DNC helps energize Elkhorn delegate
CHARLOTTE, NC Members of the Wisconsin delegation and their pins were popular items this week in Charlotte, according to Ellen Holly, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
"It's customary to exchange pins with other delegations, but our cheesehead pins were, by far, the most popular at the convention," said Holly while waiting in Charlotte to return to her home in Elkhorn. Her 6 a.m. flight Friday was canceled, and she was unsure when she would leave North Carolina. The travel inconvenience did not, however, dampen her spirits.
"This has been one of the top experiences of my life," Holly said. "It was an honor to vote for the nomination of President Obama and Vice President Biden, and the entire convention with the generous hospitality of the Charlotte area was overwhelming."
Holly concentrated on what she believed were her responsibilities as a delegate.
"I attended as many caucuses and events as possible. We were up early every morning to attend the Wisconsin delegation breakfast and then off to various caucuses before getting ready for the speakers at the arena," she said. "My roommate from Kenosha and I had very busy days."
Holly said she was especially interested in the rural and union caucuses.
"It was obvious that rural is not just white farmers," she said. "People of color, people of all ages including the young, farmers, ranchers and environmentalist were there to discuss rural issues important to us all."
The labor caucus brought together Democrats with common interests, Holly said.
"National Education Association speakers were there," she said. "That was important to me because I'm a member."
Holly is a counselor at Elkhorn Middle School.
"At the labor caucus, we all agreed that it is critical to make sure that we get the labor vote out to the polls in November," she said.
The Wisconsin delegation breakfasts attracted a variety of state and national speakers.
"Thursday's breakfast was just remarkable," Holly said. "Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin visited with us and gave us a preview of her speech. She talked about how important is it to make sure that everyone who works hard is able to succeed when we all play by the same rules.
"I think that's a major difference in this election between Republicans, who have separate rules for the wealthy, and Democrats, who believe we all should play by the same rules," Holly said.
It was nearly impossible not to literally bump into prominent Democrats, Holly said.
"We were able to attend the forums with great speakers such as Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and former party chairman Howard Dean," she said. "And you just meet people on the street in between events.
"We saw Caroline Kennedy walk by and say, ‘Hi.' I spoke with Massachusetts Gov. Val Patrick and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Dr. Jill Biden walked by, and we got a word with her."
Asked to sum up the convention, Holly didn't hesitate.
"We Democrats are very inclusive and very diverse," she said. "That will be a key to our success in November."