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Candidates Gather for Meet and Greet.

On Saturday, March 3rd, approximately 100 candidates running for political office gathered at the University of Memphis ballroom to meet potential voters. The nonpartisan candidate Meet and Greet, organized by TNA District 1 and the League of Women Voters Memphis/ Shelby (LWV), was the largest gathering of candidates at any one time in the history of Shelby County. Candidates for local, state and federal office were in attendance representing Republicans, Democrats and Independent Parties. The total number who turned out for the event was estimated to be about 500 people including candidates, volunteers and citizens. Norma Lester, a Registered Nurse and Secretary for the Shelby County Election Commission, remarked on the enormity of the event and the tremendous amount of work that it took to put all of it together. TNA's Manager of Government Affairs, Wilhelmina Davis, came to the Meet and Greet showing her support and solidifying the importance of these types of events for what promises to be an upcoming busy political season.

The idea for the event was conceived in late November of 2017 with the actual planning beginning in mid-January. Members of the planning committee for the Meet and Greet gathered every two weeks until the final three weeks leading up to the event, as weekly meetings became necessary. Carla Kirkland, District 1 President said, "We wanted to do something to bring the community and candidates together. We were thrilled to organize this event with the League of Women Voters." Each organization's contribution was unique to the event. Planning committee members from District 1 include President Carla Kirkland, President-Elect Lisa Beasley, and Jill Dapremont, Nominating Committee. Planning committee members from the LWV Memphis/Shelby include Vice-President Barbara Williams, Secretary Sherry Hewlett, and former President, Peg Watkins. Local news anchor, Greg Hurst of WREG-TV, news channel 3 announced all of the candidates as each one walked across the stage.

The University of Memphis was very generous in their support by providing free parking for all who attended the event, and the Student Nurses Association at the Loewenberg College of Nursing (University of Memphis) also made a large contribution by arranging for the ballroom. Other sponsors included the Steamfitters Union Local 614, the National Association of Health Services Executives, Planned Parenthood of the Greater Memphis Region, the Germantown Democratic Club, Shelby County Alumni Chapter Delta Sigma Theta, Lisa Beasley, Jill Dapremont, Carla Kirkland, and Peg Watkins.

TNA District 1 and the LWV Memphis/Shelby are hoping to organize more events in this political season to highlight issues important to both organizations and bring awareness to the importance of voting.

By Lisa Beasley DNP, APRN, NP-C, RN

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Author:Beasley, Lisa
Publication:Tennessee Nurse
Date:Jun 22, 2018
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