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By Carol Porter
State Senator Dave Aronberg (Email), (D-27) was the guest speaker for the October 27 Palm Beach Chapter of the Democratic Professionals Council meeting held at the Marriott in West Palm Beach. Aronberg spoke about his run for the Attorney General’s office.
Before Aronberg spoke, Michelle McGovern, one of the organizers for the Democratic Professional council and an aide to Senator Bill Nelson, spoke about upcoming plans for the organization. With a very interesting election season on the way, McGovern indicated that the next major event for the Democratic Professionals Council would be a Happy Hour mixer/meet and greet at Morton’s in West Palm Beach so attendees could meet the elected officials and those who wanted to serve in public office.
“Raise your hand if you think you’ve got it figured out as to who’s running for what seat,” said McGovern. “What we have decided to do is invite all the elected officials and all the candidates to a Happy Hour. The date for the Happy Hour is November 18 at Morton’s in downtown West Palm Beach.”
McGovern also had warm words of praise for Congressman Robert Wexler (Contact), who was leaving his congressional office to take a job with President Obama’s administration, and how Senator Ted Deutch (Email) who was seeking the office would be a wonderful replacement for someone who had so much passion and love for the job. McGovern joked that Wexler was a man who never needed a microphone even in Century Village in West Palm Beach where the older audience might have a bit of difficulty hearing. Wexler, who was known for being passionate about issues, did not have any problems being heard by such a crowd. She also said that Wexler would be missed as the man who campaigned so strongly and supported another amazing man who once was an unknown. This unknown man eventually became the nation’s leader, President Barack Obama.
“We are going to miss the guy who never needed a microphone even at Century Village,” said McGovern. “We are going to miss the guy who evoked passion in every one of us on the issues that mattered like fighting to save the president who is being targeted by a vast right wing conspiracy, by making sure our votes were counted, and fighting for us on health care reform. He knew that we could believe in change and a great unknown man who gave fantastic speeches called Barack Obama. We can believe in change.”
- Change for what? Socialism?
McGovern also spoke about the ongoing battle with health care reform, and how Florida was a key player in that discussion. Constituents and supporters who supported health care reform, she said, should never give up the fight for something so basic as health care for the sick, the poor and the middle class.
“We learned in the last campaign that slow but steady wins the race,” said McGovern. “We will get there, and we will continue to fight for the issues that matter most to most Americans, not just the ones who fund the lobbyists in Washington. We will take care of the weakest among us. I can’t think about our president without thinking about the promise he holds for us.”
McGovern then asked those present to take a moment to think about long-time Democratic advocate Joan Joseph, who had passed away recently, and her partner and husband, Stu, who was with them in the room that day. McGovern also said that Joan would not be happy unless everyone in the room that day promised to carry on her work, and continue her legacy.
“She was our friend and organizer,” said McGovern, “and she believed she could change the world, and with her email list, and her partner, Stu, she did just that. We want to take a moment to remember Joan. She also wouldn’t be happy if that prayer did not include a promise to do more. We miss you, Joan.”
McGovern then went on to introduce State Senator Dave Aronberg, the keynote speaker for the luncheon, who was running for the Attorney General’s seat. McGovern said that Aronberg with sheer determination and drive proved wrong those naysayers who thought he could not win the race for Senate Seat 27.
“He took on public service with a passion and determination that many of us have not seen before,” said McGovern. “He was this fresh young guy who plotted out his course early on and got to know the people in the District he intended to run for. He got to understand their issues and took them on as his own, and he did this in parts of our State where doubters believed he never could win. Dave did. Now, Senator Dave is taking on a new challenge, which is the whole state. Dave is really fantastic at fighting for us. He always has been. He’s a Harvard trained lawyer who has a passion for consumer rights and justice.”
- I'll believe it when I see it, actions speak louder than words.
Aronberg thanked McGovern for the introduction and the attendees present who were gathered to hear him speak. He said that there had been some confusion when he spoke to people about what the Attorney General’s office did, and he frequently had to clear up that confusion.
“Not everyone knows what the Attorney General’s office does,” said Aronberg. “When they meet me, they sometimes talk about those warning labels on cigarettes, and I tell folks that is the Surgeon General, not the Attorney General. When it happened multiple times, I realized it was a problem.”
