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The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County has merged the energies and aims of its grassroots forerunners: PWH, POW, Hendersonville Huddle and Silent Vigil for Immigration Reform.

Informed Progressive

On Wednesday, November 18, at 5:30 (please note time change) we will feature a round table of elected progressive candidates on the topic:  "What Happens Now?  Where the Rubber Meets the Road”.  Perhaps some candidates who were not elected will share “Lessons Learned.”

Please click on this link to join the meeting:
Meeting ID: 875 4534 7977
Passcode: 039676


Postcard Parties

Postcard Parties will be VIRTUAL until further notice.  

Postcard Parties will PERSIST – but they may not be “in-person” at Oklawaha Brewery (renamed from Sanctuary Brewing), still at 147 1st Ave. E, Hendersonville.  We will post weekly suggestion sheets on our FB page, website and in emails.

This week's full postcard Suggestion Sheet can be viewed below or downloaded at our website.


There is no Friday rally planned for November 6th.  Please use it as a day of peace and reflection.

There is NO voting at the Board of Elections location on Nov. 3rd.  If you wait until Tuesday, you must go to the voting site designated for your precinct.

VOTE EARLY.   It is probably too late to mail-in ballots per the United States Postal Service.   Please let us know if you need a ride to an early voting site to drop off your absentee ballot.
Laura Bannister
as told to Lee Stevens

We were a family of four.  My Mom, from the Virginia mountains, my Dad from New Orleans, and my sister Nancy.  Dad was in the Coast Guard, so my early years were spent moving from Baltimore, MD, to Portsmouth, VA, to Corpus Christi, TX, and finally settling in Vienna, VA outside Washington, DC in 1968 when I was 12.  It was the beginning of the end of the Viet Nam war, and despite my young age, I was eager to join the protests taking place in our nation’s capital.  It was impossible to ignore the social and political changes of the time when our local news happened also to be the national news, and we discussed politics at every meal.  Dad was the conservative and I was the radical.

Growing up, I spent many years as a JANGO (Junior Army-Navy Guild Organization) candy striper at the local hospital, and sang in several choirs. I also played the drums in a rock band, and dated boys.  Lots of boys.  Our family vacationed regularly at Fontana Village, NC, and the Adirondack mountains of upstate NY, which fostered my great love of the mountains.

After high school, I wanted to study medicine - twins in particular because I had read of Josef Mengele’s research and I wanted to disprove some of his most gory theories. I briefly attended King College in Bristol, TN, then transferred to Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA.  It was here that I became <gasp> a College Republican because they hosted the best keg parties at UVA and VA Tech.  Our politics didn’t seem to matter as much then because the war was over and environmental issues were our new battle cry.  We traveled to DC regularly for sit-ins and rallies.  After finally buckling down, I received my BA in psychology in 1980.

My first professional job was with the National Park Service, working at many sites throughout the DC area.  I was a procurement specialist, my specialties being fireworks and portable toilets.  I was sent to study pyrotechnics at the factories of Grucci Brothers and Zambelli.  I counted the hundreds of bombs that were set to detonate over the National Mall for the July 4th celebrations, and made sure that they complied with their contract.  I negotiated with every porta potty supplier in the area to deliver, pump, and haul away thousands of pots.  Once after a Beach Boys concert, we were charged an outrageous amount for pumping.  Each attendee at the concert would have had to consume ten gallons of beer per hour in order to substantiate the invoice.  Needless to say, we didn’t pay it!  I also worked on the renovation of the Ford Theatre, helped with several contracts at the Reagan White House, and administered contracts for hundreds of performers every summer at the Carter Barron Amphitheater and Fort Dupont Theater.  Those were heady days!

Then I met my first girlfriend.

Oh man, did my life ever change!  All my friends (except one) dropped me like a hot potato.  I quit my job and started freelancing, teaching WordPerfect and Lotus to the secretaries at Sallie Mae and the National Association of Realtors.  I was sad to leave my Park Service “friends,” but it was time.  I made more money and many new friends.  I later accepted full time employment with an offshoot of Sallie Mae, Connie Lee, and worked as the office manager there for several years until August 2, 1991, when I was escorted out of the building along with several other employees.  Turned out the company had been keeping two sets of books and we were shut down.

