Emporia Kansas, the heart of Lyon County is often viewed as a commuter town. This image of Emporia is largely shaped by the relative ease of access to Lawrence, Topeka, and Wichita.
What makes Emporia a commuter community is shaped by the university - Emporia State University. Emporia State began and is still widely known as the 'teachers college' of Kansas. With that in mind, you had to know that an election year like this one, where education is high stakes the community would take the implications of Brownback policies seriously.
A few months ago, when we began listing county events I wanted Kossacks to meet and fill up the rooms with, I was glad to see that we had a lot of outside of Kossack interest in these events. People who browse this website, see it through facebook and want to join in to make a change.
The hard work of county chair Susan Fowler helped set the tone for the kind of event she would have in Emporia, and I want to show you what happens when progressive voices join together for change.
Feel free to click images for full size.
Upon arriving at the Lyon County Potluck we noticed that the crowd was quite good, far better than I had originally expected. A quick headcount revealed that before the event started, 60 people were in attendance. I thought to myself: this is a pretty good turnout for a community of 24,000 citizens.
But by the time the event was underway, that number had ballooned.
Over 150 people attended the Lyon County Democrats Annual Fundraiser on Sunday evening. The event was held at the Emporia Senior Center and featured Paul Davis as keynote speaker.My unofficial count had us at 170 attending. I tried to keep an active count, as we had some individuals who had to leave. At the time Paul Davis spoke, I had an in room headcount of 166, which is a heck of a turnout. Sam Brownback couldn't bring in 200 in the Kansas City Metro when Rick Santorum came to town.
So, how does this kind of meeting look?
The Crowd Gathers.
Paul Davis speaking to a resident about Kansas.
Our Future Governor speaks to us.
If you want to see more, or in higher resolution, I've posted an album here:
Full video of Paul Davis speaking to the group:
Things worth noting:
Kossacks showed up. Several Kossacks were in the hall, as well as individuals who noticed I still had on my Netroots gear, and were happy to come and tell us how they are working for change in our communities.
Republicans Showed Up. I don't mean Republicans as trackers, I mean Republicans who came out and donated money, brought food and came to back Paul Davis. They came because as one Republican told me: "There is something very unchristian going on." He spoke to me because my son was present, a child with a mental disability, and he had no problem telling me as a veteran he had fought for the rights of "all of God's children" as he put it to have a "fair shake" and he had come to the decision that Brownback wasn't providing it.
Republicans who stand with us know that this isn't about quickly brandishing people or ideas. It is about doing the right thing for our future.
This weekend in Hutchinson will be an event that people in Kansas haven't seen. I may not get sleep between now and Saturday, but I have already heard from people who are stunned at the level of participation.
In Hutchinson, we will now be presenting three bands.
From humorists like Bob Colladay
To more serious performers. We'll have the slate of Democratic candidates. Popcorn, ice cream, watermelon.
I cannot express enough gratitude to the Kansas Democratic Party County chairs who have worked tirelessly with us and provided us access in any way to help bolster their events.
These events aren't just about party - they are about extending our message.
Our message in Kansas since last year has been simple:
Connect! Bring Kossacks together with Kansans. Make the connection, find friends, introduce ideas and bring in Republicans and others to talk to us.
Unite! Join with our county chairs, our candidates and local groups to take the connection and to unite our efforts to make sure that we work to help our slate.
Act! To not hide because of our beliefs. To Act! in support of our fellow Democrats and fellow citizens.
Connect! Unite! Act!
And the last piece, the word we don't say until it is all over: WIN.
If you are in Kansas, and anywhere close join us in Hutchinson. Join us for the city wide BBQ festival. Have some BBQ and join us for the treats. Connect with your party. Unite with a goal. Act to accomplish it.
170 in Emporia.
Can we break 1,000 in Hutchinson?
Pyle Park on July 26.
4:16 PM PT: Paul Davis has just launched his ActBlue fundraising page today.