Townsend speaks at Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner

May 30, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend drew connections Wednesday between her family heritage and the Washington County Democratic Party.

She talked about Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, who worked his way through college as a staff assistant for her Uncle Ted Kennedy.

She mentioned Jane Burhans of Hagerstown, who helped to run the Washington County presidential campaign of Townsend's Uncle John F. Kennedy Jr.

And she recognized Patricia Cushwa, whose late husband Victor Cushwa managed the county presidential campaign of Townsend's father, Robert F. Kennedy.


"The Democratic Party has deep roots here in Washington County," Townsend said.

Addressing about 400 people at the Venice Inn at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, Townsend told the crowd it is critical for Democrats to win the November elections.

She told the group to steel themselves against Republican criticism.

"We're running against a Republican who has the nerve to say we don't know what we're doing," she said, not mentioning Robert Ehrlich by name.

The current administration has balanced the budget, boosted higher education and reduced juvenile crime, she said.

In the future, Townsend said, she wants to work to bring prescription drug coverage, character education and good jobs to Maryland-ers, she said.

Townsend began her day Wednesday with a visit to Mack Trucks in Hagerstown. She met workers whose dedication and competence, she said, led Volvo to trust them with its engine-making.

"They could choose any place in the world. They chose Hagerstown, Maryland," she said.

Townsend spent much of Wednesday in Frederick County, Md. She was in Brunswick, Md., with Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, who is running for state senate.

She dedicated Oakdale Elementary School in Ijamsville, Md.

Her final event of the day was the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. As soon as she arrived, she began working the room. She stopped to chat at what appeared to be every table.

Democrats seemed smitten with Townsend. Some lined up to ask for her autograph after the speech.

"She's a great gal. She's going to make a great governor," said Eileen Wiggins of Hagerstown.

"She has so much personality, and her speech hit on every issue Democrats are interested in in our county," said Phyllis Burgess of Hagerstown.

Rick Hemphill, chairman of the Democratic Central Committee, said he expected the dinner to raise about $5,000 for the party.

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