My girlfriend’s brother had AIDS, and died with his head on my shoulder.  It was at this point that again I became a radical.  Perfect timing since I had been laid off, the girlfriend found someone new, and I could survive on unemployment.  The DC AIDS clinic, Whitman-Walker, desperately needed an office in northern Virginia, so I went to work raising money for a new clinic.  After putting in many hours, meeting thousands of new people, and knocking on many doors, we raised $7.2M during one single AIDSWalk and built our clinic. It was during one of the many fundraising events that I met my current wife, Cindy.  We hit it off right away, and will celebrate 29 years together in May!  

Because I couldn’t live on unemployment and volunteer wages forever, I decided to make a living doing what I really loved - gardening.  I went to work for a high-end residential landscaping firm in Arlington, VA.  Ran two crews of Guatemalans, installing beautiful gardens and building patios and stone walls.  I completed George Washington University’s Landscape Design program, and at last, found how I could make the world more beautiful, one yard at a time.  When one of the firm’s owners died suddenly, and my workload was about to double,  I took the leap!  I bought a truck, a rototiller and some tools, and went out on my own.  Five of my workers came with me.  So did many of my clients.  I was in the right place at the right time when I was introduced to Hillary Clinton, and landed the enviable job of caring for her garden for the next 17 years.  I never needed to advertise or look for clients after that.  I was, as my sister called me, “Landscaper to the Stars.”  I worked for Madeleine Albright, William Rehnquist, the Folger coffee family, Alan Greenspan, and for years tended the gardens of nine different ambassadors among others.  I was truly blessed to have worked for so many wonderful clients, making the world a little prettier each day.  My arthritis now is proof of many trees planted, many rocks split, and many perennials divided.  No shame there.

I never did talk to my parents about being gay, but of course they knew.  Dad would say, “Love the sinner.  Hate the sin.”  One day while Mom was watching Ellen, she told me that she loved Cindy, and asked if there was anything I wanted to tell her.  Yes, I said, it’s time to have ice cream!  I was too nervous to broach the topic with her, and we never did have “that” discussion.  My sister knew, of course, and loved Cindy probably more than she loved me.  She passed away at age 54 of bile duct cancer, an ugly and horrifying way to go.

After my family passed away, Cindy and I decided it was time to leave DC and come here to Hendersonville to help her family in Franklin.  She was an immense help to me during my family’s demise, and it was time to return the favor. Cindy’s family has taken me in and accepted us, and for that I’m eternally grateful.  

When we first moved here in 2015, I couldn’t stop myself from pulling into the Democratic headquarters, and I’ve been rewarded tenfold with many new friends.  There are so many opportunities for involvement!  As I met many in the LGBTQ community here, it became obvious that we needed to come out of our closets, and Hendersonville Pride was formed.  We celebrated a huge success in 2019, and hope to be back in 2021.  

While my biggest worry at the moment is the upcoming election, when I see the good works of the Progressive Alliance and the Democratic Party of Henderson County I remember that activism is not only good for our country, but it is good for the soul.  

To help manage the stress of the current time, I go camping, and indulge my true love of bass fishing. I also love deejaying 70s hits on blazing turntables. Anybody want to dance? 
Informed Progressive

On Wednesday, October 14, we held a virtual Informed Progressive meeting featuring local and state candidates or their representatives.  Jenna Wadsworth (candidate for NC Commissioner of Agriculture), Graeme McGuffie (campaign manager for Moe Davis – Congressional District 11), Brian Caskey (NC District 48), Sam Edney (NC District 113), Josh Remillard (NC District 117), Judge Mac McKeller (District 29B), Stacey Caskey (candidate for Henderson County School Board), and Florence Allbaugh (candidate for Henderson County School Board) joined us to give brief but very informative statements on the current status of their campaigns.

Please click on this link to view a recording of the meeting:

Postcard Virtual Party #197       October 30, 2020


(Note – this item was passed on from Vets for Peace, via Chris Berg):

Someone wrote about the stress Dr. Fauci is under, caused by the current administration and how many of his TV appearances are being canceled by the White House. She got an address for The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and thought we all should send him a Thank You mail.

The postage purchased will help the USPS and the cards may make Dr. Fauci's day and let him know how much he's respected and appreciated by most Americans.

If you're interested send a card to:
Dr. Anthony Fauci c/o
NIAID Office of Communications and Government Relations
5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806
Bethesda, MD 20892-9806

Logging in the Tongass National Forest
President Trump will open up all 16.7 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted Wednesday, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades.

As of Thursday (October 30), it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock. The relatively-pristine expanse is also home to plentiful salmon runs and imposing fjords. The decision, which will be published in the Federal Register, reverses protections President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001 and is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted.

