UPDATE 07192012 AT 06:00 AM
Loved your take on John Boccieri's upstaging Mayor Healy, which he certainly did. Not intentionally, but it was Boccieri's night to shine, and shine he did. The crowd loved him, and he responded with a very moving and invigorating campaign speech for re-electing the President. I'm sure Mr. Obama would have been proud. Boccieri got the crowd fired up, and ready to go. I don't think Mayor Healy minded at all.
I thought the turnout was great, and everyone did a fantastic job. Kudos to Barb Lewis, who always works her butt off, and to the many field workers, many of whom returned from 08, and were just as eager to help re-elect the President as they were to get him elected in the first place. It was great to hear how these young workers are dedicated to this cause. They have not lost their enthusiasm for, or their faith in, their President. I haven't either.
FOUR MORE YEARS!!
It appears to the SCPR that the featured speaker at the Stark Democrats' opening the Canton office of the Barack Obama reelection campaign was Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.
But when former 16th District Congressman John Boccieri appeared at the fringe of the crowd, one could sense the attention of people pivoting away from Healy and fixing on perhaps the most popular Democrat in all of Stark County.
Healy did his best to maintain the attention on himself. But it seemed to The Report that the effort was futile and those assembled were antsy to hear from the former congressman.
Normally, one would think Healy would be incensed about being upstaged. But not in this instance. Because one of the beneficiaries of Boccieri's popularity among Democrats and many independents in Stark County could be Healy's sister Joyce Healy-Abrams who is running for Congress in the newly formed (required by decentenial redistricting) 7th congressional district.
When Boccieri was acknowledged and approached center stage, he did so to a wildly cheering (many standing and giving him a "standing ovation") crowd. He immediately began a chant picked up on by the Obama loyalists of "Four More Years."
In his fiery speech, Boccieri reminded those gathered:
- of the 2008 victory which put Barack Obama in office and also made Democrat Boccieri congressman in the 16th congressional district, about 60 years had passed since a Democrat had represented the Canton area,
- that the president stands with the people whereas Republican Mitt Romney stands for persons who are corporations,
- that the Republicans left Obama with the debt (from a Clinton administration surplus) from two unfunded wars, two huge tax cuts, a Medicare prescription plan that was not paid for and that the president put the breaks on that kind of spending,
- that the president saved the American automotive industry which was a victory for working class people,
- that Republican Romney won't release extended years of tax returns and wanted to know: "What is he hiding?"
- of Romney's using foreign financial institutions to invest his money in,
- that they needed to support the president by electing Democrats Sherrod Brown (U.S. Senate), Healy-Abrams and Betty Sutton (the 16th) to the Congress, and
- closed in telling a story of why he supported the Affordable Care Act.
After the speech the Stark County Political Report did a one-on-one interview with Boccieri in which he outlined what he planned to do in terms of campaigning in the Stark County area for President Obama (he identified himself as an Obama surrogate) and area Democrats running for Congress.
He appears to be genuinely optimistic that the Democrats can pull a surprise and replace incumbent Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs defeat the man who bested him in 2010 in the 16th; namely, Jim Renacci.
If so, the prospect could become a nightmare for state Rep. Christina Hagan (Republican - Marlboro) and Stark County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Matthews (whose wife works for Renacci).
Both thought it was wonderful that Stark County got split up into three congressional districts by their gerrymandering Republican friends in Columbus last fall.
Well, if the area ends up getting represented by three Democrats, how will they like it then?
And, of course, Heidi Matthews will be out of a job again as she was when Ralph Regula retired and the-then state Senator Kirk Schuring could not hold the seat for the GOP in 2008.
Here is the video of the Boccieri interview.