Prince George€s County€s Hold€s End of Summer Cookout
Carla Peay | 9/24/2009, 12:17 a.m.
Several hundred Prince George€s County residents gathered on the east lawn of Prince George€s Community College on Sat., Sept. 19 for a cookout, a little political banter and to hear words of thanks from Gov. Martin O€Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. But stealing center stage at the gathering was not any one of the political figures on hand, but six-month-old Elyse Norris.
Elyse has two older brothers, ages three and five, and a mother who is a nurse. Their mother has opted to stay at home to raise the family until her husband, who is a medical doctor, returns home from Iraq. Elyse was among dozens to have a photo taken with O€Malley, but it was Elyse that the governor talked about when he addressed the crowd.
€The road ahead is a tough one, but the battles we face here are nothing compared to the ones faced by our servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan,€ O€Malley told the crowd after he had his picture taken with the daughter of a serviceman.
€We have made a lot of progress as a state, but we still have a long way to go. We are working hard every day, as we battle for the heart and soul of America.€
The cookout was organized by Prince George€s County resident, Lt. Gov. Brown.
€We thought this would be a good way to wind down the summer and to get the people out so we could thank them for all of their support,€ Brown said, before he addressed the political fight that has been first and foremost in the news.
€We have a president that is serious about health care reform, and we will do whatever we can to support that effort,€ Brown said.
Brown also had a photo taken with Elyse and with Yvette Lewis, who brought Elyse to the event. Lewis, an organizer with the grassroots group Grow the Hope based in Prince George€s County, talked about the importance of justice and social change.
€We have monthly meetings to discuss issues like homelessness, health care and the economy. We talk to people in a non partisan way. But we also have as our mission to tackle non-truths when they happen,€ Lewis said.
A member of Grow the Hope responded quickly the night of President Barack Obama€s address to Congress on health care reform. Within minutes of the outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) who shouted €you lie€ at the president during his statements regarding health care coverage for illegal immigrants, a Grow the Hope member had identified the previously obscure congressman, and communicated his identity via Facebook to the membership.
€We have a responsibility to straighten these things out as soon as they happen,€ Lewis said.
Others used the cookout to discuss upcoming political races in Prince George€s County, and to begin drumming up support. Two candidates for State€s Attorney, current Assistant Chief for the State€s Attorney€s Office, Joseph L. Wright, and former Assistant State€s Attorney and current inspector general for the County€s police department Mark Spencer, greeted the crowd and passed out literature.
Also among the attendees were Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-District 4) and Delegate Aisha Braveboy (D- District 25).
The photos taken of Elyse with Gov. O€Malley and Lt. Gov. Brown are on their way to Iraq to her father, and are expected to arrive before Dr. Norris returns home to his family at the end of his tour in December.