Former first lady Michelle Obama is a popular choice for keynote speaker at D.C. Democrats state convention next spring. (WI photo)
**FILE** Former first lady Michelle Obama (WI photo)

The D.C. Democratic Convention Planning Committee met on Dec. 18 to chart a course for the local party convention that could take place in the spring of 2020 and have former first lady Michelle Obama as a keynote speaker.

The meeting, led by At-Large Committeeman Philip Pannell and held in the WeWork Co-Working and Space Building in Southeast talked mainly about the District’s Democratic convention tentatively scheduled for April 18, 2020. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest emerged as the preferred site for the event but the University of the District of Columbia’s campus in Northwest has received consideration, too.

Pannell explained the purpose of the convention to the 15 party activists who attended the meeting.

“We will adopt a party platform,” Pannell said. “We will have elections for our national convention delegates and our party’s electoral college electors. In addition, constituent caucus meetings will be held.”

When topic of whom shall be the keynote speaker was broached, former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) received support but Obama seemed to be the popular choice. Former D.C. Democratic State Committee Chairman A. Scott Bolden’s name came up as a possibility if Abrams, Harris or Obama could not be secured.

Party members volunteered for a subcommittee to get Obama first and others later for the keynote address.

A great deal of discussion occurred about the convention delegates for each ward. Each ward would send 80 delegates to the convention, according to the proposed plan, with a goal of having at least 10 percent of the delegation consists of high school students.

The proposed plan would have delegates to the convention pay $20 for registration and ward and affiliated organizations would be asked to contribute $200 to participate in the event.

The proposed plan will be presented before the D.C. Democratic State Committee for final approval.

While planning for the local convention dominated the meeting, Linda Gray, vice chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, stressed the importance of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee from July 13-July 16, 2020.

“Getting our delegation to Milwaukee will be a time-consuming, hard-working endeavor,” Gray said. “We need to raise money to be in Milwaukee. We need to encourage the party to support D.C. statehood and we will join in supporting our nominee for president of the United States. That will take money and we need to focus on raising enough so we can do what we need to do.”

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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