|Steve Bennett Kicks Off the Evening|
By the end of the evening a standing room only crowd of nearly 150 was in attendance. After roughly 20 minutes of opening remarks, Coakley began taking questions. Energy was still high and the questions were flowing over 90 minutes into the evening.
|Vince Coakley Takes Questions|
Mixing in repeated references to his strong faith and sense patriotism, Coakley covered a lot of ground. Topics ranged from the need for better candidates and more educated voters - punchlined with the statement "we have the government we deserve" - to the media and its lack of integrity in covering stories - "national news is driven by ideology...local news is driven by tyranny of the urgent".
One of the best lines of the night was his encouragement to the audience to set a good example. "If people don't see the genuine next to the counterfeit, how are they going to know what is counterfeit?" he asked the crowd.
The highlight of the Q and A session came with a standing ovation for a returned army veteran who made a poignant statement about fighting for liberty only to return to a country that's losing it - referencing the Patriot Act and the NDAA.
As a group SUNC proved tonight that it's a place to be seen for politicians on the campaign trail. In addition to several candidates for Iredell BOCC and other State-level races, no less than 7 candidates for US Congress showed up this evening or sent their surrogates. At least 6 of the eleven Republican candidates for NC-9 were represented as well as Republican Jack Brosch who is running in NC-12.
It was a great event and very encouraging to see such enthusiasm. This election season is going to be a long one and candidates, volunteers. and voters are going to need it.