It was an event studded with some of Nevada’s brightest political figures at the Democratic Party of Washoe County’s annual Virginia Demmler Honor Roll Dinner and fundraiser at the Reno Ballroom last night, where Washoe Dems honored three community leaders for their exemplary work on behalf of the Democratic party. The 2018 Virginia Demmler honorees were Nevada State Senator Julia Ratti, Democratic Party of Washoe County Secretary and community advocate Dean Schermerhorn, and Northern Nevada Central Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer, Building Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada Business Representative, and SMART Local 26 President Robert Benner.
Washoe Dems: “As a pillar in the labor community, Benner is heavily involved with several unions. Additionally, he is incredibly involved with the Democratic Party of Washoe County. Specifically he is the Chair of the Business Policy, Employee Rights, Economic Policy, Pay Equity, and Retirement Security committee.”
Benner and his fellow honorees were welcomed by Nevada gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, and Congresswoman and candidate for U.S. Senate Jacky Rosen. Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro was the event’s keynote.
Benner used the spotlight to outline a brief modern history of labor in the U.S. and the wax-and-wane cycle of workers rights, ever-subject to current political climates, and to drive home the message that our country was founded on the principle that government—like unions—should be of the people, for the people, and by the people:
“We have forgotten where we came from and how we got here. We need to pick up where we left off: to elect people that are going to fight for workers, fight for small business, and fight for the middle class. We need to make it easier for workers to organize, unite, and move this country in the right direction—the direction of representation for all, the direction of prosperity for all, the direction of democracy for all.”
The Virginia Demmler Honor Roll Dinner honors those whose service to the Democratic party and community honors that of the former Virginia Demmler, a lifelong activist whose work was instrumental to the success of the Democratic Party of Washoe County, where she served as chair and executive director.