Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SW Michigan delegate reporting in

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

The 'Powers-that-be' at DemConWatch have invited a number of delegates to share their thoughts here, as they prepare for, and attend the convention. I'm Mark Miller, an Obama (formerly Uncommitted) delegate from the 6th Congressional District of Michigan, the southwest corner.


I am one of the infamous 'Cut-in-half' (ouch!) delegates, trusting to be restored to full voting rights when the Credentials Committee meets, in accordance with what Obama has requested.

My preparation for the Convention so far has been minimal, because I have been so darn busy with other political stuff. I'm Chair of the Campaigns Committee for the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party. I'm a candidate for Kalamazoo Township Trustee, and just won my primary a week ago today, coming in first out of six candidates (top four advance to November). Plus I'm running a poll for a local candidate that I did the sample design and survey design for.

My blog home is West Michigan Rising, where I am the editor for Kalamazoo and the 6th District. I'll be cross-posting from there to here during convention week.

On Saturday, we had a regional delegate meeting in Grand Rapids with staff from the Michigan Campaign for Change, as the Coordinated Campaign (Obama campaign + Michigan Democratic Party) is now called. Sylvia Perkins from MDP is doing the convention preparation for our delegation, at the same time as MDP staff is preparing for our state convention, which is the weekend after we return from Denver. The hotel reservation system being used to book our delegation's rooms has had a computer glitch, so we still do not have confirmations, although we are repeatedly assured we do have rooms! I'm driving, plan to camp on the way out, and then spend a few nights in the mountains following the convention. So at least I'll have camping gear if I don't have a room! :>

At this meeting we also went over the organizational structure of the CfC in Michigan. Obama will have twice as many operatives on the ground as Kerry had, and more than ever before. There are two parallel chains of command from Amy Chapman, the Michigan campaign director, down to the front line - the field chain, which is obvious, and the political chain, which includes outreach to constituency groups, events, and other things I may not be aware of. This was new to me. I could have used an org chart to look at to help follow this part of the discussion.

There are concerns about how the CfC is or is not integrating effectively with the existing local party structure, and utilizing (or not) local expertise. To some extent, this has been true in every presidential cycle, and I'm trusting that these things will get worked out. That's as much as I will say at this time.

I've been an Obama supporter since Feb 10, 2007, the day his website went live, and I joined on the same day. It's been a long trip so far, through the early enthusiasm, then the loss of momentum and energy caused by Michigan's abortive primary, to today, as we see resources, and volunteers, pouring in. I was elected as the sole male Uncommitted delegate in my district out of 16 who filed as candidates. I am honored to represent Barack Obama, and my district, and have promised a full report to those who sent me. These posts will be a down payment on that.