Local Dems in Charlotte ready for big night Thursday

ANDREW WINEKE Updated: September 3, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: September 3, 2012

The Democratic National Convention doesn’t officially begin until 5 p.m. Tuesday, but delegates from El Paso County are already hard at work ­— and play.

Christy Le Lait, El Paso County Democratic Party executive director, arrived in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday and was attending a veterans and military families caucus on Labor Day.

Tuesday, the meetings start at 7 a.m., and events go on long after the official schedule ends.

“Charlotte is an amazing city, everyone is so excited,” Le Lait said Monday afternoon. “It’s really a great experience so far.”

The Colorado delegation, which includes nine members from El Paso County, sticks together for many events. And, Le Lait said, the Colorado group will have great seats on the convention floor to hear Gov. John Hickenlooper speak Wednesday night.

“I wouldn’t want to skip a minute of it, this really is heaven for political junkies,” Le Lait said. “I was just at a corner light and Jesse Jackson climbed out of car and I shook his hand. It’s exciting to see all these people coming together and the energy.”

Kathleen Ricker of Colorado Springs  attended the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, but this time around, she’s a delegate and a member of the convention’s credentials committee.

“It’s just been an incredible welcome,” Ricker said of Charlotte. “Christy and I came on Friday, we did some help setting up the state of Colorado office here. I think most of the delegates came in last night or today.”

Although most of the trip will revolve around politics, Ricker and Le Lait have done a little sightseeing in Charlotte, even getting out on a paddle board at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Still, the focus is on the work at hand, and everything leads up to President Barack Obama formally accepting his party’s nomination Thursday night.

“This convention is not contentious, we’re all 100 percent behind our president and want to see him reelected,” Ricker said.

Contact Andrew Wineke: 636-0275 Twitter @awineke
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