What were they thinking? Iowa Democrats rename J-J dinner "Fall Gala"

Dr. Andy McGuire announced at the end of tonight’s Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame event that after receiving “hundreds of suggestions,” the State Central Committee voted last month to rename the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner the “Iowa Democratic Party Fall Gala.”

Please, no.

When party leaders started down this road last year, McGuire said, “it is important to change the name of the dinner to align with the values of our modern day Democratic Party: inclusiveness, diversity and equality.”

What about values like remembering our history and standing for something? Any organization can hold an annual fall gala. The Iowa Democratic Party’s marquee event should honor a person or people who have inspired many of us to make political activism an important part of our lives.

Talking with others who attended tonight’s dinner, I heard zero positive comments about the decision. Neither did Pat Rynard.

State Central Committee members have time to reconsider. I favor replacing the J-J dinner with the H-H to honor former Governor and Senator Harold Hughes and former Senator Tom Harkin, but I’m open to other options. Surely among the “hundreds of suggestions” party leaders received, some were better than “fall gala,” which screams, “We were too afraid to honor an imperfect human being, so we fell back on the most boring name possible.”

P.S.-Tonight’s event ran smoothly, and Ryan McDaniel did an excellent job pinch-hitting for the keynote speaker who backed out at the last minute. But only two of the seven Hall of Fame inductees, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa Federation of Labor President Ken Sagar, had a chance to speak while accepting their awards. In the future, the Iowa Democratic Party should give all the honorees at least a couple of minutes to address the crowd.

  • Agree

    I have long thought a Harkin-Hughes dinner would be a great name. I don’t really talk about it because I don’t really want people thinking I just want to share the name of the dinner!

    • Agreed

      The Harkin Hughes Dinner is the best replacement IMO. Two very dynamic, powerful characters.

      Would like to see some consideration of VP Henry Wallace as well however. I don’t feel he gets much recognition possibly because he wasn’t an Iowa Senator or Governor; but another very outstanding Iowan.

  • "Gala" is an elitist word. . .

    … and we don’t want our party to be thought of as elitist (even though it often acts that way).

    I second the suggestion of Henry Wallace.

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