The Cumberland County Democratic Party (CCDP) held its annual fundraising event, the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner, on Saturday April 25, 2015 in the banquet room at R Place, the former Lake Tansi Country Club. Guests had the opportunity to mingle with Democratic friends and neighbors during the social hour prior to dinner. Ed Yoder, CCDP Chair and Master of Ceremonies welcomed everyone and introduced Joy Rose, a long-time member of the Cumberland County Democratic Women’s Club, who gave an invocation and the pre-dinner blessing.

Mary Mancini, Chairperson of the Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP), gave the keynote address. Ms. Mancini shared her vision for the future of Tennessee Democrats to expand the Democratic Party and seat more state, county and local leaders. County parties will work with TNDP to energize and organize the Democratic base to bring more people in and to create an environment where Democrats can win elections. Ms. Mancini pointed out that the 2016 elections should be favorable to elect Democrats. Presidential elections bring out the Democratic base, something which did not happen in 2014. She described the need to use available data to assess how Democrats can hold the Tennessee House and Senate seats they now hold and to determine which other seats are winnable. Ms. Mancini stressed the importance of running excellent candidates, as well as the urgency of getting Democrats out to vote in every election in order to make incremental gains in the number of Democrats holding office, and to build on those incremental gains with every subsequent election. She suggested that Democrats point out the truth about the opposition party’s brand using examples of the types of legislation they passed, or did not pass, while strengthening its own party brand as the party that is concerned with the welfare of the citizens of Tennessee. Ms. Mancini added that Democrats across the state must get the message out that the Tennessee Democratic Party’s values are: opportunity for all; strong families and communities; effective government, and investment in our future. If voters hear that message they are more likely to vote for good Democratic candidates. On behalf of the CCDP Executive Committee and the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner Committee, Ed Yoder presented Ms. Mancini with a hand-made plaque engraved with a message of appreciation for serving as guest speaker for the dinner.

Mr. Yoder described Dennis Gregg’s service to CCDP and the Democratic Party as well as his involvement in a number of Cumberland County endeavors.  He was State Executive Committeeman representing six counties, including Cumberland, from 2008 through 2014 and was re-elected to that position in March 2015 by the TNDP Executive Committee. Also in March 2015 he was elected Treasurer of the Tennessee County Chairs Association. Mr. Yoder presented him with a hand-made plaque in acknowledgement of and appreciation for his service to CCDP. Mr. Gregg briefly addressed the group stating that he didn’t accomplish any of his endeavors alone. Many good people were involved to help him achieve his goals. He expressed appreciation to CCDP members and the Cumberland County Democrats who have supported CCDP and worked toward electing Democrats in the County.

A pastry auction of pies, cakes and cookies baked by members of the Cumberland County Democratic Women’s Club provided entertainment as the Auctioneer Paul Gardner and Assistant Judy Swallows jokingly cajoled the bidders and enticed them with appetite-inducing descriptions of each pastry offered for bid.

The dinner committee used the occasion of this dinner to honor the most senior of our county Democrats, those over the age of 90, who have supported CCDP and Democratic candidates for many years. Those in attendance were Lois Brater, Gladys Butler, Dorothy Clark, Franklin Parker, Al Rogers, Betty Streich, and Clyde Ussery and each received a rousing round of applause as they were introduced. CCDP gifted each of them with a complementary dinner and one of the floral centerpieces.

Lois Brater shared her memory of one of Eleanor Roosevelt’s visits to Oak Ridge in 1955 to give a speech for the American Association of University Women. A dessert served at a reception was a Strawberry Torte made by Lois Brater. Mrs. Roosevelt was so taken with the desert that she insisted that Lois give her the recipe, and she did. Lois shared copies of the recipe with everyone at the dinner and joked that the recipe called for 12 egg whites and she never did know what to do with the 12 egg yolks.

CCDP Officers were introduced and Executive Committee members stood to be acknowledged. The attention then shifted to the raffle of two hand-made quilts made by Loretta Yoder and Julia McNie. The lucky winners were Monica Gardner and Virgie Lotze.

In his closing remarks, Ed Yoder thanked the dinner committee, the Democratic Women’s Club, and everyone who came out to share the evening and to support CCDP.

See photographs of the event at:  2015 Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner

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