Although old hat in many localities, the political fund raising event for local office is a rarity on the Island, and nearly two hundred people attended the one held by Foster L. Silva on Labor Day at Chappaquiddick Beach Club.
The buffet dinner was held “in honor of the President of the United States” and to raise money for Mr. Silva’s campaign to seek the Democratic nomination for the county’s Representative in the General Court.
Mr. Silva had hoped that the President would be able to come over from Hyannis Port to attend, or failing that, the President’s brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, would represent him. However, none of the Kennedy clan made an appearance, Mr. Silva noting that the President had “a back ailment and an Asian problem, and that the Senator’s plans had been altered by the absorption of Congress in the Vietnam crises.
The Presidential yacht Honey Fitz arrived in Edgartown harbor on Sunday afternoon and anchored off the beach club. Mr. Silva was in contact with the Kennedys via the Falmouth marine operator, at which time he was told that it would be impossible for either the President or Senator to attend the dinner.
However, there was a telegram from the President himself and another from a Presidential assistant, designating the candidate as the official representative of the President. So it was Mr. Silva himself who received on behalf of the President a gift of two pieces of scrimshaw more than a century old from Clare Barnes Jr. of Chappaquiddick and another gift of an antique cranberry scoop from Manuel S. Duarte of Vineyard Haven.

Brief but Fiery Speech

Following a buffet dinner, which cost consumers $12.50 if they came singly and $20 if they came in pairs and which consisted of such comestibles as shrimp cocktail, chowder and lobster saute, there were several introductions and a brief but fiery speech by the candidate, in which he reiterated several of the points he made in his campaign declaration advertised in the Gazette last week.
He also answered several observations made about his candidacy that had come to his attention. As noted, in last Friday’s Gazette, Mr. Silva’s decision to run for office had come as a surprise to the town Democratic committee of Edgartown. Mr. Silva intimated that he had not consulted the local committee intentionally, in the belief that the Democratic party on the Island “needs to be changed.”
“With a Democratic legislature and in a Democratically controlled administration, Dukes County needs a strong Democratic voice in the House of Representatives, and with the help of progressive men like Lorenzo Jeffers who place the good of this community ahead of political allegiance, we will rebuild the Democratic party on the Island,” Mr. Silva said.
He counted his youthfulness (20 years old) as an advantage, and said that he was sufficiently mature mentally if not in years to know what he was doing.
Mr. Silva said that he understood that some people in town had said that he was “an idealistic dreamer.”
“These individuals dream only of building marinas, and while they think they length of their piers I can’t help but think of the length of the unemployment lines in the Island towns,” he said.
Mr. Silva was introduced by Skip Collison. Mr. Barnes and Mr. Duarte both spoke briefly; as did Lorenzo D. Jeffers of Mashpee, the president of the Federated Eastern Indian League. Orville Brown’s musical group provided music during the dinner and for dancing later.
Mr. Silva’s sister Joan was in charge of the guest book which had s its first signature that of the President.