ODP Dinner: OBLC Pre-Event
I arrived at the Veterans Memorial at about 5:00 knowing that I wanted to go right to the "pre-event" hosted by the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus. I am proud to say that my state representative, state senator, and congresswoman are all powerful African-American women, and each is a person I greatly admire, so I was pleased to find them all there.
At the will call table I encountered Barbara Boyd, my former state representative who is running for her old seat. She was wearing a beautiful yellow jacket upon which I complimented her. (Unfortunately, my solo picture of her did not come out, since I hit the wrong darn button on the camera.) When the young person behind the table asked if she could help me I said "Yes, I'm a guest of Senator Barack Obama. Do you have my ticket for me?" And you know what, I said the first part really, really loud, because it was such a thrill. Just the first of many thrills during the evening.
Entering the room I looked for people I knew or hoped to meet. It was a pleasure to see Julian Rogers, who ran a valiant primary campaign for the Ohio House of Representatives and is now working as the northern field supervisor (not sure that title is right) for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign, and I had a quick chat with attorney general candidate Sen. Marc Dann (D-Youngstown). I introduced myself to Clayton Luckie, who is running in the 39th Ohio House District in Dayton, and also to State Sen. Tom Roberts (D-Trotwood), and of course gave them my blogger card ( which I had designed and printed up just that morning). But the biggest thrill was introducing myself to my state senator, the Senate Minority Leader C.J. Prentiss (D-Cleveland Heights), who is term-limited, and telling her that it had been an honor voting for her and thanking her for her public service. Now, you could tell a lot of legislators that and they would be pleased to hear it, but Sen. Prentiss' reaction was to give me a huge hug.Wow. She is tremendous. I also met her husband, Mark Charney, who said that he has read my blog and seemed delighted to learn that we live in the same town.
State Auditor candidate State Rep. Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) called everyone's attention to the podium for the brief program. (In the picture, Sykes is at the podium, Prentiss is on the right in the white dress, my current state representative Rep. Claudette Woodard (D-Cleveland Heights) is in the background on the right, and Rep. Annie Key (D-Cleveland, who ran a strong second in the crowded primary to replace Prentiss, is on the left in blue.) Sykes is a tremendously energetic, magnetic person. On this occasion, the excitement in the room and her usual vivacity combined to make the crowd almost giddy, so we roared with laughter when gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon), standing off to one side, tried to interrupt her to make some suggestion about the presentation and she sang out "Now, will you just let me handle this?" She compounded the hilarity by saying something like "Just because he's going to be the next Governor he thinks he gets to run everything," and turning to him and saying "You're not governor yet!"
When Ted Strickland eventually got to the microphone he said "You'll be pleased to know that I've been allowed to say a few words!"
Sykes complimented the crowd, saying "We look good, we sound good!" She also said some serious things about the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus, including that it is working for poor people who can't help themselves, but it was mainly a big happy celebration. She called all of the members of the OBLC who were present to the stage, then all candidates running for office. The audience loved it when Sykes asked, "Isn't it great to have a big room full of happy Democrats?" and closed by saying "See you at the Finish Line!"
Here is Sykes with the Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman:
This is when all the current OBLC members, candidates and other guests had been called up to the stage and introduced:
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) is on the far left, Prentiss is next in white, then Key in blue, I'm not sure who the gentleman is but he might be Ohio House candidate Dale Mallory, then Sykes and Woodard in white, and Barbara Boyd is on the far right in her shimmering yellow jacket.
After all of that, I left the OBLC pre-event thinking that I would find the Ohio Women's Democratic Caucus pre-event, but instead found my way to the press conference, where I eventually heard Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) speak to the media. What I did not know is that I had already missed Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at the press conference, and by staying there for Biden I missed Obama when he addressed the OBLC! There was simply too much going on in too many different places. I did manage to meet some legislators and candidates I had written about in the hallway and foyer after the press conference, such as Rep. Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland), who is running to become my state senator in place of Sen. C.J. Prentiss; Adam Van Ho, who ran a solid primary campaign for the Ohio House; Rep. Jennifer Garrison from the 93rd Ohio House District way down south, with her spouse Rus Garrison; and I enjoyed seeing 3rd Ohio Senate District candidate Emily Kreider, pictured below with her campaign coordinator Susan Deardowksi (Kreider is on the right), with whom I enjoyed doing a little door to door campaigning not too long ago: