Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lunch With Elected Officials

I had lunch with Charlie Dent on Monday.

Well, actually I had lunch a table away from the good Congressman. The reason we were in the same room was the annual Tri-Chamber legislative lunch. Every year members of the three independent Chambers of Commerce gather for lunch and conversation with the area's State Legislatures, County Executive and the Member of Congress.

It’s a mixed crowd of local movers, shakers, small business owners, corporate representatives, lawyers, labor leaders, non-profit organizers and community activists. Each office holder was given about 10-15 minutes to discuss what he/she has been working on. Each speaker was introduced in very glowing terms by a chamber member. I suspect these introductions were written by the biggest ass kissing staff person. I thought I was in the company of the one true savior each time one of these politicians was introduced.

First up was Congressman Charlie Dent. He expressed his disappointment at the failure the Super Committee and hoped that progress could be made and basically blamed all of our fiscal woes on Medicare and the Affordable Health Care Act. He then went off after regulations and their job crushing effects and he all but accused the EPA and the NLRB of having a vendetta against American business interests. These were themes he repeated ad nauseum throughout the question and answer period. He certainly was well prepared, very confident in his rightness and completely on point with the message he wanted to give. He also seemed kind surly, grumpy and lacking humor. When Don Cunningham made a few pithy quips he just stood there and glowered.

To end the afternoon event host Frank De Rosa asked about why things don’t work anymore and if anyone had any ideas as to why our politics is so completely broken. Congressman Dent was about to blame the Democrats, he mentioned that it was tough to get things done when only one side comes to the table with ideas. He then paused as he if he realized that there may be some Democrats in the room; in fact there were the President of the local Labor Council was sitting front and center. He returned to his main talking points of anti-regulation, anti-health care reform and curtailing entitlement programs. He never addressed Mr. De Rosa question.

As they opened the floor to questions a young aide to Congressman Dent who I have gotten to know recently and is none too pleased with some of my comments about her boss looked at me with horror about what I would ask her boss. I assured the eager aide that I am always proper and polite at these types of events. I may not like Congressman Dent’s votes but I have too much respect for his office, the unbelievable pressures he must find himself under and how hard I know he does work.

Sen. Boscola was represented by her very capable District Chief Kurt Derr. Kurt apologized for Lisa not being there and discussed some of the things she and the Senate were focused on. He did a fine job and it is never easy to represent someone else in these types of forums. The attendees wanted to hear from the Senator herself.

Rep. Joe Brennan spoke about regionalism and the expected changes that will come with redistricting. He had a previous engagement so he left early but assured attendees the Rep. Julie Harhart would do a fine job in answering any questions.

The best of the afternoon was Rep. Marcia Hahn. She was organized, focused and informative about the issues she is working on. She mentioned one by one each of the committees she was on and what the most important issue that each committee was dealing with. She discussed all sides of the issues. She was very informative, detailed and we had a better understanding of what Rep. Hahn is spending her time on.

Unfortunately for Rep. Harhart she had to follow Ms. Hahn. She rambled through some of the things going on in Harrisburg it appeared she was not really prepared for her remarks and just leaped from topic to topic.

The one thing that did impress me was that all the State folks mentioned the importance of the Lehigh Valley delegation putting politics aside and working together to represent the needs of the valley and bring home the bacon for the area.

Next up was Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham. He explained the role of counties in our lives and he also brought a more global view based on his variety of governmental experiences. He understands all the various levels of government and how they are all interrelated. He was a Mayor, Cabinet Officer and now County Executive. He was also very funny, self effacing and brutally honest. At one point after hearing all the Republicans talk about not raising taxes he called them on their dishonesty by pointing out that we can’t have police, fireman, bridges, prisons, street light etc without taxes; everyone wants these things and much more but no one seems willing to pay for them. Congressman Dent was clearly put out by Mr. Cunningham’s comments; he crossed his arms and gave his best Mr. Burns on the Simpson’s look.

The final speaker was Northampton County Executive John Stoffa who was his usual low key self. He discussed the Gracedale issues, accepted the will of the people and hinted that he was not sad Ron Angle was leaving County Council. He did say how much respect he has for Mr. Angle’s commitment to the county and how hard he worked as a Councilman. His report mirrored Cunningham’s about the role of counties. He also mentioned that the county has gained 40,000 new residents in the last 10 years which is a huge amount of growth for a largely rural county.

Both Executives discussed the need for regionalism and predicted that in the not too distant future the roles of the small town / township governments would begin to fade; they won’t be able to support the services required. The Executive’s predicted county police, fire and EMT departments.

It was a good afternoon I learned some things and even though I find my views drifting further and further away from Charlie Dent’s I was very impressed with his knowledge, ability to communicate his views and his confidence.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why Occupy?

When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has had enough of the Occupy Movement clearly this little adventure has run its course. Philadelphia’s very fine Mayor embraced this movement from the very beginning and did everything he could to accommodate the protesters. But, enough is enough.

When the Occupy movement first began I was inspired and excited by it. Finally the left was slapping back it had learned a lesson from the Tea Bagger movement. (Note: I will continue to use Tea Bagger instead of Tea Party as long as these people continue to question the citizenship of the President and continue to use subtle and sometimes not too subtle racist references about the first family. They stop and I will stop.) There was a disorganized charm to the early days of the Occupy Movement that has been typical of left leaning protests; the white guys shirtless with 6 packs and dreadlocks, the endless drumming, the women in long skirts and peasant blouses, the older Episcopalians, the African American kids with really great natural hair.

When they first hit the streets in New York I wanted to drive in with cases of water and granola bars to show my support. CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on it that was so inspiring that I was convinced these folks were going to change the world. One of the young people interviewed by CBS was my guy’s nephew; he was acting as the logistics coordinator for the movement; if Craig was involved it had to be good.

I had begun to turn against the Occupy Movement when it began to spread across the country; the argument was against Wall Street not Oakland, Atlanta, Philadelphia or Bethlehem. Why were these folks protesting Wall Street when they should have been protesting the United States Congress? It is Congress that allowed Wall Street to run amok.

Then they started moving in; building little villages. The villages needed police protection and the villages needed cleaning. The villages were costing the cities money. The cities took the largest hit during the Bush inspired depression and are fighting their way out of it and yet here they were bearing the brunt of the cost of the protests against the Bush inspired policies. The money the cities were spending to protect and clean up after the Occupiers was money that should have been spent on cleaning streets, protecting neighborhoods and G-D help the Mayor if he/she has to tell the citizens that the local pool can’t open next summer because money had to be spent to flush away the filth left behind by the Occupiers.

After enjoying the tree lighting ceremony (protest signs and all) we walked downtown and I pointed out the Occupy Bethlehem Tents to my guy and he said “so they are squatters?” He’s right; they are encamped on city land without proper permitting, without proper sanitation and they expect my tax dollars to protect them. How does living in a tent and letting the citizens of Bethlehem pay for your protection and cleaning up after you send a message to Wall Street or to Congress? Walking past these tents encamped in our beautiful Japanese peace garden I looked at my guy and said “What are they doing here?” Maybe I’m just a bitter old cynic but I have yet to understand how pitching a tent in a public space will bring about the economic changes we need.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Donald C. Flad JR

20 November 2011

Dear Walt;

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as a member of the Northampton County Democratic Committee, effective immediately.

I support the party rule that committee members must support the party’s nominee. I cannot support every person nominated by the Democratic Party. I do not believe that just because a person calls himself or herself a Democrat means they are more fit for public office than someone who does not.

I have found committee meetings to be frustrating experiences because of the infighting over really ridiculous issues. For example; during the meeting to elect a new Vice Chair there was a shouting and venomous behavior because more than one person wanted to second the nominations of the candidates. People were waving copies of the by-laws and hurling insults at each other. That kind of behavior is juvenile, unproductive and does nothing to elect the party’s candidates.

The Democratic Party supported the Human Relations Commission creation in the city of Bethlehem. It was promoted as an affirmation of the city’s sexual minorities. During this past election you thought it was important to inform the voters of Bethlehem that a Republican candidate had posted a naked photo of himself on a gay website. This website was set up for gay men to meet each other for whatever reason they choose to meet. It is a consensual website and all participants are there for the same reason. You took it upon yourself to expose this to the voters of Bethlehem. You chose to smear a young man running for office for his personal life rather than explain how his views of how Bethlehem should be governed were the reasons not elect him. Democrats defended President Clinton’s right to private behavior and this year on behalf of the Democrats you decided that Tony Simao was not entitled to private behavior. If I wanted to be part of a political party that behaves this way I would be a Republican.

