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2016 Kentucky State Democratic Convention Main Hall

Boone County Delegation

Hello Boone County!

Alex Hayden Addresses the 4th District Caucus

State Convention in Session

Democratic National Convention

Boone County is represented at the Democratic National Convention, July 25th through July 28th, 2016.

Arriving at the National Convention

Hello Boone County Dems!

Greetings from the Democratic National Convention!  I want to first thank you for your support, and I promise to “do Boone County proud” this week in Philly.  It’s truly an honor to be representing you in the city that gave rise to our country. The tone of our trip was set by a Trump-supporting TSA agent at the Cincinnati airport who, upon learning we were on our way to the DNC, informed us that “he was in charge at home” and that “a woman does not belong in the White House.” Seriously, it’s time to elect Hillary.

Last night kicked off the pre-convention festivities, and the Kentucky delegation started out the DNC Delegate Party. Let me tell you, Democrats know how to throw a party! Watch the video clip for the awesome welcome from the volunteers (click here for FB link)! The kickoff reception for ALL delegates and guests was held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and the reception spanned all five floors of the open air atrium. The evening’s entertainment kicked off with a Brazilian drum group, Philly Loco, and they rocked the house. I spotted Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, so of course Amy and I had to grab a selfie.

VA Goveror Terry McAuliffe

Thanks to Uber, the DNC’s official transportation partner, (Amy and I are now experts on the app – ask us anything), we made our way to the Democratic Secretaries of State Association (DSSA) reception, sponsored by our very own Secretary Alison Lundergan Grimes.  The DSSA event was held at the National Constitution Center, and was of course a class act, as is Alison.  And here’s some great news:  when asked about her next run for office, Alison smiled and said, “Oh, we’re not done yet!” 
I was able to hang out with Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and other pretty important guys; you may know them as “founding fathers.” Pics of me pondering important thoughts with Ben and company are attached to this email.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update on Day One of the convention – it’s going to be an exciting ride!
Democratically yours,
Carole Register

Carole and friends

Democratic National Convention Day 1

Day 1 started out with a morning pep talk (I mean, meeting) with the KY delegation breakfast. There’s nothing like getting your morning started with an amazing line up of Democratic leaders and a cup or two of coffee. 

The theme of the morning was “engagement” and Stuart Perelmuter of Predelection.com introduced an exciting new strategy to “meet young people where they live – on their phones.” Predelection.com is a game/app about voting and gamers can win prizes; it’s currently in beta testing and should be available in the public domain in about four weeks. During the development of the app, researchers observed that within six weeks, gamers were volunteering for campaigns, at a 2-1 ratio, Democrats to Republicans. By partnering with Rock the Vote and other progressive organizations, Predelection will help Democrats connect with the ever elusive millennial voters. 

Former NJ Secretary of State, Regina Thomas reminded the delegates that we cannot waste any more time to engage young people and people of color. She warned us not to ignore the projects – Democrats need to go out and engage in every corner of our communities. Next up was Congressman “Awesome” – aka, Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, who encouraged us to move forward with party unity. Representative Jim Clyburn closed our morning line up. 

Yesterday was Day One of the convention and the Kentucky delegates were on the floor at 3 PM yesterday. If you’re watching on TV, the Kentucky delegation is located on the first tier above the floor, behind the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam. The Wyoming delegation is right behind us, and the Fox News sign is right above us. 

Our biggest observation from yesterday was that the media (MSM, including social media) over-amplified the mood of the convention as a whole. Yes, there were some loud (and rude) delegates that booed and shouted while the speakers were on, but overall it’s pretty controlled. It really is democracy in action. 

At any rate, the delegates and guests were fortunate to have the Auto Alliance tent as a much needed oasis from the heat, and the severe weather that resulted in an unfortunate evacuation from the tent. But, neither heat nor severe thunderstorms kept our intrepid delegation from approving the party platform and motions from the credentials and rules committee. 

The delegation guests had a rough ride to the Wells Fargo Center. We sat on a bus for two hours behind street sweepers. (Editorial note: Really, Philadelphia? You decided to clean house while your guests are in the house?) Traffic to the Wells Fargo Center was insane, and as the bus made its pondering way through Philly, we monitored social media and saw that protesters had blocked one entrance to the arena, as well as temporarily blocking the subway route to the convention. 

As you probably know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz did not gavel in the convention as is the custom for the chair of the DNC. The speaker lineup was great. Corey Booker fired up the crowd for Michelle, who knocked it out of the park and them some. Bernie’s supporters were passionate, and seemed to settle down during Senator Elizabeth Warren’s speech. What an amazing night for us and for our country! 

