By Darla Shelden
Four Oklahoma City metro area Democrats are among those attending the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson is one of those delegates. Recollections of her first convention are still fresh in her mind.
“The 2008 convention in Denver was my first ever DNC,” said Johnson. “My son encouraged me to go for it, and I am forever grateful that he did. I decided this year to come out of the chute aiming to be a delegate.”
One week prior to the DNC event, the Republican Convention, in Tampa, Florida, was competing with hurricane Isaac barreling down on the Gulf of Mexico. On the seven-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina, the convention excitement was somewhat dampened for the Republican delegates.
Johnson recalled her experience at the 2008 DNC, “I remember venturing down to the convention floor the night of the nomination, where the only way one was able to move, was if the whole crowd moved. Seeing so many of my Democratic legislative colleagues from other states, I recall thinking, ‘Now this is how a real convention is supposed to feel.’ The crowning event was when I received word that my first granddaughter had been born the night President Obama accepted the nomination.”
The feeling from that night was surpassed only by the 20 degree Inauguration Day activities in DC,” said Johnson. “I never felt an inch of the cold. My mother was blessed by four great grandchildren born in 2008–all in attendance at the history making Inauguration.”
Johnson is confident that President Obama is the right person to lead America. “I expect the positive energy that enveloped us last time to be even greater this year,” said Johnson. “Our leadership team, President Obama and Vice President Biden, is intelligent, compassionate, capable and committed – a team that America can be proud of.”
Oklahoma City attorney Billy Coyle has a passion for politics, which prompted him to run for office. In 2010 he was the Democratic Party’s nominee for the 5th Congressional District. Coyle continues his activism this year by going to the Democratic National Convention as a member of the Rules Committee, which oversees logistical issues for the party’s convention as well as deciding any internal delegation disputes that may arise.
“I am looking forward to going to my first Democratic National Convention in Charlotte,” said Coyle. “I am using it as a means of representing the many great Oklahoma Democrats, and showing my gratitude to the Democratic Party and support for our President. I am looking forward to hearing the speeches. I intend to listen carefully to the solutions that the Democratic Party is proposing to the Country’s problems. Do I need to say how much ‘I love my Country’ and how ‘American’ I am?”
Oklahoma County Democratic Party Chair Marguerite Leon McGuffin was encouraged by her husband, Larry, to become a delegate. “Being a women, a minority and living in the reddest state in the nation I never expected to become a delegate – I didn’t even know what that meant six years ago,” said McGuffin. “I’m an average middle class Hispanic-Native American woman whose family prospered from the Great Society programs and the New Deal programs. Being a delegate to me means I bear a responsibility to the next generation. I have given my word to support and promote Democratic ideals and principles and as a dedicated party leader, to be an advocate for party resolutions.”
McGuffin added, ”I hope that together with other delegates, we can take the Democratic Party where it needs to be in order to gain the majority in our local legislature, and to re-elect Barack Obama as President in 2012.”
DNC delegate Dr. George E. Young, Pastor of Holy Temple Baptist Church In Oklahoma City said, “I am very excited about representing the state of Oklahoma at the Democratic National Convention. I am very confident that President Obama will be re-elected. I am aware of the challenges we face as a nation, but I am filled with hope that if we can come together to have a majority of the people elect a person of color, we have the makings of being a great nation.”