I am a Democrat and have been a Democrat since I was 9 years old but at age 52 I have decided that I no longer have the inclination to be a partisan.

I wish both you and the good people who make up this party well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Am Finally Done With Politics...I Think (The End)

So where does leave me? I am political to my core.

I think about politics constantly it is often all I talk about it is the thing that has consumed me since I was a small child. I remember using my matchbox cars in a re-creation of a political convention. I had a set of presidential figurines; the conversations Eisenhower had with Thomas Jefferson were epic. I have a sign that says “Office of the Mayor” over my desk. I have a collection of campaign buttons that goes back to William Jennings Bryant. I was moved to tears at the Hall of Presidents at Disney World. In college one of my professors caught me poring over the Village Voice political endorsement.

Two weeks ago on election night I hung out with my friends Jon Geeting (blogger and big thinker) and Hillary Kwiatek (former candidate, community activist and super mom) talking, gossiping, comparing notes and constantly checking on election results via our cell phones. As the evening wound down I realized that here I was sitting at the Brew Works obsessing over campaigns and politics when I just began a series of blog posts about how I was through with politics. Hillary shook her head and Jon said I will never really be able to walk away but perhaps I am better as a free agent and not a political partisan.

Jon is right. I can’t just walk away from my interest in politics but am not very good at the campaign and party stuff anymore. Will I continue to speak out on issues? Yes. Will I ask my friends to vote for candidates who I think are worthy of their votes? Yes.

If State Rep. Bob Freeman needs my help, I am there. If Hillary Kwiatek or some other close friend decides to enter the arena, chances are I will be there. But, other than that I can’t imagine a candidate capturing my imagination enough to inspire my involvement.

I will be resigning from the Democratic Committee for the reasons laid out here over the past two weeks.

For me for now; politics is a spectator sport.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Am Finally Done With Politics...I Think (Part 4)

By the time the 2010 May primary election came about I was pretty stoked to vote. I was convinced that Joe Sestak was going to rid us of Arlen Specter and I believed that John Callahan was the right candidate for Congress. So, when I walked into the voting booth I was in a very jovial mood and enjoyed voting for candidates I wanted to vote for and not just being forced to pick the better of the lesser. When I got to the end of the ballot I saw that no one was running for the male position for the Northampton County Democratic Committee so I wrote in Donald C. Flad Jr. I remember joking about it on the way home and never thought of it again.

A few weeks later I received a letter from the Voter Registration office stating that won the election by one vote.

I had been a Democratic Committeeman in the past and even served an appointed term on the Democratic State Committee. I was enthused again about politics so I figured I would give party politics a shot again. A decision I would soon second guess.

The newly elected committee was called to meet to select a new leadership team. I have been to a number of these meetings and it is always a great evening of socializing, catching up and gossiping. I saw some old friends and met some of the new comers to the scene. This batch of new comers was mostly the Barack Obama supporting true believers and many were elected by write in votes. They joined the Democratic Committee to support their President and to make a difference in the party. The old timers were of course disdainful of the newbie’s, which was distressing because many of them were the reformers when I was last on the committee. A few weeks later I received notice that that there was a procedural error during the election of chairman and it had to be re-held. I couldn’t make it so I sent a friend as a proxy.

Once the dust was settled on the chairman’s election and Walt Garvin was confirmed as the party’s new leader it was time to hold a meeting for the entire county committee to meet and organize. This meeting was held in a pavilion at Louise Moore County Park. It was an awkward spot for a meeting but so be it. The fresh faces came with a list of resolutions they wanted to enact, all very worthwhile but many of them showed a real lack of understanding of how a county party operates. These resolutions set off a battle between the old and the new. Tempers were lost, hopes were dashed and many of the old timers (many younger than me) became the people I detested a long time ago. After much arguing over really stupid things I had enough. I took the floor and reminded everyone that we had one mission and one mission only it was to elect our slate of candidates and maybe we could set the bullshit aside for a few months and meet again to discuss these issues once John Callahan was elected in November. After another hour of Sturm und Drang the meeting ended. I stayed for another hour to give a pep talk to the newbies and encouraged many of them to keep fighting and wear the bastards down. A few of the old timers tried to insult me by telling me that I had not changed.

