Thomas Jefferson WhiteHouse.gov
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson WhiteHouse.gov

The Connecticut Democratic Party will find a new name this fall for its big annual fundraiser, and it no longer will include the names of former presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.

The Democratic State Central Committee voted unanimously Wednesday night to drop the names of both presidents – who owned slaves – from the name of the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner, state party spokesman Leigh Appleby said Thursday.

The annual summer fundraiser, which celebrated its 67th year last month, also includes the name of former state and national Democratic chairman John Bailey.

“As members of the Democratic Party, we are proud of our history as the party of inclusion,” the committee wrote in the resolution it adopted Wednesday. “Democrats have led the way on civil rights, LGBT (lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender) equality, and equal rights for women.”

The committee’s vote comes shortly after South Carolina state legislators made national headlines by voting to stop flying the Confederate flag at their Capitol.

Andrew Jackson WhiteHouse.gov

“Now more than ever, a substantive commitment to diversity, inclusion and shared prosperity are the very hallmarks of our democracy, and in particular our Connecticut Democratic Party,” the committee’s resolution added. “And it is only fitting that the name of the party’s most visible annual event reflects our dedication to diversity and forward-looking vision.”

Appleby added that the name change “is not intended to be an indictment of Jefferson’s legacy, “but rather to find a name that best reflects the state party’s core values.

Democratic State Chairman Nick Balletto asked committee members to discuss new name options with local party members this summer, Appleby added, with the goal of selecting a new name in the fall.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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