Aronberg noted that Palm Beach County actually had two legislators running for statewide office, and he was one, and Senator Jeff Atwater was the other. Atwater was running to be the State’s Financial Officer. Once elected to the office of Attorney General, Aronberg said, he would open the main office in West Palm Beach.
“It would be on Flagler Drive,” said Aronberg. “The Attorney General does have the power. The main office is wherever the Attorney General wants it to be.”
Aronberg spoke about the roots of the Democratic Professionals Council, and how the group began seven years ago from the ashes of the John Kerry campaign. Aronberg said that there were people who felt frustrated when they attended the Democratic Executive Committee meetings, and almost felt like they were being left out of the conversation. Forming the Democratic Professionals Council was a way to include them, and the same thing happened with the Florida Mainstream Democrats, a group he helped form. Many people belonged to all three groups, and it was just a different way of reaching people. The DPC was a group that targeted primarily business folks, and the Florida Mainstream Democrats targeted people who were from rural communities, who were registered Democrats, but all too often voted Republican when it came time to vote in an election. Reaching out to different types of Democrats was especially important during an election, he said. This needed to happen again in the 2010 election cycle as well.
“The Democratic Professionals Council and the Florida Mainstream Democrats really helped turn Florida blue,” said Aronberg. “If you look at the parties now the Democratic party is now the big tent party. Who wants to associate with the party of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Joe Wilson. Now, they are saying the Republican party has lost its way. It’s the party that has no message. It’s amazing what a difference six or seven years can make.”
Aronberg said that there was a new threat to politics, and that threat was the professional politician. All too often, there were people who would enter into public office for one term, and then immediately start looking for another job. It had a lot to do with term limits, he said, and eight years was just not enough time to get things done in any type of public service.
“Term limits were a good idea at the time,” he said. “I supported them, but eight years is too short. You have people going in and then leaving after one term to find something else to do. You wonder why there is no political courage anymore, and you wonder why we still have a rickety tax structure that has more exemptions than it has items that are taxed, or why nobody wants to do anything about the insurance crisis that lingers.”
Aronberg also said he wanted to talk about something that nobody wanted to talk about, which was Florida’s backwards legislation related to sex offenders. Aronberg said that the current laws restricting sex offenders might make people feel safe but that they really did not keep people, or children, safe. All you had to do, he said, was look deeper into the wording of the law to find the truth about what it actually did.
“We have laws that make us feel safe,” said Aronberg. “As a former sex offender, once you are on the registry, you cannot live 2500 feet near a school, park or library. The state law says 1000 feet, and most other cities say 2500 feet. Some like North Miami say 5000 feet. It makes you feel safe, right? But look deeper into the law. That law only applies between the hours of 10 p.m. and six a.m. when schools, parks and libraries are closed. We have laws that are designed to keep people safe, but these have the opposite effect. They keep sex offenders away from schools, parks and libraries when there are no students there. But during the day, when the children return to those places, the sex offenders are allowed back in those places. That’s current law. That girl who was tragically murdered in Clay County was probably murdered by a sex offender because our laws are backwards. Nobody wants to do anything about it.”
- Probably murdered by a sex offender? You don't know that, you are only assuming! Why are you speculating? Was it proven she was murdered by a sex offender? Then leave the BS out of the discussion.
With every statewide cabinet office open, Aronberg said, that if you wanted change, this was change, on steroids.
“This will be an unique time in Florida,” said Aronberg. “Every cabinet office is open. It’s the first time this has happened in a hundred years. If you want change, this is change on steroids. I hope you will join me if you want real change in Florida. I am so grateful that you are here today. I hope to honor you by being your next Attorney General, as the hometown candidate in the hometown office. I am Dave Aronberg, and if you want to remember who to vote for, my name starts with an A and ends with a G.”
For more information about the Democratic Professionals Council, email email@example.com or check out their website at www.democraticprofessionalscouncil.org. The Democratic Professionals Council has chapters throughout the State of Florida, including chapters in Broward, Jacksonville, Miami-Dade, Orlando, Palm Beach, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay and the Treasure Coast.
"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)