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March 8, 2006

Montgomery Democratic Central Committee holds annual brunch

by Merlyn Deng, Online Editor-in-Chief
Sailboats and treasure chests strewn across table completed the "Democrats… Cruising for Victory" theme at Annual Country Brunch, an event in which several hundred Democratic candidates and elected officials were invited to the Indian Spring Country Club on Sunday, March 5. The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC), which organizes this yearly event, arranged for various Maryland Democratic politicians to discuss issues, the upcoming elections and the retirement of Democratic Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes.

Sandy Raymond and Marie Wallace, co-chairs of the MCDCC brunch, were the "Cruise Directors" at the brunch. Congresswoman Stephanie Jones from Ohio gave the event's first long speech, which focused on the prospects of the upcoming elections for the Democrats. She encouraged her fellow party members, "When we win, we can put out the plank and put the Republicans in the sea… We need to be prepared for this 2006 election," she said.

After her speech, County Executive Doug Duncan gave his own speech, mirroring Jones's enthusiasm. Duncan, who will be running in the gubernatorial race, said, "We will take back the Governor's mansion in 2006."

Senator Barbara Mikulski and Local Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen also gave speeches. They discussed the present situation in Washington, D.C., under the Bush administration and honored Senator Sarbanes, the Maryland senator who is retiring, for a distinguished career.

Senator Sarbanes was the last person to stand up on the podium in the afternoon. During his speech, he brought attention to the integrity of the election process, the trade deficit and the "growing inequity of wealth," which has benefited the top one to two percent of America's wealthiest. Additionally, he focused on the United States' role in foreign affairs. "After World War II, the United States set out under the Democrats and Republicans to deal with others with respect on a multilateral basis," he said. He then proceeded to explain that the Bush administration has instead resorted to a "unilateralist" policy that damages the international reputation of the United States. "It's good to use that strength as a giant, but not as a bully," he said.

At the end of the brunch, Raymond and Wallace handed out gifts to the groups who had raised the most in donations by bringing the most guests with them. "It's a fundraiser to pay for the party and to get them ready for the elections," Raymond said.

The main purpose for holding the brunch was to rally the Democrats, who will be gearing up for an especially important election year, according to Raymond. "I am very optimistic and I see a lot of openings that we can go fill," she said.

Raymond and Wallace were able to host the event with the help of various high school student volunteers, most of whom are involved in their own school's Democrats clubs. Blair juniors Lea Savard-McNicoll and Adam Yalowitz, who head the Coalition of High School Democrats branch of the MCDCC, organized the volunteers for the brunch.

Savard-McNicoll said she was pleased with the brunch and the high school volunteers' efforts. "It's always interesting for [students] to communicate with [political] officials," she said, "And it's a really great opportunity to talk to [political] officials with so much experience."

Congressman Van Hollen also expressed his support for the high school volunteers helping to put together political social events. "Some people say that the young people are not interested in public affairs," he said. "These were students that were engaged in the event and following [political] issues."

According to Raymond, the "Spring Ball" will be held in May, which will help raise funds for future Democratic Party plans.



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  • disgusted with politics on March 8, 2006 at 12:24 PM
    She encouraged her fellow Party members, "When we win, we can put out the plank and put the Republicans in the sea…We need to be prepared for this 2006 election," she said.

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    And this is why Congress gets nothing done - all they do is figure out how to win the majority of the seats, not how to improve America.
  • equally disgusted on March 8, 2006 at 7:20 PM
    hey how about if instead of being cheesy and being liberal for liberal's sake, why don't the dems actually unite and get a platform that most dems will vote for so they can actually win? also why does it have to come down to party lines? ppl just say "BUSH SUCKS" and they have no argument, they're just fitting into the liberal maryland stereotype.
  • :: on March 8, 2006 at 9:27 PM
    Well, the government was designed to be constantly bickering with each other, so that it is not efficient. That's why we have 3 branches, 2 Houses, 535 Congressmen, and 2 parties, plus a bunch of little interest groups and small parties.
  • The GOP on March 8, 2006 at 9:50 PM
    Hmmm perhaps that's why Maryland's more red than it's been in decades. Thanks guys!
  • Something Else to Say on April 1, 2006 at 3:44 PM
    There are two splits running through both of the major parties right now. With the GOP, it's the split between the Cultural Conservatives and the more Libertarian elements, and with the Democrats, it's between the Progressives and the again more Moderate to Liberatarian Centrists (several of whom vote just like Republicans on key economic issues). It does not have to come down to party lines, but a lot of times it does - as stated before - simply to win over seats. In my opinion, if the country is restricted to just two parties, each will try and win over the same people in the middle, each will become somewhat contradictory as they try and balance the conflicting interests, and each may only be able to unite by bashing the other party. Both parties can be bought out by special interests, leading to two quite similar sounding (and in 2004, equally uncharismatic) candidates.

    I honestly believe that we need a third party, and maybe even a fourth so that we can represent all views without both sides surrendering their integrity over a compromise that ends up doing far too little that needs to be done. And when you think about it, that may not be too unforseeable. In 1932, Republicans were pushed out of office in favor of the Dems because of the mishandling of the Great Depression. If FDR had done an equally horrendous job, people might have been annoyed enough with both parties to try another one. It could happen in our lifetimes.

    But on the other hand - to the progressives, and even the others who sincerely believe in creating a better world (and I think Sarbanes was one) - Thanks :-)
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