• WisPolitics

Monday, July 25, 2016

 6:32 AM 

Delegate Diary: Settling in

After a sudden severe thunderstorm threatened to delay my flight out of Milwaukee Saturday afternoon, but luckily didn’t, I safely made it into the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection (aka Philadelphia) to get things started for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

This convention will make the 4th National Convention I’ve had the honor of attending – beginning with the one in 2004 shortly after I was elected as a member of the Democratic National Committee. Each convention – primarily because of the candidate and the host city – has its own unique style and flair.

We got dropped off at the Home2 Suites by Hilton, which is where the Wisconsin delegation is staying. Despite it being nearly 11 p.m., the area around the hotel was buzzing with people and activity. Our hotel is right across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where most of the daytime activities take place. Even on a Saturday night, well before most delegates arrive, the police were out in force. As we turned down the one way streets, nearly every corner had at least two officers about.

I quickly checked in, unpacked my suitcase and settled in to the room. I made sure Saturday night was a low key affair, trying to get a few extra hours of sleep before the craziness of the week would get underway.

Sunday morning started and focused on preparing for the DNC Youth Council meetings taking place later this week. Each of the DNC’s constituency caucuses and councils -- for example the LGBT Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, Seniors Council – meets twice during the convention. The meetings are a mix of policy discussions, appearances by political candidates and surrogates, and electoral planning. Since 2008, I’ve served as chair of the DNC Youth Council. As such, I’m responsible for developing our agenda for the two meetings and presiding over them.

I spent the late morning and early afternoon getting a tour of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, walking through the agenda and making sure things were set for Tuesday’s meeting.

Once that was done, I headed back to the Wisconsin delegation hotel and ran in to several members who had just arrived in town. While there, news broke about DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepping down from the DNC at the end of convention.

While not everyone agrees with her, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has been leading the party for five years. Sunday, she made the decision to do what's best to keep the party unified and ensure that we have a great convention free of any distractions to defeat Donald Trump. There will certainly be an underlying current of this throughout the week, but I know she did what was right to make sure we had a convention that focused on how Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine will do for working people.

After getting just a few minutes to digest the news of the day, it was already time to head out to the Delegation Welcome Parties. Wisconsin joined a number of other states at the Kimmel Center, a beautiful venue in Central City. Delicious food and amazing drinks were abundant as delegates from various states mingled with each other. I ran in to several friends from various states that I had not seen since the last convention.

I snuck out of the Welcome Party a bit early to head back to the hotel. Monday starts an early day with our delegation breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by a full session of meetings and floor proceedings.

I cannot wait to get things officially started. Here’s to a great week in Philly with many updates to come!

-- By Jason Rae

Editor's note: Rae is a superdelegate who has endorsed Hillary Clinton and is attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. He is doing a diary of the trip for WisPolitics.com, which featured similar coverage of the GOP convention.


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