Polk County and the Democratic Party

POLK COUNTY AND D.E.C. HISTORY

Polk County was formed in 1861 by the East/West division of Hillsborough County and was named for the 11th President of the United States, James K. Polk, a Jacksonian Democrat.

Polk County is the fourth largest in land area in Florida with 2,010 acres, which is almost twice the size of the State of Rhode Island and is close to the size of the State of Delaware.  This is the ninth largest county by population in the State of Florida and is still growing.  Lakeland is the largest of 17 municipalities in the county, with neighboring Winter Haven in close second place, and Poinciana Polk, if it were incorporated would be the third largest population center in Polk. Polk County is located in the heart of Central Florida. As of 2000, the population was 483,924. The U.S. Census Bureau 2006 estimates the county population to be 561,606. The county seat is Bartow and the center of population of Florida is located in the town of Lake Wales.

Democrats have had a long, active and progressive presence in the development of Polk County from early railroad construction to one of the first and largest paved network of roads in the State of Florida in 1914.

Three Democratic Governors of Florida have come from Polk County with Park Trammell of Lakeland serving from 1913 to 1917, with major legislative efforts in tax reform and spending limits on elections campaigns.  From Bartow, Spessard Holland, serving as Governor during WWII from 1941 to 1945, was also a tax reformer and a champion of increased teacher pay with retirement benefits.  The next Governor from Lakeland was Lawton Chiles, elected 1991 to 1999, who worked to improve schools, health care for the elderly and children.  He died in office.

The Polk County Democratic Executive Committee works to serve the needs of the people of Polk County by outreach programs, issues identification, sponsorship of the local Democrat Clubs, communication with the Florida Democratic Party, with elected officials, and the public.  The D.E.C. provides volunteers, information, support, and assistance as permitted by law to Democratic candidates for public office.

The D.E.C. meets on the second Monday of each month at the County seat in Bartow FL, in the County Commission Chambers, located at 330 W. Church Street at 7:00 p.m.  All interested Democrats are welcome.