Iowa delegate Josh Hughes is writing up his experience at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Here’s his takes from the first two days. We’ll update throughout the week on this post:
Hello again! Tuesday proved to be a very busy day indeed again. We began with breakfast with speakers Amy Klobuchar, the Senator from Minnesota, Tom Harkin, and a surprise special visit from Bernie Sanders! It was awesome to hear these three progressive champions address our delegation.
We also began the paperwork for our official roll call votes for president. The Iowa Democratic Party asked us to sign a form indicating for whom each delegate would cast their vote. I was proud to cast mine for Hillary Clinton. When it was all said and done, the vote count stood at 30 votes for Hillary Clinton, and 21 for Senator Sanders.
The day was jam packed with caucuses I wanted to go to! LGBT, Rural, and Youth caucuses all met on Tuesday. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend any of them (but still got the guest credentials for them!) as we had to be at the convention hall extra early yesterday. I got to the floor, and picked a seat for the roll call vote. The Roll Call of the state was a total nerd out moment for me. Many states have their most senior Democratic elected official speak, so I got to see people like Senators Claire McCaskill and Debbie Stabenow read the roll for their states. I was so proud to see my good friend Sruthi Palaniappan lead Iowa in the roll call. As a young woman of color, Sruthi not only represents the future of our state & country, she represents the next generation of Democratic leaders.
As the roll call proceeded, Vermont passed when it was their turn. Finally, after Wyoming, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the secretary of the DNC & Convention, Mayor of Baltimore, and first woman of color ever to call the roll call of the states, asked Vermont how they would vote. They cast their votes, but then the chair of the convention, Rep. Marcia Fudge, recognized Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. He requested that having the roll call recorded, the convention suspend the rules and declare Hillary Clinton our nominee by acclimation. There was a second and obviously the motion passed. There were some folks upset, but most of us (including most Bernie Sanders supporters) were so lit up with the electricity in the room and the historic moment that we just screamed and cheered and cried. I won’t ever forget that moment!
The convention wore on with Elizabeth Banks keeping us smiling, but finally, Madeline Albright reminded us why Hillary Clinton has the experience to be president in these troubling times. President Clinton did a fabulous job too. In 2012, in his convention speech, he explained the Obama economic plan and where the last four years had taken us. In his 2016 convention speech, Bill Clinton simply explained the Hillary Clinton that so many people don’t know. It was a moving and powerful speech.
After that, Meryl Streep spoke, and I’m embarrassed to say that I did lose my cool when she came out on the stage. She then introduced Alicia Keys, who gave an awesome performance. Then, Hillary Clinton spoke to us via livestream from her home in New York. It was honestly an amazing moment.
It’s been a good first half of the week so far, be sure to follow my twitter (@JoshHughesIA) and stay tuned on Facebook for more current updates.
Hello all! I wanted to share with you some updates from the first day of the Democratic National Convention. You’re receiving this email because you either helped me become a delegate by supporting me during the convention process, have requested to receive this, chipped in to my GoFundMe to fundraise for the trip, or are my mother.
Our first few days have been excellent! We started on Sunday night with an Iowa Democratic Party sponsored bowling event with Senator Tom Harkin. It was a lot of fun (despite the fact I’m no bowler) and it was a good way for us all to meet one another and begin the unity process. Also on Sunday, the Democratic National Committee threw a massive “Welcome Party” at the Kimmel Center, which was very exciting. Thanks to the insight of a good friend of mine, some fellow Iowa delegates and I crashed a welcome party for the Maryland delegation! There, we were able to meet civil rights leader and US Representative Elijah Cummings and the next mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh. After that, we went back to the hotel.
Monday was exciting! Our delegation breakfast featured Ilyse Hogue, the President of National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and congressional candidate Kim Weaver (IA-04). I then went to the convention center and walked around to pick up some free swag and attend some sessions. It was a good time.
In the afternoon, we took a shuttle to the Wells Fargo Center where the evening speeches were held. Our shuttle driver thought he knew a shortcut, but he was mistaken because we ended up lost on an access road in the Philadelphia Waterworks. We made it (eventually) and got seated in the arena. The Iowa delegation has prime seating. Not only are we on the floor directly behind Arkansas and Illinois (stage right), we are directly behind the CNN setup. When you watch the DNC tonight, tune into CNN and see if you can spot any of our taller delegates! Being on the floor and close to several media setups, our delegation was featured plenty on the cameras and made (apparently) several TV appearances.
Highlights of my night were probably meeting and talking to Donna Brazile, who will become the interim chair of the Democratic Party on Friday, chatting with California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and being completely starstruck by and being interviewed by Colin Jost, host of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. Apparently they’re doing a show on Wednesday, so watch that to see how I embarrassed myself there! There were also many other celebrities and members of Congress walking around the floor, so needless to say, this nerd was in heaven.
The Iowa delegation really enjoyed Michelle Obama’s speech, and if you haven’t watched it or seen the coverage, I highly recommend it. Despite what you might hear from media, 90% of the delegates in attendance were orderly and polite, but the 10% is louder. Attempts to chant during the First Lady’s speech were ‘shushed’ by the entire convention hall. I’d like to share one line from Michelle’s speech that was profound and powerful, and absolutely ignited the hall last night—
“That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”
Bernie Sanders also delivered a barnburner of a speech last night, and urged his delegates to unify with the party and come together to defeat the increasing menace of Donald Trump. He shared the positive vision for America that he and Hillary Clinton share- that any family making less than $125,000 should be able to send their kids to college for free, that healthcare is a human right, and that inaction on climate change is unacceptable. I did not support Bernie Sanders but I am proud to say I stood with him last night.
That’s all for now! Will be more exciting updates tomorrow. If you’d no longer like to receive this email, just shoot me a reply saying as much, no hard feelings! J Be sure to tune in to the DNC tonight to catch Senator Tom Harkin speaking, and go follow @HillaryforIA on Instagram, where I’ll be posting updates for the next few days. Thanks all!
by Josh Hughes