Townsend to attend NAACP forum

She will be first speaker, resolving time conflict

July 15, 2002|By Sarah Koenig | Sarah Koenig,SUN STAFF

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will attend a candidate forum Thursday sponsored by the Baltimore chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, an aide to her gubernatorial campaign said yesterday.

Last week Townsend's campaign said she might not be able to make it because of an earlier commitment to attend a fund-raiser at the same time in Prince George's County for state Sen. Gloria G. Lawlah, who represents a majority black district.

Townsend has been criticized recently by prominent African-Americans for not embracing their political concerns. Yesterday Townsend campaign spokesman Michael Morrill said Townsend will attend the NAACP forum and be the event's first speaker, permitting her to then go to Lawlah's event.

Townsend spent much of her day in Baltimore yesterday, where she held her annual birthday party at the zoo. About 7,600 people attended, Morrill said.

Townsend was introduced by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Baltimore, who urged the crowd to reject the politics of gubernatorial candidate Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Ehrlich, a Republican, has been actively courting black voters.

"Let's be very clear," Cummings said. "The Republican side is not an alternative for us."

Perhaps because it was Sunday, Townsend's remarks included several references to religion. "Let me just thank God for the rain and the sunshine," she said. Townsend then explained what she meant by "indispensable destiny," a catch phrase of her campaign. "I think we are put on earth for a purpose. God has a reason for each of us to be here," she said.

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