Gulf Coast Represent for Clinton, Sanders at DNC



Lucy Lapides doesn’t consider herself a “raging feminist,” but as she sat in the Democratic National Convention Hall Tuesday, serving as a Hillary Clinton delegate and preparing to cast her vote for the first woman to win the presidential nomination for a major political party, she could feel history being made. “Once in while, I feel the emotional component of it,” she says. Lapides, current president of the Lakewood Ranch Democratic Club, was among the Gulf Coast residents in Pennsylvania this week for the convention, and while the divide between Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters has impacted the convention, it hasn’t reduced the thrill of being in the room. A news junkie, Lapides regales with stories of media personalities wandering the hall freely accessible.

Rita Ferrandino, Sarasota Democratic Party treasurer, says the historic moment of electing a female nominee impacted the mood of the arena. "Tears of joy filled the arena," she says.

Locals arrived from both sides of the intra-party divide. Former Sarasota Mayor Kelly Kirschner was appointed by Sanders to serve on the credentialing committee at the convention. While he notes the “disturbing revelations” that came this week after an email hack of the DNC exposing efforts within the party to boost Clinton over Sanders, the committee work was “heartening,” Kirschner says. “There is now space and light to work towards the reform and the transparency that Sanders has been demanding in the primary process,” he says. 

Sarasota Democratic Party Chair Christine Jennings, a Clinton delegate, remarked that Sanders supporters at times acted disruptive, such as when they booed ousted DNC chair and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz at a Florida delegation breakfast Monday. But she says speakers like First Lady Michelle Obama were helping to heal divides. She noted Sanders himself has encouraged his own supporters to rally behind Clinton. “It will take a little longer to settle,” she says of the division, “but I definitely believe it will happen in time.”

Photo courtesy Rita Ferrandino

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