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From the Floor: Meet Your Delegate

Chrisi West is a Virginia delegate to the Democratic National Convention who will be blogging for Virginia Politics from Denver. She is from Fairfax County's Alexandria neighborhood.

When I attended my first informal meeting of Alexandria Obama supporters back in March 2007, I figured it was my first foray into politics and I'd probably just end up handing out flyers on election day or something. No big deal.

I couldn't have been more wrong.


Since that meeting close to a year and a half ago, I've found myself working far out of my comfort zone, doing things I never would've considered doing under "normal" circumstances. And I never thought I'd find myself here, getting ready to go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver as a national delegate.

I wasn't even sure what a national delegate did! And I was certain that you had to be someone important to actually become one. Running for a chance to go to Denver didn't even occur to me until another friend and Obama supporter talked me into it while watching the primary returns from Texas and Ohio. I think my response was, "Sure, why not?"

The idea to get involved in the campaign came from watching "The Speech", and then reading his books later on to find out more about him. His stance on the Iraq war piqued my interest, but it was his newly announced platform on domestic violence that got me hooked! An issue close to my heart, I couldn't not work for him and let this chance slip away.

I jumped into a world of signature gathering, event planning, travel coordinating, and phone banking that I had never experienced before, and when I felt that I might have gotten in over my head, there was always another supporter there to lend a hand. The idea to go canvassing myself in another state (something I surely would never have considered before since I tended to be pretty shy around strangers) didn't come up until only a couple of weeks before I actually went. My friend and fellow organizer Keith Lutman found an amazing price on flights to New Hampshire, how could I say no?

New Hampshire in January? Yeah, that sounds like a great idea.

But I loved it. Despite the long days (and several feet of snow), the idea that I could personally interact with a stranger and make a connection with them was something entirely new and unexpected. A pleasant surprise on a cold, windy weekend in the Great Northeast.

After that, no one could keep me from canvassing in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia (of course) and North Carolina (twice)! I felt that I was actually making a difference toward something I believe in. Even now, seventeen months later, I still get excited to go canvassing every weekend, talking to potential voters and getting new people involved in the process.

And just when I think that I can't possibly answer one more email, make one more phone call, or knock on one more door I stop and reflect on this entire experience so far, and think that I must be the luckiest person in the world.

-- Chrisi West

By washingtonpost.com  |  August 21, 2008; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/President  
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Comments

You rock, Chrisi! You do VA proud! :-)

Posted by: Shayna | August 21, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Trudging in the cold and rain only to be greeted by slammed doors is no fun. But you just keep putting one foot in front of the other for your cause, and with so many people like you out there, that's a GREAT thing.

Raising awareness around contemporary issues and possible solutions through passionate commitment and open-minded, fair communication is a superb way of positively affecting social change.

I'm inspired by your efforts and I'm sure those around you feel likewise.

Thanks, Chrisi, for being a leader to all us young folks who are learning the crucial role we play in our own futures.

Posted by: shay | August 21, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

We here in Fairfax have appreciated your outstanding efforts for a long time,and we are delighted to have you represent us!
Have a great time, and try to calm those PUMAs down!

Posted by: Ann Tyson | August 22, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Go Chrisi! We are so proud of you and your outstanding efforts and so glad to have you represent us in Denver. Great to read your blog and can't wait until the next installment. I hope you have time to enjoy the experience -- there must be a lifetime of memories in just this week alone.

Biden Obama 08! Go, Lee District!

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | August 24, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Chrisi, I'm so delighted you're representing VA at the convention! I said it before, and i'll say it again: your enthusiasm, energy, creativity, sharing ideas, and hard work have been an inspiration to us all. Yes We Can...Yes We Will!

Posted by: Terry S. | August 24, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations!

And remember, you have an ethical obligation to let people know that what they tell you may be included in your blog, if you intend to use it.

Posted by: VA-11 | August 24, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Sounds great! Next, why don't you come down here, run against Thelma Drake and push her out of office! We could use a better rep in this district (Hampton Roads)! ;)


Obama '08
Yes We Can

Posted by: ssanford | August 25, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Congrats Christi!

We're proud of you and waiting for your next posting!

Kingstowne in the house!

Posted by: Carroll | August 25, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes We Can; Yes You Did; and "O" Yes We Will! Ever since I was your "Navigator" in So. Carolina I've been amazed and inspired by your dedication and commitment to getting Barack Obama elected! Can't wait to see the pix, read your next blog, and learn what we do next to paint VA BLUE! You go girl!

Jennifer "Navigator"

Posted by: Jennifer | August 25, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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