Celebrating with the president

Democrats host gala at Hilton

It was a formal affair for the more than 450 gathered at the Airport Hilton on Jan. 20 to celebrate President Barack Obama’s inauguration. The event was organized by the Blount County Democratic Party and featured live music, food, fun and plenty of fellowship.

Louisville alderman Joe Gallagher said it was a joyous crowd. “It was a dressed-up crowd, and the music was excellent,” Gallagher said. “The hotel did a superb job of setting it up. This was a big crowd and a fun crowd. Everybody was happy and excited over Barack Obama being sworn in.”

Gallagher said the event was a sell-out. “They probably turned down more than 200 people,” he said.

The turnout shows how strong the Democratic Party has become in Blount County, said Gallagher. “When we moved here, the standing gag line was, ‘Oh, you’re a Democrat? That makes two of you.’ That’s not so anymore. The Democrats are a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “Besides the joy of Obama, there was a joy in us making that kind of statement. We’re looking forward to the 2010 elections. The Democrats are going to be winners.”

Brandon Cook said it was a great party. “The inauguration gala committee took time and did it up right. It was a great celebration of the inauguration and of Barack Obama, who is going to be a great president,” Cook said. “It was a great celebration of unity. Wendy Reeves and Rev. Harold Middlebrook got the crowd fired up.”

Laura Rule estimated close to 500 people were at the party. “Everybody had a good time,” she said. “Everyone was full of hope and enthusiasm.”

Jackie Hill said it was wonderful as the crowd gathered. “Everyone was excited and looking forward to good things to come,” she said. “I heard more comments about people getting involved in their community and neighborhoods.”

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