Perimeter Progressives, a new political group formed in response to President Trump’s election, will hold its first meeting Feb. 28 in Dunwoody.
The group has a left-wing name and support from several of the state’s notable Democratic elected officials, including Senate Democratic Leader Steve Henson and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who may attend the event. Its Facebook and Twitter accounts promote Democratic causes and criticize Republicans. But the group’s founder, well-known Dunwoody bicycling advocate Joe Seconder, said it’s open to anyone skeptical of the Trump era and who “may not necessarily agree with either party.”
The group will aim to hold nonpartisan political education events, Seconder said. It remains to be seen how many people will join, but the current list of those interested is “in the hundreds,” he said.
Seconder, who is widely known as the leader of advocacy groups Georgia Bikes! and Bike Walk Dunwoody, was careful to say that Perimeter Progressives welcomes centrist Republicans and independents. He pointed to the century-old history of the term “progressive” in a political party formed by former Republican President Teddy Roosevelt. The group’s meeting announcement says it will be “a conversation on how we can set a balanced, inclusive and progressive agenda for positive change in our community.”
But he also said the new group will let fellow Democrats know they aren’t alone in the heavily Republican top end Perimeter between North DeKalb and East Cobb. The desire for more connection came from social media conversations, he said, after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did surprisingly well against Trump in local vote totals.
“When you saw Hillary won Dunwoody, there were some eyes popping,” Seconder said. “I’m coming out of the closet. I am a Democrat.”
The group’s “host committee” includes several prominent Democrats. Besides Henson and Abrams, others include: Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry; state Senators Mary Margaret Oliver and Elena Parent; state Reps. Scott Holcomb and Sam Park; former state Rep. Taylor Bennett; Chamblee City Councilmember Brian Mock; and Matt Gephardt, son of former congressman and presidential candidate Dick Gephardt. None of the officials could be reached for immediate comment.
The host committee members have “not donated a dime,” instead lending their names and contacts to the effort, Seconder said. Several of them are expected to attend and speak briefly at the Feb. 28 meeting.
The group already held a private organizing meeting. Among those involved in that meeting, according to social media posts, was former state Rep. Sally Harrell, who briefly threw her hat in the ring in the area’s 6th Congressional District election.
Perimeter Progressives is incorporating as a nonprofit and likely will not endorse candidates for office, Seconder said. He envisions it meeting monthly with speakers offering information on such topics as how a state bill becomes law or who is running for various local political offices.
“I do not have any particular platform or agenda,” he said. “We want to help people be knowledgeable about what’s going on in their ZIP code.”
The Feb. 28 meeting will include comment cards for attendees to suggest ideas for the group’s activities.
The socializing is an important goal for the group as well. Seconder said it’s about “the simple power of seeing people in person” rather than just chatting in Facebook groups, and a reminder that “not every day has to be spent in screaming and protesting in angst.”
The debut Perimeter Progressives meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28, 6-8 p.m., at Café Intermezzo, 4505 Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody, with RSVPs requested by Feb. 26. For more information, see perimeterprogressives.org.