Charles’ Demo­cratic heavy­weights turn out for an­nual Kennedy Din­ner

Cum­mings key­notes Demo­crat event at Mid­dle­ton Hall

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

It’s of­ten hard to get politi­cians all to­gether, even from the same po­lit­i­cal par­ties, in the same room. Every­body has their own con­stituen­cies and their own ini­tia­tives for which they fight.

But on Fri­day, dur­ing the Charles County Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee an­nual Kennedy Din­ner at Mid­dle­ton Hall, law­mak­ers and of­fi­cials from around the state joined to­gether to talk about vot­ing, their own ini­tia­tives and their own po­lit­i­cal up­bring­ings.

Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Chair­man Gil­bert Bowl­ing said he is proud of the South­ern Mary­land Com­mu­nity and the Demo­cratic Party for do­ing things to make the din­ner pos­si­ble and rep­re­sent­ing the party well.

“It’s not just about the peo­ple who are elected, it’s about the peo­ple who do great things ev­ery day,” Bowl­ing said.

Both Con­gress­woman Donna Ed­wards (D-Md., 4th) and Con­gress­man Chris Van Hollen (DMd., 8th) were present, work­ing ev­ery cor­ner of the room try­ing to se­cure votes for their bat­tle over who will be on the Demo­cratic ticket in the gen­eral elec­tion in Novem­ber.

Both are run­ning for re­tir­ing Demo­cratic U.S. Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski’s seat. With early vot­ing al­ready un­der­way and end­ing on April 21 be­fore the of­fi­cial April 26 date for the elec­tion, se­cur­ing votes now is es­sen­tial for both sides.

Both Doug Gansler (D), the for­mer Mary­land at­tor­ney gen­eral, and Prince Ge­orge’s County Ex­ec­u­tive Rush­ern Baker III (D), two po­ten­tial can­di­dates for gov­er­nor in the next gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion, were in at­ten­dance as well.

But, as key­note speaker and

Con­gress­man Eli­jah Cum­mings (D-Md., 7th) noted, the pur­pose of the event was to spark en­thu­si­asm in the Demo­cratic Party and get ev­ery­one out to vote.

“You all came here tonight be­cause wor­ry­ing about gen­er­a­tions un­born feeds your soul,” Cum­mings said.

Dur­ing his speech, Cum­mings noted that the po­lit­i­cal process has be­come marred with ini­tia­tives and pro­pa­ganda against di­ver­sity. Flint, Mich., and its wa­ter cri­sis comes to mind when think­ing about what could po­ten­tially be­come the norm in the country if Democrats do not get out and vote, he said.

“The govern­ment has not bought one bot­tle of wa­ter. It would not hap­pen with your rep­re­sen­ta­tives and that’s be­cause we are pas­sion­ate peo­ple,” Cum­mings said. “If we are si­lenced, cer­tain things can be­come the norm. And then you’ll won­der how it hap­pened. [Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald] Trump is a per­fect ex­am­ple of be­com­ing the norm.”

Peo­ple have the right to voice their opinions, Cum­mings said, and that is what the Demo­cratic Party is all about.

Bruce Poole, chair­man of the Mary­land Demo­cratic Party, said the elec­tion would come down to “just one thing.”

“It is not go­ing to be about who’s su­per PAC has the most money. It is not go­ing to be about who has the best TV con­sul­tants or poll­sters. It is go­ing to be about what ev­ery per­son in this room does to get per­son­ally in­volved,” Poole said.

As of April 17, ac­cord­ing to data from the Mary­land State Board of Elec­tions, just un­der 75,000 Demo­cratic vot­ers in the state have turned out for early vot­ing. Charles County ac­counts for 1,365 of them.

When Democrats come out to vote, Poole said, “we win ev­ery time.” Poole said each per­son needs to bring an­other five peo­ple out to vote, but Cum­mings dou­bled down and said each per­son needs an­other “20 peo­ple to come out and vote.”

Now that the Gen­eral Assem­bly ses­sion has con­cluded and 90 days of rig­or­ous de­bate over bills is over, Sen. Thomas “Mac” Mid­dle­ton (D-Charles) said it is “good to be back home” in Mid­dle­ton Hall in his com­mu­nity.

Mid­dle­ton said the ses­sion went well for the South­ern Mary­land del­e­ga­tion and the Demo­cratic Party with bills se­cur­ing fund­ing for the Gov. Harry W. Nice Me­mo­rial Bridge, Noah’s Law adding more pun­ish­ment for drunk driv­ing and a bill for se­cur­ing equal pay for women all be­ing passed.

Del. Edith Pat­ter­son (D-Charles), who won a com­mu­nity award from the Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee for her ser­vice, said she is honored to be rec­og­nized for what she has done and what she con­sid­ers “God’s work.”

“The prin­ci­ples of our Demo­cratic Party rep­re­sent help­ing oth­ers and I’ve been a life­long Demo­crat,” Pat­ter­son said.

Ed­wards said her fa­ther used to bring her fam­ily to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and play on Capi­tol Hill be­fore things were so se­cure. She said she used to view the U.S. Capi­tol as a child in awe but never imag­ined she, a black woman, would be work­ing there.

“I didn’t think at that time that I would be able to go along to col­lege and then to go on to law school. But this is the prom­ise of our great country and the prom­ise of our great state,” Ed­wards said.

The next gen­er­a­tion should have the op­por­tu­nity to re­al­ize its “hopes and dreams and as­pi­ra­tions,” Ed­wards said, and elected of­fi­cials have an obli­ga­tion to help them self-ac­tu­al­ize.

Van Hollen, who just fin­ished his last de­bate with Ed­wards last week in Sil­ver Spring, said it should not mat­ter “where you live, what your eth­nic­ity is or what your race,” ev­ery­one should be treated equally.

Van Hollen men­tioned Ed­wards, along with U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th), in his com­ments as col­leagues he has worked with in the past to im­prove the state and fight for equal­ity. He said it is scary to see Trump is the front run­ner for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion be­cause his plat­form is “try­ing to di­vide Amer­i­cans one against an­other.”

“We all have an obli­ga­tion to stand up to that kind of divi­sion when­ever and wher­ever we see it,” Van Hollen said.

Cum­mings agreed with both Van Hollen and Ed­wards, say­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to up­hold di­ver­sity in the country and open doors for cul­tural col­lab­o­ra­tion in the fu­ture.

“Our di­ver­sity is our prom­ise. It is not our prob­lem,” Cum­mings said.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL SYKES II

At the Charles County Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee’s an­nual Kennedy Din­ner on Fri­day, April 15, Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy walks around the room and greets peo­ple and other leg­is­la­tors.

STAFF PHOTOS BY MICHAEL SYKES II

At the an­nual Charles County Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Kennedy Din­ner on Fri­day, April 15, key­note speaker Con­gress­man Eli­jah Cum­mings de­liv­ered a pas­sion­ate speech to the com­mit­tee and its au­di­ence.

At the Kennedy Din­ner on Fri­day, April 15, Con­gress­woman Donna Ed­wards greets peo­ple in the au­di­ence be­fore mov­ing to her seat when for din­ner pro­ceed­ings.

At the Kennedy Din­ner on Fri­day, April 15, Charles County Com­mis­sioner Amanda Ste­wart lis­tened at­ten­tively as key­note speaker Con­gress­man Eli­jah Cum­mings (D) de­liv­ered a pas­sion­ate speech to the demo­cratic cen­tral com­mit­tee and their au­di­ence.

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