The day started out with Peter, April, Dr. Jasperson, and I meeting up at one of the many Starbucks, downtown, to discuss our game plan for the day. After that we all headed to the Texas delegation lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe` downtown. There we were able to mingle from delegates from cities such as Houston and Dallas. Soon after we arrived Peter and April had to go to their fieldwork assignments. While we were there professor Hicklin showed up. While we were there we heard an interesting speech by Charlie Wilson about how he got started in politics. It started when during his childhood when Mr. Wilson's neighbor poisoned his dog. To get revenge Mr. Wilson burned his neighbors lawn. But that wasn't enough. When they were older Mr. Wilson ran for the same political office as his neighbor and was able to influence votes by telling the story of his poisoned dog when he would drop voters off at the polls. In the end Mr. Wilson won by 16 votes. "That's the day I fell in love with America and the day I fell in love with politics" said Mr. Wilson.
While we were there I was also lucky enough to meet and interview Texas Rep. Charlie Gonzalez. I will put up the interview at the end of this posting. Also, a staff member from Sen. Leticia Van de Putte's office provided us with credentials to get into the Pepsi Center for that day and for Invesco Field on Thursday for Sen. Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech! I was so excited. I knew that this trip was now worth taking now that I was guaranteed access to see Sen. Obama give his speech.
After the lunch reception I made my way over to an "Unconventional Woman" event where Speaker of the House Nanci Pelosi was to speak. Unfortunately, I had just missed Speaker Pelosi but I stayed to hear other key note speakers, including female senators, to talk about the importance of women in the political process. They also showed a sneak peak of an independent film entitled, "14 women", about the first 14 women senators and their personal stories and successes.
After I left I stopped off briefly at Leela's, a European Cafe` that soon became our favorite internet cafe` hangout. I didn't stay for long because I was to meet Dr. Jasperson and Hicklin at the Pepsi Center. I soon learned what the actual convention is all about. It's full of speeches to get people excited and emotional about putting democrats in office. It's also about officially passing resolutions by groups such as the Rules and Credentials Committees. And of course it's mainly about officially nominating the candidates for the office of President and Vice President.
Because my fieldwork position fell through, professor Hicklin was kind enough to give me her volunteer slot for The Daily Show with John Stewart. So professor Jasperson and I left the convention center to make the training session at the University of Denver. It was madness around the Pepsi Center. It took us more than 30 minutes to get a taxi. Even though it was close we made it to the training session. It was pretty straight forward though. All we were going to do was guard certain points of the building until the show began.
After that Dr. Jasperson and I made our way back to the Regis University. The original plan was to head back to Regis, rest up for a bit, then make it back to the Pepsi Center for Michelle Obama's speech. Unfortunately, we got times confused and we realized she was speaking earlier than we thought. So we wouldn't make it to her speech. But there was a Texas Gala event afterwards that we began getting ready for.
After waiting forever for our taxi to arrive we hopped into another students taxi despite there being 5 people to 4 seats. Haha, we made it though. We met up with Peter and April at the gala event. We talked to some delegates and hung out for a while. They had some amazing food. We didn't stay too long though. So after that we grabbed another taxi, cramped again, and headed back to Regis University.
This day was very important. I learned what the convention is really about and I also learned that things were going to get much better.
I would like to thank Dr. Jasperson, Dr. Hicklin, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, and Rep. Charlie Gonzalez for making this day so great!
I would also like to apologize to all the readers for such a late posting.
Here is my interview with Rep. Charlie Gonzalez.
When I asked how Rep. Gonzalez got involved with politics he said he didn't really have a choice. He was raised in a political family. His father was a major source of political exposure. After his father retired he followed in his footsteps and became a lawyer, practicing in many types of law such as family, criminal, and workers compensation. He go his basics taken care of at San Antonio College and then graduated from UT Austin. From there he went to St. Mary's to study law. He says he was just "trying to survive". After that he became a county judge.
When I asked him what his personal key issues were he responded by saying that they always revolved around his assignments as Chairman of Environmental Study. Those issues included energy, commerce, telecommunications, and technology. As far as energy goes he was looking for alternative energy sources to help cure global warming and independence from foreign oil. He was also very interested in the "digital divide". The internet is becoming a growing tool and to advance ourselves we need to get more people involved as it impacts all aspects of life. It has become a center and tool for commerce.
I asked Rep. Gonzalez what he thought were the most important things he thought people should walk away from the convention with. He said there are two main things he would have people walk away with. The first was a true recognition of what's at stake with this campaign. The second was a focus on what the republicans were doing and a more vivid contrast between them and the democrats.