On Sat. Feb. 29, the University of Maine hosted the fifth bi-annual John F. Kennedy Recognition Dinner.
Every two years, UMaine hosts an awards dinner to honor former U.S. President Kennedy’s memory, as well as to recognize one of his final addresses which took place on Oct. 19, 1963, at UMaine, nearly a month before his assassination.
The UMaine College Democrats were in attendance, selling raffle tickets to raise funds for their club, as well as former elected officials and a large number of current running candidates.
The dinner was presented by the Penobscot County Democratic Committee. The Chair, Bev Uhlenhake of Brewer, was the primary organizer of the dinner and responsible for its success. The evening commenced with a welcome from Uhlenhake and an invocation by former member of the State of Maine Legislature, Rev. Frank Murray.
All of the money raised from the dinner goes directly to the Penobscot County Democratic Committee, which they proceed to donate toward those running for Maine elected offices and their campaigns.
“Tonight, we’re gonna celebrate doers,” Uhlenhake said at the start of the dinner.
The first award of the evening, the President John F. Kennedy Award, was presented to Gov. Janet Mills.
Maine’s Secretary of State Matt Dunlap introduced Mills and presented her the award. During her introduction, Dunlap spoke highly of Mills’ accomplishments thus far in her term as governor.
“Janet’s a lot more than her resume,” Dunlap noted in his presentation. Dunlap went on to passionately discuss the motivation that Mills shows for the work that she is doing in the state of Maine.
“She fights for people who don’t even know they’re worth fighting for,” Dunlap noted.
Mills graciously accepted her award and began her acceptance speech by emphasizing the recent changes made in her fourteen months in office. She explicitly stated her hard dedication toward improving Maine for the people.
“Because Democrats do care about every life,” Mills stated, as she promoted the continual fight for change by Democratic officials.
As a part of her acceptance speech, Mills stated her appreciation of President John F. Kennedy and referred to him as her favorite president. She quoted President Kennedy in her speech, stating, “The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.”
The second award of the evening, the Penobscot Award, was presented to the William and Mary Davis family. The Davis family is recognized in the state of Maine for their Democratic advocacy, and are well-known for their kind-hearted personalities. They were described as “[living] and [breathing] Democratic values.”
The final award presented was the William J. Sullivan Award, given to Aaron Frey. Frey is the current attorney general for the state of Maine. Emily Cain, former member of the Maine House of Representatives, introduced the award and welcomed Frey to the stage.
“Aaron is always on the right side of the law,” Cain noted, applauding the work that Frey has done as the Attorney General.
When accepting his award, Frey thanked Cain for recognizing his passionate work ethic on behalf of the state.
“I’m pleased I’ve been given the chance to represent Maine,” Frey said.
Alongside enforcing the law through serious regulation in the state of Maine, Frey wants to make sure that Maine is a welcoming place.
“I do what the trust has been put in me to do,” Frey stated as he finished his speech.
For more information on getting involved in Democratic events on campus, the UMaine College Democrats hold their meetings on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Lown Room of the Memorial Union or can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.