January 25, 2012
By, Michelle McCalope
Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. was the guest speaker at Baton Rouge Community College on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Ford’s appearance is part of the college’s Martin Luther King and Black History Month celebration.
Ford represented the 9th Congressional district in Tennesse, based in his hometown of Memphis from 1997 to 2007. He was elected to the position after his dad decided not to seek reelection.
He told students a story about when he was first elected. He was 26 years old and had just finished law school. For months, nobody asked him to speak at their events because they didn’t think he was qualified. He would find out what was happening in the area and just show up and shake hands.
Then one day a campaign staffer came to him with some good news. She had booked him as the guest speaker at 32 graduations. What he learned later was that the graduations were for kindergartners and elementary school children. He was disappointed, but he fulfilled his obligations. It turned out to be the best thing for his failing campaign.
“The least likely of events– speaking to kindergartners- turned out to be the most important thing I did in politics,” Ford said explaining that he earned praise from mothers and grandmothers and school staff for his graciousness. “I don’t think I would have won without them.”
During the program, he was presented a gift and afterwards took pictures with everyone during a VIP reception attended by student leaders, staff, and friends of BRCC.