Friday, August 29, 2008

DNC 2008 in Denver: Pre-Convention & Monday Night

As you all know, the recently (as in 14 hours ago) concluded Democratic National Convention was right here in Denver, CO. And as you may or may not know, I (Jaimy) spent a lot of time this spring interning for the Host Committee for the DNC. The Host Committee is the organization charged, essentially, with making the Convention happen in the host city (= raising the $60 million necessary to pay for it). I left my post there to study for the Bar Exam. About two weeks after the Bar, I started getting (frantic-sounding) e-mails from the folks in the Host Committee Finance Department asking if I could come back and help them with the home stretch and through Convention Week. Needless to say, I was more than happy to pitch in.

I won't get into the work itself, but needless to say, "pitching in" has entailed working no less than 10 hours a day for the past eight days. While you COULD say I worked for free, I would say I was overpaid. The experience was certainly exhausting, but more than that, it was awe-inspiring. Not only did we witness the nomination of the first major party African American candidate for President of the United States, but Bret and I were both able to attend all of the awesome events connected with the Convention. I also experienced personal satisfaction from dealing with all the folks from our local area and from around the country who crossed my path. For every donor who thought they deserved "more for their money," there was one who was just so excited to be a part of the process and a part of Denver's historical week. Several times I was hugged by complete strangers when they received their tickets to Obama's acceptance speech, or to the various events we were fortunate to plan or be a part of this week. Rest assured, it was eight days I will never forget.

I can't fit the whole week in one post, so I'll discuss the Pre-Convention events and Day One of the DNC first, and then blog the rest over the next week or so (including our trip to Colorado Wine Country, and the introduction of a new four-legged member of our family).

Last Saturday, we attended the kick-off event of the Convention at Elitch Gardens (an amusement park) -- the Media Party. About 15,000 members of the media, delegates, and Convention sponsors were in attendance for delicious food, free amusement park games, rides, and concerts. Bret and I were able to attend a show by the Flobots, a hip-hop band with a classical twist that originated in Denver last year and has since become a national act with its socially conscious album. The show was only attended by about 300 people, so we were right up front....Great Show!

Jonny 5 & Brer Rabbit of the Flobots
Sunday, after another long day of preparation for Denver's big week, we headed up to Red Rocks (only the most amazing outdoor concert venue on the planet) for the Green Concert. Fortunately, I was able to get four tickets to the event, which featured Sheryl Crow, Sugarland, and a Dave Matthews acoustic performance with Tim Reynolds (along with various politicos), and we invited our Dave Matthews-loving friends Mark & Kristin Whitney to join us. The entire evening was nothing short of amazing. They called it the Green Concert because of the commitment by all organizations involved in planning this year's convention to make it the greenest convention in history and a footprint for future political conventions. Here are some shots of the night (along with a video clip): (And by the way, we were 5th row center!)

The crowd at Red Rocks.

Mayor Hickenlooper: Laid-off Geologist, turned Barkeep (Wynkoop Brewery here in Denver), turned Mayor of the "Capitol of the Creative West"

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, our neighbor in the 5th row (and my vote for Governor in my days as a VA resident).

Sheryl Crow's dedication to Barack Obama -- "Strong Enough"

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., speaking on the importance of environmental issues in this election and the experience of being his father's son.

Dave and Tim

Finally, it was Monday. We moved our office and core personnel downtown for the Convention itself. After a long day of trouble-shooting and getting our credentials out to the deserving donors who allowed us to make this Convention happen, I was handed two credentials to the first night of the Convention, where Michelle Obama was slated to speak. Shots from Day One:

The Floor of the Convention, with Michelle Obama at the Podium.

Tyler from our Operations team. This is more or less a picture of how we all felt with the Convention underway....a little giddy, a little exhausted, maybe the slightest bit just-plain-crazy.

So, that was everything up to the end of Day One. As promised, I'll deliver the rest of the week over the next few days. For now, I need to go prepare for Alyssa, my friend and my roommate from my freshman year at Florida State, who is visiting for Labor Day weekend!

1 comment:

Janey and Gary said...

Wow!!! What a wonderful experience.