Democratic delegates weigh in on email leak, Sanders’ speech
LAS VEGAS — Forty-three Nevada delegates are in Philadelphia this week for the Democratic National Convention, which formally kicks off Monday. Here are their thoughts on the action:
ON LEAKED EMAILS
The convention is beginning on a discordant note just days after 19,000 hacked emails were published on the website WikiLeaks. They appear to show bias toward Hillary Clinton among staffers at what is supposed to be a neutral Democratic National Committee.
Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday that she would step down at the end of the convention, but many of Bernie Sanders’ supporters are still angry.
“We all knew the DNC had its finger on the scale in Hillary’s favor, so it’s good to be validated,” state Sen. Tick Segerblom, a Sanders delegate, said via email on Monday. “But Hillary won, and we need to move on. This election is too important to fight over the past.”
Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin, a Clinton delegate, took a pragmatic approach to the leaked emails and pointed to Sanders’ prior status as an independent unaffiliated with the Democratic Party.
“It is naïveté to think that party officials should not have an opinion on these matters. I am glad the organization was behind Clinton because they are Democrats for goodness sake. What did Socialist Bernie expect?” Coffin said in an email on Monday. “Too bad for (Wasserman Schultz) that she goes to preserve some peace, but that’s politics.”
Wasserman Schultz was heckled while she spoke to Florida delegates on Monday morning, and later announced that she wouldn’t be gaveling in the convention Monday afternoon as previously planned.
ON BERNIE SANDERS’ SPEECH
Sanders spoke to more than 1,000 of his delegates on Monday, telling them they made history but also urging them to rally around Hillary Clinton. That drew boos and angry chants from some of them, who said it’s too soon for unity.
“They’re not recognizing how upset we are before we’re asked to fall in line,” said Angie Morelli, a Nevada delegate for Sanders.
Morelli wants to see people fired in the wake of the DNC email leaks, and she wants Clinton to apologize for the actions of people she calls her longtime friends.
She and fellow Sanders supporters also raised concerns about party leadership during a Nevada delegation meeting Monday morning, interrupting Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison’s talk on unity, according to the Las Vegas Sun. They’ve been upset about the Nevada State Democratic Convention, which they say favored Clinton, and they demanded an apology from state party Chairwoman Roberta Lange.
Ellison and others said they’d be willing to broker a meeting between state party leadership and the Sanders supporters.
State Sen. Aaron Ford called the meeting spirited and said Sanders supporters had valid concerns, but he argued that Democrats needed to come together and win against Republican nominee Donald Trump. “The alternative is horrendous,” he said.
NEVADANS ON STAGE
Four Nevadans took the stage on opening night.
Las Vegas immigration activist Astrid Silva had a prominent evening speaking slot. She was brought to the country illegally as a child but has protection from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Convention attendees will also hear from Karla Ortiz, an American citizen who personally spoke with Clinton during a Las Vegas campaign stop in Las Vegas about her fears that her parents will be deported. Footage of Ortiz’s interaction with Clinton became part of a campaign ad.
Ortiz’s mother is expected to appear on stage, as is Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman, who’s an ordained minister and a veteran.