organize and show up everywhere, year-round — not just parachuting in people who can’t pronounce “Volusia” weeks before an election. Ione Townsend will help make the Florida Democratic Party transparent, inclusive, and efficiently coordinated with our local parties. Please vote Ione Townsend for FDP Chair.

Sincerely,
Dr. Richard Thripp
Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party


Please also read Ms. Townsend’s endorsement from the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida and follow her on Twitter @Townsend4FDP.

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