Executive Committee

Dr. Julia Bernard

Hello everyone! I am Julia Bernard and I am a Marriage and Family Therapist by trade, and currently serve as an Associate Professor/Interim Chair of Counseling and Human Services at ETSU. I am a transplant to Northeast Tennessee, having grown up on a ranch in Southern California, and most recently having moved from Lake Charles, Louisiana. We have lived a lot of places, but we love living in Tennessee. I am continually amazed at the beauty of the region, but the people here really make it home. My family loves our neighbors, we love the mix of city and country folk, and we love being among the creativity of university students.

I have long thought that I would be going into politics, but didn’t know that it would be before I retired. My friends often say that not enough of us who care get involved, I have a theory that I have no room to criticize a job I am unwilling to do myself. In a sense, I have always felt the responsibility to be involved and make any organization better. I am involved with the Tri Cities Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. I am involved in a number of professional organizations as well. I have been both Vice President for Membership and President of the Southeastern Council for Family Relations (SECFR), a board member on the Southern Organization for Human Services (SOHS), a Board member on the Council for Standards in Higher Education (CSHSE), and am a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists. I have been involved in both student and faculty governments most of my professional life.

I want my fellow citizens to know that I hold some of the same things sacred….I want to feel safe. I want my family to be happy. I want a quality education for my son. I want sustainable growth. I, too, want world peace. I want to see Democratic values spread throughout the region and beyond, values like equal rights, women’s body autonomy, immigration reform, care of the environment for our children, and healthcare for all. I am also a firm believer that there is more than one way to achieve a goal, and what works for one person, may not work for another. But, I think that compromise is possible. I have built a career on that premise. I look forward to serving with that same mindset.

Brad Batt

At my core, my beliefs are rooted in liberty and justice for all. That everyone deserves the freedom to live their life to the fullest. I believe that every person has the right to health care, to love who they want to love, and to equal justice under the law.

I’m a small business owner and enthusiast—currently serving on the board of Startup Tri-Cities, a non-profit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start and grow local businesses. I believe that we must ensure there is still room for the American Dream—for people to be able to create a meaningful life for themselves—and I worry that dream is slipping away for too many.

Everyone in our community deserves the opportunity to better their own and their families lives. We must ensure social justice, racial justice, and economic justice for all—and we need elected officials who reflect those core moral values of our community.

Diane Bradley

My name is Diane Bradley and I ran for reelection to the WCDP Executive Committee since I agree with the principles of the Democratic Party and want to continue to help turn our county blue. In 2016, I retired after 30 years and 10 months of working at City Hall , 23 of which I was Community Development Program Manager where I wrote grants and managed contracts for nonprofit agencies. Since I wasn’t ready to knit in a rocking chair, I decided to open my own business called Write For You where I do grant research, grant writing, and consulting. I thoroughly enjoy owning my own business, particularly the independence it brings and no alarm clocks!

I am the founder of Women of Color, a member of 100+ TriCities Women Who Care; a member of Women Matter, a former board chair of Good Samaritan Ministries, a graduate of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership 2015 and also have a Bachelor’s Degree from ETSU in Business Administration with a concentration in management and a Master’s Degree in City Management/Public Administration from ETSU.

My top issue would be inclusion since I believe no person should be discriminated against in any way due to the color of their skin, sexual orientation, religion, or other differences. I want people to know about me that I try each day to treat everyone the same whether they are rich or poor, homeless or a wealthy business person since I believe we all deserve to be treated equally.

I’d like to see the WCDP continue the progress it has made electing qualified Democratic candidates and expanding the number of Democrats who are involved with the party. under the excellent leadership of our chair, Kate Craig. Having lived here all of my life, I love living here since it has a small town feel, yet has some features of a larger town Also I love the fact we are located close to larger cities like Asheville and Knoxville should we want to visit larger cities. and not too far from my favorite place: the beach.

Jeff Clark

Last year I ran for Johnson City Commission because I wanted to change things. As a person that grew up not wealthy but comfortable and has also been through the life of living paycheck to paycheck, I’ve known both the comfort that every person deserves and the anxiety of not knowing if you’re going to be homeless next week. I wanted to try and help guide policy in my city to help ensure that all can live beyond that anxiety.

I didn’t win.

But I know that giving up is antithetical to being able to live in a world where people don’t just have to get by, they can thrive. So I got more involved in the best organization to create that type of change on the local level, the WCDP. I started to go to more meetings, talk to more people, and tried to push for the goals that are dear to me. I’ve found that the best place to steer a ship is at the helm, so I ran for the Executive Committee.

I’m committed to making sure that, over the next 2 years and beyond, that Washington County has a place for and an ability to elect progressives to all its parts of government, from commissions to Congress. I want this because, no matter the how the people in charge have chosen to run this place over the years, this area is the only place I can call my home. I love it and am willing to fight to see it be the best it can. Will you join me in that fight?

Nathan Farnor

While we did not ultimately win our 2018 campaign for the Tennessee House of Representatives, I am beyond proud of the outstanding work and dedication that was demonstrated by the amazing people of our community. Throughout the 2018 election season, our campaign saw a breathtaking number of new donors, volunteers, and voters get involved for the very first time. I believe that alone is worth celebrating.

