The Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner was a good ticket tonight if you wanted to be in the midst of State and local politics. Starting at the State level, Tennessee Democratic Party chair Chip Forrester was spotted at the silent auction and the dinner meeting the guests. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ward Cammack, who earlier in the week had expressed his concerns about the adoption ban bill in the Legislature, was also at the dinner. It should be interesting to see whether this refreshing change in the rhetoric will catch on with some of the other candidates.
Council Member Ronnie Steine was also spotted at the silent auction and he attended the dinner as well. I didn't notice any other members of Council or hear their names called from the podium. District 18 candidate David Glasgow had a table at the event, and he got an enthusiastic reception from the crowd of 450. Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors had bought a ticket, but she sent word that she was too ill to attend. Both she and Mayor Karl Dean had welcome letters in the dinner program. When Dean was introduced, he got a rousing standing ovation before he even began to speak. He urged the crowd only half jokingly to go forth from the dinner to spend their money and help the local economy. Then he turned to a brief tribute to the honorees Suzanne Bradford and Judy Lojek and Brad Beasley. He ended by expressing his solidarity with the guests in their quest for equality. There was no specific mention of any forthcoming Metro legislation. I don't read much into that since it is the Council's prerogative to introduce the hoped for nondiscrimination ordinance.