Saturday, February 10, 2007

State of the Allen County Democratic Party

It started out a very grand day this morning. I arose - quite early - and prepared myself to go out into the arctic like temperatures that have moved into Northeast Indiana for nearly two weeks. When I started the minivan, it was still dark outside, but when I went out to leave for my breakfast appointment, it was actually light, I suppose it's the first time I had noticed daylight before 7:30am since winter took over.

I meet some like-minded friends at the local Hall's restaurant for breakfast before we would all head over to Democratic Headquarters for the annual State of the Party speech. We were having a grand old time discussing politics and the anti-war movement - being a tad bit raucous in our laughter at times - when I glanced over in the corner, just one table away from our position. Sitting with a young man I didn't recognize, was Allen County Republican chairman, Steve Shine. I motioned for my friend John Good - of this blog and Left in Aboite - and he nodded his recognition. How strange to see a Rethuglican that early in the morning. I was actually unable to finish my breakfast - although I don't think it was because of Shine.

Later before the meeting began at headquarters, John Good and Jeff Pruitt showed me a "Quotable" from the local newspaper. It was from Garrison Keillor and said, "This is the beauty of democracy: You are more or less forced to sit down and break bread with people you might prefer to despise, and they with you."

Now that's irony!

On to the point of the trip out into the cold.

Party chair, Kevin Knuth was basically happy about the state of the party in Allen County. He pointed out that the party picked up a total of 6 additional elected posts county wide. He mentioned victories by Rick Stevenson (Wayne Township Trustee), Tony Henry, Maria Parra, and Pat Turner were all elected to the Wayne Township advisory board, Bev Zuber is our new Wayne Township Assessor, John Morgan won a seat on the Adams Township advisory board, and Maye Johnson won a seat on the County Council. Also, Win Moses continues as a State Congressman and Phil GiaQuinta replacing his father Ben in the State Congress.

Kevin also gave credit to those who fought the hard fight but came up short. Tom Hayhurst who fought a hard fight against US Congressional incumbent Mark Souder, Tina Taviano who lost in her bid to become Allen County's first female Sheriff, and first time candidates,Mike Bynum and Nina Gaines-Newson.

Kevin ended his speech by saying, "My message to all of you is that we are on the rise. Our Party fundraising and structure may need some tweaking, but I am happy to report that the State of the Allen County Democratic Party is good, and that the Democrats are back. Thank you all for joining me here today."

Below are some photos from presentations during the speech.
Kevin Knuth presents Dr. Tom Hayhurst with a photo that was taken of Dr. Tom during his unsuccessful bid to unseat Republican incumbent US Congressman Mark Souder. However, the fierce campaign forced the National Republican Congressional Committee to spend money in a campaign they would normally ignore. Great job, Dr. Tom!

Kevin presents Phil GiaQuinta with a photo of Phil and his father, Ben, that was taken the night Phil successfully won the seat his father was retiring from in the Indiana State Congress. Good job, Phil!

Kevin presents one of two Donald Brogan Awards to Jeanette Gaffer for her hard work for the party. Congratulations, Jeanette!

Kevin shows the second Donald Brogan Award that will be presented to Dorothy Wolfe at a later time. Unfortunately, Dorothy is now in residential care. Dorothy will always be a trooper!

Kevin presents Phil GiaQuinta with one of two Democrat of the Year Awards. Congratulations, Phil!

Kevin presents the second Democrat of the Year award to Deb Morrone. Deb is probably one of the hardest workers for the party I've ever had the pleasure to work with. Congratulations, Deb!

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