Democratic delegates look at issues

August 12, 2000

Democratic delegates look at issues


To prepare for next week's Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Maryland Del. Sue Hecht and Frederick attorney Rosemary McDermott each watched the recent Republican convention.

McDermott, a first-time convention delegate, watched to see what the delegates were wearing and to get a sense of the event. Told by fellow Democrats that the Los Angeles wardrobe would be nothing like what the Republicans wore in Philadelphia, McDermott was practical.

If she packs the wrong things, she can always go shopping in Los Angeles.

She's also planning to bring some old work clothes. Each delegate is being asked to volunteer an hour of his or her time somewhere in Los Angeles during the convention, she said.

"I think I'll sign up to read to children at the library."

Hecht, who represents part of Frederick and Washington counties, listened to the Republican's message calling for a new start for America.


"The GOP (message) was hollow; they were not a lot of specifics," Hecht said.

And why restart? she asked. After all, America is enjoying one of its most healthy economies.

"People are living better," thanks to the Democrats she said.

The convention opens Monday and concludes Thursday with the nomination of Vice President Al Gore as the party's presidential nominee. He'll face Republican George W. Bush in the Nov. 7 election.

It is the second convention for Hecht, who said she had to be cajoled to attend the Chicago convention four years ago.

"I don't like crowds," she said.

Now she's awaiting not only the hoopla that will come with the official nomination of the Al Gore-Joseph Lieberman ticket, but the vision and message that is developed at the convention.

"It's information for between here and November and November and the next four years," she said.

Issues she hopes will be part of that message are health care for the elderly and campaign finance reform.

"Too much time is spent putting the message out and countering the negative message," she said. Not enough time is spent "facing the people we are elected to serve."

McDermott said her issues are discrimination and the right to work.

Hecht and McDermott, who will room together at the convention, are unified in their support of Gore and Lieberman - even though McDermott is still officially committed to support Bill Bradley.

"Gore is a man of high morals," McDermott said.

She commended his efforts to dig out waste and fraud in federal government. She said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was once full of problems, but Gore "dug out the dirt."

Hecht commended Gore's ability to adapt to issues over time.

"You don't want a public official that's static," she said. "The world is changing and becoming one world in so many ways. You need someone who is more dynamic."

They were also unified in their support of Lieberman.

Hecht said Lieberman was "not afraid to speak his piece," and that the Gore-Lieberman partnership would hopefully be "an honest, useful (one)," much like the working partnership Gore and President Clinton enjoy.

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