Last night four Boundary County Democrats (that's me, too) attended the North Idaho Democracy Dinner, which is a yearly Kootenai County Democrat fundraiser. Held at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, it included a wonderful buffet dinner, an opportunity to chat with a variety of northern Idaho Democrats, and a chance to bid on baskets of treats, donated by individual northern counties with the proceeds going back to the respective county. Now how cool is that!
It was emceed by Councilman Mike Kennedy who brought some humor to the sad state of political affairs in the U.S. today. Mr. Cliffored SiJohn, of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho, gave a warm, thoughtful, and inspirational Invocation. The wonderful friendship between the tribe and the Democrats should be an example for counties who do not share a similar relationship. Idaho Democratic Party Chair, Richard Stallings, provided an informative and personable introduction to the main speaker, Jim Hansen. Jim delivered a thought-provoking and motivational speech that spoke to the grassroots. Using his personal background and his recent campaign for Idaho's 2nd District Congressional race, he spoke about the necessity to form grassroots' relationships in every town in Idaho, with as many people as possible. His position, which also forms the philosophical foundation upon which United Vision for Idaho is built, bases itself not on big money hoopla and rich-folk donations, but on whatever it is that individuals can give in order to build a movement and a political way of thinking that begins with people, people at the grassroots. Of course money is also important, as Hillary Clinton has so blatantly pointed out. But I think the U.S. populace is changing, and individuals have become more important than money, just like they should be more important than corporations. Paul Wellstone and Howard Dean, and groups like Moveon, have made this abundantly clear. Grassroots Idaho will turn Idaho blue!
The evening ended with Kootenai Country Chair, Bev Moss, announcing the winners of the 2007 Art Manley Lifetime Achievement Award, Bob and Eileen Riddle, who have, without a doubt, given so much, so often, to the Idaho Democratic Party. Bev also announced the winners of the silent auction baskets. I enjoyed myself and it's always nice to be able to speak with the folks in the party, the potential and announced candidates for upcoming elections, and just other north Idaho Democrats. Given the driving distances amongst the counties, the price of gas, and just about everybody's work schedule, I think the regional communication that has begun amongst the counties will be a real asset for future elections.
I cannot finish without a special thank you to Shelley Landry, the Northern Field Organizer, whose creative thinking provides a new framework in which to voice our Democratic concerns (who else, upon learning that someone is a Republican, would then ask, "But are you a happy Republican?"), the energy enough to constantly touch base with all the counties in District 1 (which runs the length of the state), and, on top of that, get us to begin working not just as individuals, or individual counties, but as a cohesive whole. (Has she been teaching Jim or has he been teaching her????) You go, girl!