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Delegate's Diary: Democratic National Convention 2012

Convention takes place this week in Charlotte.

Editor's note: Virginia Del. Scott Surovell, who represents the state's 44th District, is sending Patch updates of his experiences in Charlotte, N.C. at the Democratic National Convention. The following is from Surovell.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, I arrived in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. This is my second convention and my first as a National Delegate. 

Being selected as a delegate is typically regarded as being an honor within the party. There are several types of delegates to the convention. First, some Delegates are selected by each congressional district at district-level conventions. These positions typically go to grassroots volunteers and local party activists. Then additional delegates are selected at the statewide convention. Those positions are called Party Leader-Elected Official or PLEO delegates. I was selected as a PLEO. The delegations are evenly divided between men and women. 

Finally, there are also a number of “Super” Delegates who become delegates by virtue of their position. This includes the state party chairman, the ranking male or female member of the state party depending on the gender of the chairman, Virginia’s four Democratic National Committee members and others. In all, Virginia is sending nearly 200 delegates to the convention.   

Most delegates stay at the same hotel. In this case, we are staying at a Sheraton Hotel near the Charlotte Airport. It is about a 10-minute drive or drive and ride on Charlotte’s light rail from most of the action. 

The day typically starts off with the delegation breakfast where we are all given our credentials, marching orders and we are treated to prominent speakers. For example, today we heard from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and several elected officials from around Virginia. 

On Sunday night, we attended a welcome reception at the NASCAR Museum with the delegations from North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.  We heard from DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz,  Assistant Democratic Leader Congressman James Clyburn and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. 

Afterwards, we walked around downtown, many parts of which have been largely shut down to vehicle traffic by the Secret Service. 

There is no floor session scheduled for today (Monday) so most delegates are attending a big festival in downtown Charlotte.  I am going to a James Taylor concert and then the Virginia Delegation is having a party watching the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech football game because there is no floor session tonight. 

We are all looking forward to the floor sessions starting on Tuesday. Virginia is one of the most important battleground states and was given prime seating on the floor for the second convention in a row. Traditionally, the President’s state sits in front. In 2008, we sat behind Illinois. This year, Illinois is in front, then Colorado, and then Virginia. 

It is a very exciting time. We are all looking forward to seeing the President make his case to our country’s voters, and it is an honor to be part of the process. 

Peggy Cousins September 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I wish to thank Scott Surrovell for all he does for to keep the Dems who live in Alexandria, Va informed about political happenings which affect our community. He sent reminders out as well about the special election being held in my 45th District.We need to vote today, Sep 4, 2012 at Belle View Elementary School, to replace David Englin. Rob Krupicka (D) is running against a GOP and a Libertarian candidate. Our Democratic Party Delegates are having a hard time in Richmond, so I am urging all who read this, who live in the 45th District to vote by 7 PM.

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