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McLean County Democrats host Obama Legacy Dinner at ISU

Written by on November 17, 2023

Image Courtesy of McLean County Democrats

NORMAL, Ill. – The McLean County Democrats held their annual Obama Legacy Dinner last Friday, Nov. 10, in the Brown Ballroom of Illinois State University.

The event is centered around raising funds for two scholarships for students in the local area. The Obama Legacy scholarship is awarded to one Heartland Community student who is or was serving in the U.S. military. The other, the Baldini scholarship, is awarded to two ISU students with “proven community engagement.” The scholarship is named for John Baldini, former chair of the McLean County Democratic Party.

According to current Chair of the McLean County Democratic Party Patrick Cortesi, the dinner’s primary purpose is to create and give out these scholarships to local students who engage themselves in the community and who need support.

“We want to make sure that people going to school here in McLean county, either at Illinois State University or at Heartland College, that might be needing a little more help to do so have a chance to do that,” Cortesi said.

One of the most notable features of the dinner this year was the presence of Anderson Clayton, the Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party and the youngest leader of a state political party in the nation. Clayton is only 25 years old, not too much older than the average college student. According to Cortesi, the goal of inviting Clayton was to have her bring focus to issues that are important to the student population.

“When students are engaged, when they’re involved in the political process, good things happen,” Cortesi said. “Your voice gets heard, and that’s something that’s really needed in our community.”

The political engagement of local students is something the party is very interested in. The dinner and scholarships themselves are partially to encourage community engagement, but it also goes further than that for Cortesi.

“We democrats really value and recognize the input and the contributions of the student population and we want to make sure that your voices are heard,” Cortesti said. “And this is one way we can do that.”

Other notable guests of the event included Congressmen Eric Sorenson, Illinois Senator Dave Koehler and Chair of the Illinois Democratic Party Elizabeth Hernandez.