Notes on Tennesseans at Democratic convention

Mark Harmon, a former Knox County commissioner and Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention, is writing a “Delegate Diary” for the News Sentinel.

In his second post, Harmon advises that he’s “been thinking about what is trending at this Democratic National Convention.” One thing is attention to “some prominent younger delegates.”

And there’s a good bit of general commentary on Tennessee delegation doings.

Delegates here constantly are using their phones, checking on bus schedules, taking selfies, receiving text messages from campaigns, looking up something on the internet, taking a peek at email, or sending a quick note to friends and family. Monday night I even participated in a Facetime interview with a Nashville TV station.

Brad Batt, a Johnson City delegate for Bernie Sanders, was pleased that at this convention he connected with some people he had known earlier only via Facebook.

Harmon’s first post is focused onthe trip to Philadelphia and the general lay of the landscape.

The convention is something of a design-your-own adventure. More than 400 events are scheduled, many in the convention sites but several are off site — including everything from a film festival to an outdoor concert in Camden featuring Lady Gaga. Throughout the mornings and afternoons the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia will be the hub of activity, but in the evening we will gather four miles south in the Wells Fargo Center, the sports arena transformed for the televised spectacular that is the face of a modern U. S. party convention.

Our hotel hosts not only the Tennessee delegation, but also those from Michigan and Minnesota. One doesn’t have to stay at the assigned hotel, but it really becomes a practical necessity. Each day’s credentials are distributed at 8 a.m. at the breakfast gathering in the hotel. Each breakfast has an assigned speaker, and our delegates are pleased that our first speaker Monday will be U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota.

Stewart slams Trump
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart issued a call to arms to Tennessee Democrats Tuesday morning, saying a Donald Trump presidency would be a “unmitigated disaster,” according to The Tennessean.

“We are facing a potential national catastrophe,” Stewart, D-Nashville, said at morning breakfast shortly after guests and delegates from Tennessee heard from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen.

Stewart, who is not a part of the state’s delegation but is spending the week in Philadelphia, said Trump is someone who has bankrupted multiple companies, mocked veterans, promoted violence at his campaign events and is openly racist.

“What happened is for 30 years, the Koch brothers, Fox News and many others have been irresponsibly paying to fund this unpatriotic, irresponsible rhetoric about how government is a joke and you don’t have to take it seriously and everything the Democrats have built up over the years is bad,” Stewart said.

… Democrats need to make places like Tennessee competitive. “We have to be pushing the envelope where we are to do everything we can to defeat him.”

Wrapping up his remarks, Stewart concluded, “We all have to double the sacrifice. It’s a national emergency. Let’s rise to it.” <!

Rogero slams Supermajority
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero stressed the importance of local control — and slammed the Republican-led Tennessee legislature for intervening — while tying the issue to the presidential race during a Monday breakfast for Tennessee Democratic delegates, reports The Tennessean.

Rogero, who is a Clinton delegate, said despite the work of Democratic lawmakers like House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, who is among several state lawmakers in Philadelphia this week, the state legislature has not helped cities like Knoxville.

“We have a general assembly right now that does not work for cities; that does everything they can do to take away the power of cities,” she said.

Rogero explained that Knoxville has been successful because Democrats and Republicans have been able to work together.

“We work together on these issues to serve the people. And you’re not seeing that on the state level,” she said.

Rogero rhetorically asked why Republicans – which she labeled as the party of small government – has been “taking away the rights of the government that is closest to the people.” In an effort to make that point, Rogero said she is now facing a lawsuit from the Tennessee Firearms Association and the National Rifle Association because the city’s police department tried to ban guns at the Tennessee Valley Fair.

“I consider that a badge of honor personally,” she said, receiving applause from many in the audience.

Rogero expanded the issue of local control to the national level, saying that voters need to support elected officials who will work with cities.

She said that’s been the case with the Obama administration, which has frequently consulted with Rogero’s office, including having the Knoxville mayor participate in a climate change task force initiated by the president.

TN praise for spouse speeches

“President Clinton really told the story of Hillary Clinton’s life and how she is the real thing who has been fighting for real change in people’s lives the last 40 years,” said state Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville. “She did more before she was 30 than Donald Trump’s done in his entire career.

“I think a lot of people learned a lot about Hillary Clinton tonight that they didn’t know and I think you’re going to see a lot more people give her a second chance, a lot more people (will) decide that she’s the right person to lead the country.”

Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, a Clinton delegate, said Hillary Clinton’s early personal life is not something most voters know about.

“I think it’s important for all of us to know what kind of a real person she is and what she means to people who have been in her life for so long,” McMillan said. “I think it really humanizes her and makes her somebody that we can all truly believe in, not just for her achievements in her public life.”

(Above excerpted from Tennessean story HERE.)

State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, a Clinton delegate, said (Michele Obama’s) speech “will go down as a history lesson about what is good about America.

“I especially liked the line about that when people go low, they go high. That’s a lesson for all of us really. When people are ugly to us, are mean, that we don’t try to get down on their level. We take the higher ground and work hard.”

Gilmore said she was pleased that Sanders supporters, who had booed other speakers when they touted Clinton’s candidacy, largely refrained from doing so when Michelle Obama spoke. Gilmore also her remarks “set the tone for the evening.”

“She reminded us that America is already great,” Gilmore said, a reference to Trump’s famous campaign slogan.

… Laurie Dworak, Sanders delegate from Chattanooga, said, “I love Bernie, but Michelle took the night.

“She’s just so inspiring considering everything that’s been thrown at them for the last eight years. That woman has never once allowed them to pull her down, as she said. No matter how low they went, they always went higher.”

She said the message from Michelle Obama was to “stay strong.”

“We know that we are on the right path,” Dworak said. “We are leading the country in the right direction. And we may not agree on all points, but we agree that the Trumps of the world, the Paul Ryans of the world, they’re only a path backwards.” (Excerpts from story HERE.)