Democratic Party names new chairwoman

Kelli E. Gill

The Victoria County Democratic Party elected a new leader Thursday evening.

Kelli E. Gill, 27, was named as the new permanent chairwoman during a meeting of the party's executive committee.

"My vision is to grow the party," Gill said. "There's a lot of potential in Victoria, and working as a team, we can accomplish that."

The chairperson position became available after Stephen Jabbour, the former chairman, resigned on Aug. 20, following his arrest on 11 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography.

The new chairwoman is no stranger to politics based on her resume:

n She currently serves as the communications director for the county's Democratic Party.

n Her past experiences include working as the deputy field director for state Rep. Ellen Cohen's campaign in 2008 and as a Youth Leadership intern in 2007.

nAdditionally, she has received political development training at Annie's List Campaign School, Emily's List Campaign Corporation, the Asian American Civic Project and the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

n Gill is a licensed professional counselor-intern and currently works at Gulf Bend Center.

Fellow Democrats were excited about Gill's selection.

"We're very fortunate to have someone like Kelli come forward. I think it will be a big boost to the party," said Joe Painter. "We can move on and do more political stuff."

Painter is the former president of the Victoria Democrat Club and currently serves as the party's secretary.

"I've seen her put out the sweat equity into a campaign," said Dennis Tardan, a local Democrat. "This is an opportunity to make a statement as to who we are."

Specifically, Gill said she hopes to increase the numbers among Hispanics, African-Americans and youth in the local Democratic Party.

Despite coming into her new position following Jabbour's untimely exit, Gill remained optimistic about the party's future.

"I think Democrats are resilient. He's one percent among many. The whole situation is a tragedy. Ultimately, I have confidence that our justice system will prevail," she said. "We're going to keep moving forward."