The “Bagels with Al” event was held this cold morning in the Chevy Chase Town Hall at the Jane E. Lawton Center.
Town of Chevy Chase Mayor Mary Flynn introduces Al
I heard that Del. Carr’s speech was very well received and thought that I would post it here. You can also listen to his speech here (starts at 3:19).
Thank you Mr. Speaker.
Good evening distinguished colleagues and guests
Before I begin, Please give a warm welcome to my family.
My wife Barrie and my sons Miles, Toby and Oliver and our friend Doris are in the gallery.
It is a dream come true for me to be able to serve in this chamber with all of you and to represent my constituents.
I want to acknowledge all of the friends, family, and supporters over the years who helped me achieve my dream.
We are going honor Dr. King tonight by listening to him in his own words and song.
This past summer while sifting through family possessions visiting my mother in Ohio, I stumbled on a cassette tape.
My late grandmother Dorothy Douglass had served as the assistant principal at Addison Junior High School in Cleveland.
I had heard that she had met Dr. King and recorded his remarks on the occasion when he visited her school and spoke to the assembled 7th, 8th and 9th grade students.
I had been told that she sent the original tape to the King Center archives in Atlanta. But I did not know that she had kept a copy.
I made a Facebook posting about my finding this 50-year old time capsule. My friend, audio engineer Brian Whitney told me “Don’t play it! Bring it to me!” And I thank him for digitizing, preserving and enhancing the sound quality of the tape.
No recording of this event is available on the internet. The only places it has been heard is at a few small gatherings of people where I have shared it.
I learned that this school assembly on October 22, 1964 was Dr. King’s very first public appearance after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Lyndon B. Johnson had been sworn in as president less than a year ago and was on the ballot in the presidential election set for twelve days later.
Dr. King and LBJ had partnered on the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 which had been signed into law just a few months earlier.
King’s role in Ohio was that of a barnstorming campaigner working to get out the vote in the largest swing state to ensure their continued partnership.
Events a few months later including those in Selma, Alabama culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
King would return to Cleveland the following year to help elect Carl Stokes, the first African American Mayor of a large US City.
To better understand why my grandmother prized the recording you should know a little bit about her life.
Geraldine Dorothy Gordon was born in 1911 to George and his wife Mary. George was an African American who grew up near Hagerstown. Mary was white, a Canadian immigrant of Scottish descent.
As an interracial family, they were part of the black community. Their marriage was legal in Ohio but not in many states including George’s home state of Maryland.
Dorothy was the first person in our family to earn a college education. At Kent State University during the Great Depression, she and the other black students were excluded from living on campus because of their race.
After earning a degree in education, she found work as an elevator operator until landing a substitute teaching gig.
Teachers in the Cleveland Public Schools were not allowed to be married, so her career was interrupted when she wed my grandfather Carl Douglass, an African American entrepreneur.
She resumed her career after my grandfather’s passing, and went on to become a distinguished educator serving as a teacher, counselor and assistant principal.
The highlight of Dorothy’s career was her work as an administrator of a Ford Foundation program and Project Manager of Transitions helping seventh grade students labeled as troubled. Her peers were amazed at the results she achieved when the students’ performance exceeded that of eighth and ninth graders.
As her grandchildren, my sisters and I benefited from Dorothy’s high expectations and her willingness to give her time, her presence and her encouragement. But her generosity extended to many other lives that she touched.
Dorothy saved the recording of Dr. King because she knew it was historic and educational, and she wanted it to be shared.
Dr. King speaks for about ten minutes and the assembly ends with a sing along led by his colleague, future Atlanta Mayor and UN Ambassador Andy Young.
And if you are so moved, please feel free to sing along.
Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutiérrez, Jeff Waldstreicher, Emily Shetty, Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Elizabeth Matory, and Rick Kessler
I live tweeted last night’s delegate debate hosted by the D18 Democratic Caucus. Not all went through as the Bushey Theater, formerly Roundhouse Theater, has no wifi and is almost a cell phone dead zone. Heaven for a theater but the enemy of the twitterati.
These events are great not because they change minds but because they give people a chance to know the candidates as real people and better understand what motivates them and where their real political passion lies.
Oblivious Conservatism on Education: Amazing to hear vocal criticism of basing education funding on a county’s wealth and support for directing it based on the number of students from candidates trying to outdo one another as the most progressive. So two counties with the same number of students should receive the same funds from the State even if one is twice as wealthy?
This populist railing against overcrowded schools will likely fly well with the voters. But conservatives will quite rightly roll their eyes at the incoherent pairing of this call for “fairness” with simultaneous demands for more taxes on the wealthy to pay for services for people striving their way up the ladder.
Smackdown! Moderator Charles Duffy saying to Jeff Waldstreicher “I guess we can move on if you’re not going to answer the question” after Jeff’s answer on school construction. Natali Fani-Gonzalez also took Jeff to task for expressing pride helping to bring an insufficient $40 million back to MoCo for school construction.
Boom. Liz Matory stated “our delegation in the House of Delegates is considered the weakest in the State of Maryland” in arguing her case for a new, more effective delegation. Direct contrast with Ana’s highlighting her seniority on the Appropriations Committee and Jeff doing the same on the Judiciary Committee.
New D18 Drinking Game: Drink when Rick Kessler says “ATM” or anyone says “bringing people together.” Seriously, I was getting worried that someone was going to break out singing “People. People who need people.”
