Thursday, October 18, 2007

Senator Fred Smith Visits
Pitt County On BBQ Tour

Tuesday night the Senator Fred Smith 100 County BBQ Tour came to Pitt County. Fred Smith is a candidate for Governor of North Carolina and is using this tour to get out and talk with people all over our state. This event was held at J. H. Rose High School on Arlington Blvd. in Greenville.

Bill Fields (standing on left in photo above) and DeVan Barbour (seated) register some early arrivals from the Kappa Alpha fraternity at ECU who came out to hear Fred Smith this night.

The crowd grew quite quickly as they started to fill up the facility.

Fred arrived from an earlier fund raiser at Wayne Holloman's and spent some time talking with people and signing his autobiography, "A Little Extra Effort".

One highlight of this night was Stephen Roebuck (shown on right above) bringing an old year book from the Methodist Orphanage where he and Fred grew up. Stephen is one of the boys from the orphanage that Fred talks about in his story on his parents. Stephen said he remembered Fred though ". . . he was pretty young then . . . ", but was really fond of "Mr. Smith", Fred's father, who he admired greatly.

Kim Hendrix (shown below), Chairman of the Pitt County Republican Party opened the event, and gave welcoming comments to the crowd as master of ceremonies.

Kate Cannon (shown below) gave the invocation and blessed the food.

Lindsey Cannon (shown below on right) led the crowd in the "Pledge of Allegiance". (Not picking on Lindsey but he seemed a little uncertain about which hand to hold the mic in and he finally just placed his left hand over his heart.)

Deidre Jersey (shown below) then led the crowd in singing the National Anthem.

One last act before we ate this night was to introduce Ginny Smith (shown below) to the audience. Ginny is a "local" since ECU is where she got her degree, and she said she couldn't miss the Pitt County BBQ. She still loves Greenville.

One of the more amusing aspects of recent BBQs has been the proof that Democrats are getting scared of Fred's momentum. Tonight's Democrat spy (shown below) showed up to video tape the event. He had a name tag that claimed he was Paul Smith. I could not help but wonder if it was his real name. Other than trying to push in front of other photographers he was not completely rude. When I found out who he was I asked one of Fred's staff if they wanted me to ask him to leave and they just laughed and said no. They said "Fred doesn't care. He isn't going to say anything different because they are here!"

Fred (below) waits patiently to be introduced.

Todd Siebels (shown below), former candidate for Congress and a long time friend, introduced Fred this evening.

Fred gave his comments with his usual sincerity and consistency. After watching more than a dozen, the speech is very familiar and I could use my comments from earlier BBQs stories. Instead I am going to share the comments from a local reporter instead.

The local newspaper, "The Daily Reflector" covered the event and summed up Fred's speech with these comments:

North Carolina citizens are disillusioned with the Democrat-dominated government in Raleigh, Smith said. He offered policy prescriptions on a range of issues: a $2 billion highway construction bond, repayable with money currently transferred out of the state's highway trust fund; wider empowerment of local police agencies to enforce immigration laws; and a constitutional amendment limiting a government's ability to take private property to boost economic development. Smith said one of his top priorities as governor would be to strengthen the state's laws against child sexual abuse.

The net effect of those and some government-shrinking measures would be to build a state government that reflects its constituents' values, Smith said.

Always interesting to get someone else's take on something I have covered. Read the entire article about Fred's day by clicking here.

The crowd (shown above from both ends) this night was over a hundred people, good turnout.

Fred's wife Ginny Smith (shown above) sang "God Bless America" to close the event. Ginny has a great voice. I also like to remind people that she was last year's "Woman of the Year" for North Carolina.

The usual aftermath to the event was Fred taking time to talk with everyone who wants to meet him face to face. He signs copies of his autobiography for anyone who wants that as well. It is really interesting to see people wait patiently to meet this man and get a chance to talk with him. Fred always stays as long as people want to see him. Before I took the picture above, several people have already spent time with Fred and left. The line is still pretty long as I headed out to get back to Colerain.


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