The Tongass Democrats’ premier annual fundraiser, the Bartlett-Gruening Dinner, was held at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall in Juneau on March 29. Unfortunately for me, I was traveling and unable to attend.
Fortunately for more than 100 other Democrats, it was a gathering to remember!
People you can count on
As a leader, I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have people who just step up to the plate! So, let me begin by thanking a few of the people who made Bartlett-Gruening such a great event this year.
First, let me thank event co-chairs Bruce Botelho and Beth Kerttula for their steadfast leadership in pulling this event together. Kudos and thanks to Chris Ashenbrenner and Kim Metcalfe for “herding the cats” to get people in the door, and to Pat Roach and Mary McRae for making sure all guests were welcomed and accounted for.
Then there were our many table sellers who sold 100+ tickets for a weeknight event with three weeks’ notice! And to our auction donors who provided one glorious piece of artwork and several scrumptious desserts – thank you for your generosity. Through everyone’s efforts, the dinner was a hugely successful event, both socially and financially.
Friends and honored guests
Second, we thank Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott for attending the dinner. We are fortunate to reside in Alaska’s capital city and have such great access to our executive leaders. For both the Governor and Lt. Governor to stay the entire evening was very meaningful, and we thank you!
Then there were all of our speakers….
- Emcee Larry Persily – gas industry guru and past managing editor of the Juneau Empire – brought his usual level of entertaining brilliance.
- Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon brought their always insightful legislative wisdom.
- Jay Parmley, the Alaska Democratic Party’s new Executive Director, brought his Oklahoma homestyle touch to what it means to be a Democrat in Alaska. See Jay’s End of Week video speaking about the event here: Jay’s End of Week Video March 31, 2017
- Our keynote speaker, Mayor Mike Navarre, lifelong Democrat, past House Democratic minority leader, and current mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, brought his story about what it has meant for him to be a Democratic leader in Alaska.
- Finally, Sally Smith, Juneau’s former mayor and Democratic House representative from Fairbanks, wrapped the evening with a touching tribute to the late Representative Mike Miller, Juneau’s long-time Democratic Representative from then House District 3.
Democrats get results
With such a gathering of new and long-time Democrats, along with an auction that included both beautiful artwork and masterfully built, yummy desserts, you can’t go wrong! Democrats definitely know how to celebrate.
And raise money! I’m pleased to report that we raised thousands of dollars that will be used directly to elect more Democrats.
Reasons to celebrate
I hope we always remember to celebrate our successes, especially given the current leadership at our Congressional and Presidential levels.
Remember: Alaska was the only state in the nation to elect an Independent governor in a red state in 2014, and we turned our State House to a Democratic-led majority coalition during a Republican swell election in 2016.
I regret I was unable to attend the 2017 Bartlett-Gruening Dinner – but I’ll definitely see you there next year!!
Until next week….
Chair, Tongass Democrats