• WisPolitics

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

 9:46 AM 

Delegate Diary: The excitement is growing

Day two of the DNC is in the books, and its hot in Philadelphia -- both in temperature and in terms of excitement. Last night was a moving and touching time for the country and for the party.

It’s a short update this morning before heading out to Wisconsin’s delegation breakfast and a full day of meetings, before heading to the convention floor.

Unfortunately, yesterday I had to miss out on Wisconsin’s delegation breakfast to do a few radio interviews with networks across the state. Not only are people fired up here, but they are back home too, and it’s been great to share some of the experiences with others.

Each day various DNC caucuses and councils meet to discuss relevant issues, hear from speakers and more. I wish there were more hours in the day because we had some tremendous speakers yesterday, such as Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Bernie Sanders and more.

I’m an active member of the DNC LGBT Caucus and the chair of the DNC Youth Council. I spent some time at the LGBT Caucus meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center over lunch. We packed more than 600 people in to the room.

According to figures from the secretary’s office, we have the most LGBT delegates ever at this convention. I had the honor of introducing Baldwin to the crowd. She received a standing ovation. When I introduced her at the caucus in 2012, she was then just a member of the House, and now the LGBT community has someone like them in the U.S. Senate. The room was electric with energy. She lit up the room. She is a rock star out here.

I had to sneak out of that meeting a bit early to get over to the Youth Council meeting. It's a true honor to get to chair that body, a role I’ve had since 2008. We filled the house with hundreds of young Americans concerned about the direction of our country and who wanted to get involved with the Democratic Party.

We had some great speakers, including Amy Dacey, the DNC CEO; Congressman Swalwell, one of the youngest members of the House; and Illyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Each touched on how important the millennial vote is in this year’s election and talked about additional ways people can get involved in this campaign and this party.

I remember my first convention years ago in Boston and getting to talk to so many young people after the meeting who were first time delegates. It left me inspired about the future of our party.

After the Youth Council meeting, I hustled down to the Wells Fargo arena where the convention proceedings were already under way. I made it in time for the nominating speeches. And just let me say: I was moved to tears by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. John Lewis as they made the case for Hillary Clinton.

Once the speeches were done, the roll call vote got under way. This was the work everyone came here to do. State by state, delegation chair by delegation chair, each extolled the great strengths and triumphs of what they do and who they are.

After about 90 minutes, we got to Wisconsin. Baldwin took the microphone and talked about how we are a people who still make things -- from boats, to tools, to paper and, of course, beer – and she announced 49 votes from Wisconsin went to Bernie Sanders and 47 to Hillary Clinton. I was honored to cast my vote for Clinton, our next president.

When the roll call was done, it was officially announced that Hillary Clinton had the votes needed to become our party’s nominee. The hall erupted into cheers, applause and true joy. Tears rolled down faces. I heard from a delegate who was at the 1984 convention when Geraldine Ferraro was the first female to be a vice presidential nominee. Thirty-two years later, we’ve nominated the first female presidential candidate on any major party’s ticket.

Following the roll call and celebration, the proceedings continued until Bill Clinton took the stage. I won’t rehash his speech, but what an amazing narrative. We were all so focused on every word he said. He is truly one of our party’s best storytellers and messengers, and he did exactly what we needed to do to show who Hillary Clinton is.

When the convention adjourned for the night, we headed out to the People for the American Way post-convention party, where I connected with old friends and met some new ones. Before I knew it, it was 1:30 a.m. and time to get back to the hotel.

And now, it’s early in the morning, and I’m heading out for another full day. Thanks for reading so far. We’ll have lots more during these final few days of the convention.

-- By Jason Rae


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