I got into the car, called home and said “Why the fuck did I do this?” I got home and paced around for some time recounting the meeting and all the while my guy just sat there and listened. He did ask how any of this was going elect Sestak and Callahan.

I realized then that I did not want to be part of the official Democratic Party organization. I remained on the committee but I did not attend any more meeting until it was time to elect a new Vice Chair. The previous one resigned in disgust and I was told was taunted rather obscenely on her way out the door. I had a great time at the meeting to elect the new Vice Chair; I schmoozed, people told me they loved my tweets and blog and I caught up with some pals. The meeting itself was an embarrassment of bad management and again there was fighting, red faces, name calling and battles over the things that really don’t matter. Compromise is not a word that is understood with the Democratic committee of Northampton County.

Bernie O’Hare acted up quite foolishly and I told him so. He openly supported a number of Republican’s and tried to vote as a member of the committee. A member of the Democratic Committee can only support Democrats. I questioned Bernie’s motives and told him he had bigger fish to fry. I challenged him to explain if being a thorn in the side of the Democratic Committee was going to accomplish anything of merit. Again, I called home and ranted.

I missed a few more meetings, voted to sell Gracedale and then Chairman Garvin exposed a candidate’s sex life to the public.

Dawn struck Marblehead; I had made a mistake, I decided that much of politics was beneath me.

End part 4……….

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Anderson Cooper Getting Involved

I found this picture of Anderson Cooper getting involved and not just standing back and observing a story.

Mr. Cooper was covering events in Haiti and rescued this child during a demonstration that had turned violent. I am not sure when this was taken.

Good for Anderson Cooper for not just being a passive observer. More journalists need to be activists as well.

Congressman Dent's Brave Vote

I would like to thank Cong. Charlie Dent for his brave vote confirming the expression "In God We Trust" remains the official slogan of the USA.

It took a lot of guts for Mr. Dent to stand up to the forces of evil that are trying to destroy this nation and I know that it was a difficult vote for our Congressman. It was so important that it was the major focus of Mr. Dent's party this past week.

God Bless you Mr. Dent, I know that this brave vote will create a lot jobs and make our economy stronger. Mr. Dent's leadership on issues like this job creating piece of legislation should be admired.

Coming Out & Political Coming Out

A short time ago I wrote a 3 part series about coming out to my family, I have now just written 3 parts (though it will end up being longer) about why I may be done with politics. This one is a combination.

To those of you out there who are straight but not narrow, thanks for the support and I appreciate it. However you will never fully understand the coming out process because you will never have to do it. You may be supportive, you may show empathy, you may be there for the person going through with a shoulder to cry on but you are not the one going through it.

Coming out never ends…..ever.

People I meet ask me about my wife because I wear a wedding type band on my left hand.

People ask me if I am married and when I say no it opens up more questions or when I say no but I am in long term committed relationship they ask me why I am unwilling to marry her. When I tell them I am not allowed to get married they are completely lost. And, then I have to come out.

“So Don we are having a little party after the Chamber mixer please bring your wife.” When I arrive solo, I have to come out.

Fundraising tickets are often discounted for a couple. My guy is just not into these types of social events so not only do I pay a higher rate of taxes I am also forced to pay a higher rate for charity or political fundraising. I may find a suitable female to bring along and when we are asked about our relationship as a couple. I explain that my “date” is married, I have to come out.

When filling out a benefits package at work, I have to come out.

When shopping for a car, I have lousy credit, I have to come out.

At my 20th year class reunion, I had to come out. I bailed on them ever since.

A childhood friend finds me and I have to explain why I never got married, coming out again. I had to come out a childhood friend’s father’s funeral.

Then there is politics.

My recent posting on L ‘Affair Simao prompted Jon Geeting (genius, wonder kid) to question whether I would think the same way if a straight candidate went through the same thing. He also wondered if there was a double standard for gay candidates. One of commenter’s wondered why Tony Simao did not campaign as an openly gay candidate and Jon accused Simao playing the gay card to garner some sympathy and victimhood status.

If you are straight you sex life is never part of the campaign but if you are gay it is. That is the double standard.

No President has ever had to prove his birth was constitutional but the black President had to, that too is a double standard. A straight candidate does not have to explain his/her divorce(s) but I would have to announce to the world that I have shared my life with a man and since he is black I would no doubt be required to bring his birth certificate with me.

