Me and my (somewhat) trusty camera were out and about today checking out the political scene.
The afternoon started at the Stoltzfus Picnic, which this year was held inside the Civic Center. They were tired of being rained on, last year’s event was soaked.
This event worked in a pretty tried and true fashion. We all got our food first – they had the hot dogs and sauerkraut again, along with some really good pulled pork. A little cole slaw, a ladleful of baked beans, a few cookies and my lunch was filling. This photo was taken after most of us ate, when the candidate introductions started. Luna and James both made remarks. Stoltzfus even got down to introducing the Central Committee people for each of the three District 38 counties (Somerset, Worcester, Wicomico) which meant I was introduced and got a wave in.
We actually were introduced after Lieutenant Governor Steele got to the event. He patiently waited a few minutes and here he’s shown just before making his remarks. Steele made what’s probably a pretty typical stump speech to a crowd of supporters but he had some help. Steele spotted a toddler-age girl scampering in front of the stage and bade her come up. With her on his shoulder, Steele pointed out that his job was to help this little girl’s future (as he pointed at her for emphasis.) You couldn’t ask for a better photo-op and hopefully someone got it.
This moving billboard is Michael Steele’s bus for his state tour. I snuck out after he finished to take the picture, then walked back inside to renew acquaintances with the Lieutenant Governor, as well as many other politicians in attendance that I knew. In fact, I found out that once the new Central Committee gets underway it’s been decided that I should act as Secretary (which I did for the Toledo Young Republicans years ago.) Gee, a guy with a blog doing a job that requires writing. Whoda thunk it?
One person I hadn’t met yet was Charles Jannace, who is the “Hadley V. Baxendale” of the local Justice For All? blog, and also a write-in candidate for County Executive. It was a pleasure to meet him and place a name and face behind a blog that I regularly read. Now I hope Joe Albero got the picture of Steele with the young lady I mentioned above. She’s the daughter of Beau Oglesby, an attorney in the Wicomico County State’s Attorney office who’s running for the job in Worcester County where he lives.
Just like last year, the event also had a live auction that was conducted by Lewis Riley, Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture. I didn’t keep a running count, but I’m guessing they totaled in the $2500 range on the items sold. They were also supposed to have Kristen Cox (Governor Ehrlich’s current running mate) come and say a few words but unfortunately she was running late. I did get to meet her at the next event.
Frankly, I was disappointed with the turnout to this event, but it was a nice Saturday and SU doesn’t have a whole lot of on-campus housing.
U.S. Senate candidate Ben Cardin had a nice table set up even though he didn’t come to see it. At left are two Wicomico County candidates, District 4 Council hopeful David MacLeod and incumbent Orphans’ Court Judge Melissa Pollitt Bright. Seated behind them is another Orphans’ Court candidate, George Ossman.
The College Republicans put together a rather impressive display. I took the shot looking down the row but theirs stood out.
These two young people were very nice and polite, but they’ve never heard of monoblogue! I told them I’d make them world-famous. Well, at least they’re now on the World Wide Web.
I do have a question though. Since we have far fewer hurricanes in 2006 than we did in 2005 (with none of them being “major” hurricanes), does that mean we’re having global cooling?
In between the band sets, there would be a speaker or maybe two who would go up there and talk about the importance of voting. Judging by the attendance though, not a lot of students find it that important. But I have to commend the folks at PACE for trying.
However, there were times like this one where I saw mostly candidates who were running for offices speaking to their counterparts, sometimes of the opposite party and sometimes not. I spoke to Joe Albero (in green on the left) and he sadly noted the same phenomonon at forums he attended – they were 1/2 to 2/3 politicians and most of the rest were their hangers-on. Just a handful of citizens show up. At the end, I was chatting with a young lady who’d volunteered to sit at the PACE table and they’d registered only about a half-dozen voters.
There were some bright spots though. I liked Kevin Zeese’s brief message about voting for what you believe in and not against what you fear. Actually, the Green Party’s Senate hopeful is running a fairly positive campaign aside from being virulently anti-war. I did take this occasion to introduce myself and thank him for participating in my Ten Questions. Also, I got to speak at length to his son Alex, who was there helping his dad. He’s a bright young man who told me about his unusual childhood – instead of getting to watch cartoons on weekend mornings, the one TV in his house was tuned to “McLaughlin Group”. So he was immersed in politics at an early age.
In fact, I spent the largest part of my time there speaking with Democrats and Greens. Obviously I’m loyal to the GOP, but it’s good to find out about people on the other side. So I spoke at some length to Democrats like Hilary Spence, James Adkins, Melissa Pollitt Bright, and Sheree Sample-Hughes (who didn’t deny it when I told her she could be a political force to be reckoned with at a higher level), as well as the Green Party’s Zeese. Most of the time we actually spoke about things that were non-political – for example, Spence got a little bit of my history with taking the architectural exam, and Adkins told me about referring folks to monoblogue to read his Ten Questions answers.
As a group, the Democrat and Green candidates stuck around longer than the Republican ones did. I think I was about the last one on the GOP side (excepting the College Republicans) to leave, but I was enjoying talking to some of the younger people there as the affair wound down.
So like in years past the Stoltzfus Picnic will be an early-fall affair next year, but I believe that the SU event will be shelved because there’s no state or federal election in 2007. It may return in two years though as the Presidential election winds down. But after the event I told the organizer to invite me whenever it returns, I’ll be there. This year’s event may not have been what they’d hoped, but there’s no harm in trying since that generation is going to be a pivotal one in history.