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African-American Dems pay homage to black officials Saturday gala was hot spot for state and local candidates

By Janel Davis
Montgomery County Gazette
March 1, 2006

The county’s powerful came out in force Saturday night for a gala celebration of African-American politicians.

The African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County held its “Salute to Montgomery County African American Elected Officials of the Past, Present and Future” before a full crowd at the Inn at Brookeville Farms in Brookeville.

Receiving the highest praise was former county councilman and county executive candidate Isiah “Ike” Leggett, honored as the “granddaddy” of the county’s African-American political leaders for being the first African American elected countywide. He served four terms on the County Council before stepping down in 2002 and was the state Democratic Party’s chairman until last year.

“I remember during my first campaign for County Council, when residents only heard my name and had read my literature, but had never seen my face,” Leggett told the crowd. “I was standing at a Metro station shaking hands and an old man looked at me, then looked at my literature and said, ‘Thanks, but I don’t vote in the District.’”

Also honored were U.S. Representative Albert R. Wynn (D-Dist. 4) of Mitchellville; Dels. Gareth E. Murray (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring and Herman L. Taylor Jr. (D-Dist. 14) of Ashton; and former appointed County Councilman Donnell Peterman.

Former school board members Kermit V. Burnett, James H. Daugherty, Reginald M. Felton, Jeremiah Floyd, Roscoe R. Nix and Odessa M. Shannon were also honored, as was current school board member Valerie Ervin (Dist. 4) of Silver Spring. Current and former city and municipal council members were also honored.

The event also served almost as a campaign stop, with many state and local candidates in attendance.

U.S. Senate candidates Kweisi Mfume and U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Dist. 3) of Pikesville attended, as did gubernatorial candidate County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, who was treated to a standing ovation.

County Councilman Thomas E. Perez (D-Dist. 5) of Takoma Park was introduced as an attorney general candidate, although he — and others — is waiting to hear if incumbent Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. plans to run again.

Several candidates for Perez’s council seat attended the event, including Hans Reimer, Marc Elrich and Peterman, who is also weighing a run for an at-large council seat.

County Council President George L. Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, Councilwoman Marilyn J. Praisner (D-Dist. 4) of Calverton and Sen. Ida G. Ruben (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring also attended.

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