Monday, April 3, 2017

Getting Political & Hopeful--I'm Ready

“I’ve never been very political,” said one woman nervously as she waited to shake Gretchen Whitmer’s hand. “But this is so exciting.” After shaking hands, she and her friend laughed and posed for a picture with the woman they hope will be the next governor of Michigan.

This scene repeated itself over and over after Gretchen Whitmer spoke to a crowd of 150 at Rivercrest Banquet Hall in Rochester Hills. It was the annual Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner hosted by the Women’s Democratic Club of Greater Rochester.

It is an annual event, but this year was different. This year the event sold out for the first time. This year people that had never considered themselves political showed up eager to learn, support and get involved.

Diane Young, from the clubkicked off the event welcoming everyone and immediately inviting them to run for office locally. “We need people to step up to the plate and run for office,” she said.

During dinner people got to know each other by sharing stories about their kids and their jobs. They also shared stories about how they reacted right after the election. They bonded over how anxious they feel everyday watching the news out of Washington, but agreed that events like this one with so many people showing up wanting to take action gave them hope.

Gretchen Whitmer echoed those sentiments when she got to the podium. She said after the election she decided to turn her tears into determination to fight back. She decided to run for governor of the state of Michigan. Whitmer is now traveling to events all over the state.

People are turning out in bigger numbers than ever in all 83 counties of Michigan, she told the crowd packed into the room at Rivercrest. “Perhaps in a world that you don’t even want to turn away from CNN because you’ll miss the next bad thing to happen, this is maybe a wonderful silver lining,” she said. “Something that we need to hold onto and encourage and foster and channel as we go into a much longer campaign ahead of us. This 2018 election is a fantastic opportunity for us to show the state and the nation what real leadership that puts people first looks like.”

Whitmer told the crowd about her experiences serving in the state legislature for 14 years, six years in the House and eight years in the State Senate. About getting her “teeth kicked in” and about the time she looked around and realized there were more men named John in the state Senate than there were women [4 out of 38 were women].  She talked about the importance of representation and real connection, quality education, and respect and trust.

She was real, passionate, energetic and had everyone applauding and on their feet giving her a standing ovation. Whitmer connected with the women, and men, in the room. She related with their anxiety and also their urgency to see real progressive change. “We don’t just want to win an election,” she told the crowd. “We want to govern and help people.”

During a question and answer session at the end of the night, someone mentioned that it was going to be a tough fight. “I’m ready,” she said, her face lighting up with a big smile. “I can’t wait.” 

It looks like Whitmer gained quite a few supporters at the event, if the line to shake her hand after is any indication. People here in the greater Rochester area are ready too.

I'm ready too!

The  Women’s Democratic Club of Rochester is a group of progressive women who are dedicated to healthy discussions of important political issues that face our community. They meet throughout the year at various restaurants and invite a variety of speakers. For more information about the club go to For more information about Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign go to

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