Wednesday, June 09, 2010

“Tornado” Kelly’s Kick-off

By Marc Korman.

With a tornado watch looming over Montgomery County and the 16th District, Ariana Kelly gathered with friends, family, and supporters to kick off her campaign.

“Tornado” Kelly’s kick-off took place at her campaign headquarters and home in Bethesda. But do not be fooled by her campaign being run out of her basement, this is a professional operation. The campaign was already equipped with stickers, t-shirts, and literature with the Apple Ballot logo displayed. Kelly’s campaign manager is Brian Young, who worked in Virginia in 2009 and for Obama in Pennsylvania in 2008. The candidate said she has almost $38,000 on hand thus far, including a loan to herself, with a total goal of $150,000 overall.

About thirty people gathered for the kick-off, which was also supposed to be the campaign’s first canvass tornadoes permitting (I’m told they were eventually able to start knocking on doors). Erin Schurmann, vice president of the Young Democrats of Maryland and a former employee of Kelly’s at NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, spoke on behalf of the candidate. Another speaker was a District 16 resident who got to know Kelly when she helped organize Terps for Choice at College Park. A NARAL board member also spoke for Kelly, not just touting her work there but also at MomsRising and promoting her as a woman candidate to help improve the representation of women in the House of Delegates.

Kelly herself began by answering the most important question for candidates, why are you running? She said, for her, it was about continuing the 12 years of public service she has pursued in her professional life. She emphasized that she was a native of District 16 but did not have many advantages growing up. The public schools and other public services were important to her. She expressed her gratitude to the Montgomery County Education Association for their support.

Kelly then touched on the environment, talking about the recent incremental progress for the Chesapeake Bay but the need to do far more. She also emphasized the need to do more on toxic chemicals, mentioning the recent BPA legislation in Maryland and calling for similar action going forward.

She closed by asking for donations and acknowledging that her campaign was a labor of love. Her campaign was ramping up from 0 to 60 in just three weeks and she wanted the help of all those in the room to win.

And with that, Ariana “Tornado” Kelly’s campaign was up and running, joining a blizzard of candidates in the District 16 race.

Full disclosure, I am a Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee member from District 16. I have not endorsed Ariana Kelly or any other challenger.