Wednesday, February 26th, 2020
The Alabama Democratic Party announces the hire of three staff members as it prepares for the 2020 election cycle.
Wade Perry, Executive Director. Wade Perry returns to the Alabama Democratic Party as Executive Director, a role in which he served as interim during the 2000 election cycle. Mr. Perry, a Mobile native, is a graduate of Presbyterian College with a B.S. in Political Science. Mr. Perry was campaign manager for the successful 2017 election of U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, the first Alabama Democrat to win a Senate election in 25 years. He previously worked for the Alabama Education Association, and for numerous political and issue advocacy campaigns. As Executive Director, he will manage the Party’s Montgomery headquarters, set the strategic direction for the Party, and oversee all of the functions of the Alabama Democratic Party as it builds party infrastructure, recruits candidates, reaches voters, and prepares to win elections with Democrats up and down the ballot.
Dexter Strong, Director of Communications. Dexter Strong, a Huntsville native, has been hired as Director of Communications. Mr. Strong is an ordained minister and political strategist who has lectured at colleges and universities across the South about the intersection of politics and religion. Mr. Strong earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from The University of Alabama, where he was a scholarship member of the Speech and Debate Team and a national champion in impromptu speaking. Mr. Strong previously served as the chief strategist for Peter Joffrion for Congress, as a communications consultant with the Alabama House Democratic Caucus, and worked on several other political and issue advocacy campaigns. He currently serves as the Youth Director at Monte Sano United Methodist Church and is a member of the Huntsville Committee of 100. As Director of Communications, Mr. Strong will communicate the priorities, values, and vision of the Party to its constituents and voters.
Crystal Smitherman, Manager of Strategic Engagement and Research. Crystal Smitherman, a Titusville native, has been hired as the Manager of Strategic Engagement and Research for the Party. Ms. Smitherman was elected to represent Birmingham City Council, District 6 in October 2019, following her initial appointment in January 2019. As a member of the Birmingham City Council, Ms. Smitherman chairs the Public Improvements Committee and serves on the Census 2020 and Redistricting Committees. Ms. Smitherman holds a J.D. from The University of Alabama School of Law and a B.S. in Biology, with a minor in Leadership Studies from Hampton University, where was a scholarship member of the golf team. Ms. Smitherman was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 2019 and practices law with her father, Sen. Rodger Smitherman, at the Smitherman Law Office, LLC. Ms. Smitherman previously worked for several Birmingham law firms and served as an Outreach Education Contractor for Girls Inc. In the community, she serves on the boards of directors of Red Mountain Park, Railroad Park, and Police Athletic Teams. As Manager of Strategic Engagement and Research Director, Ms. Smitherman will communicate the priorities and vision of the Party to its constituents. She also will add an important research background regarding pending and proposed legislation, and other key issues.
Quotes from Chairman Christopher J. England:
“With these three hires, we continue the important work of rebuilding the infrastructure of the Alabama Democratic Party. When Sen. Doug Jones was elected in 2017, we all saw Democrats can win in Alabama. Candidates need to know that we’re going to support them, build the volunteer network of the Party, and have an established system to be competitive. We believe Alabama Democrats can run everywhere, and win everywhere.”
“Wade Perry is a longtime political professional. He knows how to win elections in Alabama as well as anyone and has a proven track record of winning. He’s a strategic thinker and knows how to reach folks all over the state.”
“Dexter Strong has worked on important campaigns. Dexter’s perspective will allow us to speak clearly regarding what Alabama Democrats believe. We will make the case to voters that our policies are a better way to love their neighbors than the opposition’s are.”
“Crystal Smitherman has the work ethic and character to help us with strategic engagement of our constituents in 2020 and her research background will allow us to set smart legislative priorities. She’s already making her mark as a Birmingham City Council member and she comes from a family that values public service. Crystal has two higher ed degrees, and could’ve worked anywhere in America, but she chose to come back home to Alabama and make a difference. We need more people like her.”
“With these first three hires, you can see we’re building party infrastructure, and we will recruit candidates, reach voters, and win elections. This is a Party for everyone in Alabama. It doesn’t matter your age, sexual orientation, gender, race, or economic status. Alabama Democrats are going to come and ask for your vote.”