Tony Simao did not play the gay card Walt Garvin did. Chairman Garvin is very smart and even shrewder; he brought this up because he knew there is a segment in this city that would be offended by Tony’s gayness and horrified that he was sexual.

Perhaps Tony Simao did not make his homosexuality part of the campaign because he did not think it was an issue or perhaps he knew it would have a negative impact on his tea bagger supporters. Either way what a candidate does with his penis is no one’s business unless what he does is not consensual

Jon asked if I would think the same way if Garvin had nude photos of Ron Angle. Yes I would, ones sex life is not subject to public debate. Most Democrats defended President Clinton and yet here is the party trying to exploit the sex life of someone running for Bethlehem City Council.

One of the reasons I never ran for public office is because I was unwilling to put my guy through the public coming out process. He was a public school teacher I thought of the added strain and or threat that my running as an out, loud and proud candidate could have caused. Would one of my opponents try to get to me by smearing my partner and threatening his career? I decided rather quickly that I would never run for office since my guy is more important me than anything else.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Am Finally Done With Politics...I Think (Part 3)

Two weeks ago the Chairman of the Northampton County Democratic Party announced that one of the Republican candidates for Bethlehem City Council posted a picture of his penis on a gay sex/porn website.

This is disgraceful

This is disgusting

This is awful

This should force the Chairman of the Northampton County Party to resign.

If a horny young man wants to share his goods with other horny young men who am I to judge.

I do not care to whom a candidate or an office holder shows his dick. As long it is consenting.

How does this photo op in any way impact on the way police protect my street, how my leaves are picked up, and how many tourists come to town to support our small business people (Hell it may even help).

When I first read about this story my initial reaction was to resign from my position as a Democratic Committeeman immediately because I believe the purpose Walt Garvin’s announcement was to smear Tony Simao with “being gay” or worse yet “being gay and Republican.”

I don’t understand how someone can be gay & Republican but a lot of folks are.

I don’t know Mr. Simao views on gay rights issues but I believe he has the right to show his dick to whoever is willing look at it.

After two weeks of discussion with my guy and other trusted sounding boards I have decided that I do not want to be part of this Northampton County Democratic Party. Chairman Garvin will be receiving my resignation letter by the end of the week.

What Chairman Garvin did was homophobic.

This is another reason I am finally done with politics

End part 3

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Am Finally Done With Politics...I Think (Part 2)

My friend Tina Smith, the force of nature, who is President of the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce, asked me to help out with a political debate co-sponsored with Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce. The debate was between County Councilman Ron Angle and his Democratic opponent Wind Gap Council President Scott Parsons. The undercard for the evening was a debate between incumbent County Controller Stephen Barron and Hanover Twp. Supervisor Stephen Salvesen.

I thought I was going to help edit audience questions or write questions in the absence of inquiries from the crowd. I ended up being the official time keeper for the event. I think I have found a new hobby, this kid can keep time, hold up a 10 second warning and what I can do with a red light and buzzer is nothing short of epic.

Being the time keeper forced me to pay attention to what the candidates were saying. I had a great time but I became even more disillusioned by politics.

We had two really knowledgeable incumbents both were clearly at the top of their game versus two very nice men, who cared about public service.

Stephen Barron seems capable and by most news accounts runs a well operated department. But he also appears to be overly partisan, a bit of a bully, into power, very ambitious and kind of too slick & snarky by far.

Stephen Salvesen is a man from a different era. He is tall, gray haired and very patrician. He had impeccable manners a firm handshake and looked me in the eye while speaking to me. Mr. Barron made fleeting eye contact and looked for someone more important (he clearly had no idea who I used to be). Mr. Salvesen is a retired businessman who seems to care about public service but at least on this night was clearly unprepared not only for the debate but for the position he was seeking. I lost count of how many times he said “I don’t know”; he even said “I don’t know what Mr. Barron does”. If Mr. Salvesen does not know what the County Controller does perhaps he should not be running for that office.

Councilman Angle needs no introduction or description to anyone who follows local politics. People either love him or detest him and he is very proud of the fact that he is disliked. In fact he mentioned how proud he was throughout the hour. I have to say that I was expecting Mr. Angle to be a completely unhinged mad man and I was disappointed in his relatively low key performance. Yes he was a tad rude and yes he interrupted his opponent too many times and his side half mumbled insults were annoying but I expected horns and fire and what I got was a man who knows what he is talking about. I don’t like Mr. Angle’s style and I don’t agree with very much of his political philosophy but I have never met someone who knows the ins and outs of county government better.

