“Get Out the Vote” fundraiser at the Governor’s Retreat

Dingmans Ferry. At a Delaware Valley Action fundraiser for progressive candidates, several candidates spoke and $18,306 was raised.

| 27 Sep 2022 | 12:07

Delaware Valley Action (DVA) held a fundraiser on September 18 to get out the vote at the Governor’s Retreat, an elusive stone cottage on sprawling wooded acreage overlooking a gurgling stream. Pennsylvania Governor Cameron Sproul had this house built in 1906. It is now owned by Lee and Sonda Miller.

Lee Miller said, “Over the years, we have hosted community events such as the Milford Enhancement Committee’s Welcome Party and the Black Bear Film Festival, but we have never hosted a political event. The political climate today compels all of us to do what we can to protect our democratic system.”

Miller and DVA did more than get out the vote. They got out the people, the food (prepared by sought-after chef Doug Cosh), the entertainment, local Democratic candidates Meg Rosenfeld, Jackie Baker, and Tarah Probst. Matt Cartwright was a surprise guest.

He said, “Listen to what the Republicans say. They mean it.”

Ed Gragert, the head of DVA attended virtually because of Covid, with people carrying his “talking head” on a laptop. Gragert says that DVA is inclusive and not Democratic or Republican, that its mission is to support progressive candidates. The candidates, however, were all Democrats.

The candidates talked about how they relate to the goals of the Party. Jackie Baker is running for State Senate in district 20. Meg Rosenfeld in running in District 139 for the Pennsylvania house (Mike Pfeiffer’s seat), and Tarah Probst is running in District 189 for the PA House (Rosemary Brown’s seat.)

Probst said, “Republicans are fighting to take away your right to the ballot, to take away your right to your own body. They are not taking care of real issues.”

Speakers Erica Manney, Karen Haycox, and Marilyn Vasta also addressed the crowd. Manney said, “It’s all on the line: reproductive rights, marriage equality, protections of LBGTQ, and the environment.” She admonished the audience, “Do not leave here without doing something.”

Karen Haycox said, “It’s important that we do more.” As a Canadian, who became an American citizen, she said, “I chose this country and I get to be more angry, more indignant. Aren’t you just livid about all that’s going on? They are coming for us!”

The entertainment added a light touch to the evening. First Leenya Rideout played guitar and sang. Then three artists were introduced, including Raul Melo, a Metropolitan Opera tenor who has performed demanding roles of Italian and French Opera across four continents. Melo’s friend, Metropolitan Opera soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs, joined him. Michael Recchiuti, conductor, pianist and accompanist, played keyboard as the others sang.

The fundraiser yielded about $15,000 for the evening, but then Sean Strub stepped into his community auctioneer role and auctioned off two items; one was a weekend at the award-winning cottage at the Governor’s Retreat­– complete with a tennis clinic/play on the court with Lee Miller. The second item auctioned off was a classic movie with commentary by John DiLeo and Italian delights for six at Raul Melo’s home-theater in Dingmans Ferry. The auction raised the total to $18,306.

Taylor James thanked the audience for coming and for getting ready to campaign for a win in November.

Republicans are fighting to take away your right to the ballot, to take away your right to your own body. They are not taking care of real issues. - Tara Probst