Bluewoman and I were able to attend the 3rd Annual Paul and Shelia Wellstone Dinner in St Cloud last night.
Wow! What an event!
We must be moving up in the world! We not only sat with Bob Olson, we also got to sit with Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer! We've been clear hear at Blue man in a Red district that we support Bob Olson for Congress. Bob did a great job working the room and I did my best to introduce him to the people I knew in the room.
We did have another great chat with Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. We also been able to chat with him at the Otsego garden party and the 7th CD Hog Roast in Biscay.
It's great to have such a progressive gathering of people so close to where we live. Typically, we'd have to travel to the Twin Cities for such an event, while paying an arm and a leg as well. In talking to a few friends that helped organize the event, the attendance has been impressive. Over 550 people attended the event last night, up from a hundred or so just two years ago.
Silent auction items were sweet too! I ended up going home with a lovely framed Paul Wellstone poem and an event poster signed by Vice President Walter Mondale. I got hosed for some sweep Wellstone buttons, but there really is no bitterness there!
It was a moving event. Garrison Keillor delivered a wonderful address about Paul. DFLers like Jackie Stevenson gave powerful speeches about Mary McEvoy and Sheila, and their important work to stamp out domestic violence.
Senator Tarryl Clark and Rep Larry Haws hit Governor Pawlenty and other GOP leaders hard as well...Rep Haws hat story was the best though.
Larry was in an elevator at the State Office Building, wearing his hat. A Republican in the elevator told him "a gentleman never wears there hat indoors". Larry looked at him and told him, "I'll tell you two reasons why I am not a gentleman. One, I'm wearing my hat indoors. Two, I don't give a damn what you think!"
The night was filled with a progressive message. In Paul Wellstone terms, we need to "Stand up and Keep Fighting!"
It's a message that carries over equally in an electoral campaign or the school levies many of us are working on right now. Going door to door or phone to phone taking back our communities is what Paul Wellstone would want us to be doing right now!
Bluewoman and I had a fun discussion at the table about being progressive. Those that know me, know I am passionate guy, not a quiet progressive at all. People like Bob Olson and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer are equally as progressive but they utilize more of a calm, cool and collected approach.
The conclusion? We'll always support a progressive candidate over the one with the "big name and money". We'll bust our collective asses to ensure that our progressive candidates get elected, but we will not compromise our progressive values to do so.
Hence, my support for Bob Olson. He's a strong progressive candidate who actually says something when you talk to him, he's not filled with rhetoric!
Vice President Walter Mondale ended the night with a wonderful speech about Paul Wellstone and our fight to take his seat back!
Lastly, congratulations to Susan Patton, who received the 2007 Mary McEvoy award for all her hard work on the SD 15 website and other organizing activities she has worked on over the years for progressive causes. I've known Susan for a few years now and had the pleasure of working with her on a few causes at St Cloud State. The award is well deserved!