Blount Democrats gather at Airport Hilton for Roosevelt Day

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By Lance Coleman
Blount Today

It was difficult for Blount County Democratic chairman Dave Finch to believe his eyes during the party’s Roosevelt Dinner Saturday night at the Airport Hilton. In a predominantly Republican county, more than 100 people were on hand for the event.

"I’m floored," the new party chair said. "I’m not exaggerating. I’ve never seen this many Democrats in one place in Blount County in six years."

The theme of the party was a celebration of the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Senior advisor to Gov. Phil Bredesen Kim McMillan also spoke about what democrats believe and the governors plans for education.

Blount County Commissioner Wendy Pitts Reeves echoed Finch’s comments. "I see people here who have never been willing
to show their faces as Democrats," she said. "That’s progress."

Finch said it’s not as difficult now to be a Democrat. "The corruption in Washington, the war, it’s easier to be a Democrat than in the past," he said.

Blount County Commissioner David Ballard gave a synopsis of Roosevelt’s accomplishments and influence, pointing to such programs as the Manhattan Project which spawned Oak Ridge, Social Security, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
and Tremont CCC. "These are hard to ignore as they are still a part of who we are," said Ballard.

In her comments, McMillan said Roosevelt identified with factory workers and farmers. "From his vision emerged the growing American middle class," she said. "Everything he did, he did with a flourish because he believed in the working man."

McMillan said the future of the state and handling governmental challenges isn’t just in the governor’s hands. "It’s economically irresponsible to push the country into debt to support the lifestyle of the wealthy," said McMillan. "That’s what Republicans are doing."

Brandon Cook, former party chair, was honored as Democrat of the Year. In presenting the award, Joe Gallagher praised his leadership during the last campaign and the efforts that got three Democrats elected to the Blount County Commission. "It didn’t happy by accident," said Gallagher. "It happened because we had the right kind of leadership."

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