2014 Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner

The Cumberland County Democratic Party (CCDP) held its major fundraising event, the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner, on Saturday April 26, 2014.  During the social hour prior to dinner, guests had the opportunity to mingle with Democratic friends and neighbors and meet candidates for the 2014 elections who were in attendance as well.  Dennis Gregg, CCDP Chair, welcomed everyone attending, then Thom Hassler, candidate for Cumberland County Mayor and a minister, gave the pre-dinner blessing. 

Following dinner Gloria Johnson, incumbent candidate for State House in District 13, gave her special address.  Ms. Johnson has 24 years of experience in educating special needs children and was one of the Obama campaign’s best field organizers who organized 700 active volunteers in Tennessee.  In 2009 she was elected Chair of the Knox County Democratic Party; energized Knox County Democrats; built the party district by district; was re-elected in 2011 and continues to organize and energize the Democrats in Knox County.  Ms. Johnson spoke of the importance of strengthening our schools, attracting good-paying jobs to Tennessee, and securing health care for Tennesseans.  She stressed the need for Democrats to get involved at the grassroots level to help elect public officials who will actively address these needs of Tennesseans.  She explained how candidates can take advantage of digital tools available from the state party to supplement personal contact events and to reach targeted voters by telephone, mail and electronic communication methods.  Ms. Johnson’s passion for improving the lives of Tennesseans is apparent, as is her commitment to work to elect Democratic candidates who share that goal.

We were fortunate to have the following candidates for state and county offices present and they each described their history, their goals, and their 2014 campaign:  US Senate – Gordon Ball and Larry Crim;  US House District 6 – Amos Powers; Tennessee Senate District 15 – Betty Vaudt; TN House District 25 – Judy Barnett; Democratic State Executive Committee – Dennis Gregg; County Mayor – Thom Hassler; Circuit Court Clerk – Larry Sherrill; Register of Deeds – Judy Swallows; Sheriff – Dean Farley; County Commission, 9th District – John Kinnunan; and from the 13th Judicial District:  Public Defender – David Brady; District Attorney General – Tony Craighead; Chancellor – Ron Thurman; Circuit Court Judge, Part II – Randy York; Criminal Court Judge, Part 1 – William Roberson.  We were pleased to have up-close and personal contact with these candidates and thank them for making time in their busy schedules to spend some social time with CCDP.   

The antics of auctioneer Joe Jenkins as Joe gave colorful descriptions of items being auctioned not only brought on gales of laughter but cajoled higher and higher bids for each item.  In particular, a Coconut Cream pie and a Chocolate Kahlua cake should be preserved and placed on display rather than served as desert since their auction prices put them in a class with fine collectibles.  Thank you, Joe, for the great comic relief and a few more dollars in our coffers.

Tom Looney, a life-long Cumberland County die-hard Democrat, regaled the group with political anecdotes from the past and stories of conversations about politics at The Liars’ Table in Mitchell’s Drug Store.  The evening concluded with Tom introducing Bob Mitchell and presenting him with the Courageous Democrat award.  In his few words of thanks, Bob humbly denied he did anything to earn it, but his smile indicated that he was clearly pleased with the award. 

Many thanks to Amy Zielinski, Chair of the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner Committee, who served as Mistress of Ceremony for the evening, and to the entire committee for the enjoyable dinner event.   Thank you also to all of you who came out to share the evening, to meet the candidates, and to support CCDP.

See the Photos of the 2014 Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner:  2014 CCDP Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner