The Villages Democratic Club’s September meeting drew an overflow crowd at the Colony Recreation Center, but the star attraction was a no-show.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was slated to be the featured guest. Many in the audience were disappointed when it was announced that the senator’s plane was delayed and he would be unable to attend the meeting.
Nelson is facing Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the November election.
Democratic Club President Jeff Yonce stressed the importance of getting the vote out for Nelson as control of the U.S. Senate is at stake.
Chris Stanley next spoke and brought the house down when she opened her talk with a confession that she “wrote the op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times.” After the laughter subsided, she went on to urge the crowd to help get out the vote, which was a recurring theme of all of the day’s speakers.
Vernon Haley spoke on the behalf of The Villages African-American Club, whose 400-plus members are committed to the election of Andrew Gillum as Florida’s next governor. Gillum is slated to address the club at their October meeting Oct. 13 at Savanah Center.
State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith spoke briefly about the governor’s race and his early endorsement of Gillum.
He echoed the other speakers’ theme of working to get out the vote. He also emphasized his work to build bi-partisan support to end Greyhound racing in Florida. He was joined on stage by Joyce Carter and the Greyhound Shay Dix, who is a rescue from the racing circuit.
Carter pointed out that there are 17 active Greyhound tracks in the United States and 11 are in Florida. She urged the crowd to vote in favor of Amendment 13, which will ban dog racing in Florida.