Editor’s note: Writer Linda Verin is a Democrat who attended the historic convention last week highlighted by the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the first woman to head a major party presidential ticket. While there, Verin recorded the reactions of some prominent Alabama Democrats.
State Senator Linda Coleman
We could not have chosen a more appropriate location for this history making convention than Philadelphia, the birthplace of our constitution, to nominate our standard bearer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is committed to building a better America with the theme, “We are stronger together.” The Statue of Liberty welcomes all people; we are a melting pot. We must be a nation that embraces all people.
My hope for the Democratic convention is that Democrats of all walks in life — with racial, ethnic & cultural diversities of all ages – come together. We are a diverse party as is the United States. Although we may disagree on some issues, we are united in the causes of the people because we are the party of the people. I have seen and am encouraged by the involvement of thousands of young people in the democratic process having their voices heard. This speaks well for the future of our country. Even those protesting make this country what it is — reinforcing the values we cherish.
Although the Republican Party has sought to divide us; they have failed. We are the real Democrats; we are big enough and open-minded enough to respect our diversities, embrace the strengths within each and keep our eyes on the goal — electing the next president, Hillary Clinton.
Former Jefferson County Commissioner and iheart radio host Shelia Smoot
Attending my fourth convention and second one as a Hillary delegate, this one was different with the removal at the start of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, who was slated to preside, and the strong support Bernie Sanders maintained throughout the event.
But it was a good difference. Change has to occur. People are unprepared. They were unprepared for President Obama and are unprepared for a President Hillary Clinton. Change often starts with young people; there is a shift. A minimum wage of $15 and debt free college are issues important to young people and should be important to everyone. We must prepare, absorb and embrace these changes. Alabama needs to participate more nationally.
That’s what movements can do; achieve the unattainable.
Jarralynne Agee, director of the Mayor’s Violence Reduction Initiative, City of Birmingham, Candidate for State School Board
My hopes and expectations for the Democratic Convention are that the party can use this opportunity to unite as an example of the ways our country can come together regardless of their differences of opinion.
My concern is that if we don’t find a way to directly engage and address the concern and the energy of the Sanders camp we will disenfranchise a significant group of people that we need to move our country forward.
Former State Representative and Lawyer Earl Hilliard, Jr.
This is my eighth convention. I hope this convention will bring people together unifying behind issues. The Democrats provide not just hope but real information; why you should vote for our candidate. The Republicans have not.
My favorite speeches were by Michelle Obama with her guide to direction and change, [and by] President Barack Obama [which] once again pointed out that Donald Trump does not have the temperament to lead the Free World and Michael Bloomberg who reached out to independents. All I hoped for happened. The speakers stayed on point — including LGBT, African-Americans, Latinos, the disabled, veterans — everyone. It was not so much against Donald Trump; it was for HRC. Sanders’ supporters were more fervent than Hillary’s in 2008; most will come over. Hillary has been vetted forever; I hope nothing goes wrong.
State Senator Priscilla Dunn
This was the fifth convention I attended and all my hopes were realized. Fantastic speakers with everyone strongly endorsing Hillary — the president, the vice president, even Bernie Sanders. HRC talked about the good things in our country and erased Donald Trump’s negative speech in my mind. I believe Secretary Clinton will do an exceptional job as President Obama has done. They got along as competitors and HRC accepted that when it was over, it was over.
Now I am so excited for the next chapter.
Jefferson County Assistant Tax Collector Grover Dunn
I felt similar when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were nominated — elated!