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A wild-eyed look at the 2004 Colorado Democratic Convention
by Susan the Neon Nurse, Prowers County delegate


This was not actually my first time attending our state Democratic convention. But my other trip was quite a few years back, and I remembered so little of the procedures that I might as well have been a total newbee. Last time I went mainly because I was mildly curious, and felt flattered to have been invited to take part, so perhaps that's why the details didn't really stick. THIS TIME I was there because I am charged up to get some changes made in this country! And guess what? There were HUNDREDS of other first timers there who feel the same way! It was a stupendous sight to see!

The rest of our Prowers County delegation on Friday night. Sorry I didn't get your good side, Joe.

Joe and I drove to Pueblo Friday afternoon and arrived JUST in time at our hosts' house. Betty and Frank had kindly opened their home to us strangers, treating us as warmly as the other friends they actually knew who were bunking out with them for the weekend. The first big event was a 'get to know me' party for Mike Miles, with some excellent munchies provided. That was a cool thing about the whole convention--if you kept alert, you could graze along and get fed pretty nicely, either for free or for a minimal donation. A few blocks away from the Miles party at the convention center there was a free barbecue dinner at the Pueblo River Walk. They had a great jazz band playing in the pavilion to listen to while you ate. I walked more just that day than I usually do in a week, but it was well worth it! It wasn't all wine and barbecue, though. We had actual business to conduct! Friday night was the time for the assorted Districts. We of the Congressional 4th met for better than 3 hours, voting for delegates and candidates.

Here's Joe peeking in at the Mike Miles' hosted breakfast.

We got over to the Colorado State Fairgrounds pretty early, a bit after seven Saturday morning, but plenty of other people had been there hours before that, getting things ready.

This is one section, maybe 1/6th, of the auditorium. The Prowers County sign is the one you can't read too well, to the left of the San Juan County sign. I brought our sign home for Mike, my sign-loving boy, when we were all done.

Some of the booths were AMAZING! I avoided temptation for most of the cool items, but I did buy some exciting flashing donkey pins.

The Ken Salazar breakfast, complete with antique fire truck!

Part of the backstage area, where the vote counting and other convention business was transacted.

There were lots of people promoting lots of things in lots of different ways.

This little advocate was a bit shy at first, but when I showed her the picture I took, she got very animated and friendly with me.

Above, some of our Democracy For Colorado members.

I loved seeing so many folks flaunting their ideals and imaginations!

And some of us hardcore believers were flaunting too.

If you have not been to a big political convention, you may be wondering what happens there, besides some nut running around taking pictures. Well, you talk to people. It's great to be able to throw out just about any topic and have a bunch of strangers chime in sharing your opinion! Also, people talk to you. The state conventions are where the voting takes place which decides who will go on and attend the national convention, and people actively campaign for this honor amongst their fellow delegates. Plus there are dozens of petitions and flyers and sign-up sheets being passed around by people hoping to attract new members to their favorite group or cause.

The main business, though, is voting and voting and voting. Friday night I was able to vote one last time (THIS election!!!) for Howard Dean, as I was kindly picked by my county to be the Uncommitted Delegate. That meant that on Saturday that the only assigned vote I had (to represent the votes of the folks at the county level) was for Ken Salazar for Senate. Everything else was up to me, so I tried to pay close attention and not miss anything.

The biggest race was, of course, nominees for President. I believe ALL the former candidates had SOME supporters there, but the major choice was for either Kerry or Kucinich. There are any number of reasons for people continuing to support other candidates when Kerry already has more than enough votes to be the nominee. The main, and best, one is that many folks want him and the DNC to remember that the desire for REAL change is still bubbling and boiling in the hearts of regular everyday Dems. Especially all us newbees buzzing around in the grassroots! So yeah, I voted for Kucinich. He ended up with 6 future Boston votes. Kerry got 13.

The other big race was for the Senate seat, which went up for grabs when Ben Nighthorse Campbell, suddenly decided to retire. Before he got caught in the fallout of a major staff member going down for assorted fraudly activities. The favorite, Ken Salazar, has been a good solid Dem office holder for quite a long time, most recently as Attorney General.

Personally I thought it was a stroke of genius to bring his mother out on stage and thank her for all his success.

But there has been a dark horse candidate out on the campaign trail too. Mike Miles chose to go for the powerful role of US Senator his first crack out of the box. Guess he figured he might as well, since he's excelled at everything else he ever tried, it seems. US Army Ranger, ambassador to Poland (and somewhere else that I don't recall), then a rapid rise from teacher to administrator once he settled into civilian life. I admit I was one of the people who thought he was being too ambitious, and might not really be (forgive me, Dr. Dean) "electable". But MM proved me and a lot of other people wrong. His growing number of supporters were WAY fired up for this convention:

And they got what they came for. The final tally was 51% Miles, 49% Salazar. So now they have a primary to work towards!

If someone wrote this guy as a character in a book, the writer would get seriously dinged for coming up with someone so unrealistically amazing.

The highlight of an already highly lighted day came for me in the closing speech by Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas (why couldn't we have elected THIS one as President???). She gave a fantastic speech on the general theme, "Enough is ENOUGH!" It was funny, it was moving, and people were frothing at the mouth to get out and work up a November landslide.


We still have the power. If you don't believe it now, you will in November.

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Pictures copyright Susan Crites 2004