Saturday, June 10, 2006

state convention 2006 - friday

Two of the four NTL bloggers were delegates to the 2006 State Democratic Convention and we were honored to attend. We drove to Ft. Worth, which is only about thirty minutes away from us (we were obviously in North Texas to begin with). On Friday, we headed to the convention center. I received a badge that declared me a Tim Barnwell volunteer and then went to sign in at the SD9 booth and get my credentials.

I spent a couple of hours wandering around the exhibit hall visiting the various candidates and caucuses at their booths. After I figured that I'd seen everything (and spent $5 on a granola bar and a Diet Coke due to a lack of vegetarian options), I went to the Grassroots Training Caucus put on by the Texas Democratic Party. It was pretty basic (I already knew most of what the lady was telling us... I learned it firsthand during our April canvass here in Denton County). I ducked out early enough to attend the Universal Healthcare Caucus. It was really interesting to learn what it was all about because, while I'm an advocate of healthcare reform, I haven't had time to research the plan for universal healthcare.

I met up with some area Democrats from around Flower Mound and Denton County at the Senate District 9 Caucus. We called the caucus to order and voted on our next SDEC Members. Marvin Sutton was re-elected as the SD9 Committeeman. As Christine Asberry is resigning from her post because she's moving to another SD, there was a contentious race for the Committeewoman position. Carol Wise, a big Maxey supporter from the Denton area, barely lost out to Susan Culp, a Richie supporter from Grand Prairie. Denton County's caucus unanimously voted for Carol Wise in the runoff vote, but Susan Culp still prevailed to become the SD9 Committeewoman. I'm not against Culp, but I would have preferred Wise simply because of the accessibility issue. I know that she attends the Executive Committee meetings in Denton so I'd have been able to contact her easily for anything I needed.

After the SD9 Caucus, we had only a few minutes to try and grab something to eat. A few of us ventured past the Iraq protestors (one woman told us that we should join the protest... when we told her that we needed to eat, she asked us to think of the soldiers in Iraq that had to face 120 degree weather and forgo dinner to protest; needless to say, we didn't) to find somewhere to eat. When we realized that the convention was going to convene in about fifteen minutes and the wait at the Hilton was twenty minutes, we headed back to the convention center. Only two of our group of six or seven braved the line at the concessions stand (including myself). I paid $10 for a burrito (rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato) and a Diet Coke.

After dinner, we rushed into the arena just in time for the invocation and the first speakers. We were very excited to hear General Wesley Clark speak. He was very charismatic and really got the convention off to a great start. Democrats all across the arena were fired up and giving him a standing ovation. We later heard from the Secretary of State of New Mexico, who was inspirational and obviously excited about being a Democrat. I was confused as to why she was there because we're in Texas, not New Mexico, but she was a good speaker nonetheless. An entertaining speaker followed in State Senator Leticia Van de Putte. Capitol Annex live-blogged her speech here and here.

It was also wonderful to hear from gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell. Many people had already heard Bell speak at his other appearances (he also went to a few labor caucuses at the convention in addition to his many campaign stops across the state). This was reflected in the fact that probably about fifteen percent of the delegates had trickled out of the arena by the time Bell was introduced by his lovely wife. The crowd screamed and applauded loudly for Bell. Many of his supporters (including myself) held blue signs that read Bell for Governor. We waved them in the air after he punctuated each of his points.

After the convention wrapped up, I headed back home. Expect a blog from TT soon, who had the opportunity to meet several prominent bloggers, including Anna from Annatopia and Vince Leibowitz from Capitol Annex, at the Blogger's Caucus. Look forward to that, as well as my upcoming post about Saturday's events. (Yes, Saturday has passed and the convention's over, but I figured it would be better to break it up into two posts. It will be better for the both of us. Expect a blog on day two of the TDP Convention tomorrow.)

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