Hoyer, Cummings, Jealous call for party unity on tumultuous day

Hoyer, Cummings, Jealous call for party unity on tumultuous day

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, mayor of Baltimore, opens the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Rawlings-Blake, secretary of the Democratic National Committee, stepped in to do the opening gavel following the leaked media scandal that forced Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign. Capital News Service Photo by Hannah Klarner

By Teresa Lo

Capital News Service

PHILADELPHIA – Three prominent Marylanders — former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous, Rep. Elijah Cummings, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer — each preached party unity as featured speakers on the first night of the Democratic National Convention Monday.

“I hail from the great state of Maryland, where Democrats have shown when we all come together as one, we win more, bigger and better victories faster,” Jealous told cheering delegates.

That was after yet another prominent Maryland official, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, opened the convention, stepping in for the embattled chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.

“I hereby call the 47th quadrennial Democratic National Convention to order,” Rawlings-Blake said during short welcoming remarks.
Hoyer represents Maryland’s 5th District and is the second-most powerful Democrat in the House. He contrasted the Republican and Democratic platforms.

The Republican Party’s message to the American people was “you’re on your own,” he said, whereas the Democratic Party’s message is “we’re in this together.”

Hoyer then encouraged voters to “bind together as a country and elect Hillary the president of the United States of America.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings delivers report on platform committee he chaired. From Byron MacFarlane's Facebook page.

Rep. Elijah Cummings delivers report on platform committee he chaired. From Byron MacFarlane’s Facebook page.

Cummings chaired the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, and later on the stage, he drew on his father’s words: “The test of a man is not how much he helps himself, the true test is whether he helps those less fortunate.” The Democratic Party, he said, has passed this test.

Cummings highlighted the Democratic Party’s platform on the Affordable Care Act, civil rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.

“Our party does not just believe, but understands, that black lives matter,” he said to enthusiastic applause and chants of “Black Lives Matter” from the crowd. “But we also recognize that our communities and our law enforcement work best when they work together.”

“Ours is a party of unity and not division,” he said.

Cummings also gave a nod to Sanders’ platform by mentioning the wealthy 1 percent and the middle, working class. His statements could be heard over the crowd chanting “down with TPP” along with boos from Sanders supporters expressing their dissatisfaction with a Clinton nomination.

Jealous, the last Marylander to take the stage, reminded his listeners about recent, progressive legislation in Maryland: abolishing the death penalty, passing marriage equality, decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession and passing gun safety reform.

He urged voters to join the Democratic Party at the ballot box to make college more affordable, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and move energy away from coal and gas toward wind and solar.

“We will move America forward,” Jealous said, “to become the most perfect example of the unity and dignity of the human family that the world has ever seen.”

About The Author

Capital News Service

kdenny12@umd.edu

Capital News Service is a student-powered news organization run by the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. For 26 years, we have provided deeply reported, award-winning coverage of issues of import to Marylanders. With bureaus in College Park, Annapolis and Washington run by professional journalists with decades of experience, we deliver news in multiple formats via partner news organizations, a destination Web site, a nightly on-air television newscast and affiliated social media channels (including Twitter and Facebook). We provide breaking news coverage, in-depth investigative and enterprise journalism, and serve as a laboratory for students to test and develop innovative new methods of reporting and telling stories. By providing a true newsroom experience to our students, we send them into the job market with real-world skills and the ability to shape the future of journalism. Only Merrill’s most motivated students are accepted into the Capital News Service program, and they go on to land internships and jobs at the nation’s finest news organizations: The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the Associated Press, Politico, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, ProPublica, National Geographic, NBC News, The Dallas Morning News, the Washington City Paper, Washingtonian magazine, Money magazine, the Wall Street Journal and more.

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