Congressman Gerry Connolly recognizing the many elected officials that attended his St. Patrick's Day fete.
Photo by Terrance Moran/The Connection
For 20 years Gerry Connolly has hosted an annual St. Patrick’s Day event. What started in his home has now become one of the biggest fundraising events in Northern Virginia.
As John Wittman from Fairfax Station said, “Throw in some great Irish fare and I’m there!”
Volunteers helped serve food and beverages to over 1,100 elected officials, candidates and party faithful with traditional Irish fare of corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and salmon. Throw in cups of Harp beer and the mood was festive across the Kena Temple ballroom.
Each year Connolly conducts a Democratic presidential straw poll. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took 48 percent of the vote while former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb garnered 15 percent, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 10 percent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 7 percent, and Vice President Joe Biden and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, each with 6 percent.
Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Congressman Don Beyer, Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and dozens of state and local officeholders from across Northern Virginia joined Connolly on stage. In his remarks, Connolly recognized the array of elected officials and candidates and said they represented the strength of Democratic principles and values in the region. “I am proud of our values to offer opportunity to everyone. Let talent be the ceiling, not your gender, color of your skin, or sexual orientation”, said Rep. Connolly.
Dozens of volunteers planned the annual event, decorated the ballroom, and prepared and served. Some volunteers and attendees have participated in all 21 of Connolly's St. Patrick Day's events, held on what he jokingly calls his "holiest day of the year."