Security is impressive with three perimeters around the Center and airport security-type check-in. After a very long evening, the delegates boarded the first DNC bus out of the Wells Fargo parking lot. We were accompanied by a Secret Service agent, which we later learned is the standard on all delegate buses. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment – roll call for all delegations and the formal nomination for Hillary is on 

Senator Warren

National Convention Day 2

The KY breakfast highlight was former Governor of MD, Martin O’Malley. We sat in front of the speaker’s podium and got the full effect of his enthusiasm for Hillary and what a fighter she is—and he should know as he ran against her in the primary. Kentucky’s beloved Governor Beshear spoke next and painted the stark contrast between Trump and Hillary.

After a luncheon at the Seaport Museum, we headed to the Wells Fargo Center for the evening’s business. Our very own Alison spoke to the entire convention hall and did us proud. After that, there was the roll call of the states where they cast their official votes for the presidential nominees. The Bernie people were especially fired up and vocal. Senator Sanders was a class act, recommending a vote of acclamation for Hillary.

When I cast my vote for Hillary and for us in Kentucky, I felt an enormous sense of pride to be making history nominating the first woman from a major party for President of the United States. I looked around and saw tears streaming down the faces of most of us in our delegation. Thank you, Boone County and 4th CD Dems for granting me this honor!!

As an interesting side note, this was the night the battle began between KY and American Samoa. A dispute broke out as to who had the right to four seats. Yours truly was on the front line, sitting beside the Samoan delegation. The dispute was never settled. It seems no one wanted to take on the Samoan guys who looked like a Sumo wrestler. 

Martin O'Mally

Allison Addresses the National Convention

National Convention Day 3

The KY breakfast featured Andy Beshear, our Attorney General and son of Governor Beshear. Andy summarized the work he has been doing since taking office—and there is a lot of it with Governor Bevin ignoring the Constitution, trying to get rid of the Medicaid expansion and attempting to destroy our education system. Also Andy is focused on child and elder abuse and making sure KY never has another backlog of rape kits. 

A luncheon, sponsored by Amgen, was held at the Top of the Tower, a restaurant on the 50th floor of a neighboring office building. All the breakfasts and luncheons for KY are underwritten by corporations doing business in the Commonwealth. The surprise guest speaker was actor and activist Danny Glover. After he spoke, he graciously allowed photos with us and the entire wait staff. 

The convention gaveled in at 4:00 pm. Excitement was already building for the main event, President Obama. However, that was 6 hours away. (The arena went on lockdown early in the evening, signaling the arrival of the President.). The new Vice Presidential candidate, Tim Kaine of VA, spoke at length about his own experience and then went on to denounce Donald Trump and Mike Pence. He pointed out that Pence was the most homophobic governor in the nation, making a perfect partner in crime for Trump.

Dr. Jill Biden introduced her husband and our Vice President, Joe Biden. Joe brought down the house with what will most likely go down as his best speech ever. At one point, he asked the audience to be very quiet and listen to what he had to say about Trump, pointing out how dangerously unqualified and unfit the Republican candidate is. You could literally hear a pin drop in that great crowd of over 5,000. 

Interspersed throughout the evening were heartbreaking stories from the families of victims of gun violence in America. Especially poignant was the mother of a young man murdered in the Orlando nightclub. All of this was to remind us of Hillary’s resolve to reduce gun violence and how she stands up to the NRA.

One of the uplifting and lighter moments of the evening was Broadway’s rendition of “All You Need Is Love,” a personal favorite. During the entire convention, there were chants of “Love Trumps Hate” and waving of signs stating the same. Wow, what a difference from the dark and scary Trumpublican Convention.

Andy Beshear

National Convention Day 4

Thursday morning started out with our regularly scheduled 7:30 am breakfast with the delegation and speakers. Normally 7:30 breakfast is pretty reasonable; however, when you get in at 2:00 am, 7:30 comes mighty early. We will suggest that the 2020 delegation have Delegation Brunches, and we think Party Chair Sannie Overly will be on board with that. 
The last morning’s speaker lineup was very impressive. Wil James, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky’s President started us off with his views on business and government partnering to create jobs in Kentucky, what can be done to address the shortage of skilled labor, and giving us a glimpse into Toyota’s high tech vision for vehicles and manufacturing. Toyota presently has $6 billion invested in Kentucky, and is expanding its manufacturing lines to include the first US made Lexus, as well as increasing their R&D investment. 
Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville also joined us, and echoed Wil James’ thoughts on the need for skilled workers to build the economy. Louisville, he said, has developed into a city focused on three things: lifelong learning, being a healthy city, and most importantly, being a compassionate city. One of the biggest challenges Democrats are facing now is that many people feel that they really don’t have a shot at the American Dream. We need “fundamentally optimistic” leaders who will help communities “lean into uncomfortable situations”, like race and economic inequality. 
One of the most interesting and analytical speakers of the week was Howard Fineman, Global Political Editor for the Huffington Post, and all around political pundit. Fineman opened up his talk with the observation that legislators don’t really know each other anymore, particularly those who sit on opposite sides of the aisle. It used to be that members of rival parties still networked socially which made getting things done on The Hill easier. Now, because most legislators are in a constant state of fundraising, they are only in DC for a few days a week, then jet off to court major donors over the long weekend. 
He touched on the importance of social media as the closest thing to a national conversation that we have, but also cautioned the group that social media doesn’t give the complete picture of the deep-rooted mistrust of the government and cynicism that is out there. The Democrats, he said, including Senator Sanders’ supporters, aren’t totally sold on the “stronger together” message, and that should be troubling to Hillary supporters in the General. It will, in fact, likely drive the results of the General to be much closer than any of us would like. 
Lastly, Fineman observed that Trump has seemingly ignored the conventional “convention pivot” in which after the convention, the candidate turns their attention outside the party and begins to focus on bringing the rest of the country into the fold. Trump instead has done the exact opposite, and has turned his attention inward, apparently betting that the strength of his party supporters will be enough to carry him across the finish line. It’s therefore that much more critical to engage everyone we can outside the party and make sure they get out to vote. 
Neville Blakemore, KDP Vice-Chair, once again thanked Kentucky’s Sanders delegates for helping to develop the most progressive party agenda ever, and for throwing their support behind Clinton. Kendrick Sampson, an actor from General Hospital and The Vampire Diaries, is a Bernie activist and described his experience as on the progressive campaign trail. Our favorite Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes, brought the meeting to a close by reminding us that as Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.” That very morning Alison had been named as one of America’s rising political stars by the “punditry” and later that evening, we learned President Clinton had asked her to meet with him briefly. She’s definitely got an amazing political future ahead! 
Knowing that the traffic would be very heavy, and that seating – even for delegates – is at a premium, the Kentucky delegation headed over to the Wells Fargo Center for the last night of the convention at 2:00 PM. The convention gaveled in at 4:00 PM, and the speakers were grouped thematically: young people with student debt, women experiencing income inequality, police representatives, and members of the armed forces. 
While we’re sure many of you watched the convention, one thing we learned as the evening progressed, is that the loud chanting from delegates was not heard on TV. For example, when retired USMC General John Allen spoke, flanked with 30+ active military and veterans, some Sanders delegates interrupted his speech by chanting “No more war!” Hillary delegates and supporters responded by chanting “USA, USA, USA” and effectively drowned out the disruption. This happened a number of times with different speakers over the course of the evening. 
The US Senate Women were especially inspiring, and Elizabeth Warren returned for an encore with her colleagues. Of course the highlight and culmination of the convention was Hillary’s formal acceptance of the party’s nomination. She was introduced by her daughter Chelsea, who described Hillary as a mom, a daughter, and a grandmother. Her speech was very effective, and like Bill’s speech earlier in the week, was intended highlight the softer and caring side of Hillary. Knowing that a lot of you tuned into Hillary’s acceptance speech on TV, there really isn’t much to add that you haven’t already seen, heard or will hear from the punditry. We do believe that the “talking heads” will never be able to describe the electricity in the convention hall as Hillary laid out her vision for America as our first female POTUS. Please click on this link to watch Amy’s video of the balloon drop, taken from her seat in the nosebleed section.

Perhaps some of you are wondering about the outcome of the turf dispute with the delegation from American Samoa. Earlier we’d mentioned the Kentucky delegation departed the hotel at 2:00 pm. Since we clearly could not engage the United Nations to resolve our differences, we determined the rules of engagement boiled down to squatters rights. Combined with the early arrival of the Kentucky squatter delegation, and the efforts of the very gifted negotiator, Tyler Murphy, delegate from Greenup County, we are happy to report our delegates prevailed and peace reigned for the last night of the convention – at least between Kentucky and American Samoa. 
Once again, it was an honor to represent Boone County Democrats at this historic occasion. For me, personally, it was one of the most moving experiences of my lifetime.

POST SCRIPT: FRIDAY AT PHILADELPHIA AIRPORT 
As we were waiting at the gate for our return flight to CVG early Friday afternoon, we were chatting with delegates from Lexington who were on our flight. One delegate, and Emerge Kentucky alumni, Priscilla Johnson, suddenly spied DNC Convention Chair, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, on her way to her own flight. She was able to spare a few minutes for hugs all around and a group picture. We congratulated her on successfully guiding the convention this week, particularly given the circumstances, and thanked her for all of her efforts.

Governor Fischer

Peanut Gallery

Hillary Accepts Nomination

 

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