Noted American statesman Ben Franklin stopped by to give a short speech before County Board member Libby Garvey’s swearing-in ceremony on Friday evening.
Garvey, who was elected to her first full term on the Board in November, invited Franklin to the ceremony. Franklin, played by Arlington resident Barry Stevens, was modest about his presence at the event but spoke in grand terms about the ceremony itself.
“It is my great pleasure to be here this afternoon,” he said. “Actually, at my age, it’s a great pleasure to be anywhere.”
“Today we recognize a commitment by a local citizen to serve in our government [and] celebrate the voice of an electorate in bringing this citizen into public office,” Franklin continued. “And so today we consummate our republic and our democratic process.”
Garvey spoke after Franklin and noted that she and President Barack Obama, who also was re-elected in November, could never have been elected in Franklin’s time, since women and African Americans were not allowed to vote or run for public office in the U.S.
“We as a nation have come very, very far in a few hundred years,” she said.