On Wednesday night, in front of a packed house of over 100 people at The Guild Public House, mayoral candidate Eileen Brady participated in a meet-and-greet with campaign supporters and interested members of the public. The event was entitled "Blues and Brews with Eileen Brady" and featured music provided by the Dan Duval Trio- along with a drink special called a City Hall with a Fresh Start (aka a vodka & cranberry).
The event promised "special guests," which included current and former elected officials that Eileen name-checked, including former State Rep. Nick Kahl, county auditor Steve March, and former State Senator Ron Cease. The biggest special guest, however, was the evening's host- former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who has recently come out with an endorsement in favor of Eileen's candidacy for mayor.
Kahl served as the evening's MC, welcoming the crowd and thanking them for attending. He described how his political career stems from involvement with grassroots politics, and his support for Eileen came from "one simple fact": that she was committed to a grassroots campaign, and he wanted to see such a commitment to grassroots political process come to Portland's City Hall. "This commitment to the grassroots is demonstrated through Eileen's ability to knock on doors and engage residents throughout all of Portland's neighborhoods!"
Upon taking the microphone- which was unnecessary as the lack of a sound system created the need for speakers to yell, which encouraged a boisterous response from the supportive crowd- Eileen sincerely offered thanks to the crowd. "Every time we throw an event like these, I'm so worried that nobody will show up," she said. "The fact that you are all here makes me want to cry." After her name-checking the former and elected officials in the crowd- and remarking that Steve March was the first person who suggested she run for mayor- Eileen described how her campaign has developed in the months since her announcement. "When we announced our candidacy in June, we thought it would be a quiet campaign. It has been anything but. We have gained so much momentum that it has been described to me as the March before the May primary- it has been so intense and there has been so much interest in this campaign!"
Eileen continued to describe what she envisioned is at stake in this current election: "At this moment, I am so very hopeful for the future of Portland. There might be two or three City Council seats flipping over, and that's including the mayor. We really have the opportunity to do something significant here- the last time such a number of seats could changed along with the mayor was back in 1947!"
"My main focus is going to be turning around the local economy," continued Brady, summarizing her agenda. "Improving the economy is number one. There is this belief that Portland is a great place to live- but its a tough place to find a job. We can't have a great city without a vibrant economy. In fact, it is essential that a progressive city has a vibrant economy. Think of all of the world's great cities- they all have a great culture, parks, neighborhoods you can get lost in. Right now, Portland is a good city. It needs to be a great one. And this will only happen with a strong economic engine and strong leadership to make that happen!"
Eileen described the support her campaign received: "Our message is resonating, and we are building a bridge to Portland's future. Right now we have 700 donors. The record number of donors for a mayoral candidate is Tom Potter, who had 1300. We are going to break through Potter's record!" Brady also gave shout-out to her formidable volunteer support, pointing out that the 250 campaign volunteers make it possible to run an effective campaign, as the most item in short supply during a campaign is the candidate's time.
Eileen then- needlessly- handed the microphone to Bill Bradbury, the evening's host, who enthusiastically exclaimed: "I am so proud to be here tonight supporting the next mayor of Portland! This is certainly an exciting honor. I have known Eileen through issues relating to sustainability and her experience at Ecotrust, and I am positive she will make a commitment to sustainability here in Portland in a climate-friendly way!"
Throughout the evening, supporters of Eileen provided their reasons why they offered their support. Nancy Becker, a registered dietician who provides research and policy development at the Oregon Public Health Institute explained: "She is the one candidate with the experience and the insight to know how to get things on a big picture done. She is set to unveil her big jobs platform, and watch out, it's going to be very impressive!" "Handsome" Dave Hardesty provided his reasons for support: "Her message that a pro-economic and progressive ethic isn't mutually exclusive appeals to me."
In all, it was quite a bluesy and brewsey evening that a strong mayoral candidate was able to share with a large contingent of supports. With the presence of Bill Bradbury- who provided the Brady campaign wit ha coup of an endorsement- the evening should be considered a success by any measure.