Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner – 2013

The Cumberland County Democratic Party held its Second Annual Eleanor Roosevelt dinner on Saturday, April 20, 2013. Amy Zielinski, Party Secretary and event hostess, began the festivities by welcoming everyone and introducing Dennis Gregg, the Party Chair. Mr. Gregg spoke briefly about the importance of eliminating the extremism of current office holders in our state by electing good Democratic candidates. He highlighted the excellent work of three county officials who were at the dinner, Randy York, District Attorney General; Larry Sherrill, Circuit Court Clerk; and Judy Graham Swallows, Register of Deeds and stressed the importance of re electing them so our county can continue to benefit from their good service.

Amy then introduced our guests, Roy Herron and Larry Crim, the Party officers, Executive Committee members, and Sam the Auction Man. Sam told a few jokes and auctioned off some of the baked goods provided by the Cumberland County Democratic Women’s Club which put everyone in a good humor and whet our appetites for dinner

The invocation was given by Rev. Bob Rezash then dinner was served and the guests enjoyed quiet personal and political conversations with their table mates during dinner.

Sam took over the floor for another cake and pie auction interlude as he regaled the group with humorous stories from auctions of the past. If someone moved their head as they laughed Sam acknowledged that as a bid and the price went up, which led to more laughter and higher bids.

Our hostess injected a more serious note by reminding us of the economic inequality problems our country is currently suffering. A video, ”Economics of Inequality” was shown which highlighted some of the economic issues being dealt with across the country that are also affecting our state. These issues are a stark reminder of the difference between the Democratic Party’s concern for the welfare of all people and views held by others that show no concern for the working class or the poor.

Following the video, Amy hailed the courage of one of the Democratic writers that contribute to the weekly column, We the People, Clyde Ussery. Charlita Lloyd read, “Has the South Finally Won the Civil War?”, a column submitted by Clyde but rejected by the Chronicle for publication. In this article, Ms. Ussery highlights how current cultural and political attitudes appear to be much the same now as they were during the time of the Civil War. After the reading, Ms. Ussery was presented with the dinner committee’s Courageous Democrat Award for her unstinting dedication to supporting the Democratic Party and speaking out against what she believes is unfair or unjust, or just plain untrue. This award was followed by Ms. Zielinski, recognizing Ms. Lloyd with the Highest Fundraiser award for the event (23 tickets sold, $1,150 and donations of $950), and presented her with a plaque recognizing her extraordinary efforts.

Dennis Gregg introduced Roy Herron, Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party and the keynote speaker for the event. Mr. Herron spoke about the economic trials of the country and our state over many generations. He shared personal stories of struggles his parents and grandparents faced through difficult economic times, and how they were helped by programs legislated by the Democratic Party to alleviate hardship and to give the working class opportunities to succeed. Mr. Herron said that although we are going through a very tough period now things are changing. Although legislators at both the federal and state levels are not currently addressing the needs of the middle class and the poor, people are rejecting their ideas and seeking social and economic change. Mr. Herron encouraged us to help rebuild the Democratic Party in our state and across the country in order to elect Democratic legislators who will address the real needs of people and bring about the change we now need. He concluded his remarks by encouraging the group to not become discouraged and to stay engaged and active in the Democratic Party because if we will it, and will work for it, there will once again be social and economic justice for all.

Larry Crim, an announced candidate for U.S. Senate, was then given an opportunity to speak to the group. He introduced himself as a lifelong resident of Tennessee and a candidate for U.S. Senate in the 2014 election. Mr. Crim said that Tennesseans are not receiving the type of representation they need in the U.S. Senate or from Tennessee legislators, and the antics of some of our legislators who introduce ridiculous legislation is an embarrassment to our state. He asked us all to stay informed and to support Democratic candidates like him who will work to improve conditions for all Tennesseans.

There was a good deal of camaraderie as the evening came to a close, and judging by the smiles as the dinner guests parted, the 2013 Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner was a success. We hope you look forward to joining us at the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner again next year in April. We look forward to seeing you.

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