Democratic heavyweights turn out for annual Kennedy Dinner
Cummings keynotes Democrat event at Middleton Hall
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 rep- resentatives 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 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 hon- accounts for ored 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.
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 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, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D) addresses the Democratic Central Committee audience and talks about serving the state of Maryland.