Margaret Breen, a recent graduate of Southwest High School, was among the state’s 99 delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 25–28.
She was one of the 47 delegates who supported Bernie Sanders. The remainder of the state’s 42 delegates supported Hillary Clinton, who clinched the presidential nomination to become the first woman in U.S. history to be nominated for president by a major party.
Breen, who will attend Macalester College in St. Paul in the fall, said meeting Sanders was a major highlight for her at the convention.
“I’ve been looking forward to being able to vote ever since I was 10 and watched Obama give his acceptance speech in ’08 but I really couldn’t have imagined getting so involved in any campaign until I learned about Bernie,” she said.
For now, she plans to help out with local campaigns.
“In the next few years when I’m still in school I plan on doing everything I can to getting radically progressive candidates into office on the state and local level. I might run for office one day, but I think I like the behind the scenes work a little better,” she said.
State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-61A) and Florkime Paye also served as delegates for Sanders, but have since pledged support for Clinton.
Paye, a Liberian American, was elected a delegate at her precinct caucus in Loring Park and then made it all the way to her Congressional District Convention where she was elected as a delegate for the national convention.
She said she has been inspired to run for office and attended a workshop at the convention that provided some tips for launching campaigns.
“This election is really invigorating for people who haven’t been part of the political process,” Paye said. “As Americans, one of the biggest things we can do is just vote. It’s so simple, but it’s symbolic.”
It was also Hornstein’s first trip to a Democratic convention. “For me it really took Bernie Sanders,” he said. “I thought he was a pretty special candidate.”
Hornstein endorsed Clinton after Sanders and Congressman Keith Ellison announced their support for her candidacy.
“I came back from this convention even more energized with an even greater sense of urgency to make sure in our legislative district we turn out every Democratic vote we possibly can,” he said. “We can’t take any vote, any district or any state for granted this year. It’s so volatile.”