Among the thousands of delegates who nominated President Barack Obama to run for a second term on the Democratic ticket at last week’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C., was Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway.
The Liberty County lawmaker spent three days attending meetings, listening to speeches and helping to prepare his party for November’s general election.
Williams, 65, has attended four conventions during the past 40 years. His first was in 1972 in Miami, where he served as a Democratic delegate for the late New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.
“Back in those days, they would fight over the delegates,” Williams said. “We would be offered rooms in nice hotels to throw our support behind a candidate.”
However, he acknowledges things have changed over the years, leading to more anticlimactic conferences.
“When delegates attend conventions now, we know who the winner is. Back in the day, we would actually chose who the person would be to run on the party’s ticket,” Williams said.
The representative said the days are long, but rewarding.
“We normally begin the day around 7 a.m., when we have a breakfast meeting, pick up our credentials, have caucus meetings all day long, go to the convention hall around 5 p.m. and get back to the hotel around 2 a.m. due to traffic,” Williams said.
The meetings, according to Williams, give participants time to talk about specific platforms and assess where the party is and where they expect it to be by November.
Williams said the party is in good shape.
“The future is looking great,” he said. “We’re trying to correct some things put out in Tampa, and we’re fired up. The base is excited, but there is still a lot of work left to be done. But we’re ready to win in November.”
While at the convention, Williams listened to speeches by first lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton. On Thursday night, Obama delivered his vision for the next four years.
“I thought it was solid. It was very good,” Williams said of the president’s speech. “He laid back on the promises and how he plans on moving the country forward.”