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Convention Tracks

Over the three conventions that I have attended as a delegate I have observed that people come to these events for various reasons and participate in different ways. There are three tracks. The first group are the fundraisers or the financial council. If an individual has raised a lot of money for a candidate or the Democratic Party, he or she will be treated to numerous social or educational events. The levels of appreciation vary depending on the amount raised.

If you are a delegate, elected or appointed, there will be working meetings, receptions and evening sessions. In between, delegates are invited to attend many activities depending on their own interests and personal networks. Lastly, there are individuals who are interested in coming but have no particular role except as observers. They are on their own at the convention.

My interests and networks have led me to many issue oriented events. With so many opportunities to chose from, I assigned cub reporter Allan Ghitterman to assist me in covering competing programs. The first is a series of presentations by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a non-partisan organization that focuses on issues affecting international democratic development. They work to "establish and strengthen democratic institutions and practices." It is chaired by Madeleine Albright. Their programs for this week will include an analysis of the presidential primary by the press; strategies for winning in November; enhancing the US role around the world, and combating global poverty.

President Bill Clinton was featured at today's forum about whether democracies deliver real dividends. He spoke about global warming and how it causes "inequality, insecurity, instability and human rights violations." The quote of the morning was from the former prime minister of Yemen: "There is no fast food democracy." A not so subtle message to America?

The second series is sponsored by the New Democratic Network (NDN). NDN was founded by Simon Rosenberg and is an outgrowth of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist Democratic think tank. NDN is a progressive group and focuses on domestic issues. One of their goals is to assess "where American politics are heading in the 21st century." This week they will host panel discussions on immigration reform, media and technology tools, race, and demography. Guest speakers will include Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Joe Trippi (political consultant), Peter Greenberger (Google), Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood),
Mayor Gavin Newsome and Arianna Huffington.

Issues are a main focus for many delegates. Throughout the week, presentations from other organizations will occur on civil rights, health care, women's issues, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender rights and labor to name a few. For me, it is an essential part of each day: the real meat and potatoes of the convention. I look forward to each of the sessions.

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