PDA's Maryland State Organizer Mike Hersh hosted State Democratic Party Chair Terry Lierman, 7 State Legislators, and 3 PDA national leaders to Sabang Restaurant in Wheaton, Maryland for a legislative wrap up and planning town hall meeting May 1.
Fresh from the 2007 Maryland legislative session, State Senators Jamie Raskin (20), Rich Madaleno (18), and Mike Lenett (19) joined State Delegates Roger Manno (19), Tom Hucker (20), Jane Lawton (18), and Jeff Waldstriecher (18) to discuss accomplishments and unfinished business.
Maryland Democratic Chairman Terry Lierman with Mike Hersh
PDA members, officials, and guests enjoyed a buffet dinner and informal discussions starting at 7PM, then listened as Terry Lierman reported on progress in Maryland. He drew repeated applause as he recounted success after success: more Democratic voters in every part of the state, election of Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley over a Republican incumbent along with even larger Democratic legislative majorities. Protecting an open US Senate seat. More grassroots activism across the state. Terry credited PDA and our allies like DFA, Progressive Maryland and others for making this possible. He drew a standing ovation from grateful activists and legislators alike.
As Terry and the admiring throng took our seats, the state lawmakers gathered on the stage and took turns highlighting key accomplishments on voting reforms, equal rights, protecting the environment, providing health care for everyone, and more. All agreed we'd enjoyed a productive session, but emphasized the need to keep building on recent successes and working for more progress in Maryland.
PDA National Field Coordinator Diane Shamis and National Board Vice Chair Steven Shaff - just back from San Diego - reported on PDA's exciting accomplishments in California and ongoing activities including IOTs, diversity efforts, and much more. National Board Member Joe Libertelli capped the evening by inviting activists and elected officials to join with PDA organizing Maryland. Joe built on the themes and explained specific ways PDA could address state issues.
Recently declared Congressional candidate Donna Edwards (MD-4), County Council Member Marc Elrich, and representatives from Takoma Park Neighbors, as well as PDA members / state activists Gina Angiola of Olney, Dan Rupli of Frederick and Mark Woodard of Silver Spring also attended. Elrich briefly reported on County budget hearings, and other participants announced upcoming events.
Mike Hersh wrapped up the event by thanking everyone and asking them to attend Mother's Day Peace events at Lafayette Park and lobbying events the next day. Participants formed small informal groups, and continued discussing and planning for the weeks and months ahead.
The Montgomery County Progressive Alliance fusion PDA/DFA chapter will convene again 7:30 PM June 5th at Sabang Restaurant to continue working for progress on important issues.
All photo credits: Donna Stone, Leisure Line: http://leisureline.org/LeisureLine/Democrat.html