By Tra'Von Williams and Tyana Talley
NEWPORT NEWS – Congressman Bobby Scott hosted his 39th Annual Labor Day Picnic at his family home here. Democrats from across the state had the chance to gather for food, family, friends and politicking.
"We first had one in 1977 when I ran for the House of Delegates," said the U.S Representative from the 3rd Congressional District. "I had just won the primary, and we had a thank you for our volunteers and we never stopped having it after 39 years."
About an hour into the event, approximately 200 community people filled the backyard of Scott's Shore Drive home. Several tents across the backyard were set up with cold drinks, grilled meats and a registration table.
Virginia native John Lash said he has attended Scott's picnics since he was in college decades ago: "Everybody is very approachable and you can mingle amongst people. You can talk to them, tell them your ideas and have a good time too."
The picnic gave the community and local politicians the opportunity to come together for a festive time before elections. This once-a-year event gave politicians room to share their platforms and discuss everyday concerns in Virginia.
Newport News Vice Mayor Robert S. Coleman said he has attended this yearly event for 15 years: "This is the unofficial start of the campaign season. Everybody who is in politics in the Hampton Roads area will be at this picnic most of the time and everybody who is running for office."
The writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.