With a beautiful spring rain as a backdrop, the Democratic party faithful gathered under shelter number one at Greenbrook Park on Thursday evening to call for renewed efforts in the upcoming elections. Initially, over 200 people entered the area immediately surrounding the band shell at Smithville's most beautiful park to the sounds of the TCB Band and the Smithville Community Chorus.
The tales of a tranquil evening soon turned breezy and threatening weather briefly disrupted local elected officials serving fresh, hot barbeque with all the trimmings. County Executive Mike Foster, General Sessions Judge Batten Cook, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillan, Assessor of Property Timothy \"Fud\" Banks, County Court Clerk Mike Clayborn, and Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack broke down the tables as quickly as possible and moved the food under a shelter while the remainder of the crowd and local candidates took cover from the arriving rain. Even though the inclement weather was a brief distraction, the spirits ran high and everyone settled in for what turned out to be a wonderful evening, reminisce of a by gone era. One filled with laughter and singing; cozy seating and good ole time feeling of togetherness. No public address system, no stage ? just a podium and the voices of those seeking office. The most fundamental elements of politics permeated this crowd as they listened to their candidates speak. Party Chair Faye Fuqua called the meeting to order and Katherine Pack led the pledge of allegiance while Jackie Smith gave a stirring rendition of our national anthem. Sheriff candidate Myron Rhody spoke first, and then Russell Ambrose introduced Trustee candidate Anthony \"Doc\" Green. Next, Criminal Court Judge Lillie Ann Sells spoke to the crowd.
Bert Driver then came to the podium and introduced Congressman Harold Ford, JR. Ford, candidate for the US Senate called for those in attendance to remember that Democrats have always led the way in new and innovative ideas, and that he believes in a balanced budget, something the current administration and Republican led Congress has forgotten. Ford, 36, hails from Memphis and spoke passionately about the importance of the upcoming election. His spirit and zeal energized the crowd at Greenbrook Park as he thundered away about what it means to care about your fellow man; in fact, lightning and thunder provided a dramatic backdrop for the evenings' key note speaker. The revved up crowd gave Harold Ford, Jr. a standing ovation as he mounted up in his black ford pickup and headed to his next campaign stop.
Other candidates and officials who spoke were: Mike Foster, Second District County Commission Candidate Shane Cook, Sixth District County Commissioner Marshall Ferrell, Judge Bratten Cook, II, Katherine Pack, Mayoral Candidate Jerry Hutchins, Sr. Mike Clayborn, State Representative Frank Buck, Timothy \"Fud\" Banks, Jeff McMillan, District Public Defender in the 13th District David N. Brady, Two State Senate candidates from the 17th District were represented: Bob Rochelle of Lebanon was represented by his son Bruce Rochelle while Aubrey T. Givens also of Lebanon was represented by his fianc?e.
Faye Fuqua closed the program by reminding everyone that there was still work to be done and that nothing is to be taken for granted. She thanked all the candidates and especially recognized all the members of the DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee for all their hard work and for making the event possible.