The Chattooga County Democratic Party held their annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on Saturday evening at the Chattooga Civic Center.  Many of the local Democratic Candidates attended the dinner including all four candidates for Chattooga County Commissioner, Blake Jones, Joe Reed, Jason Winters and incumbent Mike Dawson.  Three candidates for Sheriff, Aubrey “Smitty” Smith, John Everett and incumbent Ralph Kellett attended the dinner along with both Democratic candidates for Tax Commissioner Lamar Canada and incumbent Kathy V. Brown. The keynote speaker for the evening was Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.  Thurmond was introduced by local attorney Bobby Lee Cook.  Cook stated that Thurmond had come from a humble background, one of nine children and rose to prominence in Georgia politics.  He stated that during his time in the legislator he was the only African-American legislator elected from a majority white district.   Thurmond was credited with implementing Georgia’s “Workfirst Program” which helped move over 90,000 former welfare recipients move into paying jobs.  Georgia’s Workfirst Program was modeled nationally by President Clinton’s welfare to work program.  Thurmond told those in attendance that he considered Chattooga County to be the “heart and soul” of the Democratic Party in Georgia.  He said that any county that has not elected a Republican in over 80 years deserves to be noted. Thurmond specifically addressed a group of Chattooga High School students from the Jobs for Georgia Program that is active at the local high school and is sponsored by the Labor Commissioners office.  He told the students that “through faith in God and hard work all things are possible.”