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Latino Perspective: What To Make Of The DC Democrats Opening Of The Campaign Season

 Washington, DC - The DC Democratic Party has formally opened the campaign season.

 

Let’s start with the feel good stuff. On the awards side, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray both received deserved recognitions for good work at The District of Columbia Democratic Party’s 25th Kennedys-King Gala Awards Dinner a fortnight ago.

 

As Vincent Gray observed “The DC Democratic State Committee promotes the principles of democracy in all of its programs, services and activities. The Kennedys King Dinner recognizes those who emulate the values, courage and principles of those whom this dinner is named.”

 

Notable among the many recognized were Erika Moritsugu by the Asian American Democratic caucus and Franklin Garcia by the Hispanic Democratic caucus.

 

Erika Moritsugu won the Leading Democrat Award for her vision, engagement and accomplishments as a rising Democratic Leader of the 21 Century through her work as co-founder of the DC Democratic Lawyers Council. Morisugu is the at-large member of the Asian Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus. Using her strength in organization, she has motivated hundreds of lawyers towards improving voter confidence in the balloting process. Moritsugu has served as an at-large since 2006 and is the co-chair and co-founder of the DC Democratic Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Caucus. This past election she was the Chair of the DC DSC’s Voter Education and Outreach Committee and was appointed to serve as DC Counsel to the Obama for America campaign. Currently Moritsugu sits on the advisory board member of the Asian American Action Fund (www.aaa-fund.org).

 

Franklin Garcia won the Distinguish Service Award for his numerous hours of service as the communications specialist to the District of Columbia Democratic Committee.  Garcia is also an at-large member but of the DC Latino Democratic Caucus. Garcia as recognized for his IT skills and for “iReporter.”  He is the newsletter editor and Webmaster. Garcia’s work has taken him into an extensive range of organizations: an international bank, an embassy, a property management firm, a large defense contractor as well as many professional offices and small businesses; and he also holds the position of Senior Systems Engineer. Garcia is on the Board of Directors for: Teatro de La Luna, Group of Dominican Professionals, SDM Foundation.

 

The list of 2010 award winners follows: 

 

·       Al Wheeler, Founder’s Award

·       Honorable Adrian M. Fenty, Joseph L. Raug Leadership Award

·       Cathy Lanier, Paula Nickens Service Activist Award

·       Honorable Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Home Rule Award

·       Harry Thomas, Free DC Award

·       Jeffrey Thompson, Lifetime Achievement Award

·       Ilir Zherka, Outstanding Community Organization Award

·       Erika Moritsugu, Leading Democrat Award

·       Franklin Garcia, Distinguish Service Award

·       Richard Rausch Grassroots Leaders Awards:

o   Andy Shallal

o   Wayne Dickson

o   Irene Morris

o   Amanda Hatcher Lyon

o   Timothy Thomas

o   Elizabeth Pierce

o   Eduardo Potillo

o   Honorable William Lockridge

o   Francey Youngberg

o   Fitz Lufkin

o   Estell M. Lloyd

o   George Johnson

o   Angel Luis Irene  

o   Donald Isaac Jr.  

o   Sterling Washington

 

On the Democratic Party activist side, Mayor Fenty did not do so well. DC Democrats participating in the last weekend’s conference, made clear their dissatisfaction with Fenty during the Mayoral forum and the straw poll.

 

These two capable politicians are heading into a showdown with Fenty in a tough contest for an incumbent. Think of this, in 2006 Gray received 98 percent of the vote in the November general election for the office of Chairman of the Council. In 2006 Fenty won all 142 precincts in the city’s democratic primary elections. The both have campaign and organizational skills; however The Washington Post’s Tim Craig in an article reveals that Gray led Fenty by 57.8 percent to 42.2 percent in a survey conducted in May.http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2010/06/gray_campaign_survey_shows_him.html Add to this sign the fact that Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray won the straw poll for mayor 703 votes to 190 for Fenty, the Mayor should sense trouble.

 

Regarding the straw poll results, some informed activists speculated that Fenty has written off the DC Democratic Party and its leadership.  One example among others, Fenty’s campaign crew arrived at noon, 4 hours after the DC Democratic Party conclave kicked off. Gray, Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange had already blanketed the approached to the gathering with signage.

 

To punctuate their preferences whether from the on going ‘slight of hand’  or a ‘loaded house’, Fenty was booed during the forum. How much of this ‘ill will’ is the Mayor’s making remains to be seen.

 

In other interesting straw poll results, for the Council Chair race, Kwame Brown came early, worked the crowd and won with 585 votes to Vincent Orange’s 329 votes.

 

And last but not least, Jim Graham cleaned the floor with Bryan Weaver and Jeff Smith for the Ward One tally with over 70% of the vote in his favor.

 

While the DC Democratic Straw polls are an insiders’ game and open to momentary machinations, the results reflect concerns of the party’s activists with regard to the aspiring nominees. For the moment, Gray, Graham and Kwame Brown have this wind at their backs going into the 4th of July.

 

For complete straw poll results visit: http://www.dcdsc.org/events/stawpoll2010.htm



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