by Jennie Gritton
Chattanooga News Writer
CHATTANOOGA – “Republicans define themselves by who they are against while Democrats define themselves as who they are for,” stated Governor Phil Bredesen during the opening of his speech at the annual Kefauver Dinner. The dinner, optimistically entitled ‘365 Days to Victory’, was attended by over 540 people which makes it the best attendance ever for the Hamilton County Democratic Party’s annual fundraiser. The formal event sold tickets for $60 per plate. There were also donations made to the event so that special discounted tickets could be made available for students.
“It is important to keep the event affordable so that it is not an exclusive event for the wealthy. We want everybody to be able to attend,” commented Alice O’Dea, secretary, Webmaster, and blog administrator for the party.
Numerous incumbent and campaigning politicians attended the event with a few speaking to the crowd. The highlights of the evening were guest speakers Senator Max Cleland and Governor Phil Bredesen. Even though GLBT issues were not discussed during the speeches, there were many members of the GLBT community attending.
The inside cover of the program booklet had a message from party Chairman Steuart James which discussed the party’s beliefs. Among the statements, family issues were addressed by saying that “Democrats believe in family values. Regardless of whether children are raised by their grandparents, whether children are raised by a single parent, or whether they are raised in the traditional family environment, we know that family is key to sound values.”
With an eye to a 2006 race for Zach Wamp’s 3rd district Congressional seat, decorated veteran Terry Stulce, commented regarding issues related to the GLBT community. If successful, Stulce offers promise for the GLBT community. Congressman Wamp has been very consistent and vocal with his anti-gay views in addition to endorsing numerous bills to limit equality rights. When asked about GLBT rights, Stulce advised that he was not only a proponent of anti-discrimination laws, but also equal rights when dealing with adoption issues. Mr. Stulce earned many decorations from his two tours of combat duty in Vietnam before earning a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
The Hamilton County Democratic Party as a whole was very pleased with the turnout and contributions. Attendees and speakers were both very positive and encouraging. The party hopes that next year’s dinner will also serve as a victory celebration.