Write to House Speaker Pelosi – it is time for the House to suspend appropriations for agencies intent on destroying our environment.
Honorable Nancy Pelosi
1236 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515 

(From the Never-too-late-to-Act File):
The Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis is asking for your input.
Senate climate hawks, led by Sen. Brian Schatz (a Climate Hawks Vote endorsee), are looking for bill ideas, whether this session or under a Joe Biden presidency, and they want to hear from you. Whether you’re a survivor of a climate disaster or you have a smart idea, squawk up!

Not sure what to write? The Democrats want to hear how climate change is already affecting you, your family, your business, and your community, and how Congress can best facilitate the transition to a clean economy and a healthier environment for the benefit of all Americans. 

Below are some questions to prompt ideas:

  • How has climate change impacted you, your family, and your community?
  • Are there existing programs or strategies that you or your community are using to address climate change that could be implemented at the federal level?
  • What national policies do you currently support that will mitigate climate change and improve American lives?
  • What types of federal investments do you see getting the biggest return in terms of mitigating climate impacts?
  • Have federal incentives prompted you or others in your community to purchase electricity from renewable sources, an electric car, or other low-emission technologies? If current incentives have not, what types of incentives might be more appealing?


Senator Brian Schatz
722 Hart SOB
Washington, DC 20510

NC Policy Watch: "Supreme Court refuses to take up Equal Rights Amendment dispute; advocates persist" "One month after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, having argued that the nation needs the Equal Rights Amendment, the surviving justices have dismissed an effort by women’s groups to enshrine the ERA in the U.S. Constitution. The court refused to take up the matter at the behest of ERA proponents, who will instead make their case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, which they’d hoped to bypass. Advocates including Equal Means Equal and the National Conference of Mayors are seeking to force the Trump administration to acknowledge that the required 38 states have ratified the amendment and that it should become the law of the land. Attorney General William Barr is officially ignoring the amendment’s ratification by the 38th state, Virginia. Barr’s Department of Justice instructed the federal archivist, David Ferriero, to reject the ratification documentation on the basis that it arrived decades too late to be counted. But so did the 36th and 37th ratification votes, by Illinois and Nevada, in 2017 and 2018, which Ferriero did accept and record after the deadline, which was set in a preamble to the amendment itself and later revised by Congress." (NC Policy Watch, 10/27/20)

Recommended action:  Contact your newly-elected/reelected NC General Assembly members (State Representatives and Senators) and demand that NC join the electoral and legal fight to enshrine the ERA in our national Constitution.


The frenetic 2020 election will soon be in our rearview mirrors. Why not take advantage of the temporary lull and get directly involved in local politics? Both the County and City have numerous Boards and Commissions which allow citizens to weigh in on myriad issues. It takes no special expertise – this writer has been appointed to 3 such boards in the past 14 months just by filing an application with the City and the County. Openings occur constantly as members drop off or reach the end of their terms. Check for descriptions and applications at the following URLs:

City of Hendersonville:

Henderson County:

From the HCDP Alert on Oct. 28:

Announced Tuesday:
Justice Kavanaugh laid a shot across the bow of “the” North Carolina voters. While this was just an “opinion” (that absentee ballots received after 5 pm on November 3, 2020 should not be counted).

Announced Wednesday:

The Supreme Court rejected the trump campaign’s attempt to block NC counting ballots postmarked by Nov. 3rd, yet received after the 3rd.

Let’s be careful to ensure your absentee ballot-vote is counted.

If you still have your absentee ballot or have a friend/relative who still has their ballot, return it NOW. Today. IN PERSON. Advisable NOT to mail it at this (late) date per USPS!


Some people don’t look.
Some look, but don’t see.
Some see, but don’t act.
Some people act.
. . . Anon
To connect residents of Henderson County and surrounding areas to civic engagement and activities at the grassroots level.
The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County (PAHC) compassionately advocates for justice, respect, inclusion and sustainable, healthy communities for all.    

Visit our website for more photos, events, and links to like-minded groups.
The PAHC core leadership group (currently Chris Berg, Nancy & Neil Brown, Lucy Butler, Sheila Clendenning, Julia Luellen, Laura Miklowitz, Sissy Owen, Amy Ross, Vikki Schantz, and Paul Weichselbaum) working together diligently to strengthen our impact, has created mission and vision statements for the group.

Please speak to any of us if you can offer your ideas and time about the future of Henderson County. 
Copyright © *2020* *Progressive Alliance of Henderson County*


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Progressive Alliance of Henderson County · P.O. Box 192 · Mountain Home, NC 28758 · USA

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