Democratic Convention: We have arrived

Democratic Convention: We have arrived

Deane Rykerson and co. get ready for an early-morning drive to Philadelphia.

A Maine state rep from Kittery reports from Philadelphia

On Saturday I packed for Philadelphia after carefully reading the weather report, the schedule, and the prohibited items from Homeland Security. I packed a collapsing water bottle, hat, shorts, and a substitute backpack if Homeland doesn’t allow mine into the convention site.

A list of items prohibited from the Democratic National Convention by Homeland Security.

Recommended apps for the convention are Slack and Firechat. Slack establishes a hierarchy of communication so that one uncorrupted message is distributed in case of imminent votes on the floor. Firechat is really interesting in that a network is established without Internet or phone signal, but through Bluetooth, device to device. The more devices, the more powerful the network. Firechat has been used in social revolutions where authorities have turned off the Internet. This could be invaluable in case our convention Internet is either overloaded or intentionally disabled.

Bob Saucier (state representative and Bernie member of Credentials Committee) showed up at my house Saturday night for an early morning drive to Philly. After a short night’s sleep, Troy Jackson (Bernie superdelegate with a new van) and Chris Babbidge (state representative and Hillary delegate) arrived at 5 a.m. for the journey to Philly.

Deane Rykerson and co. get ready for an early-morning drive to Philadelphia.
Left to right: Bob Saucier, Deane Rykerson, Troy Jackson, and Chris Babbidge get ready for the journey to Philadelphia.

The van ride was a nonstop debate of Maine politics, platform, rules, and Democratic prospects for 2017. Crossing the George Washington Bridge was a milestone.

Crossing the George Washington Bridge on the way to Philadelphia.

As the outside temperature hit 95, we dropped off Bob Saucier at the Credentials Committee meeting with 10 minutes to spare.

Saucier was a hero at the Credentials, asking for reinstatement of Diane Denk, even though she had been removed by the Maine Democratic Party, to achieve gender balance. The Maine appeal was the only challenge to be successful with a request within the time limit. Credentials vote was 156 to 0 and Saucier is Maine’s hero of the day.

Arrival in Philadelphia.

Our hotel is the Wyndham Garden near the airport — not too elegant, but filled with delegates from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. The delegate bus arrived about 5 and our first multi-state meeting will be at 6. At 7, we all will go to the opening reception of the Convention at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Let the politics begin.

Deane Rykerson is the founder of Rykerson Architecture, a Maine state representative, and a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He holds a masters degree from Harvard University. He lives in Kittery Point.