Tuesday evening was the first in a series of June fundraisers for Larry Kissell. Young Professionals for Kissell, held their first fundraiser at the Thomas Street Tavern in Charlotte's Plaza-Midwood neighborhood. The back deck provided an excellent venue for the event and the great music was provided by Autumn in August. Artist Terry Thirion offered two beautiful works of art for raffle. I failed to get a picture, but her paintings and sketches can be found at Red Sky Gallery. Pictured above are Tami V., who organized the event and Megan R., who helped Tami with the details of the event.
Follow me to the flip side...
Larry had to run a gauntlet of eager guests and balloons as he entered the back deck. He made his way around to speak with most if not all of those in attendance. Most had purchased tickets in advance, but many more showed up at Thomas Street Tavern and bought tickets at the door.
Large platters of nibbles were scattered about the tables and most of the guests were lost in conversation until Larry was introduced to speak. While Larry was preaching to the choir, this was a particularly enthusiastic choir.
For many of us it was our first opportunity to meet another very important member of the campaign, Larry's wife Tina. Tina doesn't like the spotlight and I'm going to apologize to her up front for shining it on her yet again. Tina is funny and energetic and provides a great complement to Larry's calm demeanor
There were quite a few dignitaries and special guests. CMS school board member Louise Woods and City Councilman Anthony Fox were both there to honor Larry. Artist Terry Thirion attended as did the gentleman who spoke truth to George Bush's power, Mr. Harry Taylor.
Sponsors of the event were Gray Newman, Betsy Muse, Dan and Shelly Crawford, Jackie Matlock, John and Rebecca Autry, Lucia Fitzgerald, and Marilyn Sullins. If you recognized the name John Autry it's because he was an opponent in the May Primary for the Democratic nomination. Not only did he and his wife sponsor and attend the event, but John provided us with all of the photos included with this story. Mark Ortiz, another of Larry's opponents in the bid for the nomination was also at the event.
It was nice to meet some of Larry's staffers. Leanne Powell, Barden Culbreth, Steve Hudson and Vinod Thomas were all there on the deck. If it is true that we are judged by the company we keep, then Larry is hard-working, enthusiastic and fun
Gray Newman, a sponsor of the event, believes Larry is right for the 8th District. "Larry represents the citizens of the 8th best because he speaks their language", Newman said. Gray was not only a sponsor for this fundraiser, he is also one of the local dignitaries attending the event. He is an elected member of the Soil and Water Conservation Board.
Many were meeting Larry for the first time. It was a chance to learn about Larry's positions and to share your thoughts. I wasn't privy to this particular conversation, but it looks like she liked what Larry had to say. She wasn't the only one. Everyone I spoke with was enthusiastic about Larry's candidacy.
Most of the guests shared the sentiment that this is the year for Democrats to take back the 8th District. Jane Whitley, pictured here with Larry and host Dan McCorkle, had this to say: "Things were so much better when we had a Democratic congressional rep in this district. We need one again. It's time to put a working man in the House, who understands the people in the district."
Tom Chumley, a local pol who has been active in many campaigns, also spoke to the group. Pictured here with Vinod Thomas, a Kissell staffer, Tom believes the District can come home to Democrats and summed it up beautifully. "It's about time we had an honest, straight-shooter for District 8."
If you missed this fundraiser there are several more planned for June and a big barbeque cook-off planned at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh on August 5th. I don't have details on all of the events, but there is one hosted by the Protzman's in Chapel Hill on June 28. There is a luncheon in Charlotte on June 29 and an event hosted by Leanne in Concord on June 30. I will update this post as I receive more details on each of these events. Please post in the comments if you would like more information.
While you wait for our next fundraising event there is something you can do to help Larry. There are several opportunities to vote for Larry to receive endorsements by different progressive PACS and candidates. Please follow the links provided and vote for Larry. Thank you! Democracy for America and Forward Together PAC of Mark Warner