Laguna Beach Democratic activist named volunteer of year by state party

Mary Carter of the Laguna Beach Democratic Club. Courtesy of Deborah Engle

Long-time Laguna Beach Democratic Club (LBDC) member Mary Carter was named a Volunteer of the Year by the California Democratic Party. Deborah Cunningham-Skurnik, regional party director, presented Carter with the honor. 

“In just the last several months, Mary led our Club members in our winning effort to elect Katrina Foley to the Board of Supervisors; helped collect hundreds of towels for the homeless and donations for the Food Pantry,” Democratic Club president Gwen McNallan said in a prepared statement. “She also helps feed our community by picking up grocery store donations and delivering them to the Laguna Food Pantry twice a week.” 

A Democratic volunteer since 1987, Carter said she got into party politics after being inspired by Jesse Jackson’s run for president.

“The National Rainbow Coalition trained me by telling me what is important, and then threw me into the pool,” she said. “Since then, I’ve volunteered in every presidential and senatorial campaign and dozens of local races.”

One of Carter’s favorite memories was refinishing the floor of the 2004 Democratic campaign headquarters in the old Pottery Place.

Carter was born in Riverside County, where her family owned a ranch and grew up in Compton.  She moved to Laguna Beach in 1967, where she worked for business owner Gail Pike in the hospitality industry as a waitress and then office staff.

“Now I devote almost full-time to organizing volunteers, writing postcards, making phone calls and knocking on doors to elect Democratic candidates. I’m motivated by their values,” Carter said.

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  1. This honor is not only so well deserved,
    but much too long coming. I have had the honor of working with Mary since we were rookie delegates to the CA Democratic Convention in 1989. We have been roomates, great friends and partners in crime since…our Democratic HQs in Laguna every Presidential election year could not have functioned without her…..congrats to you Mary. Big hugs!


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