Partying with the Democrats: My experience at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

Noah-Katy_socialThe Jefferson-Jackson Dinner was a star-studded event held by the Iowa Democratic Party on Oct. 24 to introduce candidates for the upcoming election cycles.

This year was no different when it came to celebrity attendance. Aside from the three Democrats left in the 2016 presidential race, the event was also attended by former President Bill Clinton and Grammy-nominated singer Katy Perry.

This event was also special for me because, as this being my first election, I wanted to see the people running for president up close and personal.

Since I volunteer for the Clinton campaign, I got to go to the dinner for free, but the campaign also surprised me the day before the dinner.

When I was in line getting lunch, my volunteer coordinator called me and told me that she entered my name into a raffle and I won! So the next day at a rally before the dinner, I got to meet Katy Perry.

When I met Katy, I was surprised by how nice she was in person. While I was talking with Katy, the campaign asked if they could take a photo with us together and put it on Hillary Clinton’s and Katy Perry’s Instagram.

The 42nd President and II accepted the offer and they took the picture (which was a semi-decent photo I may add) and put it on their Instagrams. Since the event, the photo currently has about 27,000 likes on Hillary Clinton’s Instagram and about 414,000 likes on Katy Perry’s Instagram.

Following the meeting, I attended the rally where I watched Katy Perry perform and heard my political hero Bill Clinton speak.

It was a nice event and a great time, except for when an animal rights activist heckled President Clinton.

Following the rally, we then marched to Vets auditorium where the dinner was held. Before the dinner, we all were engaging in a cheer war against the Bernie and O’Malley supporters. We won mainly due to the fact the campaign coordinators helped organize the cheering well, and also because we had two and a half bleachers filled with supporters.

The event then started and lasted about two to three hours and the candidates for the House and Senate 2016 race were introduced. The lone Democrat representing Iowa in Congress, Dave Loebsack, had the best quote of the night when referencing the lack of Democrats representing Iowa in the US House and Senate, “Please send me help.”

Following the introduction of the Congress candidates, every presidential candidate briefly spoke on their platforms.

Then at the end of the dinner, all the candidates went away to visit with their families and their supporters and this was probably the best part.

I had a great time following the dinner. I managed to shake hands with Bernie Sanders, but I was surprised by how little he spoke with his supporters or really anyone for that matter.

When Hillary passed through, we were going wild. I saw someone managed to stop her in time to sign their copy of her book “Hard Choices,” which was wonderful that she would do that. Then after she went down the line, President Clinton also passed by and I shook his hand, but if you’re me shaking a famous person’s hand you admire isn’t enough.

Bill was about to leave and I really wanted a picture with him so I quickly said, “Can I get a photo with you, Mr. President?”

President Clinton then turned around and said, “What?”

I then restated the question and he responded, “Oh yeah, sure, come over (here).”

So I walked past security and got a photo with him and I had a bit of a conversation with him, telling him he’s one of my political heroes and I have a great admiration for everything he’s done for charity.

After the photo patted me on the shoulder and left the building. Following this, I was nearly in tears because of how awesome it was and I had met my hero.

Overall, I thought the JJ dinner was a real party. Though I wouldn’t normally pay $50 to go to the dinner, I think it’s great the Clinton camp let me go for free.

I also want to thank President Clinton for the photo and just everyone I met for being so chill.

I can’t wait to hear about next year’s dinner and find out what they change the name of the event to. I hope they don’t change much besides the name, because it was a great way for me, a first time voter, to see all the candidates running for office next year in 2016.

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