Shaking Hands and Lifting Boats

Shaking Hands and Lifting Boats

US Labor Secretary Tom Perez delivered the keynote address at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, hosted by The Marriott in Richmond, Virginia, on June 18, 2016.

Photo: NBC12.


Cars & Bars is a storytelling series compiling specific moments, mundane and exotic, from my work as a valet and bartender.


The other night, I pushed a mobile bar with a faux granite top into a dimly lit corner in the grand ballroom of The Marriott in Richmond, Virginia. Yeah.

Highlighting the State Convention of the Democratic Party of Virginia, the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner featured the usual suspects: partisan faithful whipping themselves into a political frenzy (especially at the prospect of facing this guy in the general election) and large-scale banquet food that can make cheap red wines and industrial lagers seem unusually tasty.

Every pep rally, of course, needs a vivacious set of cheerleaders. By cheerleaders, I mean bartenders. But also speech-givers. And, as it turns out, this moment behind the bar made me privy to numerous feats of oratory from Democratic leaders like US Sen. Mark Warner and Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

But on this night no one brought the political fire and ire—especially in quotable form—like US Labor Secretary Tom Perez, the keynote speech-giver. For instance, among his most salient zingers was this alliterative jab at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee: "He peddles prejudice as patriotism."

(The disturbing social and political reality in America is, so many people are buying it.)

However, for me, Perez's best zinger actually channeled Ronald Reagan and macroeconomics, rising tides and boats, and inequality:

The rising tide needs to lift all boats—not just the yachts.


The Standoff

The Standoff

No Request Is Too Small

No Request Is Too Small