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Napa Democrats, Redford to welcome Boxer Saturday

Napa Democrats, Redford to welcome Boxer Saturday

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A veritable who’s who of Napa Democrats will gather in St. Helena Saturday for a star-studded fundraiser to benefit Sen. Barbara Boxer in her re-election campaign against Republican candidate Carly Fiorina.

Democratic donors are shelling out between $250 and $2,400 for the sold-out event beginning at 4:30 p.m. at a private residence in St. Helena.

The wine country reception will feature party luminaries such as actor and Napa Valley resident Robert Redford, radio talk-show host Bill Press, former House majority leader Dick Gephardt, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Rep. Lynn Woolsey and former Sen. Art Torres.

Local party stalwarts include Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena; Napa County Supervisor Keith Caldwell; Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein; Napa City councilmen Peter Mott and Mark Van Gorder; and St. Helena City councilman Eric Sklar.

“Sen. Boxer enjoys visiting Napa and is proud to have so many supporters in the area,” said Rose Kapolczynski, Boxer’s campaign manager. “Over the years, she’s worked to secure millions in funding for flood control projects to protect Napa homes and businesses, and to address pests and disease that threaten the local agriculture industry.”

According to her campaign, Boxer has helped to secure more than $40 million for the Napa flood control project, as well as $50 million for Pierce’s Disease research and $87 million for the Napa River salt marsh restoration project.

In 2006, she worked with Thompson to enact the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act in 2006, which established 275,000 acres of wilderness in the Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests in Napa, Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties.

“Barbara has kept Napa in mind while she’s in D.C.,” said  Caldwell, who has worked with Boxer on Bay Area water legislation and who will attend the fundraiser Saturday night with his wife.

“And the fact that Robert Redford will be there (at the fundraiser) is a draw,” he quipped.

Political honchos aren’t the only ones making an appearance at the Boxer event. Wine industry notables on the guest list include Ambassador Kathryn Hall and Craig Hall, Shari and Garen Staglin, Nancy Andrus Duckhorn, Barbara and John Shafer and Delia Viader.

It isn’t all open arms for Boxer in Napa Valley this weekend, however.

The Napa tea party is hosting its own event to protest Boxer’s appearance and to support Fiorina for Senate.

Tea party Chairwoman Pam Silleman is encouraging members of both Napa and San Francisco Tea Parties to gather at Gott’s Roadside Tray Gourmet in St. Helena between at 3 p.m.

The group will then walk to the site of the fundraiser for its 4 p.m. start time, waving signs that riff off various Redford movie themes.

“Think of some of his movies and characters and go for it,” Silleman wrote in an e-mail blast to tea party members Friday.

Silleman suggests slogans such as “Babs Boxer and the Sundance Kid — Please, ride off into the sunset already,” “Bad Laws Keep Falling on My Head,” “The Way We Were … Before Boxer” and “The Sting of Defeat, 11-02-10.”

Doris Gentry, the Republican candidate for the local Assembly seat and an active member of the local tea party, is also calling on Boxer’s critics to demonstrate their opposition Saturday.

“It is an American right to march and protest in a respectful way against policies and principles and people that we disagree with,” Gentry said. “This is protesting the continued decline of America with the tax and spend policies.”

Fiorina made her own Napa Valley appearance in recent weeks at a June Republican Party fundraiser at the posh Meadowood Napa Valley Resort in St. Helena. The exclusive three-day event featured Republican leaders such as Fiorina, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

Tickets to the Republican Party fundraiser went for $60,800 per couple.

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