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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Young Democrats will serve as delegates in DNC

Hailey Eisenbach
Hailey Eisenbach/Arizona Daily Wildcat Erik Lundstrom, president of the UA chapter of Young Democrats, prepares members to meet with Congressman Ron Barber on Thursday, August 24.

A current UA Young Democrat and three former club members will be representing Arizona in the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Patrick Burns, Matt Kopec and Christopher Campas, all former UAYD members, will serve as delegates at the convention, while Erik Lundstrom, the current Young Democrats of Arizona president, will serve on the rules committee.

Lundstrom, a political science senior, received a phone call from the state director of the Obama campaign last spring, during which he was asked if he would accept an appointment to be on the rules committee at this year’s convention. Lundstrom, who was appointed through presidential privilege, is one of six appointed members of the rules committee and one of two appointees from Arizona.

“I was in kind of like complete shock … it took me a few minutes to process, and then I was so excited,” Lundstrom said. “It literally was one of the best pieces of news I could’ve ever heard.”
While the state and county party held fundraisers to help the state club members pay for their trip, Campas, who was the UA Young Democrats president in 2010 before graduating, is on his second term as vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party and said he is paying for his own trip to the convention.

The convention kicks off Monday, Sept. 3 with a Labor Day celebration that’s open to the public. Business starts Tuesday, when the credential committee, rules committee and platform committee set the democratic agenda, according to the DNC website. The rules committee approves and makes necessary changes regarding diversity requirements at the convention, timing rules for primaries and presidential privilege rules, among others.

There are certain diversity quotas each state must meet when electing delegates to represent that state. Groups like LGBTQ, women, African Americans and Hispanics each attend separate caucuses to discuss issues dealing with that diversity group.

“The Democratic Party, this one in particular, will have one of the most diverse embodiments of America at a convention ever,” Lundstrom said.

The role of delegates at the DNC is to approve the committee reports and to vote for the party’s presidential candidate. Delegates represent and are bound to a certain presidential and vice-presidential candidate — in this case President Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

“We work hard and move the cause forward, and it’s nice to know we have a say in that,” said Matt Kopec, chair of Legislative District 10, former UA student and former member of UA Young Democrats. “It’s not very often you get to re-nominate the president for another term.”

The final day of the convention, Obama is expected to accept his presidential nomination. The speech will be held at Bank of America, which will be open to the public, according to the convention’s website.

But the convention isn’t all serious business, according to Campas, who was a delegate for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2008 convention. Campas recalls hotel parties in Denver, where delegates from various states stayed in the same hotel, making it a fun way to network with other Democrats around the U.S.

“It’s fun to go and be sort of in the center of democratic politics,” Campas said.

Lundstrom said he hopes to network and meet a lot of people at the convention. He also expects to learn more about the convention process and the party through networking and come home with Obama souvenirs.

“I’m hoping to come back with a whole lot of Barack Obama swag,” Lundstrom said.

Zoey Kotzambasis, president of the UA College Republicans, said that due to the timing of the Republican National Convention, being at the end of the first week of school, they were unable to send anyone from the UA to their party convention. The GOP convention was scheduled to start Aug. 27 in Tampa, Florida but was recently delayed a day due to tropical storm Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico. Kotzambasis said that the College Republicans at ASU will be going to the convention to represent Arizona.

“We do have friends in other CR chapters that are going and serving as delegates so we are pleased to congratulate them,” Kotzambasis said.

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