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Politics and barbecue mix at North Las Vegas event

Updated July 13, 2019 - 11:56 pm

Several hundred people braved scorching temperatures in North Las Vegas on Saturday for an afternoon barbecue offering free food, music and civic engagement.

The event at Craig Ranch Regional Park was organized by Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, whose district includes the park. More than a dozen legislators and politicians joined Monroe-Moreno to hand out free food to the crowd.

“I came from a community where everyone knew each other,” Monroe-Moreno said. “When I moved here, I found that people had to be introduced. This is a way to come meet your neighbors, but also be educated voters.”

Representatives from many of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns were also on hand, wielding clipboards in temperatures that approached 110 degrees in an attempt to recruit residents to caucus for their particular candidate. Several community organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Emerge Nevada also set up informational booths.

Picnic tables filled quickly as attendees filled their plates with ribs and hot dogs, served by the legislators, who worked the line in shifts. A DJ blasted music, which gave residents an opportunity for unique interactions with their elected officials, such as dancing the “Cupid Shuffle” with Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford.

“This is my gift to my community,” Monroe-Moreno said. “Everything’s free. The only requirement is that you dance with me.”

Michael Franklin and his two sons live right around the corner from the park. He said he wanted a chance to hear from the volunteers with each presidential candidate, adding that he had had “some really great interactions” with those he had spoken with.

“I wish more of the community had come out to be a part of this,” Franklin said.

Virginia Johnson said she also came to the event to learn more about the presidential candidates, as well as the upcoming legislative session. With more than 20 Democrats running for president, she added, she’s still waiting for one candidate to win her over.

“I loved (Vermont Sen.) Bernie (Sanders) last year, but I think he’s too old this time around,” she said. “I also love (former Vice President Joe) Biden, but he’s also too old.”

Monroe-Moreno began holding the annual barbecues five years ago. Twenty-seven people showed up to the first one, she said, but last year’s event drew 300 people. She estimated more than 300 attended Saturday.

She admitted, however, that the heat was perhaps a little difficult for people to bear.

“I think we’re gonna move it to September,” she said with a smile.

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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