Scott Parsons is someone I could be comfortable voting for had he been better prepared for the debate and better informed about the issues facing the county right now. I liked his view of the role of government and his desire to bring some civility to politics, something Mr. Angle mocked constantly. The civility thing seemed to be the only issue Mr. Parsons seemed comfortable with and knowledgeable about. Ron Angle is a proven vote getter in that part of the county and it is going to take more than “Can’t we all just get along” to beat him.

So at the end of the night I was left with a feeling of dismay. Do the voters stick with obnoxious, unpleasant and perhaps competent incumbents or do they vote for apparently decent guys who want to bring a little calm and civility to public office. Guys who know what they are doing vs. guys who may need a little (Mr. Parsons) or a lot (Mr. Salvesen) on the job training.

Voting is often like pissing in the wind…You get relief but you also get wet with your own urine.

Do I really want to remain in a process that makes doing the right thing (voting, campaigning) seem so unsatisfying?

Do I really want to keep settling for the lesser of the evils? I have tried to always support the candidate that I thought would try to do the right thing but often after the primary I have had to swallow my pride and integrity and support the Democrat who really was just better than the Republican because he/she was a Democrat – I have rarely been satisfied.

End part two….

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Am Finally Done With Politics...I Think (Part 1)

On Election Day 1968 I gathered a gang of friends and we marched from Centennial Elementary School to my neighborhood polling place chanting “Humphrey Humphrey he’s our man Nixon belongs in the garbage can”, I was 9. In 1972 I volunteered for the McGovern campaign, I spent most of my time running errands and getting coffee but I was helping out. I have vivid memories of the “Come Home America” campaign ads that featured Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman and others, I was 13.

In 1975 during his concession speech then Easton Mayor Fred Ashton made special mention of young Don Flad for his tireless efforts on behalf of the campaign, I was 16. Later that year I contacted the Jimmy Carter campaign and asked if I could lead the effort for him in Northampton County, I received a really nice letter telling me that they would prefer someone old enough to vote but they would ensure that I was included in the formation of the local committee. In 1976 I scheduled a debate between myself and Andy Daub, Chairman of the GOP, before the student body of Easton High School. A teacher’s strike prevented the debate from taking place.

In 1980 Jeff Parks & I traveled the county campaigning for Jimmy Carter with this kid making most of the speeches. During that summer I went to DC for a White House internship. Once they found out my campaign experience they upgraded my security clearance and used me to give VIP tours of the White House and ferry messages back and forth to the campaign and convention staff. I had high security and VIP passes to the Democratic Convention and was able to hang at Studio 54 for the after party on the final night of the convention. I escorted Chip Carter around the Lehigh Valley on campaign visits, Miss Lillian made a point of giving me a hug for all my efforts and I drove the ABC and NBC reporters back and forth from the airport as they followed the First Lady as she pressed the flesh in Lehigh Valley Mall. State Senator Jeannette Reibman ran a campaign ad about me when she ran for congress.

In 1984 Walter Mondale offered me a job with his campaign in New Hampshire. I was asked to attend Jesse Jackson’s rally at Lafayette College because they wanted some noted and respected party leaders at the event. I was given VIP seating and escorted in early to an evening with Geraldine Ferraro.

In 1992 I stood in front of the Stonewall bar in a tight t-shirt and boxer shorts to campaign for Bill Clinton. During the inauguration parade my seats were so good that I slammed in to singing icon Judy Collins because neither one of us were paying attention to where we were walking.

Former State Representative and State Party Chairman TJ Rooney called me the conscience of the Democratic Party. I organized some of the most successful fundraising dinners for the party. Candidates bragged about my support and resented me when I did not support them. I was a big fish in a little pond.

And, then I walked away from it and tried not to look back. I still helped out Bob Freeman from time to time and last year I dove back in head first to support John Callahan for Congress. In my euphoria I got myself elected to the County/City Democratic committees and ran a one day, well received; write in campaign for the State Senate. I thought that I was ready to jump back into the arena.

I was wrong. I actually dislike politics now more than I did when I walked away the first time.

End Part One…..