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June 14, 2008


As someone who served on the Delegate Selection Affirmative Action Committee, I am so pleased with these selections!! We couldn't have anticipated this excellent cross-section of Idaho Democrats. I was also very happy with the gesture of giving Stallings the remaining superdelegate spot. He deserves it.

Tara, do tell more, here or at TPG. After spending three days here in Denver immersed in racial equity work, seeing these selections late last night just blew me away.

Was there a concerted effort on the state party's part to encourage people of color to run as delegates? Or did people emerge organically and then see their candidacies take off in this race-barrier-breaking year? A little of both? I am eager to know, as well as to know whether there was any grumbling among white candidates who felt passed over. (Seriously ... can you even imagine a slate even remotely like this emerging from the Idaho GOP, especially THIS year?)

I am aware that the Democratic Party encourages diversity, but it seems we must have gone well beyond whatever was required. I can't help but think Idaho will make national news with this slate, especially since the 2006 Census estimates still pegged us at 92.5 percent white (and only .5 percent black).

I hope someone got a picture because I want to SEE all these beautiful folks together.

First, before the ensuing flame war that this comment may generate, I want to add my voice in full support of this highly diverse group to represent our state in Denver this summer.

That being said, I felt that the e-mail sent out last night was off-putting precisely because of the emphasis on what each delegate is rather than who they are. I didn't need to read that this person is African-American or that one is latina or that these two are gay, etc.

It may have been better had they simply summarized this information for the group as a whole, rather than specifying each one in particular. It also made it seem as though we were embarrassed by those delegates that weren't part of some specific minority group like T.J. since he was listed without any such reference and we certainly have no reason to feel like that T.J.!

Just give me their names, where they are from, what they do and perhaps their ages (I'd like to know how young is the youngest delegate and how old is the oldest).

Julie and all, I hope to post a retrospective of the convention soon, but right now, I'm exhausted! I'm sure there will be more comments as well, but most delegates were simply consumed by the convention itself and hardly had time to breathe, let alone blog.

I will say the opening events were spectacular and I still get weepy just thinking about it. The participation of the tribal representatives as color guard, and honoring the convention with a flag song was, to me, one of the most profound experiences as a delegate.

The process that we participated in through crafting the platform and electing delegates was an outstanding example of the small "d" democratic process and was conducted with respect and good will with few exceptions. New and veteran Democrats are energized and inspired, not just by a particular candidate, but by our shared values and vision for a more just and sustainable society.

In those moments, as we worked, argued, compromised and stood together in solemn respect of our nation, as our heartbeats were joined by the drumbeat, we represented not only the rich history and diversity of Idaho, but the fruition of what democracy can and should be. This, my friends, is the future of Idaho, if we're willing to work it to win.

That the delegation is diverse is not a bad thing. Certainly, there were many deserving, qualified, hard working people that were not elected as national delegates, in part due to the sheer number of candidates. Delegate candidates were not recruited, but rather signed up as individuals and ran campaigns according to their style and we certainly had a few well heeled strategies. In the end, the delegates voted, based on their own individual selection process and we have our delegation. Can't wait for the news mileage we'll get out of this, but it was not a prearranged plan.

I think the delegation also reflects what I see as a national attitude of looking for leadership outside of the "typical" white, especially white male, circles. John Edwards probably would have been the ideal candidate, twenty years ago, and that is not reflection of his qualifications, it just doesn't nail it in 2008. White is not the color this season.

That individuals are identified in a particular way, may seem tasteless perhaps, but is, as Tara mentioned, nonetheless part of the party's affirmative action plan in the delegate selection process. I feel that this plan is helpful for delegates to remain mindful of our diversity as a group, but our individual votes are not constrained by any set criteria.

Wish you all could have been there, it was a great experience. Don't miss your next opportunity in 2010. I'm hoping for photos too, I know there's some out there somewhere. I was at another meeting, but I heard that the delegate campaign speeches should have been recorded for posterity. We'll have to do more of that next time.

What a weekend, go Dems!

Two highlights of the convention:
Keith Roark's obvious emotion as he addressed the largest Democratic convention in his memory, and the jubilation of Matt Kopydlowski when he was elected an at-large delegate. Matt leaped in the air, shouting, "Yes!" to the laughter and cheers of the crowd. He is currently working in Twin Falls as a LaRocco/Twin Falls County Democrats field organizer. We are very happy for him.

Julie, Another highlight of the convention was the election of Jerry Brady as DNC National Committeeman and re-election of Gail Bray as the National Committeewoman. These are two of the most deserving and hardest working democrats in Idaho!

Thanks for the reports, everyone. I'm home and had a chance to look at Sunday's Statesman. What a contrast between our "love-fest" convention and the GOP's highly divided event up in Sandpoint.

Idahoans definitely have a clear choice this fall, well exemplified by our conventions and by Larry LaRocco's good op-ed in the paper today. Onward!!

Irwin, no flames, but I firmly believe we have to name, claim, and celebrate our diversity. Part of white privilege in our country is that it's not surprising to see whites (especially white males) in positions of power, but that it IS still news when people of color and GLBT folks attain these positions, especially in a state as homogenous as ours.

Click my name to see a photo of the delegation at New West. It's bee-yoo-tee-ful!

It is actually 45 yrs. to the day since Dr. King gave his I HAVE A DREAM speech. It's been 40 yrs. since Dr. King's untimely murder.


I guess at first glance, I understand where you are coming from, but I am going to take a guess....a guess here and say you are a comfortably adjusted and financially sound Caucasian male. Seeing your last name, however, maybe you can take common cause with the GLBT & African-American as well as the female communities.

When a state like Idaho, that has an impression nationally of being conservative, traditional, and a state where people like Butch Otter & Mike Simpson are the norm in politicians and Mormonism is the dominant faith....its refreshing to see that the delegates elected represent a broader coalition of diversity.

Barack Obama's message has been opening up the process and government to all communities, not the standard coalition. As a member of the GLBT Community, I am glad to see that not just (1) but (2) members of my community were elected. Its one more than we got in Arkansas' delegation. For a community that comprises 15%-25% of the population, we have a long way to break the glass ceilings.

For Idaho which elected Gracie Pfost as U.S. Congresswoman, but has failed in recent years to elect qualified candidates like Betty Richardson has been a daunting task for female candidates. Hopefully that will change this year with Debbie Holmes. I cannot think of an African-American elected to major statewide or district office in Idaho.

So I understand the pride and the reason why this was celebrated. Diversity is not easily achieved and so it should be celebrated whereever it develops.

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