Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DNC Nights: Stand and be Counted, Unless You came After NY

[Democratic National Convention] The roll call is the chance for all state delegates who have made the great democratic journey from small town caucus to the convention in the big house to pitch their vote in the selection of a candidate for the leader of the free world.

Tough luck for Utah though, that coming alphabetically after New York they didn't get a chance to proudly declare their 19 Obama and 10 Clinton votes. In a move for unity Hillary stopped the roll call at New York and moved that the counted delegate votes sustain Obama as the nominee.

Oh well, that's not going to put a damper on the experience for Utah delegates like Rep. Phil Riesen, D-Salt Lake City. Throwing in the vote is one thing but not everything. "What I'll take back is the tremendous sense of unity, we came in here with diverse opinions, we all leave here unified as a democratic party, determined to elect a democrat president," Riesen says. "Something desperately needed in this country." Riesen also plans on taking away some of the ideas workshopped about alternative enery policy, including possible tax credits for fuel efficient vehicles, an idea he and other Utah reps are thinking of running for the 2009 session.

Riesen who helped get Obama on the Utah primary ballot in February as his state point person, believes his time as president is coming. While Utah might be a small voice in electing him, Riesen recognizes the growing voice of a democratic western region that Utah is a part of. "As a group we hold some clout, as we should."

Riesen is not the only one with Obama fever. Kathy Snyder from Mendon, Utah has enjoyed the perks of being a delegate. "Where we're at here for some reason, all these dignitaries have to walk right by," jokes Snyder of the convention floor exit right in front of the Utah delegation's seats tucked in the corner of the Pepsi Center floor. Besides spotting celebrities of the political world like Madeline Albright and George McGovern, Snyder got to take part in a panel discussion on progressive democrats in America moderated by John Nichols of The Nation magazine, who happened to swing by and console Kathy for not getting the limelight to cast the Utah delegation's votes.

Snyder, a "born democrat" thinks the party will get the message across about Obama. "We will once again have a president who respects American, and also restore the US position in the world." Snyder is sold, but will the rest of the nation catch the fever? "Oh yes," says Snyder. "It's contagious." (Eric S. Peterson)

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