• WisPolitics

Friday, July 29, 2016

 1:14 PM 

Delegate Diary: Inspired and ready to head home

And, just as quickly as it started, it finished.

I’m sitting at the Philadelphia Airport right now waiting for my flight back to Milwaukee. The 2016 Democratic National Convention adjourned last night -- or was it technically this morning by the time we got out of there? I can’t remember.

Thursday started with the usual group breakfast with other delegations. I stopped by very briefly but then had a few phone interviews set up with radio stations back home to talk about the feelings of the convention so far.

That’s one piece a lot of people don’t know about. There are reporters everywhere at the convention, and they’ll stop and talk to people for, say, three minutes to get their opinions. Be it on the street or in your seat, you get stopped constantly and asked if you are a delegate and, if so, what you thought of X, Y or Z.

Before heading down to the Wells Fargo Arena for the major speeches, I stopped by a gathering of the Junior States of America and spoke to a group of more than 150 high school students about my experiences in politics and encouraged them to get involved. Those students are so brilliant and asked some tough questions. This is my third time talking to them at conventions, and I love seeing the future right there. I’m hoping some of them will run for DNC soon and join me in the Youth Council.

After that, in the pouring rain, we hustled over to the Arena. We were all told to get there early so we could get our seats. While they are assigned to the state, they aren’t assigned to specific people, so it’s first-come-first-served in the section. I found a great spot right near the aisle. Once seated, you could sneak out once or twice for food or the bathroom, but then we were locked into the hall.

The speeches really rocked the house last night. I’d recommend watching most of the evening ones if you missed any. From Rev. Barber to a group of generals, you don’t want to miss what was said. The highlight of the evening was, of course, Secretary Clinton accepting the nomination. The speech, the balloon drop, the atmosphere – inspiring.

No one hurried out of the hall after the speeches. We stayed and reveled in the moment and the history. After nearly losing our voices, we headed to the subway station and stopped at a party before making it back to the hotel, where the Wisconsin delegation was throwing an impromptu party in the hotel lobby. At about 3:30 a.m., we finally went upstairs and called it a night.

I had to be up and functioning at 9 a.m. for the first meeting of the 2016-2020 DNC membership, where Donna Brazile took the reigns as interim chair. We had a surprise visit by Sen. Tim Kaine and then got on with our business.

And here I am now, ready to get some sleep. I’m ready for my own bed, to see my dog again and to get to work on the fall elections.

Well, that's a wrap. Thanks for playing along at home.

-- By Jason Rae


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