President Gulla’s Updates from DNC

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SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Rich Gulla is in Philadelphia this week for the Democratic National Convention, and will be sending along updates throughout.

President Gulla was selected as an alternate delegate to Sen. Bernie Sanders, and was called upon to step in when a regular delegate was not able to take part. He’s joined in the City of Brotherly Love by First Vice President Ken Roos, who was selected as a Sanders delegate, and Director Germano Martins, who was selected for the rules committee.

Newest updates are at the top.


Thursday at 1 p.m. – Last day

The slate of speakers last night was pretty great. Between Bloomberg, Vice President Biden and President Obama, it was a great night.

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Of course, it was another late night, too. I know it’s a recurring theme, but these kinds of events don’t leave room for much sleep.

With the president speaking, they held our bus for an hour after we got on, so by the time we got back and to sleep it was around 2:30. Just one more day, though, and it’s going to be a big one.

History is being made, and Ken, Germano and I are here to see it. To see all these leaders in one place is phenomenal. And I keep coming back to Sen. Sanders, who’s played the role of elder statesman to a T. I feel like he’s come out the winner in this process, and that’s something everybody’s been talking about down here.

Among our guest speakers at breakfast today, we had N.J. Sen. Corey Booker and Gov. Maggie Hassan.

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We attended an event with SEIU and we met Henrietta Ivey, a home health care worker from Michigan who’s going to address the convention tonight about the Fight for $15. Yes, on the same night that Hillary Clinton accepts the nomination. This is huge.

First Vice President Ken Roos and President Rich Gulla pose for a photo with home health care worker Henrietta Ivey, who's set to speak on the final night of the convention about the Fight for $15.

First Vice President Ken Roos and President Rich Gulla pose for a photo with home health care worker Henrietta Ivey, who’s set to speak on the final night of the convention about the Fight for $15.

It’s a big day and I have to admit I’m tired, but we’re going to keep going forward because this is so important. There’s so much at stake, and just as we always have, we will unite and we will win.


Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. – Keeping busy

RichBlog14We had another great group of speakers for our breakfast today, with Martin O’Malley, dropping by along with both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Patrick Leahy.

I actually left the convention hall at the Wells Fargo Center a bit early last night — while Meryl Streep was speaking — and still didn’t get back to the hotel until 12:30, so it was another quick turnaround being in the lobby at 6 a.m.

Again, I’m not envious of Philadelphians’ commutes this week. So much of our time this week has been spent going back and forth from our hotel to the convention center, which is in downtown, then out to the Wells Fargo Center. Still, we were able to make it to SEIU luncheons each of the last few days, where we heard from Alfred Hill, a striking airport worker from Philadelphia who was fighting for the right to unionize.

As you might expect, security here is really tight and it should be even tighter tonight with President Obama and Vice President Biden set to speak. It should be another big night.


 

Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. – Day 2 in the books

The New Hampshire Delegation is shown during the roll call vote on Tuesday. Photo by the New Yorker

The New Hampshire Delegation is shown during the roll call vote on Tuesday. Photo by the New Yorker

RichBlog18Last night was a very moving experience. The speakers were great. I thought Howard Dean did a great job, and he looked like he was having fun. Not to mention President Clinton. But the big moment came during the roll call vote in which we officially nominated Secretary Clinton.

This story is all over Facebook by now, but the moment when the foreign delegation cast its votes really stood out for me. When Sen. Sanders’ brother rose to cast a vote for “Bernard,” everyone around choked up.

RichBlog17I think what Sen. Sanders did at the end of the roll call,  showed what a statesman he was. Secretary Clinton may very well be the next president, but Bernie Sanders is definitely presidential and in a lot of ways, he won this primary battle. He won’t be president, but his agenda is driving the party.

Some are obviously still unhappy, but there was definitely unity in that building last night. We pulled together, and it was really neat to be a part of history.

 


Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. – Breakfasts are busy

RichBlog12There is really no wasted time when you’re part of a delegation, and that includes breakfast.

Our joint delegation breakfast lineup this morning included former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as well as our own Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster.

There’s a lot going on again today before the convention again gavels in at 4 p.m. Former President Clinton will speak tonight, but before he does there is a strong lineup of speakers focusing on youths. It should be another powerful night.

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Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. – Day 1 in the books

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RichBlog10We’re up at it early after a long day yesterday. We had a bit of trouble getting to the convention center and had to find alternative transportation. Ultimately it wasn’t a big deal, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like for people in Philadelphia getting around. Even though the convention itself didn’t gavel in until after 4 p.m., it was still a long day.

But what a day.

The big speakers of the evening were, of course, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, First Lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders. I probably don’t have to tell you they all knocked it out of the park.

I thought the standing ovation for Sen. Sanders spoke volumes. He’s definitely started a more progressive movement in the Democratic Party. What he’s been able to do, and his supporters have been able to do, is to expedite change with reforms and increased focus on the issues he was running on. That’s truly something to be proud of, and the crowd here last night let him know that.

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Monday at 4:11 p.m. – Ready to go

We’re seated and ready for the gavel.

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Monday at 1:26 p.m. – Getting rolling with Bernie

We were able to see Sen. Bernie Sanders as he addressed the pledged delegates this afternoon (that includes me and Ken Roos). The convention officially begins this afternoon (with fellow Granite Stater Pam Livengood, whose family has experienced the pain of the opioid epidemic first hand), and Sen. Sanders will be back along with First Lady Michelle Obama to deliver addresses this evening. Beyond the politicians you’d expect here, there are also some celebrities here listening in.

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Monday at 6:16 a.m. – Welcome to Philly

We arrived in town last night and took part in a delegate welcome event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art — we didn’t run up the “Rocky” steps, but we did see the statue. See if you can spot First Vice President Ken Roos and Director Germano Martins in the first picture below.

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