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Democratic convention “insider” tells all

By rgordon
Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 at 7:34 pm in Uncategorized.

He may not be the Insider, but nevertheless, Redwood City resident Andrew Byrnes was an insider in his own right at the California Democratic Party’s state convention, which was held this past weekend in San Diego.

From one insider to another, Byrnes, the chair of the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee, shared a few candid thoughts about how the convention really went. Over 30 San Mateo County Democrats attended the convention as delegates or proxies.

Andrew ByrnesIt should be noted that Byrnes, 34, received the party’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Award for Outstanding Public Service, given annually to two or three Democrats statewide between the ages of 18 and 35 who “have displayed outstanding leadership qualities in the service of others in California” and “have made a substantive difference affecting the lives of Californians in their communities.” (Byrnes is shown here accepting the award last Saturday night, which was presented to him by party Chairman Art Torres.)

But on to that inside scoop.

“There’s no question that the energy at the convention was tremendous,” Byrnes told the Insider. “The presidential candidates were really energetic and passionate and really had a conversation on the issues.”

The most well-received presidential candidates, he said, were U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D, N.Y., and 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards.

“It’s tough to find a more compelling speaker than Senator Obama. Senator Clinton really got into the specifics of her proposals and her reception at the convention was very positive,” Byrnes said. And Edwards? “He may have had the biggest reception of all. His speech was the most progressive of the three and it’s a pretty progressive crowd.”

Byrnes said that the Iraq was unequivocally the convention’s issue du jour.

“The question we, as a party, need to address is how to get ourselves out of this mess,” Byrnes said. “They [the candidates] said the right thing about needing to set timetables and not let this drag on forever.”

So, with the convention behind him, does Byrnes now know who he’s going to vote for? “I still haven’t chosen a candidate, but what it did do is give me greater confidence that whichever candidate we nominate will be the next president.”

And why is it, exactly, that there is so much confidence that our next president will be a Democrat? “The [George W.] Bush presidency has been a failure and people are looking for change,” Byrnes said. “These Democratic candidates are compelling and they’re competent and they’re charismatic. And those are the tools that are needed for a country that’s fed up with Bush.”

Interested in getting to know your county’s Democratic party more? Attend the party’s South County Community Day on May 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Red Morton Park at Roosevelt Avenue and Valota Road in Redwood City. Or attend the party’s North County Community Day on May 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson School, 43 Miriam St., in Daly City. According to the party’s Web site, “hear from community leaders, get to know some of your neighbors, enjoy music/performances, have delicious food, and learn how to get involved with the local Democratic Party in 2007-2008.”

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