Hopps Memorial pastor Rev. Kevin Agee led the invocation. David Rufus (AN member) started things off introducing State Senator David Valesky, who recognized retiring Assemblywoman Joan Christensen.
"I'll miss your wisdom," he said.
He then introduced the State Democratic Conference Leader, John L. Sampson, who is from Brooklyn. There was also an insinuation that the big game had enhanced his arrival to AN's annual event.
"We asked John Sampson to lead us when we needed to go in a different direction, and in six or seven months he has led the senate with courage and humility," Valesky said.
Valesky cited the efforts led by Sampson as Green Jobs, ethics reforms, reform of the Rockefeller drug laws, Power for Jobs programs, closing last years budget deficit, the New York First Bill, garnering $15,000,000 in stimulus money to create jobs and currently in the process of revamping the Empire Zones.
Sampson said that people forget that we (the Democrat controlled legislature) inherited this mess.
"We are nowhere near done," he said. "(The task is) Not to talk about jobs but to create jobs."
He said he understood that his job was to consider upstate as much as downstate and that people want action not words. He also said that Governor David Paterson deserved credit that New York did not go the way of California.
"Thanks to the Alliance, (there is) a voice for the voiceless and opportunity for those who didn't have opportunity," Sampson said.
Vincent Love and Jaqueline Bean presented the awards:
Clarence Dunham Award for outstanding civic leadership: Duane Owen, Juneteenth Festival Board President.
"Each one teach one," Owens said.
Paulette Johnson Award for outstanding commitment to education: Monique Wright-Williams, SCSC Board of Education
"I don't stand alone, I have some pretty big shoes to fill, but I am up to the challenge," Wright-Williams said. "My intention is to follow in the steps of Miss Johnson to make sure we get our due; this is a right, not a gift."