Western Culture Alive in Denver

January 15, 2008

The West has a unique culture that has been passed down through the generations. Even though farmlands have given way to sprawling suburbs and exurbs, the West is still a place where traditions hold strong.

This week, the National Western Stock Show returns to Denver. It is tradition that on the Tuesday before the show begins,
the residents of Denver are treated to a parade that begins with longhorns, followed by horses and carriages and lots and lots of pageantry. With Gov. Bill Ritter commanding a horse, the longhorns set out down 17th street.

Kept in check by a team of cowboys, the massive beasts were corralled in a small scale cattle drive — right through downtown Denver. I’ve never witnessed anything like this before, and this parade really taught me something about the West. Even though the city skyline may have changed over the years, talking with individuals along the parade route, there is still a cowboy culture that lives on.

When the 2008 Democratic National Convention begins in August, chances are there won’t be any longhorn parades, but throughout our
planning of the Convention, we have learned about the West and what makes it so unique and so colorful. The idea of having the Convention
in the West is to show that Democrats are committed to Western values. And events like the National Western Stock Show give the
Democratic National Convention Committee the opportunity to experience firsthand one of the oldest and most celebrated traditions in Colorado and the West.

Check out our photos from the National Western Stock Show parade.

We’ll have some video up from the parade soon, and we’ll have some more behind-the-scenes video from the DNCC. We’re looking forward to
participating in the National Western Stock Show and its first-ever donkey mascot contest for the Convention, so check back at the blog to see what we’re up to.

See all of our photos here:

longhorns

cowgirls

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Fresh Paint on the Walls (and in our hair)

January 12, 2008

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Earlier this week, we posted here about our January DNCC Service Days outing at Manual High School with Governor Dean and the DNC Executive Committee. Watch this video to learn more about Manual and see how the DNCC staff worked with the local community to make this school with such a rich history an even brighter place.

Las Vegas Convention Conversations

January 12, 2008

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As reported on our blog Wednesday, DNCC CEO Leah Daughtry packed an overnight bag this week and headed to Las Vegas for a Convention Conversations forum with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. In this video, you’ll see some of the great sites of Las Vegas and meet some of the people who came out to learn more about the Democratic National Convention and how they could get involved in the historic regional opportunities of 2008.

Saturday in Denver

January 12, 2008

Today, the Colorado Democratic Party sponsored its second annual Faith and Politics Conference at the Iliff School of Theology. I had the honor of delivering the opening keynote.

The topic was Engaged Spirituality, and I chose to share with the audience much of my personal path. For me, politics was the path by which I could bring concrete change to the community I call home. And it was in the Democratic Party that I found a mirror to my own values. I talked about the founding of the Faith In Action Initiative – my baby – which is not about helping elected officials quote scripture or go to church and clap on the beat but about encouraging them to talk about their values and what drove them to public service.

And I talked about the ways I’m bringing these principles to my work as CEO of the Democratic National Convention. A big part of that is our community service initiative. It has given us a rich sense of connection to the community – as well as a concrete way to demonstrate our Democratic values, with more than just words. But with action. Our efforts to green our Convention are another example. Our Party’s principles should be part of how we do business every day – from the selection of our office space and the procedures we put in place there to our hotel and transportation operations. That’s the best demonstration of our commitment to life change – every single day, not just when the cameras are rolling.My Boots

While south of town, we made a stop at Sheplers to shop for cowboy boots. The National Western Stock Show is upon us, and I wanted a pair to wear to the big event. National Western is offering a special class this year to choose an official donkey mascot for the Democratic Convention, and I’ll be on the panel of judges. I tried on a number of pairs and finally settled on a shiny chocolate brown, with light pink and tan stitching up top. I think I’m ready.


