CHESAPEAKE BAY, MD -- Last night, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) attended the Calvert County Democratic Central Committee's 19th annual Louis L. Goldstein Dinner. Congressman Hoyer introduced the dinner's keynote speaker, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and awarded the 2017 Louis L. Goldstein Award posthumously to Cliff Savoy. The award was accepted by Cliff's mother Ethal, and his wife Tyann. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery.
"Thank you, fellow Democrats – I’m so glad to be here with you tonight. I have the great honor of introducing tonight’s keynote speaker. But before I do, I want to say a few words about this moment in our history. The election of Donald Trump and his Republican allies threatens to set our country back a generation and undo so much of the progress we’ve achieved together during the last eight years – and more.
"Never have we seen a governing agenda so antithetical to our most fundamental values, not only as Democrats but as Americans. Their health care bill would throw up to 20 million Americans off their health coverage, gut Medicaid and threaten Medicare, and punish people for becoming sick. They’ve already rolled back dozens of Obama-era rules to protect workers, consumers, and the environment. And, on top of all this, an Administration that has been in office for fewer than sixty days has already become mired in a scandal over its ties to Russia and Russia’s interference in our election.
"And though we have seen the oath of office taken by a man deeply unfit to occupy it, we have also seen millions of Americans stand up the next day and march in cities across our region and across the country. Though we have watched Republicans in Congress work to dismantle our health care reforms and roll back progress for working Americans, we also are watching as tens of thousands have flooded town hall meetings to demand that Republicans in Congress do their job and not repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"We still haven't seen any coherent plan by Republicans to create jobs, raise wages, or help working families make it in America. But my Democratic colleagues in the Maryland Delegation and the House Democratic Caucus will continue to focus on this in the months ahead. We’re going to hold Donald Trump and Republicans accountable for their actions. We’re going to represent the voices of the plurality of Americans who voted against the Trump-Republican agenda that is so dangerous for our country and its future.
"There’s no presidential election in 2018. But every seat in the House and many important Democratic-held seats in the Senate will be up for election. And here in Maryland, we have an opportunity to defeat the Hogan ticket and win back the governorship so we can once again show the country how Democrats lead.
"We need to tap into our energy and our dissatisfaction with the way Donald Trump and Republicans are governing. We need to mobilize and harness the activism of the women’s march and the town hall meetings and the spontaneous airport rallies and transform it into a real grassroots movement to win and set our country back in the right direction. This work has already begun at the county level with Central Committees just like this one, and we’re counting on you to be the grassroots heroes of this new movement.
"The good news is, here in Maryland we’re already ahead, because we just elected an outstanding new United States Senator and two wonderful new Representatives to Congress. And it’s my great privilege today to introduce Senator Chris Van Hollen, with whom I served in the House for fourteen years. During that time, he was the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, our party’s point-man on fighting against republican attempts to slash funding for investments in job creation. And we worked hard here in the Fifth District to deliver a resounding win for him last year to be our next United States Senator, and he’s already hit the ground running in his new position.
"Please join me in welcoming Senator Chris Van Hollen."
"Congratulations, again, Chairman Brown – and thank you for your leadership. It is now my distinct honor to present tonight’s Louis L. Goldstein Award. It is with a heavy heart that we bestow this year’s award posthumously. Cliff Savoy was taken from us tragically in an accident a few months ago, a devastating loss for the community and for our party. He was more than an activist – Cliff was a true gentleman.
"A true union man throughout his life, he worked hard on behalf of his brothers and sisters in the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 100 and believed strongly in the power of organizing as a means to achieving better opportunities for working Marylanders. And his labor activism led him to become a leader of our party in the county, serving on the Central Committee and twice as its Chair. The impact of his service to the community was felt widely.
"In addition to his involvement with the Democratic Central Committee, Cliff served on the Maryland Property Tax Assessment Board, Concerned Black Men of Calvert County, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the AFL-CIO, and other organizations. It says a lot that he was an officer of the Optimists Club of Calvert County, which characterized him very well. Of course, with that organization, Cliff helped build and maintain recreational spaces for youth, organized scholarships, and served as a role model. Such was his commitment to building a stronger future for this community, for our state, and for our country.
"Cliff was a devoted husband to his wife of eighteen years, Tyann, and a loving father to his five children, Cliff, Riley, Danisha, Tameka, and Latashia. He found so much joy in his three grandchildren: Ryleigh, Trevon, and Amari.
"Though he was taken so young, his years on earth were filled with contribution, experience, and love. And in recognition of his life and of his powerful legacy of service and activism, it is now my honor to invite his mother, Ms. Ethel Savoy, and his wife, Tyann Savoy, to accept this year’s Louis L. Goldstein Award on Cliff’s behalf."