Organizers of Netroots Nation, America’s largest annual gathering of progressive activists, took the wraps off of a major and welcome surprise this afternoon with the announcement that Vice President Joe Biden would be coming to Detroit to speak to the convention during a special Thursday afternoon general session.
Landing Biden is a big coup for Netroots Nation. The convention has been addressed by former presidents and presidents, as well as congressional leaders and members of Congress, but this will be the first time that the sitting Vice President of the United States will have spoken.
It will also be Biden’s first appearance at Netroots Nation. He was invited to participate in the Presidential Leadership Forum held in Netroots Nation’s second year, in Chicago (back then, the convention was known as YearlyKos), but declined to attend due to his desire to participate in another event. The other contenders for the Democratic nomination — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel — all showed up.
Raven Brooks, the executive director of Netroots Nation, touted Biden’s forthcoming keynote address in a blog post also emailed to attendees.
As you may know, Netroots Nation came from humble beginnings: a group of activists simply wanted to come out from behind their screens and meet up in real life. Since that first meeting nine years ago, this conference has grown into the largest gathering of progressives in the nation, bringing the brightest organizers, innovators and thinkers together with leading elected officials from up and down the ballot.
Some of our attendees will run this cycle’s hottest campaigns; others have started or will start game-changing organizations within the next year. And everyone who attends does important work within their own communities after the conference ends.
So it makes perfect sense that Vice President Biden would address the folks who will knock on doors, make phone calls and raise awareness for the issues that are most important to our country.
From his longtime support of labor unions to speaking out on important issues like LGBT equality, Vice President Biden has in many ways given heart and soul to this administration. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to Netroots Nation for the first time.
We hope you’ll be there too.