2000-01-15 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Vice President Al Gore thanked Dr. Geraldine Chapey and her club
members for collecting the highest number of signatures on his presidential petitions in the 23 A.D. The petitions were collected by the members of the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways, where Sharon Gabriel serves as the president, and the South Side Democratic Club, where Connie Grabowski is
the president. Sharon Gabriel and Connie Grabowski are energetic women who provide dynamic leadership to their clubs. Each one believes that we must be active and informed in order to make a difference in our communities.

The petition process is a very arduous one. It requires that the witness
go from house to house, from apartment to apartment or from friend to
friend to collect the names of registered Democrats who are supporting Al Gore.

Al Gore noted that in New York State the Democrats had collected
over 100,000 signatures to support his candidacy whereas the Bradley people had only collected approximately 48,000 signatures state-wide on their petitions. This type of overwhelming support from the grass roots people shows that Al Gore's message for Americans is one that they support.

Several weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet Tipper Gore - Al Gore's wife. We could easily relate to her. She told us that she appreciated our support. She noted that with our efforts and the backing of our friends
and neighbors, her husband would be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Three years ago, my mother and I went to lunch with Tipper Gore in
Washington, D.C. Diane Manton, our Democratic County leader's wife, invited us to join she and Tipper. At that time Tipper's main interest was
children. She stressed the importance of proper health care for infants
and toddlers. She emphasized the need for an excellent education. She was very concerned about proper nutrition. Tipper is a very engaging and vivacious woman who energizes those around her. You could feel from her
enthusiasm and her track record that she was successfully implementing her ideas. She is a strong and supportive wife and mother who has also dedicated her life to one of public service.

Another person who has dedicated himself to public service is Judge Alton Waldon, who has served as our state senator. On Sunday, we attended his swearing in ceremony at Sacred Heart Church. Al Waldon has served his community as an assemblyman, senator and congressman. The entire ceremony was really "This is your Life - Alton Waldon". Rev. Joseph Nolan, a spiritual advisor to Waldon gave the greeting and invocation. Rev. Dorothy Carrington Benjamin inspired us with a scripture reading. Malcolm Dunn, a family friend described Al's lineage and how he and Barbara began "the impossible dream". Evelyn Johnson, a friend of Alton's from PS 70, his elementary school, remembered that everyone in the neighborhood thought that Al was going to be the next Frank Sinatra because he had a magnificent
singing voice. James Ross recalled being sworn into the police department with Al Waldon. They eventually served as instructors in the police academy together. Steve Newman looked at Alton Waldon, the public servant. He felt that Al had achieved New York City's version of the triple crown by his serving in three outstanding legislative bodies-the assembly, the senate and the congress. Benjamin De Costa, Barbara Waldon's brother, took a personal look at Al Waldon - the man, the lawyer and the judge. He postulated that Al Waldon had succeeded for three reasons: 1. He worked hard, 2. He gave a lot and 3. He kept his word.

Justice Randolph Jackson invited the Waldon family to the platform and issued the oath of office. Justice Jackson observed that Al Waldon possessed all the qualities needed
for greatness 1. The wisdom of Solo mon, 2. The patience of Jacob and 3. The courage of David.

Best wishes to Barbara and Al Waldon as they embark on a new phase of their lives.



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