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LIVE from Charlotte: What a week it’s been so far at the Democratic National Convention!

Hello from Charlotte! I have been thinking about how to best summarize my experiences in the Queen City for some time.

What do I tell people back home in the Pacific Northwest about my experiences here? Well, to put it succinctly, I am all fired up and ready to go.

Charlotteans have been very hospitable to us. The city is clean and the general atmosphere is upbeat. Yesterday morning, I attended the women’s caucus, which had a packed ballroom and went so far past its allotted time that my next caucus (Senior Council) was already filled to capacity. The RSVP system works on paper but in reality, with this many people, it is very difficult to accommodate everybody.

I have been here since Saturday which now seems so long ago…on Sunday I attended the host committee welcome reception at the Levine Museum of the New South, which had memorable music, good food and the opportunity to speak to other delegates from Colorado, Oregon, and Arizona. Again, very upbeat.

On Monday, I attended the APIA (Asian Pacific Islander) caucus, where we were treated to a wonderful speech by Hawaii Governor Abercrombie and a thoughtful panel discussion from elected and prospective candidates. In the afternoon, I worked on the Heroes at Home NextGen Home Community Service Project – half the house was built at the Republican Convention and today they will be putting both sides together and it will be given to a veteran at a location of about 20 miles from the convention center. Very cool.

The Washington State Democratic Party is doing an excellent job of keeping us all informed and making sure we are having a good time.

We’ve heard from many, many, many speakers already, but there’s been a common thread running through those speeches. We’ve been urged to remind voters of the President’s achievements, which have moved the country forward, and the importance of downballot races at the local and state level.

For me, three of President Obama’s most important first term achievements are:

  • The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and allowing all who serve to stop worrying about hiding those they love!!!
  • The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which ensures that my daughters will be able to get justice from a court if they’re not getting equal pay for equal work
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As a mother of three children who all went to public schools, I know the critical role the public education system plays in the next generation’s success. The President invested in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education through ARRA.

Last night was incredible. Malcolm and I attended the Arkansas Celebration, where we had the chance to hear Bill Clinton speak in a smaller setting, so we arrived a little late to the general session – not long after I walked into the building, the tears started flowing and my eyes were moist most of the night.

I had made a educated decision to wear Sari’s at the convention – we live in such a visual world and I truly feel it is my job here to encourage and allow people to engage with me in conversation. Mission accomplished… I have spoken to many Indians and these past few days sharing my story… tonight, though, I will be back to wearing Western clothes.

Being a delegate means there is lots of getting up and sitting down on the convention floor – that makes it hard to control six yards of material!

We have more caucuses and conventions today, and then general session again at 5 PM. President Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are the major speakers tonight.