CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Democratic Party will host its annual Roosevelt-Kennedy Celebration on Saturday as party leaders look to energize members ahead of the November election.
Saturday’s event at the Charleston Marriott Town Center will feature remarks from Democratic leaders and performances from West Virginia artists Sierra Ferrell, John Ellison and the Carpenter Ants.
“This is going to be very different from the dinners we’ve had in the past,” State Party Chairman Mike Pushkin told MetroNews affiliate WCHS-AM. “I want it to be fun, and this is going to be a fun event. We’re going to celebrate the Democratic Party, and then have a night of fun. Then, we have a very short period of time to get busy and win some elections.”
Kansas Democratic Party Chair Vicki Hiatt will serve as the dinner’s keynote speaker. Her appearance comes after Kansans rejected a ballot measure in August that would have removed abortion rights language from the state’s constitution.
Democrats control half of the state’s statewide elected seats — including the seats of governor (Laura Kelly) and lieutenant governor (David Toland) — but have minority power in the state Legislature.
“This is a freedom that women and those who can get pregnant have had for nearly five decades now,” Hiatt said about the measure’s defeat during Wednesday’s “MetroNews Talkline.”
“Risking that being taken away was something we and many, many, many people here in Kansas felt really passionate about fighting to protect.”
Hiatt said Democrats need to embrace abortion rights issues and expand the electorate; she noted an increase in young voters and young voter turnout in the August election.
“I think that one of the things that Democrats need to look at is understanding that young voters will probably support Democrats more strongly on a lot of the issues, and we need to help them understand how important their vote is and help them get to the polls,” she said.
“We’ve just made a lot of gains in getting our young people active. We’ve got a great Kansas Young Democrat Caucus going and Democrats organizing in high schools and on the college campuses. I think just having those conversations and the direct voter interaction is most important, and that can happen anywhere.”
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., will deliver a video message. Raskin served as the lead impeachment manager during the second impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump. He also sits on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol.