BUENA PARK â€” Representative Barney Frank delivered the keynote address to the Democratic Party of Orange County’s Truman Award Dinner on Saturday night. Four-hundred guests attended the sold out annual fundraising dinner held at the UFCW Local 324 Banquet Hall to honor Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee John Hanna as he received the 16th Harry S Truman Award. Congressman Barney Frank represents the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts.Â He is also Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, which recently passed in the House what the Washington Post has called â€œthe most sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system since the Great Depression.â€
Congressman Frank spoke of the important roleÂ Orange County’s Democrats play in the battle of political ideologies. “The work you do here, the work you do to counter Republican assumptions, will hold the line in a very important way,” Frank said. “Know your strengths and weaknesses. The more you hold down those assumptions in Orange County, the more they are countered across the state and the country.”
Frank pointed out that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are greater than they ever have been. “In 1976 Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford for the presidential nomination. While he did not succeed, he came closer to upsetting a sittingÂ president for the nominationÂ than anyone else had before. That began the right wing march across the country. The differences between Ford and Reagan were a difference of degree ofÂ conservatism. But even Ronald Reagan was not conservative enough for today’s Republican Party.Â Â Republican moderates are one endangered species that the Republican Party has made extinct.”
“After successfully imposing their will on the country, it is ironic that they now blame us for the problems they caused. An epidemic of massive amnesia, swept over Republicans across the country on January 21, 2009,” Frank said. “All of a sudden unemployment appeared, the failure of the Afghan war appeared, theÂ deficit suddenly was created and credit surprisingly stalled. Once we started to implement policies that worked, they madeÂ a decision toÂ practice conscious obstructionism.Â They are not debating whether a policy will work, they oppose everything because they are afraid it might work.”
Congresswoman Loretta SanchezÂ was on hand to accept the DPOC’s first Environmental Award on Behalf of Senator Barbara Boxer. Sanchez then presented the Richard J. O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to her friend and political mentor Wylie Aitken. Calling him “one ofÂ my best friends, Sanchez thanked Aitken for his lifetime of work for Democrats in Orange County. Aitken is the immediate past Chair of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, a position he held after Richard J. O’Neill for 16 years.
Aitken reminded the attendees that this election is particularly important for us to get active in support of Congresswoman Sanchez. “I am coming out of retirement to help Loretta,” Aitken said.
The Democratic Party of Orange County also recognized California Teachers Association President David A. Sanchez with the Samuel Gompers Award andÂ Benny Diaz, State President of the League of United Latin American Citizens with the Social Justice Award.
Truman Award recipient John Hanna closed out the evening. In 1998, Hanna was appointed to the Rancho Santiago Community College District Board of Trustees, which includes Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon Colleges. He was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2002 and 2006. Having not drawn an opponent in the district election this year he will automatically be re-elected for another four year term.Â John has been a member of the Orange County Democratic Party Central Committee from 1975 to 2002, serving as Chair from 1986-89. He has served as a member of the California Democratic State Central Committee from 1975-present; and as a member of the California Democratic State Central Committee Executive Board from 1975-present.Â He has been Co-Chair of the California Democratic Party Resolutions Committee since 1989.
“I’m proud to receive the Truman Award,” Hanna said. “I had a choice this morning whether I would work on a speech for tonight, or walk a precinct for Senator Lou Correa in Anaheim, I walked the precinct.” Hanna explained how important it is for democrats to get out and talk to the voters in this election. He pointed out that Assemblyman Van Tran has financed a stealth independent Latina candidate, Cecelia Iglesias, to split the vote in this election. “Van Tran is walking, when his campaign finds a voter who will not vote for him, he sends in a walker for Iglesias to the same house.”
“As democrats I ask that you do three things,” Hanna said. “1) Keep this a big tent party. Don’t become ideologically exclusive, be practical. 2) Be gentle with our friends. Don’t alienate our allies. 3) Let’s act more and talk less. We are all working for various different candidates this year, but it is my obligation, and yours, to walk at least one day for Loretta and Lou.”