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“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
— Helen Keller

Charlotte County Democratic Executive Committee


Patrick Hurley – Chair

Patrick is an entrepreneur who seeks to energize our voters to elect leaders determined to offer everyone a fair opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

A Massachusetts native, he has executive experience in corporate finance and sales & marketing. He led successful channel sales development at a Silicon Valley VC funded startup and another Boston startup before leading his own startup, Channel Sun Solar Power Systems in Massachusetts.

As the youngest of seven children, Patrick saw the importance of social safety programs that invested in families like his. A proud graduate of public schools from Head Start, K12, Quinsigamond Community College and Stockton State College, Patrick recognizes the power and value of a quality education, especially among young families with limited means.

Residing in Placida, he currently co-manages PH Market Research LLC, a specialized market research consultancy led by his wife Pam. They maintain investment properties in Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

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Betty Gissendanner – Vice Chair

Betty is a strong and dynamic leader, steadfastly organizing and activating citizens to use their vote. Although it’s been a few years since she sold her successful insurance agency in Port Charlotte, Betty’s activism, mentoring, and leadership is too immense to say she’s retired.


Jim Ellsworth – Treasurer

Jim Ellsworth is a retired Banking Executive, University professor and Community leader from Northwest Indiana. He spent some 46 years in commercial banking rising to Director ,President and CEO of a small community bank. He holds a number of degrees in business and economics from Marian University, Indiana University and the American Bankers Graduate
School of Banking at Rutgers University. In addition to his banking career he taught Business, Economics and Banking courses at Indiana University and Valparaiso University, and for various banking schools. Additionally, Jim served in various economic development positions
in his community and the State of Indiana. He has been active in Democrat Party efforts most of his adult life including serving as an At Large City Councilman in Valparaiso, IN.

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Jane Merriam – Secretary

Jane is a former IBM sales executive originally from the Washington, DC area. She has been an active member of the Charlotte County Democrats since she moved to the area in 2007. She is excited to be serving as the DEC Secretary as well as the DEC Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.

She brings over 40 years of managerial expertise and activism, specifically in the area of women’s reproductive rights. She has been a mentor with Take Stock in Children for the past 10 years and has worked closely with members of the Charlotte County School Board.

Jane holds a BA and an MBA from the University of Maryland.


Lucy Huyke Garner – State Committee Member

Lucy was born and raised in Colombia, South America. She has a Ph.D. from Florida State University. She became a proud U.S. citizen in 1998. Lucy has lived in Charlotte County for 38 years and has participated in the Charlotte County Alzheimer’s Support Group, the Charlotte County Public School’s Homeless Students and Families Program, and at least a half dozen other non-profit civic organizations.

Lucy joined the local Democratic Party in 1998 and has attended National Conventions as an alternate delegate for John Kerry in 2004 and a delegate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She and her husband, Tom, now serve as Charlotte County FDP State Committee members.

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Thomas Garner – State Committee Member

Tom has lived in Florida since he was one year old. He graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Criminology. He has worked in Florida state government, including the Parole and Probation Commission, the Auditor General’s office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. While with the FDLE, he investigated white-collar crime.

Tom is a proud U.S. Air Force veteran. He was spurred to become active in politics following the 2000 election in which the U.S. Supreme Court ignored the will of the people and awarded George Bush the Presidency. Since then, Tom has served as Charlotte County’s 13th Precinct Captain. In 2016, Tom was selected as a delegate to the DNC Convention. In January 2017, he and his wife, Lucy, were elected as FDP State Committee members for Charlotte County.

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