Thursday, March 13, 2008

296. Last night in Okolona.

First, it being such a nice Morning in America today [that line has a ring to it], I thought I'd use some vacation time and go in late.

Last night in Okolona, the UAW Union Hall played host to the Metro Democratic Club's 2008 United States Senate Debate between the three candidates who reside in the Louisville Metro area. Except only two of them showed up, Dr. Michael Cassaro of Prospect and Mr. Greg Fischer of Louisville. The other Metro area candidate was not in the Metro area last night, but he did send a number of his staffers and supporters including my friend Taylor Coots. Cassaro and Fischer had their folks there as well - Dr. Ted Schlecter who serves as Cassaro's PR guy sat with several others from their camp. Fischer's presence was strong both from staffers and in the crowd, estimated by moderator Mark Hebert, at 200. Ben Basil, Dannie Gregoire, and Kyle Gott, among others were there from Fischer's office, as well as his campaign director, Mr. A. J. Carrillo. A number of "just regular folks" were sporting Fischer stickers on their lapels, many of whom would have been sporting Horne stickers had the retired Lieutenant Colonel been in this race. A number of local activists types, along with a handful of bloggers, hung around in the back. One of bloggers was Republican Jefferson Poole. Poole hasn't posted yet this morning but I'm sure he will make use of some perceived bloopers, one in particular, and I suspect if he caught them on film that Senator McConnell's campaign office is already making them into a commercial for this fall. But, there were only two by my count, and for an hour of very loose give-and-take, I thought both candidates made a good accounting of themselves. Cassaro offered some rather technical discussions here and there and some of his answers were somewhat more to the left than I had anticipated, which was a pleasant surprise. Fischer seemed to have taken a more middle ground, a more more cautious approach on issues, which also caught my attention. Hebert's closing question was sort of expected, but in my opinion not a proper one. He asked the two candidates who they would like at the top of ticket with them. Neither answered clearly, although Cassaro indicated he thought Obama was in tune with many of his concerns. Fischer did not offer a direct answer. In my opinion, neither of them should have. Such a question divides supporters, since I am sure both Cassaro and Fischer each have supporters of both of the two leading candidates. I am glad neither of them gave Hebert a direct answer.

Looking at the crowd, many members of the club attended as well as the requisite number of candidates seeking local office. But I was surprised that some of the Jefferson County Party leadership failed to show. A number of the County Executive Committee were not there, except for some who are also member of the club. Nor did I see our County Party Chair. On the other hand, the Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Jennifer Moore was there and was introduced to the crowd. Also in attendance was Heather Ryan, the Paducah woman who is seeking to unseat Florida-resident and Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield. We wish her well. Another U. S. Senate candidate, Kenneth Stepp, made his way to the Hall from Manchester, Kentucky down in the east. Both Stepp and Ryan were introduced to a round of applause.

All in all, it was a good night and I am hopeful there are more of these back-and-forth sessions between the candidates. And hopefully, there can be fuller participation. The Metro Club debate was intentionally only for those candidates from Jefferson County. There will be others in the state, as well as the usual KET show, so stay tuned.

On a different note, last night was the last night the Metro Club was to meet in the UAW Hall. Starting next month, the club will be meeting in the upstairs meeting hall of the American Legion Highland Post #201 on Bardstown Road, four blocks north of the Watterson near Assumption High School.


Daniel S. said...

Sweet...I'm more familiar with the Bardstown road area near Assumption. Maybe I can start going to these things...

Jake said...

All I'm saying is that a change of venue has been a long time coming.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.