Councilman Jones reflects on first day of the Democratic National Convention

With the 2012 Democratic National Convention underway in Charlotte, North Carolina this week, NewsWorks checked in with the always-ebullient 4th District Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. to get his impressions of what he has seen and heard so far.

“We’re getting fired up and ready to go,” he opened with, foreshadowing a theme of enthusiasm and revitalization at both the local and national levels that would pepper the conversation. Jones says the week’s events stand in stark contrast to a seemingly-soporific Republican National Convention, which, he says, left him feeling drowsy last week.

“I needed to drink some Starbucks coffee,” he said of the Republican convention.

‘A kaleidoscope of people’

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In and around the convention floor, Jones – one of several party delegates present from Philadelphia – was impressed with the diversity of the crowd and their high energy.

“There’s a kaleidoscope of people in the audience,” he said, noting that the audience members were comparatively younger and more vibrant than those seen at other recent political conventions. “They really represent our country.”

Of his local political peers, Jones used words like “rejuvenated” to describe some of his city council peers who were present, which include Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilwomen Cindy Bass and Marian Tasco, and Councilman Bobby Henon.

Voter ID takes center stage 

Jones noted that an additional theme of the convention was Voter ID, indicating that despite a one million registered voter difference favoring the Democrats in Pennsylvania, it’s a poll tax masquerading as a progressive issue.

“If you can’t beat, why not cheat?,” said Jones. 

In fact, Jones said that an address by Mayor Michael Nutter this morning centered on the topic of “voter suppression,” and suggested that could be a precursor to the Mayor’s formal address later today.

Impressions and inspirations

Jones also shared his thoughts about some of the prominent speakers at the convention so far.

When Michelle Obama introduced herself as “mom-in-chief,” Jones said he got “pretty excited.”

He said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was “pretty impressive,” and praised Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s speech, likening it to a “pep rally.” On his Twitter feed, Jones said he was “meditating on [their] inspiring words and calls to action.”

Women’s rights activist Lilly Ledbetter was “so touching,” he said, and praised the commitment to her cause. “It’s bigger than her,” he observed.

“Overall, the first day was pretty impressive – I’d give it high marks,” he said. “You learn a lot.”

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