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Surprise Liveblog: “The Junior State of America”

UPDATE:  First, I'm moving this back up to the top to make the updates more prominent.  Second, I apologize for cutting this short last night.  There were some technical difficulties and some access issues.  While I wanted to try and get some interviews, it just didn't happen for a couple of reasons.  Reasons that were partially under my control.  And I may have gotten a little terse in one of my comments which was uncalled for and unprofessional but the old saying about “three fingers pointing back at yourself” is true.  I also need to remember that this event was not for me, but for the Junior Statesmen, high-school student learning and participating in our democracy. So again, my apologies.  However, I have a little more background information on those who spoke to post along with some pictures after the jump.


7:30 PM Good evening all, I'm coming at you live from the Luxurious Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC for one of the inaugural kickoff parties, “The Junior State of America” put on by the Junior Statesmen Foundation and sponsored by POLITICO and Facebook.


More after the jump. 

7:55 PM: Mr. Norman Mineta, Former Secretary of Transportation from 2001-2006 is addressing the crowd.  They've run through speakers rather quickly.  Unfortunately while I was granted press credentials I'm not actually close enough to hear most of the speeches.  Most speakers are speaking off-the-cuff, giving praise to Facebook and POLITICO.  I'm actually seated next to a Washington Times reporter.

8:08 PM:  Jay Maguire, of Maguire Strategies a Texas Statehouse lobbyist, National Chairman of the 75th Anniversary Committee for JSA, and friend of The Blend (and my personal friend) is speaking and working up the crowd.

8:11 PM: The last speaker Mr. David Viotti, CEO of the JSF is up and food will be on soon.  I'll be back soon with more updates and possibly a few interviews and pictures.

UPDATE: So here's some pictures first.

Jay Maguire (left) Atul Saran (right)

Christy Fortin (left) Jay Maguire (right)

The spread 

Barack singing 


A little camera fun with our new President.

Now for a little meat.

The list of speakers and a surprise speaker.  Mike Allen, the chief political correspondent for POLITICO, Chris Kelly, the Chief of Privacy Officer and head of Global Public Policy for Facebook, Michael McCurry, Former White House Press Secretary under Bill Clinton spoke for the Junior Statesmen Foundation, Mr. Norman Mineta the former Secretary of Transportation under G.W. Bush, Representative Speier, (12th District, California where the JSF is headquartered) and David Viotti, CEO of the Junior Statesmen Foundation.

Finally, the surprise speaker of the evening was Robert Gibbs, the incoming White House Press Secretary and the man who gave the one word answer to the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” question of repeal “Yes.”  Press Secretary Designate Gibbs spoke on the incredible amount of youth activism in this last election both on the Republican and the Democratic sides of the aisle.

The Junior Statesmen Foundation has been around for 75 years and does wonderful work.  They've mentored over 500,000 student leaders to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be active, informed and responsible citizens.

I had a lot of fun at this dinner.  I got to meet Joe Tresh, official photographer of the event, also a friend of The Blend, and the person who shot this photo that ran on the front page of the Washington Post,


Thanks everyone for reading. 

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