CRESTVIEW — The Okaloosa County Democratic Executive Committee is reaching out to Crestview residents with a March 28 meeting featuring guest speaker, Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles.


CRESTVIEW — The Okaloosa County Democratic Executive Committee is reaching out to Crestview residents with a March 28 meeting featuring guest speaker, Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles.



Boyles’ Republican Party affiliation had no impact on his selection, Hootnanny Social Club organizers said of the gathering at Coach-N-Four Steakhouse — one of many speaking engagements the group will schedule to mobilize local Democrats.



"It doesn't have to be a Democrat that can come and speak to us; it just has to be someone that respects us and will be upfront with their answers," John Whitley, Florida Democratic Party State Committeeman, said.



The committee — which has one office covering the whole county in Shalimar — wants to bring more area Democrats together and raise funds for a Crestview office. A branch here would help the organization focus on north county events while the Shalimar office would focus on the south end, he said.



"We're just looking to branch out and hopefully double our numbers," Whitley said.



No immediate plans or locations have been considered at this time.



The committee also wants to see increased involvement in the community, Whitley said. 



"There is a lot more Democrats in north Okaloosa than you would think," he said. "Democrats around here need to socialize."



Motivating local Democrats to register to vote — and vote in all elections, not just for president of the United States — is a focal point.



Another goal is to attract 18- to 40-year-olds for Young Democrats and have them participate in each election.



In the past, the committee was present exclusively during the presidential election, every four years. The organization wants to change that.



"We don't want to take people's votes for granted," Whitley said. "It’s our job to be present during events that are important to them. Especially if there is someone locally that is running as a Democrat."



The committee plans to continue to participate in local events including the Triple B: Blackwater, Bluegrass & BBQ Cookoff on April 6.



Want to go?



 Hootnanny, the  Okaloosa Democratic Executive Committee's social club, will meet at 6 p.m. March 28 at Coach-N-Four Steakhouse, 114 John King Road. Contact John Whitley, 240-7751 or whitleydem@yahoo.com, to RSVP.



Learn more about Okaloosa Democrats at okaloosademocrats.com or at facebook.com/okaloosademocrats



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.