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2015 County Democratic Convention Highlights

Downtown Escondido was deluged with Democrats on October 24 as some 450 participants met for the San Diego County Democratic Convention at the California Center for the Arts. (View a Convention Photo Gallery here.)
The Convention centered around a stellar lineup of speakers, including Attorney General Kamala Harris and Treasurer John Chiang, who outlined a clear, comprehensive, progressive agenda for the state. Dozens of local elected officials shared their vision and plans to improve the quality of life in communities throughout San Diego County. 

The luncheon featured cognitive linguist Dr. George Lakoff, author of the best-seller Don't Think of an Elephant. He called on Democrats to better understand the underlying science of communication and to resist adopting the messaging "frames" of our opponents.

The breakout sessions were thoughtfully presented and well received. Topics ranged from digital organizing and engaging infrequent voters to climate change and how to address issues related to our military and veterans.

Toward the close of the afternoon, as dozens of local candidates for 2016 lined up to introduce themselves, one Convention-goer made news by announcing that she would be the first candidate to run against the incumbent San Diego mayor -- and invited other Democrats to step up to run for public office. It was quite a finale to an inspiring day.

Gretchen Newsom, the political director of the region's electrical workers' union (IBEW Local 569), has a substantial community and policy background. She has worked in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., where she assisted Phil Angelides when he chaired the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a body charged with conducting a national inquiry into the causes of the recent great recession. Newsom was recently reelected to serve as president of the Ocean Beach Town Council.

Some of the day's best moments were intimate and unscripted. Volunteers reminisced and caught up for the first time after they worked together in the 2014 election; candidates networked and deployed their campaign teams; a diverse mix of Democrats met each other and exchanged ideas and contacts. Many stayed for the Wrap-Up Reception and continued their conversations well after the formal sessions had ended.With a full day of motivational speeches, skill-building opportunities, and interpersonal connections, the Convention was a tremendous success! Special thanks go to the event sponsors whose contributions made the Convention possible, including our Marquee Sponsors: San Diego Gas & Electric, IBEW Local 569, and the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 230.


Attorney General Harris explaining the need to be "smart on crime"Attorney General Harris explaining the need to be "smart on crime"

Chair Francine Busby introducing communications pro Dr. George LakoffChair Francine Busby introducing Dr. George Lakoff
Gretchen Newsom announcing her candidacy for San Diego MayorGretchen Newsom announcing her candidacy for San Diego Mayor

Additional sponsorship was provided by United Nurses Association of California, San Diego's Peace Officers, United Domestic Workers, California Nurses Association, Association of California State Supervisors, Bridgepoint Education, Congressman Juan Vargas, Congresswoman Susan Davis, Marty Block for State Senate, Professional Engineers in California Government, San Diego City Firefighters, San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, Todd Gloria for Assembly, Toni Atkins for State Senate, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135. 

Convention guests checked in early at the Center for the Arts for a day filled with activities. 

The morning reception was a prime time for mixing and mingling -- and taking photos with cardboard
cutouts of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. 

Dr. Tom Wong, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UCSD, led a session on "Engaging
Infrequent Voters and Communities of Color to Broaden the American Electorate."

A newly appointed member of the County Board of Education, Rick Shea, introduced himself with a
stage packed with Democratic candidates looking on.

Shown here during the morning General Session, hundreds of participants helped make this year's
SDCDP County Convention the most successful yet.