For the first time in their history, Connecticut Democrats have chosen a black woman to headline their annual Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner, the party’s signature fundraiser.
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who won a special election in April to replace the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr., has accepted an invitation to appear at the Sept. 28 event at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. Tickets to the dinner start at $175 per person.
Kelly’s appearance comes seven years after Barack Obama, then a U.S. senator from Illinois, headlined the dinner.
“While Robin may not be as well known as some of our keynote speakers, she certainly has an interesting story that will draw a lot of people,” state Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers.
The 57-year-old Harlem, N.Y., native has a background in psychology and crisis counseling. She served as Cook County’s Human Rights commissioner and in the Illinois House of Representatives before she was elected to Congress.
The Democrats typically hold their fundraising dinner in the spring, fueling speculation that they were having difficulty landing an A-list keynote speaker.
Past speakers have included Joe Biden, Gov. Dannel. P. Malloy and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
“We have been in transition with new staff,” DiNardo said of the delay.