By Jesse Wood
Sept. 4, 2012. Nearly 6,000 delegates are taking part in the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week, and two of them are from Boone – Mayor Loretta Clawson and Council Member Andy Ball.
Clawson and Ball arrived in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon.
“We are ecstatic to be here and so excited and proud to represent our area,” Ball said Tuesday afternoon, “and be here on behalf of Watauga, a bright shining blue area in the state.”
Neither Clawson nor Ball had ever attended a Democratic National Convention, although Clawson mentioned that she attended former President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
Both mentioned how well organized the convention has been so far with Ball calling the organization “flawless,” and Clawson being pleasantly surprised after spending a few days in Charlotte.
“At first I was apprehensive and to come down and find out that everything has worked out,” Clawson said, mentioning the “tremendous” amount of volunteers and the police force, which includes eight law enforcement officers from Watauga County.
On Tuesday afternoon in between convention activities – which included council meetings and caucus sessions, Ball and Clawson spoke with High Country Press.
After our conversation, Ball was heading to a youth council meeting, rural council meeting and small business advisory council “to get some ideas for economic development in Watauga County.” Clawson was on her way to a senior council meeting and women’s council meeting.
Clawson is looking forward to seeing Michelle Obama, adding that although she saw President Barack Obama last fall in downtown Boone, she has yet to see Mrs. Obama in person.
“I am really excited,” Clawson said. “She’s a hero of mine.”
Ball said by just walking around the convention areas, there is “lots of opportunities” to meet some of the political celebrities from within the Democratic Party. He added that he is looking forward to hearing President Barack Obama; Vice President Joe Biden; Elizabeth Warren, candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts; and, in particular, rising Democratic star and Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker.
But more importantly, Ball said, he was focused on state politics and “making sure our elections are successful” for the governor-hopeful Walter Dalton. He added that more works needs to be done for the N.C. Senate and House races.
Last year, Ball and other Young Democrats of America set a goal of 19 young delegates to attend the convention in Charlotte. Ball said that goal was surpassed with 32 delegates attending along with four alternates.