Assistant county prosecutor elected as new Athens County Democratic chair

With a mere eight weeks left until the Nov. 3 elections, the Athens County Democratic Party is undergoing a leadership change.

Members of the county’s Democratic Central and Executive committees met Tuesday night to nominate and elect John Haseley, the 52-year-old assistant county prosecutor, as the new party chair.

“I’m anxious to get started,” he said. “I think we have incredible Democratic officeholders and Democratic candidates in this county. These are great public servants with vision and passion and commitment that is unparallelled in this state.”

Haseley beat out fellow nominee Vicky Mattson by a vote of 40 to four.

The appointment came after former party chair Alan Trout stepped down from the position in mid-August, which left Deputy Party Chair Debbie Perry as interim chair.

County Commissioner Lenny Eliason was nominated as acting chair for the extent of the meeting because Perry was unable to attend.

“Before we proceed to the election of the new body chair, I move that we accept the resignation of Alan Trout and thank him for his time,” Eliason said to the applause of the Democratic party members.

After being nominated, both candidates were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and answer questions posed by the party members.

Haseley said he has been involved in the Democratic party in Athens since he was a junior in high school, when he volunteered to help organize party dinners in the county.

Athens County Democratic chair steps down

After about a year in the role, Alan Trout stepped down from his Democratic Party Chair position.

He also stressed the need for the party to find strong candidates in upcoming elections, specifically the 2016 elections, that would encourage high voter turnouts.

“If you all would want to work with me on that, I would ask for all your help,” he said.

Mattson said she had volunteered for every election since she moved to Athens in 2000 and was an active member of the Sierra Club.

She emphasized the need to encourage voters at the ground level.

“I have a lot of experience in getting people knocking doors and making phone calls,” she said. “That’s what I think we all need to be doing now.”

After the election, Mattson said she believed Haseley held many of the same viewpoints that she did and that he has a wider skill base.

“I’m glad that John’s chair, because I’ll be able to work with him, and I think he’ll let me do most of the grassroots stuff,” she said.

Trout also expressed support for the result.

“I think it was a good choice,” he said. “John has lots of contacts … both local and statewide. He has experience working with the Strickland campaign, so he should have a lot of knowledge about how an election is run.”