Through my role of Executive Committee member of the Washington County Democratic Party, I hope to bring that same passion, enthusiasm, and drive to the efforts of the party both during and outside of election season.

With the honor of having worked on education related projects with East Tennessee State University, healthcare efforts with the American Cancer Society, and numerous grassroots environmental and equal rights organizations, I have witnessed and seen the needs, dreams, and goals that those in our community hold. I know that with continued dedication and energy we can make amazing progress for the people of Washington County and our larger region today and for many years into the future.

Emma Frye

Jennifer Gardner

Following the 2016 election I knew I had to get involved in a meaningful way, to do whatever I could to help promote social justice and protect the rights and freedoms of the wonderful people that live in this great region I am proud to call home. I started this section of my journey by helping to organize the Women’s March on Washington Tri-Cities. After returning from the D.C. I was energized and hopeful. I attended the WCDP reorganization meeting and was elected to the Executive Committee where I have served as Chair of the Fundraising and Events Committee and now Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee.

I am so amazed and proud of the accomplishments of the WCDP members and leadership team. We have had a strong voice in the community, successfully put democrats on the ballot and elected democrats to office. 2020 will be another wonderful opportunity to continue these efforts.

The Fundraising and Events Committee raised over $15,000 last year. We are confident we can achieve our goal of $30,000 this year. We are hosting a series of house parties where members organized and host an evening of fun and entertainment for their friends. I recently held my second annual Music Jam which raised $2,000 this year and $2,500 last year. We are currently working on the final details for the first Annual WCDP Dinner and Gala! This will be held August 24th at the Carnegie Hotel. Stay tuned for the exciting details and purchase your tickets early.

Several of the events we have organized and participated in over the past two years include the 2016 and 2017 Jonesborough Days Parades, the TriPride Parade and the 2017 Christmas Parades in Jonesborough and Johnson City. We hosted a booth at the Appalachian Fair, we held our 1st annual WCDP picnic and we hosted an election night watch party.

It has been a pleasure to serve on the WCDP and I am truly excited about the next two years!

Seth Graves

A year and a half ago, I moved to Johnson City in order to attend East Tennessee State University, leaving behind family, friends, and a deeply religious community where I never quite felt like I belonged. This transition has not been an easy one, but I wholeheartedly believe that the challenges of leaving behind all that I had known has altered my life for the better in unexpected ways. I have found my life partner Nathan, I have witnessed the inequality found within our state and country, and I have begun to walk a path that leads to positive, significant change for all. The issue of LGBT equality ignites the most passion within me, and I seek to use that flame to change the hearts and minds of any I meet.

My involvement with the Department of Sustainability at ETSU opened my eyes to humanity’s impact on the world, transforming my love of nature into a fierce desire to protect it from harm. East Tennessee’s plethora of hiking trails are home to me, just as they are home to flora and fauna. Through various opportunities, I have been able to speak with lawmakers on the federal and state level to advocate for policies to reduce carbon emissions in hopes of a better future.

By joining the Executive Committee of the Washington County Democratic Party, it is my mission to help candidates become elected officials who can make decisions to benefit all individuals, not simply those with whom they agree. I want to be a part of a community that teaches love and respect of each person and the world around them, and that future can only be realized by reaching out to others and having difficult conversations. I am excited to be a part of the team that can make this happen.

Dr. Deborah Harley-McClaskey

The 2016 Election motivated me to get involved with the Washington County Democrats. (I had been active with the Pinellas and Hillsborough County parties when I lived in Florida.) But the 2016 election shook me to my core. We can never let such an unfit human become the president of this country ever again. I chose to become an active member and then an executive committee member of the party as I wanted to be part of the solution that changed the trajectory of elections in Tennessee.

I have served on several nonprofit boards in the Tri-Cities (Second Harvest, Girl Scouts, Coalition for Kids). I am a member of Moms Demand Action. In August 2018 I was elected Executive Committee Woman, Senate District 3 to the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee. I served as the chair of the Tennessee Campus Compact, a higher education partnership the promotes service-learning in higher education (remember AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America from the Clinton Administration.) I guided ETSU to be named a Point of Light by the late former President Bush.

In my day job I teach graduate and undergraduate students personal leadership development, nonprofit leadership, and community-based leadership at East Tennessee State University where I am an Associate Professor. I also consult with organizations on leadership training for employees. I am the author of two books on leadership.

My top issue is building the capacity of our communities and the families and individuals who live and work in them. This encompasses health care, education, jobs, and human rights. I would especially love to see the county party elect more democrats to local, state, and federal offices. I have lived in Washington County for 35 years. It has 4 beautiful seasons and has caught the spark to be a growing vibrant community.

Justin Leslie

Hello all! I’m Justin Leslie, and I’m going to give you a little insight into who I am, and why I decided to serve on the Executive Committee. First and most importantly I am happily married to my wife, Amber. We have called Johnson City home since 2016. We have 2 wonderful fur children, Hexum the Husky and Bailey the Yorkie! I love the outdoors and backpacking, and that makes Washington County a great place to call home! I’ve covered many miles on the Appalachian Trail, and even hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and camped by the Colorado!

