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    WHS grad becomes state's youngest party leader

    By Jackie R. Broach
    Coastal Observer

    Georgetown County now has the youngest Democratic Party chairwoman in the state.

    Hannah Cromley, 28, a recent law school graduate and a lifelong Pawleys Island area resident was elected the party’s interim chairman Saturday.

    She will fill the remainder of Jamie Sanderson’s term, which expires next year. Sanderson resigned in December.

    Though this is “an off year,” Cromley said she won’t be easing her way into her new role.

    “We have the convention coming up in April and the city of Georgetown has mayoral and council member elections this year, so I’m hitting the ground running,” she said. “It’s not a big election year, but it is an election year for us.”

    Cromley’s main focus will be to build the party and grow membership, but she also wants to have the party involve itself more in public service and “really reach out to the community.”

    Susan Smith, president of the Waccamaw Democrats Club and alternate executive committeewoman for the county party, said she believes Cromley has “the savvy and the smarts to turn some things around.”

    “I think she will change the energy and dynamics of the party,” Smith said.

    Smith is hopeful Cromley will be able to get other young Democrats involved and the party can harness their energy, she said.

    The election of President Obama is a perfect example of the difference youth involvement can make, Cromley said. She wants to help carry the vitality and excitement of Obama’s campaign into the party’s the day-to-day operations. Cromley said she wants to start by making it easier for young people to be active in the party.

    “It’s really tough to get involved when you’re younger,” she said. “You want to do so much, but you’re kind of apprehensive about how your party elders will see you and if they’ll think you’re up to handling responsibility.”

    She wants to make sure young people know they are a welcome and valuable part of the party.

    Nancy Kolman, president of the county Democratic Women’s Council and a former interim party chairwoman, knows first hand the challenges Cromley will face. She took over in 2004 and “we were running on empty,” she recalled.

    Bringing the county together was Kolman’s biggest challenge and she said she suspects it will be Cromley’s, as well.

    Cromley wants to get monthly party meetings started up again, and rotate them around the county. Her goal is to see at least 100 people at every meeting.

    Cromley has already completed her first order of business in locating a new treasurer. Magy Patton resigned Saturday.

    Darryel Carr, 40, of Litchfield, was elected to the position Wednesday. Owner of MBF Tours & Travel, Carr ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 2004 and said he’s ready to work hard to get Democrats elected.

    “I think getting more young people involved would be key to a lot of elections,” he said.

    Cromley’s former position, third vice chairman, is now vacant. It has to be filled by someone under 30. For information, e-mail georgetowncountydemocrats@gmail.com.

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