BCDP Gala Welcomes Senator Sherrod Brown with Record Attendance

Over 275 people attended the BCDP Annual Gala on Saturday April 27, as we welcomed Senator Sherrod Brown to Butler County.

The evening started with the Miami University Young Democrats leading the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by moment of reflection led by Pastor Scotty Robertson. County Chair Kathy Wyenandt then introduced Don Daiker as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, honoring Don’s meaningful, significant and sustained contributions to the Democratic Party over his long volunteer career in Butler County. Don’s contributions range all the way from knocking on doors to recruiting candidates, chairing the County party, starting a political action committee and donating money to candidates and the party. We are honored to have Don as an active member of the party.

Next to the stage, Kathy welcomed Pulitzer Prize winner and NYT best selling author Connie Schultz to the stage to introduce Senator Sherrod Brown. He spoke to the recent bills on Ukrainian aid as well as the Fend Off Fentynal Act which was recently signed into law. He also spoke about the key initiatives that Congress has been able to pass with a Democratic majority in the Senate, including a clean energy bill, a gun safety bill, reigning in the cost of prescription drugs, and the infrastructure bill. Senator Brown noted the victory on Issue 1 last fall, including in Butler County and the energy and excitement that are building around the state. “When you fight for what you believe in, you actually win sometimes.” He is optimistic that this year we will reelect President Biden, maintain the majority in the Senate and gain control of the House. Recapping the successes of the past few years, Senator Brown assured us that if we reelect President Biden and hold the Senate and win the House that “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

After dinner, mariann penska, BCDP Central Committee Chair, took to the stage to recognize the BCDP officers, as well as recognizing our event sponsors. She also recognized our Volunteers of the Year:

  • Michael Albrecht
  • Linda Overholt
  • John Rhoads

These volunteers collected signatures for Issue 1 last year as well as the redistricting issue this year, knocked countless doors, and have made countless other contributions to the party. We congratulate them on this award and thank them all for their significant work supporting Democratic values and candidates.

Kathy then returned to the stage, thanking everyone for their attendance. She reminisced on the days when our Party meetings would attract 15 to 20 people, and now we are regularly filling large rooms, and continuing to see new faces as we build community and friendships.

Kathy also celebrated the work we’ve done in the past year, knocking over 21,000 doors and contributing to the 18,000 Butler County signatures submitted for the reproductive freedom initiative in 2023. While we fell a few hundred votes short in the August special election, Butler County votes YES for reproductive freedom in November. “That wasn’t an accident…that was organizing! And organizing is the key to winning in Butler County.”

This year, the Butler County Democrats are proud to support a strong slate of candidates. Whether it’s fighting against corruption and far right extremism in the statehouse or fighting for all of the values & freedoms we hold dear, our slate of candidates will put people first and work hard for our entire community. Kathy then introduced the candidates in attendance, as well as Judge Lisa Forbes who is running for the Ohio Supreme Court.

Kathy then announced key awards for the year, including:

  • Bill Lange: Defender of Democracy Award
  • Oliver Hahn: Rising Star Award
  • Patrick Houlihan: Young Democrat of the Year
  • Amanda Schuster: IMPACT Award
  • Dana Zucker: Democrat of the Year

After announcing the winners of the silent auction and raffle, Kathy returned to the stage to close out the evening, thanking Senator Sherrod Brown, our sponsors, the Gala planning committee, and the staff at Receptions. And thank you to all who attended and supported this event and the BCDP continuing efforts to turn this county and the State of Ohio BLUE!