It is really hard to put my finger on what truly motivates me to serve. Ultimately it boils down to inclusion and fairness in a local political system that – recently seems to only be interested in hurting people and limiting freedoms. I could go on for days about my early 20’s, my time working for a major corporation, being 30 and unemployed without health insurance…but the culmination of that and so many other things led me to the WCDP. I have had a passion for politics going back to my early childhood, but sadly that flame diminished somewhat until the last presidential race. Bringing the issue of wealth inequality to light resonated with me, as I worked for that major telecommunications company – and witnessed hard working people’s pay decrease while their quotas increased. Some of those resorting to working with the flu or missing their kid’s events just to hit a number.

I believe the idea of a living wage shouldn’t be “radical”; That access to healthcare should not be a worry to anyone. The character of a person should mean more than the gender they identify with, or the person they choose to love. I want to help get candidates elected who truly want to help our area, our state, and our country get to that place. More importantly I want to convey to people that all you have to do to get involved is show up! I assure you I had the same reservations a lot of others have at this very moment in regards to “How?”! The WCDP membership body and leadership team is full of individuals who want to help, and have a drive to create something bigger than themselves!

Thank you all for the opportunity to serve on the Executive Committee. Over the course of the 2 years I hope to build on the momentum we have created within the last year for the WCDP! It is with great optimism that I look to the future! I am excited to get to know each and every one of you through our meetings, committees, events, or the Washington County Young Democrats!

Mike Morgan

When I was first elected to the WCDP Executive Committee, my goal was party growth. We needed to increase membership, and make ourselves more visible. We have made tremendous progress in that goal, and continue working hard to do even more. Since joining the WCDP, I have been involved with Safety On, Moms Demand Action, Black White Dialog, Women Matter, volunteered for the McKinney Center and several others. My top issue is Health Care. This issue effects everybody, and is costing lives.
Over the next couple of years I’d like to see the WCDP continue to reach out across the community, and let people know that we are here. We need to let folks from the opposing political party know that we are not enemies. We are neighbors, coworkers, as well as friends and family, and we ALL need to work together to improve the lives of every resident of Washington County.

Morgan Olson

I choose to run for the WCDP executive committee because I value hard work and getting involved. The only way to solve the issues I see around me is to be the change I want to see and work for the things that matter to me. I am a member of the WCDP fundraising committee and truly enjoy both the work and the feeling of working towards a worthy goal. The political issue most important to me is healthcare. Our system is broken, care is unattainable to many, and I believe living a healthy life is a right, not a privilege. I want to help the WCDP find and support great candidates because I love Washington County. With beautiful mountains, hiking trails and a downtown area filling with small business, Washington County can continue to be an amazing place to live.

Maggie Parris

I became interested and more involved with the Washington County Democratic Party a few years back during the last major election. As a nearly lifelong resident, I’ve always felt that Washington County was a hidden gem. The people are interesting and the outdoors are breathtaking. There are endless opportunities to get outside and try something new. That’s what makes our area special and worth investing time in. For many years I was only involved in more macro politics and on the professional level and am currently a member of the National Association of Social Work; however, last year I became much more educated and involved with local politics. I saw the possibility of change on some of the more local levels of politics and it was exciting . I ultimately ran for the executive committee to continue to assist in the growth of the Democratic Party at a more local level.

One thing that is important to know about me is that I am a social worker. As a social worker, my top issues are health care and financial assistance for all who need it. In my profession, I see many people and their children in our area that struggle financially and I would like to see them have greater opportunities to succeed. Keeping that in mind, I think it is important to support likeminded candidates and continue to educate people and recruit new members, particularly young people. That is what I would like to see the Washington County Democratic Party continue to do in the next few years and something that I am excited to be a part of.

Cathy Walker

I have never been involved in any political organization, but when I was nominated to be a part of the Democratic Executive Committee, I felt a new chapter in my life was beginning. I am a retired public school Speech Therapist of 35 years. 30 years in TN and 5 in Virginia, I worked mainly with children with oral/language communication impairments. I have always been a member of NEA TEA VEA AARP NAACP and local Education Associations in each respective school system where I worked. I served on minority and women’s issues, VP, delegate for statewide general assembly, and school association representative.

One of the main issues I continue to contact local and state officials deals with funding for public education and teachers’ salaries! (Which are very low compared to Nationwide salary scales!) The standard Cost of Living wages is staggeringly low in contrast to the Cost of Living costs to survive!

I am an avid sports fan! Tennessee Volunteers are my favorite!! My favorite sport is football, followed close behind in NCAA basketball! I also support my alma mater ETSU!

I love this area, here in Washington County! My two sons have grown up here, attended day-care, elementary school, middle school, high school, and my oldest son NE State, and works in the Tri-Cities area. This has been home for me as well since 1974! I’ve seen a lot of growth here in this area and love being near the mountains and close by to other states!