Posted: July 8, 2003
STATE DEMOCRATS MOVE ALONG
By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer
The Delaware Democrats did not expect to be
refashioning themselves this summer, but they had to, and they did.
The party has a new vice chairman, a new
executive director and a new headquarters, all as of the end of
"We've had a lot of changes -- one by an
automobile accident, one by a resignation and one by termination of
a lease," Richard H. Bayard, the state chairman, said Tuesday. "All
three developments were sort of thrust upon us, but all three turned
out to be happy results."
The new vice chairman is James F. Hussey Jr.
The new executive director is Nicole Majeski. The new headquarters
is in East Corporate Commons, located off Basin Road near New
Jim Hussey was chosen by the party's executive
committee on June 23 to replace John P. "Pat" Healy, who was killed
last month in a car crash downstate. Hussey will serve out Healy's
term, which lasts until May 2005.
Like Healy before him, Hussey has worked with
the Democratic Party and labor unions for years and comes out of
Local 313 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,
where Healy was the business manager and Hussey is the recording
"He was the consensus candidate," Bayard said.
"He represents continuity with Pat Healy."
Hussey, who lives in Mitchell Estates in Mill
Creek, has been a Democratic committeeman for more than 30 years,
but he says he has been involved with the party since he was in
grade school in Wilmington. He credits his early interest to Mary
McLaughlin, the wife of former Mayor William T. McLaughlin, a
two-term Democrat who served from 1977 to 1985. Mary McLaughlin was
responsible for getting Bill McLaughlin into politics, too.
Hussey has been the campaign manager for state
Sen. Patricia M. Blevins, an Elsmere Democrat, and is the chairman
of the 19th Representative District, where the local legislator is
House Minority Leader Robert F. Gilligan, a Sherwood Park Democrat.
In the 2002 election Hussey helped out Carl Schnee, the Democratic
candidate for attorney general -- "and sad to say, he didn't win,"
Hussey and his wife Susanne have two sons in
"I'm willing to take the challenge and move
the Democratic Party forward," Hussey said.
Majeski, who was serving as acting
executive director, was selected for her new post by the Democratic
executive committee at the same meeting that Hussey became vice
chairman. She succeeds Jonathan J. Pugsley, whose brief tenure
lasted from February through May. Pugsley, originally from Oregon,
went to Maine to work on a referendum campaign with some friends,
according to Bayard.
Majeski, a 2001 graduate of the University of
Delaware, came to the state from Reading, Pa., to go to school and
stayed. For her first political assignment here, she was an intern
in the 2000 campaign that turned Thomas R. Carper from a two-term
Democratic governor into a U.S. senator. She spent the 2002 election
cycle at party headquarters as the projects director, working on
fund raising, the get-out-the-vote drive, communications and event
"I plan on being here," Majeski said. "I
absolutely love campaign work."
Majeski, who lives in Wilmington, is presiding
these days over the new Democratic headquarters, where the party
moved on June 28, leaving behind the space it occupied in a Newport
industrial complex for about five years.
Bayard said the party made the move because
the rent is cheaper and the location is more accessible for
downstaters and easier to find.
The new quarters, about 5,000 square feet, are
located on the second floor of an industrial supply building in a
space that was remodeled for the party's needs. It includes a
conference room, a large meeting room and a bank of offices for the
campaigns of Carper, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, Lt. Gov. John C. Carney
Jr. and Treasurer Jack A. Markell -- but not for U.S. Sen. Joseph R.
Biden Jr., who has his own campaign office in Wilmington.
Because of the second-floor location, the
party had an elevator installed for its members who regard a
stairway the way they do Republicans, as something to be avoided
The move to the new headquarters was
accomplished with the help of the building trades and other unions,
Bayard said. Officials on hand were Bayard himself, Carper, Carney
and John D. Daniello, the New Castle County Democratic chairman.
The transition went smoothly enough for Bayard
to describe it in terms rarely used in politics.
"We had a good time, and nobody got hurt,"
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