Taxes and Economic Justice: Repeated calls for more taxes on high-income earners and big corporations in this district with some of the wealthiest precincts in the State, though also areas that need a hand. Much support for combined reported and closing the achievement gap. Liz Matory provided a contrast with her concern that current tax rates are making it more difficult to attract business to Montgomery.
No Discussion. Environment. Health Care.
Natali Fani-Gonzalez Strengths: Unquestionably in command when she had the mike, Natali articulated a strong passion for economic justice backed by business and lobbying experience along with an inspiring personal story. Clear winner of the first half of the debate.
Elizabeth Matory Strengths: Forceful and willing to call it as she sees it and aware of the need to attract business to Maryland. Many with business experience sound arrogant and windy as they talk about how they’ll bring it to bear on government. Not Liz. She communicated well how she’d marry her business smarts to politics.
Rick Kessler Strengths: On message as any presidential candidate, Rick drilled into my head that Montgomery County should not be the State of Maryland’s ATM. Rick clearly gets that candidates must repeat, repeat, repeat to get their message across.
Emily Shetty Strengths: Harnessed her personal history effectively to help show the grounding for her agenda. Drove home her support for more money for schools in Montgomery. @AbeSaffer is her not-so-secret Twitter weapon.
Al Carr Strengths: Calm and relaxed, Al sounds like a real person doing his best to work pragmatically on problems rather than a pol. He highlighted concrete achievements in making our state government more genuinely transparent despite opposition.
Ana Sol Gutiérrez Strengths: Still passionate after twenty years in elected office. No one gets to the left of Ana in a debate–not a bad place to be in the Democratic primary. A very American immigrant story that paved the way for others on the stage.
Jeff Waldstreicher Strengths: No constituent problem is too small. Proud to be Delegate Pothole, Jeff’s opening statement highlighted his success in getting the A/C turned on in a county facility so a Bar Mitzvah could move ahead even though his child was sick. Gave out his cell number.
Del. Al Carr with Maryland MDA Leaders
I saw Del. Al Carr at an event to promote Moms Demand Action–an organization dedicated to fighting gun violence formed in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Click here to join; it’s quick, easy, and does not cost any money.
This is the first of a two part post on the delegate race in District 18. This morning, I profile the incumbents in the race. In the afternoon, I’ll take a look at the challengers and make an overall assessment.
District 18, centered on Chevy Chase, Kensington, Wheaton and part of Silver Spring, is economically and racially diverse. Redistricting moved it a bit west, dropping a couple of Silver Spring precincts and picking up Garrett Park and areas around White Flint. D18 includes many of Montgomery’s mini municipalities.
The Senate race is not a top primary to watch, so I’ll focus on the more interesting delegate race. All three incumbents, Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutiérrez, and Jeff Waldstriecher are seeking reelection. Ana’s repeated public musings about retirement enticed other good candidates into the race and made it more competitive.
The fundamental question about this race is whether any challenger can pick off one of the incumbents if they run as a united slate. The challengers will likely pick off some votes from each of them. But will enough come from any single incumbent or go to any single challenger to cause an incumbent to fail to win reelection?
I review the incumbents first before turning to the challengers. They are discussed in descending order of funds raised.
Jeff Waldstreicher has $114K in his campaign account. In the last fundraising report, Jeff reported $14K in PAC donations, including big donations from MCGEO ($2K), the Firefighters ($2.5K) and the Trial Lawyers ($5K).
Jeff also received $33K in contributions in the past year. The largest is from Big Boyz Bail Bonds in Baltimore for $1K. However, most are from individuals, many of whom are local residents and activists whose names I recognize. He also received a donation from Joe Vallario, his committee chair.
Jeff is seeking his third term in the legislature and sits on the Judiciary Committee. His strength is that he is a disciplined and focused campaigner. Jeff is just relentless about knocking on doors and has substantial funds to aid his efforts at voter contact.
Al Carr has $42K in his campaign account. Al raised $20K over the past year. (Note: I am listed as one of the donors.) His donors generally gave smaller amounts than Jeff’s. Many are local names that I recognize with a particular accent on environmental activists.
Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman was Al’s most generous donor, giving over $1K. Before serving in the House, Al was a Kensington Town Councilman. Al also loaned his campaign $29K. Only $200 came from a single PAC donation.
Al’s great strength is that he has a core base of strong supporters among environmentalists and municipalities in the district. He is very attentive to neighborhood concerns, which gives him a very nice base of volunteers and local advocates.
Ana Sol Gutiérrez has $28K in her campaign account. She raised close to $5K in individual contributions. She has more donors with Latino surnames and fewer from Kensington or Chevy Chase than Jeff or Al. I also noticed $50 from at-large County Councilmember George Leventhal.
Ana received $1600 in in-state PAC donations–$1K from AFSCME and $600 from the United Food and Commercial Workers. And another $4K from out-of-state PACs–$3K from the Laborers International Union and $1K from SEIU NY/NJ. Ana had to pay a $500 fine for accidentally continuing to solicit contributions on her web site during the session when fundraising is banned.
Ana’s great strength is simply that she has appeared on the ballot in every state election in this area since 1990, first for School Board and then for the House of Delegates. The senior Latino elected official in Maryland, she has a strong Latino base.
The real question for the incumbents is whether they will slate together. They dissolved the District 18 Democratic Team campaign account at Ana’s insistence. It seems clear that Jeff and Al will join incumbent Sen. Rich Madaleno on a common ticket. Despite reluctance, I suspect Ana will also slate with the other incumbents, as the advantages, particularly for a candidate with little money facing a strong challenge, are just too great to ignore.
This afternoon, I look at the challengers.