DNCC Service Days: Plaster, Paintbrushes and Posters at Manual High

January 10, 2008

Staff at the Democratic National Convention Committee put on our old jeans and our matching gray DNCC Service Days t-shirts today and headed over to Denver’s Manual High School to paint the teacher’s lounge and help students prepare posters for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Every month, the DNCC staff volunteers time on projects in one of three areas: youth, greening and the combined issues of homelessness and hunger. This month, the DNCC teamed up with the Colorado branch of Volunteers of America to lend a hand at Manual High School.

While in town for the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee meeting, DNC Chairman Governor Howard Dean joined the DNCC — even sporting a DNCC t-shirt of his own. Wasting no time, Gov. Dean was given a paint tray, a brush and climbed up a ladder to do some painting. Proving he was well qualified for the job, the Governor’s first question: “Is this paint latex or oil based?”

Manual opened in 1896 and has the distinction of being the alma mater of former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, his wife Wilma and former Denver Councilwoman and current Denver Host Committee President Elbra Wedgeworth, among others. In 2006, Manual closed its doors due to declining enrollment and low student performance, but has since reopened for 9th graders — with plans to add one grade each year until it is once again home to a full four grades.

Speaking on behalf of all my DNCC colleagues, hearing the story and history of Manual was inspiring. And having the opportunity to help make the school a better place for students and teachers was an amazing way to spend the afternoon.

Click here to see photos from today’s event.

Travis Painting

Dean Painting

Click here to see some of the news stories about the day’s events:

9 News

My Fox Colorado.com

cbs4Denver

Rocky Mountain News

Denver Post-(AP)

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Greetings from Las Vegas!

January 9, 2008

Greetings from Las Vegas, where the sun is shining and the enthusiasm for our Party is running high. Ten days out from the early caucus in Nevada and 229 days out from the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, we took our “Convention Conversations” series to the Silver State. This was the first in our community forum series outside of Colorado.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was our gracious host as we gathered members of the community at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 525. The first question out of the box: what are the dates of the Convention? A good reminder that our jump start in Convention planning is giving us a unique opportunity to get people thinking about and engaging in the Convention earlier than ever before. For folks in Nevada, that process starts with the caucus on January 19th – and runs through the Convention and all the way to election day.

Just as we’re seeing incredible enthusiasm in Denver and around the region — at these forums, in our service projects and for the Convention in general — we’re seeing incredible enthusiasm for our Party all across the country. Just look at the record turnout in our early voting states.

We came to Nevada to listen — bringing our videographers to record thoughts from attendees on what it means to them to have a Convention — and an early caucus — in the West. We want to know what the people in Nevada care about. And we want to share those thoughts and ideas with our nominee and our delegates. We want to map them into our Convention program. We heard from a number of folks today, and we’re taking all of it back with us to Denver — meaning not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I failed to note three very special guests in attendance today. The parents and aunt and uncle of our own Cameron Moody, Deputy CEO for Outside the Hall Operations, came out to show their support (and have the chance to get all the dirt on Cameron from his colleagues). Charles, Christella, Doby and Lorraine: it was wonderful to meet you!
Leah and ReidLeah with the Moodys

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Calling All Bloggers

January 8, 2008

We know blogger credentialing as it relates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention is a hot topic of interest. Will your state have a blogger in Denver as part of the 2008 DemConvention State Blogger Corps? We certainly hope so. Check out the map below to track the applications right along with us as they come in from all across the country.

Judging from the rush of applications we’ve received since the DNCC Press Gallery opened on December 10, there is no shortage of enthusiasm in the blogosphere for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

For the first time, we’re offering the opportunity for one blog to be credentialed from each of the 56 states and territories. Who will be on hand in Denver come August 2008 to feed you the latest as speakers from your state take the podium or your delegation rolls in to town? We’ll have the final word in May — but until then, you can find out what states have applicants by checking out the map below. To date, we have applications from 28 states — and hope to turn every state blue in short order! You can help spread the word by clicking here and sharing these details with a home state blogger in your neck of the woods.

Updated Map: Jan. 8, 2008

state map 1_8_08