DNC Dispatch – Day Two

As we anticipate the President’s speech yet tonight, here are the highlights I took away from all of yesterday’s excitement:

Rita and Sister Simone Campbell

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (and daughter of the late, legendary Texas governor Ann Richards) gave an emotional speech.  We listened with tears in our eyes, as she had tears in hers: “President Obama understands women. He trusts women. And on every issue that matters to us, he has stood with women… We’ve come way too far to ever turn back. And we won’t.”

Elizabeth Warren, running for Senate in Massachusetts, also gave a rousing speech: “I believe in President Obama and his vision for the future. Not just for folks who call themselves Democrats — but for everyone who believes that when you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve a chance to succeed. For decades now, the dreams of millions of kids have moved further out of reach. Middle-class families have gotten hammered, while the rich and powerful have gotten richer and more powerful. This election truly is the fork in the road. It will decide who we are as a people and what kind of country we want to be.” Continue reading

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DNC Dispatch – Night One

The energy here at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte is so incredible, and Michelle Obama’s speech Tuesday night just electrified the crowd. Here one of the many gems from her speech:

“I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are. No, it reveals who you are… And as president, you are going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.”

That is something to think about when we know so little about who Mitt Romney really is – the man who hides his past and whose values and positions seem to change with the wind. But about Barack Obama’s values and experiences, Michelle Obama said:

“Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it, and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love. He believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

And: “For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the differences you make in people’s lives.”

This makes me proud to be a Democrat and proud to support President Obama! It expresses in personal terms our values of hard work, inclusiveness, fairness, opportunity, and giving others a hand up. A great opening night for this exciting gathering – and I’ll be sharing more as I can!

DNC Dispatch – Day One

Greetings from Charlotte! There’s so much going on now that the Democratic National Convention is underway, and I’ll be sharing the highlights as quickly as I can. On Day One, I attended the Florida Delegation breakfast (with more than 575 delegates and their guests) and heard from an impressive array of Democratic leaders about how President Obama’s policies over the last four years have put us in a much better position today than we were in four years ago. Here are some of the highlights:

Rod Smith, Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, shared a personal story about the recent cancer diagnosis of his son, 24, just three weeks ago. Because of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA), he was able to still insure his son and make sure he gets the critical care needed. So far his treatment has totaled more than $1 million, but it has all been covered. Furthermore, thanks to AHA, his son cannot be denied healthcare after his recovery as a person with a pre-existing condition.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

Senator Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia, spoke of his 20 years of business experience and how the stock market is far stronger today than four years ago, when our financial system was basically in a complete free-fall. Continue reading

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

On January 30th, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman (and Florida Congresswoman) Debbie Wasserman Schultz visited Sarasota. Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz focused on the President’s commitment to Israel. From the outset of his administration, President Obama has been committed to maintaining the special relationship between the two countries, and to working with our Israeli allies and the Arab world on solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Wasserman Schultz spoke about the strong bond between the two nations and highlighted President Obama’s efforts to strengthen that relationship.  Israel continues to be the largest recipient of U.S. Foreign Military Finance Program funds for military training and equipment. In 2010, the administration sent $2.775 billion (the largest amount ever) in security assistance funding to Israel, and increased that amount to $3 billion in 2011.

The administration has also provided the Israeli military access to advanced U.S. military systems.  Moreover, President Obama has stood strong with Israel against threats Iran, and against terrorist organizations such as Hamas.  And time and time again, President Obama has stood against efforts in the international community to de-legitimize Israel, making clear his administration’s commitment to a two-state solution that protects Israel’s interests.  (You can learn more about President Obama’s stances on Israel by visiting Jewish Americans for Obama.)

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald

After speaking on Israel, Wasserman Schultz’s second stop was a fundraiser in support of Congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald.   National party leaders have tapped Sarasota Democrat Keith Fitzgerald as one of their best bets to beat an incumbent in the 2012 election, which is sure to keep a spotlight on our area that goes beyond our role as a presidential battleground.