Jim Davis, Nina Hayden address Hillsborough young Democrats
Nearly 30 people turned out Tuesday night for a Hillsborough County Young Democrats meeting at Streetcar Charlie's in Ybor City. President Jennifer Fenn told the group it was the largest crowd ever, even though it was a rainy night. Guest speakers were former Congressman Jim Davis and Florida Senate candidate Nina Hayden, who's running for the seat being vacated by Democrat Charlie Justice. Both speakers told the up-and-coming candidates and campaign workers that sincerity is the key to political success.
Hayden, 35, said that after years of working in the public defender's office representing juveniles charged as adults and serving on the Pinellas County School Board, she wants to help develop policy that will keep kids out of the justice system. Specifically, she pledged to push for adequate state funding of education if elected. And she said even though she faces a tough race against Republican Jack Latvala, she's not afraid. "I don't mind the fight," she said.
Davis told the youthful group that they wield enormous influence because they are the future of politics. He also advised them to show respect for Republicans. "A good Democrat is for democracy, not just the Democratic party," he said. Davis said Barack Obama's sincerity and willingness to work with Republicans will spell out success for health care reform. And he said Obama won the presidency because he has faith that Americans want to to make the country and the world better. "This is the promise and beauty of the Obama election that you all made possible," he said. "He believes in us."
Among those soaking it all in was young Democrat Christopher Mitchell, who's running for the District 47 state House seat, and supporters of Christopher Cano, a 26-year-old candidate for the District 60 seat, who were wearing shirts promoting his Web site, cano460.com. Naima Tabernuro, 20, said she met Cano last year when he ran for president of the USF student body. That election, he said, "was a popularity contest. This is purely politics." She said she likes Cano because he will be the "voice of the underdog."
Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer