Council for a Livable World and the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation hosted an event on Monday, January 21, 2013 celebrating the second inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and our endorsed candidates in the 113th Congress. The event was held at the Phoenix Park Hotel ballroom across from Union Station and just two blocks from the U.S. Capitol.
A number of prestigious guests attended the event, including Senators Tammy Baldwin, Martin Heinrich, Angus King and Bernie Sanders, U.S. Representatives Suzan Delbene, Lois Frankel and Mark Takano, United Steel Workers International President Leo Gerard, host of The Ed Show on MSNBC, Ed Schultz and Vicki Hansen Thackray from the executive committee of Democrats Abroad. Reception attendees were treated to a series of short and informal speeches from several of our honored guests and board members.
Gary Collins, President of the board of Council for a Livable World, kicked off the celebration with a short speech highlighting the work of the Council during the 2012 election cycle.
Board member Bob Musil introduced Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). Senator Heinrich, who is well known for his environmental and clean energy advocacy, spoke about the importance of grassroots support. Over 1,300 council contributors gave more than $100,000 to Senator Heinrich’s campaign with an average gift of $75.
John Isaacs, executive director of the Council and Center, was next up at the podium and introduced fellow Dartmouth alum, Senator Angus King (I-ME). Senator King recalled his early days in DC as a campaign staffer and how even then, Council supporters were making an impact with every $5 and $10 contribution they made to his former boss.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the longest serving independent in Congressional history, was our next speaker. Sen. Sanders electrified the room as usual, and used his time in front of the audience to discuss economic inequalities in the United States and what is necessary to address this pressing issue.
Chairman of the board, Ira Lechner, introduced one of the most inspiring leaders in the country today, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Senator Baldwin, who made history in November as the first openly gay member of the United States Senate, received a warm round of applause from the Council enthusiastic supporters who filled the ballroom. She expressed her gratitude for the early grassroots support and encouragement in what was a hard-fought victory.
United States Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Mark Takano (D-CA) also addressed the reception audience. Rep. Takano spoke about his family, who were survivors of the nuclear bombing at Hiroshima during World War II. Their powerful stories have reinforced his interest in promoting peace.
Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steel Workers, had the entire room fired up as he called on all Democrats and progressives to celebrate the 2012 victories, but to keep pressing forward. Ed Schultz, host of the Ed Show on MSNBC, followed and thanked the supporters in the room for their tireless efforts on behalf of progressive causes.
Vicki Hansen Thackray, from the executive committee of Democrats Abroad, was our final speaker. She spoke about the task that they have to represent and promote Democratic values while also defending American foreign policy decisions. The number of Democrats living abroad outnumbers those who vote in some states and their contribution is a valuable, but often unnoticed, part of the electoral process.
The inaugural reception wrapped up an election cycle full of exciting events for the Council. In 2012 we celebrated our 50th anniversary, attended the Democratic National Convention where we hosted a policy forum and endorsed and saw to victory candidates for the US House and Senate.
Thank you to everyone who attended, and those who were unable to attend but have been supporters from across the country — and abroad! We are looking forward to sharing more victories and celebrations with you in 2014 and beyond.