By Inga VanWagoner, Democratic National Convention Delegate from SD8 ~ pictures by Cindi Koehn, Democratic National Convention Volunteer & SD30 Committeewoman
By Monday September 3rd the Texas Delegation had arrived in arrived Charlotte North Carolina! Despite some travel delays and occasional rain showers courtesy of Hurricane Isaac, we received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the DNC volunteers. Shortly after landing, we were settled on buses and en route to the Texas Delegation host hotel, Great Wolf Lodge.
Charlotte is on full display this week with art, banners and billboards touting the DNC.
There is a palpable energy in the city as the festivities get underway. This evening's activity for Texas delegates included a welcome reception at the Discovery Place, an interactive science museum noted as one of the nation's best.
Other welcome events were held across the city at 12 notable Charlotte venues including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where Mayor Anthony Foxx addressed delegates and guests.
Special thanks to Democratic National Committeeman Glen Maxey for diligently posting schedules and updates for us!
Monday morning, your SD8 delegates were up early, checking in to sign our daily credentials and selecting caucuses to attend. Then came uplifting and stirring speeches were delivered by Rev. Jesse Jackson in the African American caucus and Christine Pelosi in the Veterans and Military Families caucus.
We had numerous opportunities to hear from our dynamic DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. I personally was able to meet the oldest delegate in attendance, Mr. Steven Sherman, a decorated disabled WWI veteran, age 91.
A conference call was held for all national delegates, nearly 6,000 in total, more delegates than any national convention in history. Our topic of conversation--answering the question "are we better off today than we were four years ago." Our reply--a resounding "YES!"
The Women's Caucus was an impressive and inspiring collection of voices for the continued advancement of women. Actress Ashley Judd and correspondent Donna Brazille rallied us on after a special recognition of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
The afternoon led up to the gavel in by DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz and it began......a evening of spirited, memorable speakers.
Cheers erupted time and time again at the remarks of Mayor Corey Booker of New Jersey, Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth and our own San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Cheers from our Texas delegation brought Castro's speeches to a pause, as did chants of "USA" and "Four More Years."
The perfect ending to the night was the shining moment of First Lady Michelle Obama. Her emotionally stirring words of family, faith and the foundation she and President Obama built for their own family.
The adoration and respect of Mrs. Obama was never more evident as she waited for the applause and chants of "We love Michelle," to settle. Mrs. Obama led the charge to work these next 7 weeks to work for the re-election of President Barack Obama.
Tuesday evening, the mass of delegates filtered out of Time Warner Arena reveling in the high points of the night's message of "Moving Forward, Not Back."
After stopping at the MSNBC outdoor broadcast to gear DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz review the evening, we, the Texas delegates were gathered again at Whiskey River Restaurant and rehashed our favorite sound bites of the night before turning in for the night.