By BOB GIBBINS
Cherokee County Democrats turned out in strong numbers Thursday evening to hear from an investment planner about his U.S. Senate campaign, and also to remember a 10-year local lawmaker who died last week after an extended illness.
Democrats from across the county gathered at the Tahlequah Community Building for the party’s annual fall roundup. Retired State Sen. Herb Rozell paid a special tribute to the late Bob Ed Culver, who served as state representative for District 4 from 1990-2000.
“He was a friend to everyone,” Rozell said of his legislative colleague, “He could walk into a room and know everyone’s name before he left.”
Culver was a man who worked “real hard” and returned phone calls. Rozell said Culver was good to work with. He said, after Culver left the legislature in 2000, lawmakers would still ask about him.
“They’d say, ‘How’s Bob Ed?’” Rozell told the crowd. “Nobody knew his last name was Culver. They just knew him as Bob Ed.”
Rozell said Culver was known as being “quick-witted” and could come up with a good answer on the spur of the moment. He recalled spending time on the campaign trail with Culver, riding in parades with Culver on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and Rozell in a side trailer.
He said Culver will long be remembered as someone who worked for his community long before he was elected to the legislature and he [Culver] was someone who loved working for the people.
“He was one of the best fellas I ever worked with,” Rozell told the audience. “I’m sorry his health deserted him later in life. I love him and I loved working with him. He will never be forgotten.”
Matt Silverstein, an investment planner who will seek the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate, told the crowd that families in Oklahoma are suffering.
“The poor have never been poorer,” he said. “And, the rich have never been richer.”
Silverstein, a lifelong Oklahoman and Democrat, said he has a unique heritage with his father being a Polish Jew and his maternal grandmother being a full-blood Choctaw Native American.
“Hard work should be rewarded,” he said. “Hard work and success have never been so far apart.”
He said he will stand up for women, working families and other neglected groups. Silverstein said the U.S. Senate election can be a very simple choice and urged those at the roundup to become involved by telling friends and families about him and his campaign. He also said the campaign is on social media such as Facebook and is preparing to launch a new website.
“We’ve got a term limit right here in this room,” he said. “It’s called an election.”
Local Democrats also bid on a President John F. Kennedy tapestry and several potted plants during an auction to raise funds for the party.
Hestin Lamons, 18, and Celeste Looney, 92, were recognized as being the youngest and oldest registered Democrats in the room. Other honors went to Sheriff Norman Fisher and his administrative assistant, Lesa (Rousey) Daniels for being the best western-dressed man and woman in the audience.